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Title: Chaucer's Works, Volume 5 (of 7) — Notes to the Canterbury Tales
Author: Chaucer, Geoffrey, 1343?-1400
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chaucer's Works, Volume 5 (of 7) — Notes to the Canterbury Tales" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected: they
are listed at the end of the text.

       *       *       *       *       *

In this text [*e] represents the "schwa" or unvoiced vowel, printed as
inverted-e, and [gh] represents the Middle English letter "yogh", similar
to the numeral 3. [=a] signifies "a macron"; [)u] "u breve"; [o,] "o with
Ogonek"; and so forth.

       *       *       *       *       *






LITT.D., LL.D., D.C.L., PH.D.

* * * * *


         'hit oghte thee to lyke;
  For hard langage and hard matere
  Is encombrous for to here
  At ones; wost thou not wel this?'
                  _Hous of Fame_; 860





       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *



  INTRODUCTION.--§ 1. Some points for discussion. § 2. Canon
  of Chaucer's Works. Thynne's edition of 1532. § 3. Later reprints.
  § 4. Tyrwhitt's edition; and his endeavours to establish a canon.
  § 5. The same; continued. § 6. Chalmers' edition. § 7. The
  anonymous edition of 1845; published by Moxon. § 8. This
  edition due to Tyrwhitt's suggestions. § 9. Later work; results
  arrived at by Prof. Lounsbnry. § 10. Some of The Minor Poems
  in The present edition. § 11. The Poem no. XXIV. § 12. Poems
  numbered XXIII, XXV, and XXVI. § 13. The text of the
  Canterbury Tales; lines 'clipped' at The beginning. § 14. The
  Harleian MS. § 15. The Ellesmere MS. § 16. The old black-letter
  editions. § 17. Stowe's edition in 1561. § 18. Dryden's
  remarks on Chaucer's verse. § 19. Brief rules for scansion. § 20.
  Accentuation. § 21. Examples. § 22. Old pronunciation. § 23.
  Modernising of spelling. § 24. Sources of The Notes;
  acknowledgments                                                     ix

  NOTES TO GROUP A                                                     1
  THE GENERAL PROLOGUE                                                 1
  THE KNIGHTES TALE                                                   60
  THE MILLER'S PROLOGUE                                               95
  THE MILLERES TALE                                                   96
  THE REVE'S PROLOGUE                                                112
  THE REVES TALE                                                     116
  THE COOK'S PROLOGUE                                                128
  THE COKES TALE                                                     129

  NOTES TO GROUP B                                                   132
  INTRODUCTION TO THE MAN OF LAWES TALE                              132
  PROLOGUE TO THE MAN OF LAWES TALE                                  141
  THE TALE OF THE MAN OF LAWE                                        145
  THE SHIPMAN'S PROLOGUE                                             165
  THE SHIPMANNES TALE                                                168
  THE PRIORESS'S PROLOGUE                                            173
  THE PRIORESSES TALE                                                174
  PROLOGUE TO SIR THOPAS                                             182
  THE TALE OF SIR THOPAS                                             183
  PROLOGUE TO MELIBEUS                                               201
  THE TALE OF MELIBEUS                                               201
  THE MONK'S PROLOGUE                                                224
  THE MONKES TALE                                                    227
  THE NONNE PRESTES PROLOGUE                                         247
  THE NONNE PREESTES TALE                                            248
  EPILOGUE                                                           258

  NOTES TO GROUP C                                                   260
  THE PHISICIENS TALE                                                260
  WORDS OF THE HOST                                                  264
  THE PARDONERES PROLOGUE                                            269
  THE PARDONERES TALE                                                275

  NOTES TO GROUP D                                                   291
  THE WIFE OF BATH'S PROLOGUE                                        291
  THE TALE OF THE WYF OF BATHE                                       313
  THE FRIAR'S PROLOGUE                                               322
  THE FRERES TALE                                                    323
  THE SOMPNOUR'S PROLOGUE                                            330
  THE SOMNOURS TALE                                                  331

  NOTES TO GROUP E                                                   342
  THE CLERKES PROLOGUE                                               342
  THE CLERKES TALE                                                   343
  THE MARCHAUNTES PROLOGUE                                           353
  THE MARCHANTES TALE                                                353

  NOTES TO GROUP F                                                   370
  THE SQUIERES TALE                                                  370
  THE WORDS OF THE FRANKLIN                                          387
  THE PROLOGUE OF THE FRANKLIN'S TALE                                387
  THE FRANKELEYNS TALE                                               388

  NOTES TO GROUP G                                                   401
  THE SECOND NONNES TALE                                             401
  THE CANON'S YEOMAN'S PROLOGUE                                      414
  THE CHANOUNS YEMANNES TALE                                         421

  NOTES TO GROUP H                                                   435
  THE MANCIPLE'S PROLOGUE                                            435
  THE MAUNCIPLES TALE                                                439

  NOTES TO GROUP I                                                   444
  THE PARSON'S PROLOGUE                                              444
  THE PERSONES TALE                                                  447

  NOTES TO THE TALE OF GAMELYN                                       477

  ADDENDA                                                            490


       *       *       *       *       *



§ 1. In the brief Introduction to vol. iv. I have given a list of the MSS.
of the Canterbury Tales; some account of the early printed editions; and
some explanation of the methods employed in preparing the present edition.
I propose here to discuss further certain important points of general
interest. And first, I would say a few words as to the Canon of Chaucer's
Works, whereby the genuine works are separated from others that have been
attributed to him, at various times, by mistake or inadvertence.


This has already been considered, at considerable length, in vol. i. pp.
20-90. But it is necessary to say a few words on the whole subject, owing
to the extremely erroneous opinions that are so widely prevalent.

Sometimes a poem is claimed for Chaucer because it occurs 'in a Chaucer
MS.' There is a certain force in this plea in a few cases, as I have
already pointed out. But it commonly happens that such MSS. (as, for
example, MS. Fairfax 16, MS. Bodley 638, and others) are mere collections
of poetry of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, from which nothing can
safely be inferred as to the authorship of the poems which they contain,
unless the scribe distinctly gives the author's name[1]. As a rule,
however, the scribes not only omit to mention names, but they frequently
omit the very title of the poem, and thus [x] withhold such help as, in
many cases, they might easily have afforded.

The celebrated first edition of 'Chaucer's Works,' edited by William Thynne
in 1532, made no attempt to establish any canon. Thynne simply put together
such a book as he believed would be generally acceptable; and deliberately
inserted poems which he knew to be by other authors. Some of these poems
bear the name of Lydgate; one has the name of Gower; and another, by
Hoccleve, is dated 1402, or two years after Chaucer's death. They were
tossed together without much attempt at order; so that even the eleventh
poem in the volume is 'The Floure of Curtesie, made by Ihon lidgate.' The
edition, in fact, is a mere collection of poems by Chaucer, Lydgate, Gower,
Hoccleve, Robert Henrysoun, Sir Richard Ros, and various anonymous authors;
and the number of poems by other authors almost equals the number of
Chaucer's. The mere accident of the inclusion of a given piece in this
volume practically tells us nothing, unless it happens to be distinctly
marked; though we can, of course, often tell the authorship from some
remark made by Chaucer himself, or by others. And the net result is this;
that Thynne neither attempted to draw up a list of Chaucer's genuine works,
nor to exclude such works as were not his. He merely printed such things as
came to hand, without any attempt at selection or observance of order, or
regard to authorship. All that we can say is, that he did not knowingly
exclude any of the genuine pieces. Nevertheless, he omitted Chaucer's
A.B.C., of which there must have been many copies in existence, for we have
twelve still extant.

§ 3. The mere repetition of this collection, in various reprints, did not
confer on it any fresh authority. Stowe indeed, in 1561, added more pieces
to the collection, but he suppressed nothing. Neither did he himself
exercise much principle of selection; see vol. i. p. 56. He even added The
Storie of Thebes, which he must have known to be Lydgate's. Later reprints
were all edited after the same bewildering fashion.

§ 4. The first person to exercise any discrimination in this matter was
Thomas Tyrwhitt, who published a new edition of the Canterbury Tales in
five volumes, 8vo., in 1775-8; being the first edition in which some
critical care was exercised. After Tyrwhitt had printed the Canterbury
Tales, accompanied by [xi] a most valuable commentary in the shape of
Notes, it occurred to him to make a Glossary. He had not proceeded far
before he decided that such a Glossary ought to be founded upon the whole
of Chaucer's Works, instead of referring to the Tales only; since this
would alone suffice to shew clearly the nature of Chaucer's vocabulary. He
at once began to draw up something in the nature of a canon. He rejected
the works that were marked with the names of other poets, and remorselessly
swept away a large number of Stowe's very casual additions. And,
considering that he was unable, at that date, to apply any linguistic tests
of any value--that he had no means of distinguishing Chaucer's rimes from
those of other poets--that he had, in fact, nothing to guide him but his
literary instinct and a few notes found in the MSS.--his attempt was a
fairly good one. He decisively rejected the following poems found in
Thynne's edition, viz. no. 4 (Testament of Criseyde, by Henrysoun); 11 (The
Floure of Curtesie, by Lydgate); 13 (La Belle Dame, by Sir R. Ros); 15 (The
Assemblee of Ladies); 18 (A Praise of Women); 21 (The Lamentacion of Marie
Magdaleine); 22 (The Remedie of Love); 25 (The Letter of Cupide, by
Hoccleve); 26 (A Ballade in commendacion of our Ladie, by Lydgate); 27
(Jhon Gower to Henry IV); 28 and 29 (Sayings of Dan John, by Lydgate); 30
(Balade de Bon Conseil, by Lydgate); 32 (Balade with Envoy--O leude booke);
33 (Scogan's poem, except the stanzas on Gentilesse); 40 (A balade..., by
Dan John lidgat); and in no single instance was he wrong in his rejection.
He also implied that the following had no claim to be Chaucer's, as he did
not insert them in his final list; viz. no. 6 (A goodlie balade of
Chaucer); and 38 (Two stanzas--Go foorthe, kyng); and here he was again
quite right. It is also obvious that no. 41 (A balade in the Praise of
Master Geffray Chauser) was written by another hand; and indeed, the first
line says that Chaucer 'now lith in grave.' It will at once be seen that
Tyrwhitt did excellent service; for, in fact, he eliminated from Thynne's
edition no less than nineteen pieces out of forty-one; leaving only
twenty-two[2] remaining. Of this remainder, if we include The Romaunt of
the Rose, all but three are unhesitatingly accepted by scholars. The three
exceptions are nos. 17, 20, and [xii] 31; i. e. The Complaint of the Black
Knight[3]; The Testament of Love[4]; and The Cuckoo and the Nightingale.

§ 5. When Tyrwhitt came to examine the later editions, the only other
pieces that seemed to him sufficiently good for the purpose of being quoted
in his Glossary were the six following, viz. Chaucer's A.B.C. (in ed.
1602); The Court of Love (in ed. 1561); Chaucer's Dreme (in ed. 1598); The
Flower and the Leaf (in ed. 1598); Proverbes by Chaucer (in ed. 1561); and
Chaucer's Words to his Scrivener Adam (in ed. 1561). Of these, we may
accept the first and the two last; but there is no external evidence in
favour of the other three. He also added that the Virelai (no. 50, in ed.
1561) may 'perhaps' be Chaucer's.

§ 6. In 1810 we find an edition of Chaucer's Works, by A. Chalmers, F.S.A.,
in the first volume of the 'English Poets,' collected in twenty-one
volumes. In this edition, some sort of attempt was made, for the first
time, to separate the spurious from the genuine poems. But this separation
was made with such reckless carelessness that we actually find no less than
six poems (nos. 36, 38, 39, 42, 43, 44, in vol. i. 32, 33, above) printed
twice over, once as being genuine, and once as being spurious[5]. It is
obvious that we cannot accept a canon of Chaucer's Works of such a
character as this.

§ 7. In 1845 appeared the edition in which modern critics, till quite
recently, put all their trust; and no student will ever understand what is
really meant by 'the canon of Chaucer's Works' until he examines this
edition with something like common care. It bears this remarkable
title:--'The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. With an Essay on his
Language and Versification, and an [xiii] Introductory Discourse; together
with Notes and a Glossary. By Thomas Tyrwhitt. London: Edward Moxon, Dover
Street, 1855[6].'

In this title, which must be most carefully scanned, there is one very
slight unintentional misprint, which alters its whole character. The stop
after the word 'Glossary' should have been a comma only. The difference in
sense is something startling. The title-page was meant to convey that the
volume contains, (1) The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (comprising
Tyrwhitt's text of the Canterbury Tales, _the remaining poems being
anonymously re-edited_); and that it _also_ contains, (2) an Essay, a
Discourse, Notes, and a Glossary, all by Thomas Tyrwhitt. Such are the
facts; and such would have been the (possible) sense of the title-page, if
the comma after 'Glossary' had not been misprinted as a full stop. But as
the title actually appears, even serious students have fallen into the
error of supposing that Tyrwhitt edited these Poetical Works; an error of
the first magnitude, which has produced disastrous results. A moment's
reflection will shew that, as Tyrwhitt edited the Canterbury Tales only,
and died in 1786, he could not have edited the Poetical Works in 1845,
fifty-nine years after his death. It would have been better if a short
explanation, to this effect, had been inserted in the volume; but there is
nothing of the kind.

It must therefore be carefully borne in mind, that this edition of 1845, on
the title-page of which the name of Tyrwhitt is so conspicuous, was really
edited anonymously, or may even be said not to have been edited at all. The
Canterbury Tales are reprinted from Tyrwhitt; and so also are the Essay,
the Discourse, the Notes, and the Glossary; and it is most important to
observe that 'the Glossary' is preceded by Tyrwhitt's 'Advertisement,' and
by his 'Account of the Works of Chaucer to which this Glossary is adapted;
and of those other pieces[7] which have been improperly intermixed with his
in the Editions.' The volume is, in fact, made up in this way. Pages i-lxx
and 1-209 are all due to Tyrwhitt; and contain a Preface, an Appendix to
the Preface, an Abstract of Passages of the Life of Chaucer, an Essay, an
Introductory Discourse to the Tales, and the Tales themselves. [xiv] Again,
pp. 441-502 are all due to Tyrwhitt, and contain an Advertisement to the
Glossary, an Account of Chaucer's Works (as above), and a Glossary.
Moreover, this Glossary contains a large number of words from most of
Chaucer's Works, including even his _prose_ treatises; besides a handful of
words from spurious works such as 'Chaucer's Dream.'

In this way, all the former part and all the latter part of the volume are
due to Tyrwhitt; it is the _middle part_ that is wholly independent of him.
It is here that we find no less than twenty-five poems, _which he never
edited_, reprinted (inexactly) from the old black-letter editions or from
Chalmers. It thus becomes plain that the words 'By Thomas Tyrwhitt' on the
title-page refer only to the second clause of it, but have no reference to
the former clause, consisting of the words, 'The Poetical Works of Geoffrey
Chaucer.' It remains to be said that the twenty-five poems which are here
appended to the Canterbury Tales are well selected; and that the anonymous
editor or superintendent was guided in his choice by Tyrwhitt's 'Account of
the Works.'

§ 8. This somewhat tedious account is absolutely necessary, every word of
it, in order to enable the reader to understand what has always been meant
(since 1845) by critics who talk about some works as being 'attributed to
Chaucer.' They really mean (in the case, for example, of The Cuckoo and the
Nightingale) that it happens to be included in a certain volume _by an
anonymous editor_, published in 1845, in which the suggestions made by
Tyrwhitt in 1778 were practically adopted without any important deviation.
In the case of any other author, such a basis for a canon would be
considered rather a sandy one; it derives its whole value from the fact
that Tyrwhitt was an excellent literary critic, who may well be excused for
a few mistakes, considering how much service he did in thus reducing the
number of poems in 'Chaucer's Works' from 64 to little more than 26[8].
Really, this was a grand achievement, especially as it clearly emphasised
the absurdity of trusting to the old editions. But it is an abuse of
language to say that 'The Cuckoo and Nightingale' has 'always been
attributed to Chaucer,' merely [xv] because it happens to have been printed
by Thynne in 1532, and had the good luck to be accepted by Tyrwhitt in
1778. On the contrary, such a piece remains on its trial; and it must be
rejected absolutely, both on the external and on the internal evidence.
Externally, because no scribe or early writer connects it with him in any
way. Internally, for reasons given in vol. i. p. 39[9]; and for other
reasons given in Lounsbury's Studies in Chaucer.

§ 9. The chief value of the anonymous edition in 1845 is, that it gave
practical expression to Tyrwhitt's views. The later editions by Bell and
Morris were, in some respects, retrogressive. Both, for example, include
The Lamentation of Mary Magdalene, which Tyrwhitt rightly denounced in no
dubious terms; (see vol. i. above, pp. 37, 38). But, of late years, the
question of constructing a canon of Chaucer's genuine works has received
proper attention, and has been considered by such scholars as Henry
Bradshaw, Bernhard ten Brink, Dr. Koch, Dr. Furnivall, Professor Lounsbury,
and others; with a fairly unanimous result. The whole question is well
summed up in Lounsbury's Studies in Chaucer, Chapter IV, on 'The Writings
of Chaucer.' His conclusion is, that his 'examination leaves as works about
which there is no dispute twenty-six titles.' By these titles he means The
Canterbury Tales, Boethius, Troilus, The House of Fame, The Legend of Good
Women, The Astrolabe, and the nineteen Minor Poems which I denote by the
numbers I-XI, XIII-XX (no. XX being counted as _two_). His examination did
not at first include no. XII (To Rosemounde); but, in his Appendix (vol.
iii. pp. 449, 450), he calls attention to it, and accepts it without
hesitation. He also says of no. XXII, that 'it may be Chaucer's own work.'

§ 10. I may add a few words about the other Minor Poems which I now print,
numbered XXI, XXIII, and XXIV-XXVI; the last three of which appear in vol.
iv. pp. xxv-xxxi.

As regards no. XXI, or 'Against Women Unconstaunt,' [xvi] I observe that
Mr. Pollard, in his 'Chaucer Primer,' has these words. The authenticity of
this poem 'has lately been reasserted by Prof. Skeat, on the triple ground
that it is (1) a good poem; (2) perfect in its rhymes[10]; (3) found in
conjunction with poems undoubtedly by Chaucer in two MSS.' This account,
however, leaves out my chief argument, viz. its obvious dependence upon a
Ballade by Machault, whom Chaucer is known to have imitated, and who is not
known to have been imitated by any other Englishman. I also lay stress on
the very peculiar manner in which the poem occurs in MS. Ct. See above,
vol. i. p. 88. It should also be compared with the Balade to Rosemounde,
which it resembles in tone. It seems to me that the printing of this poem
in an Appendix is quite justifiable. We may some day learn more about it.

§ 11. As regards no. XXIV (vol. iv. p. xxv), the external evidence is
explicit. It occurs in the same MS. as that which authenticates no. VI (A
Compleint to his Lady); and the MS. itself is one of Shirley's. Internally,
we observe the great peculiarity of the rhythm. Not only is the poem
arranged in nine-line stanzas, but the whole is a _tour de force_. In the
course of 33 lines, there are but 3 rime-endings; and we may particularly
notice the repetition of the first two lines at the end of the poem, just
as in the Complaint of Anelida, which likewise begins and ends with a line
in which _remembraunce_ is the last word. We have here a specimen of the
kind of nine-line stanza (examples of which are very scarce) which Hoccleve
endeavoured to imitate in his Balade to my Lord of York[11]; but Hoccleve
had to employ three rimes in the stanza instead of two. The poem is chiefly
of importance as an example of Chaucer's metrical experiments, and as being
an excellent specimen of a Complaint. There is a particular reason for
taking an interest in all poems of this character, because few Complaints
are extant, although Chaucer assures us that he wrote many of them.

§ 12. As to the poems numbered XXIII (A Balade of Compleynt), XXV
(Complaint to my Mortal Foe, vol. iv. p. xxvii), and XXVI (Complaint to my
Lodesterre, vol. iv. p. xxix), there are two points of interest: (1) that
they are Complaints, and [xvii] (2) that they have never been printed
before. That they are genuine, I have no clear proof to offer; but they
certainly illustrate this peculiar kind of poem, and are of some interest;
and it is clearly a convenience to be able to compare them with such
Complaints as we know to be genuine, particularly with no. VI (A Complaint
to his Lady). They may be considered as relegated to an Appendix, for the
purposes of comparison and illustration. I do not think I shall be much
blamed for thus rendering them accessible. It may seem to some that it must
be an easy task to discover unprinted poems that are reasonably like
Chaucer's in vocabulary, tone, and rhythm. Those who think so had better
take the task in hand; they will probably, in any case, learn a good deal
that they did not know before. The student of original MSS. sees many
points in a new light; and, if he is capable of it, will learn humility.


On this subject I have already said something above (vol. iv. pp. xvii-xx);
and have offered a few remarks on the texts in former editions (vol. iv.
pp. xvi, xvii; cf. p. viii). But I now take the opportunity of discussing
the matter somewhat further.

It is unfortunate that readers have hitherto been so accustomed to
inaccurate texts, that they have necessarily imbibed several erroneous
notions. I do not hereby intend any reflection upon the editors, as the
best MSS. were inaccessible to them; and it is only during the last few
years that many important points regarding the grammar, the pronunciation,
and the scansion of Middle-English have been sufficiently determined[12].
Still, the fact remains, and is too important to be passed over.

In particular, I may call attention to the unfortunate prejudice against a
certain habit of Chaucer's, which it taxed all the ingenuity of some of the
editors to suppress. Chaucer frequently allows the first foot of his verse
to consist of a single accented syllable, as has been abundantly
illustrated above with respect to his Legend of Good Women (vol. iii. pp.
xliv-xlvii). It was a natural mistake on Tyrwhitt's part to attribute the
apparent fault to the scribes, and to amend the lines which seemed to
[xviii] be so strangely defective. It will be sufficient to enumerate the
lines of this character that occur in the Prologue, viz. ll. 76, 131, 170,
247, 294, 371, and 391.

  Al | bismotered with his habergeoun.
  That | no drope ne fille upon hir breste
  Ging | len in a whistling wind as clere.
  For | to delen with no swich poraille.
  Twen | ty bokes, clad in blak or reed.
  Ev' | rich, for the wisdom that he can.
  In | a gowne of falding to the knee.

Tyrwhitt alters _Al_ to _Alle_, meaning no doubt _Al-le_ (dissyllabic),
which would be ungrammatical. For _That_, he has _Thatte_, as if for
_That-te_; whereas _That_ is invariably a monosyllable. For _Gingling_, he
has _Gingeling_, evidently meant to be lengthened out to a trisyllable. For
_For_, he prints _As for_. For _Twenty_, he has _A twenty_. The next line
is untouched; he clearly took _Everich_ to be thoroughly trisyllabic; which
may be doubted. For _In_, he has _All in_. And the same system is applied,
throughout all the Tales. The point is, of course, that the MSS. do not
countenance such corrections, but are almost unanimously obstinate in
asserting the 'imperfection' of the lines[13].

The natural result of altering _twenty_ to _A twenty_ (not only here, but
again in D. 1695), was to induce the belief in students that _A twenty
bookes_ is a Chaucerian idiom. I can speak feelingly, for I believed it for
some years; and I have met with many who have done the same[14]. And the
unfortunate part of the business is, that the restoration of the true
reading shocks the reader's sense of propriety. This is to be regretted,
certainly; but the truth must be told; especially as the true readings of
the MSS. are now, thanks to the Chaucer Society, accessible to many. The
student, in fact, has something to unlearn; and he who is most familiar
with the old texts has to unlearn the most. The restoration of the text to
the form of it given in the seven best MSS. is, consequently, in a few
instances, of an almost revolutionary character; and it is best that this
should be said plainly[15]. [xix]

The editions by Wright and Morris do not repeat the above amendments by
Tyrwhitt; but strictly conform to the Harleian MS. Even so, they are not
wholly correct; for this MS. blunders over two lines out of the seven. It
gives l. 247 in this extraordinary form:--'For to delen with such poraile';
where the omission of _no_ renders all scansion hopeless. And again, it
gives l. 371 in the form:--'Euery man for the wisdom that he can'; which is
hardly pleasing. And in a great many places, the faithful following of this
treacherous MS. has led the editors into sad trouble.

§ 14. THE HARLEIAN MS. The printing of this MS. for the Chaucer Society
enables us to see that Mr. Wright did not adhere so closely to the text of
the MS. as he would have us believe. As many readers may not have the
opportunity of testing this statement for themselves, I here subjoin a few
specimens of lines from this MS., to shew the nature of its errors.

  Bet than a lazer or a beggere; A. 242.

So in Wright; for _beggere_ read _beggestére_.

  But al that he might gete and his frendes sende; A. 299.

Corrected by Wright.

  For eche of hem made othur to Wynne; A. 427.

Wright has 'othur _for_ to wynne.' This is correct; but the word _for_ is
silently supplied, without comment; and so in other cases.

  Of his visage children weren aferd; A. 628.

For _weren_, read _were_; or pronounce it _wer'n_. I cite this line because
it is, practically, correct, and agrees with other MSS., it being
remembered that 'viság-e' is trisyllabic. But readers have not, as yet,
been permitted to see this line in its correct form. The black-letter
editions insert _sore_ before _aferd_. Tyrwhitt follows them; Wright
follows Tyrwhitt; and Morris follows Wright, but prints _sore_ in italics,
to shew that there is here a deviation from the MS. of some sort or other.

A few more quotations are here subjoined, without comment.

  I not which was the fyner of hem two; A. 1039.
  To make a certeyn gerland for hire heede; A. 1054.
  And hereth him comyng in the greues; A. 1641.
  They foyneden ech at other longe; A. 1654.
  And as wilde boores gonne they smyte
  That frothen white as fome frothe wood; A. 1658-9.
  Be it of pees, other hate or loue; A. 1671.
  That sche for whom they haue this Ielousye; A. 1807[16].
  As he that hath often ben caught in his lace; A. 1817.
  Charmes and sorcery, lesynges and flatery; A. 1927.
  And abouen hire heed dowues fleyng; A. 1962.
  A bowe he bar, and arwes fair and greene; A. 1966.
  I saugh woundes laughyng in here rage,
  The hunt strangled with wilde bores corage; A. 2011-8[17].
  The riche aray of Thebes his paleys; A. 2199.
  Now ryngede the tromp and clarioun; A. 2600.
  In goth the speres into the rest; A. 2602.
  But as a Iustes or as a turmentyng; A. 2720.
  And rent forth by arme foot and too; A. 2726.
  Of olde folk that ben of tendre yeeres; A. 2828.
  And eek more ryalte and holynesse; A. 3180.
  He syngeth crowyng as a nightyngale; A. 3377.
  What wikked way is he gan, gan he crye; A. 4078.
  His wyf burdoun a ful strong; A. 4165.

These examples shew that the Harleian MS. requires very careful watching.
There is no doubt as to its early age and its frequent helpfulness in
difficult passages; but it is not the kind of MS. that should be greatly

§ 15. THE ELLESMERE MS. The excellence of this MS. renders the task of
editing the Tales much easier than that of editing The House of Fame or the
Minor Poems. The text here given only varies from it in places where
variation seemed highly desirable, as explained in the footnotes. As to my
general treatment of it, I have spoken above (vol. iv. pp. xviii-xx).

One great advantage of this MS., quite apart from the excellence of its
readings, is the highly phonetic character of the spelling. The future
editor will probably some day desire to normalise the spelling of Chaucer
throughout his works. If so, he must very carefully study the spelling of
the Ellesmere and Hengwrt MSS., which resemble each other very closely. By
their help, it becomes possible to regulate the use of the final _e_ to a
very great extent, which is extremely helpful for the scansion of the

§ 16. This matter is best illustrated by referring, for a while, to the old
black-letter editions; moreover, the whole matter will appear in a clearer
light if we consider, at the same time, the remarkable argument put forward
by Prof. Morley (Eng. Writers, v. 126) in favour of the genuineness of The
Court of Love. [xxi]

'Chaucer (he says) could not have written verse that would scan without
sounding in due place the final _-e_. But when the final _e_ came to be
dropped, a skilful copyist of later time would have no difficulty whatever
in making the lines run without it.... If Chaucer wrote--"But that I liké,
may I not come by"[18]--it was an easy change to--"But that I like, _that_
may I not come by." With _so_ or _and_, or _well_, or _gat_, or _that_, and
many a convenient monosyllable, lines that seemed short to the later ear
were readily eked out.' He then proceeds to give a specimen from the
beginning of the Canterbury Tales, suggesting, by way of example, that l. 9
can easily be made to scan in modern fashion by writing--'And when the
small fowls maken melodye.'

Such a theory would be perfectly true, if it had any basis in facts. The
plain answer is, that later scribes easily _might_ have eked out lines
which seemed deficient; only, as a matter of fact, they _did not do so_.
The notion that Chaucer's lines run smoothly, and can be scanned, is quite
a modern notion, largely due to Tyrwhitt's common sense. The editors of the
sixteenth century _did not know_ that Chaucer's lines ran smoothly, and did
not often attempt to mend them, but generally gave them up as hopeless; and
we ought to be much obliged to them for doing so. Whenever they actually
make amendments here and there, the patching is usually plain enough. The
fact is, however, that they commonly let the texts alone; so that if they
followed a good MS., the lines will frequently scan, not by their help, but
as it were in spite of them.

§ 17. Let us look for a moment, at the very edition by Stowe (in 1561),
which contains the earliest copy of The Court of Love. The 9th line of the
tales runs thus:--'And smale fowles maken melodie,' which is sufficiently
correct. We can scan it now in the present century, but it is strongly to
be suspected that Stowe could not, and did not care to try. For this is how
he presents some of the lines.

  Redie to go in my pilgrimage; A. 21.

For him, _wenden_ or _wende_ was a monosyllable; and _go_ would do just as

  The chambres and stables weren wyde; A. 28.

He omits _the_ before _stables_; it did not matter to him. So that, [xxii]
instead of _filling up_ an imperfect line, as Prof. Morley says he would be
sure to do, he leaves a gap.

  To tel you al the condicion; A. 38.

_Tel_ should be _tel-le_. As it is, the line halts. But where is the
filling up by the help of some convenient monosyllable?

I add a few more examples, from Stowe, without comment.

  For to tell you of his aray; A. 73.
  In hope to stande in his ladyes grace; A. 88.
  And Frenche she spake ful fetously; A. 124.
  Her mouth smale, and therto softe and reed; A. 153.
  It was almost a span brode, I trowe; A. 155.
  Another None with her had she; A. 163.
  And in harping, whan he had song; A. 266.
  Of hem that helpen him to scholay; A. 302.
  Not a worde spake more than nede; A. 304.
  Was very felicite perfite; A. 338.
  His barge was called the Maudelain; A. 410.

It is needless to proceed; it is obvious that Stowe was not the man who
would care to eke out a line by filling it up with convenient
monosyllables. And it is just because these old editors usually let the
text alone, that the old black-letter editions still retain a certain
value, and represent some lost manuscript.

§ 18. One editor, apparently Speght, actually had an inkling of the truth;
but he was promptly put down by Dryden (Pref. to the Fables). 'The verse of
Chaucer, I confess, is not harmonious to us; ... there is the rude
sweetness of a Scotch tune in it, which is natural and pleasing, though not
perfect. It is true, I cannot go so far as he who published the last
edition of him; for he would make us believe the fault is in our ears, and
that there were really ten syllables in a verse where we find but nine; but
this error is not worth confuting; it is so gross and obvious an error[19],
that common sense (which is a rule in everything but matters of faith and
revelation) must convince the reader, that equality of numbers in every
verse which we call Heroic, was either not known, or not always practised
in Chaucer's age. It were an easy matter to produce some thousands of
verses, which are lame for want of half a foot, and sometimes a whole one,
and which no pronunciation can make otherwise.' We cannot doubt that such
was the prevalent opinion at that time. [xxiii]

§ 19. For such readers as do not wish to study the language or the grammar
of Chaucer, but merely wish to read the text with some degree of comfort,
and to come by the stories and their general literary expression with the
least possible trouble, the Ellesmere MS. furnishes quite an ideal text.
Such a reader has only to observe the following empirical rules[20].

1. Pronounce every final _e_ like the final _a_ in _China_, except in a few
very common words like _wolde_, _sholde_, _were_, and the like, which may
be read as _wold'_, _shold'_, _wer'_, unless the metre seems to demand that
they should be fully pronounced. The commonest clipped words of this
character are _have_, _hadde_ (when a mere auxiliary), _were_, _nere_ (were
not), _wolde_, _nolde_ (would not), _thise_ (like mod. E. _these_),
_othere_, and a few others, that are easily picked up by observation.

2. Always pronounce final _-ed_, _-es_, _-en_, as distinct syllables,
unless it is particularly convenient to clip them. Such extra syllables,
like the final _-e_, are especially to be preserved at the end of the line;
a large number of the rimes being double (or feminine).

3. But the final _-e_ is almost invariably elided, and other light
syllables, especially _-en_, _-er_, _-el_, are frequently treated as being
redundant, whenever the next word following begins with a vowel or is one
of the words (beginning with _h_) in the following list, viz. _he_, _his_,
_him_, _her_, _hir_ (their), _hem_ (them), _hath_, _hadde_, _have_, _how_,

These three simple rules will go a long way. An attentive reader will thus
catch the swing of the metre, and will be carried along almost
mechanically. The chief obstacle to a succession of smooth lines is the
jerk caused by the occasional occurrence of a line defective in the first
foot, as explained above. Perhaps it may be further noted that an _e_
sometimes occurs, as a distinct syllable, in the middle of a word as well
as at the end of it. Exx.: _Eng-e-lond_ (A. 16); _wod-e-craft_ (A. 110);
_sem-e-ly_ (A. 136).

§ 20. We must also remember that the accentuation of many words, especially
of such as are of French origin, was quite different then from what it is
now. A word like 'reason' was then properly pronounced _resóun_ (rezuun),
i. e. somewhat like a modern _ray-zóon_; but even in Chaucer's day the
habit of throwing back the accent was beginning to prevail, and there was a
tendency to [xxiv] say _réson_ (reezun), somewhat like a modern _ráy-zun_.
Chaucer avails himself of this variable accent, and adopts the sound which
comes in more conveniently at the moment[21]. Thus while we find _resóun_
(rezuun) in l. 37, in l. 274 we find résons (reezunz).

§ 21. I give a few examples of the three rules stated above.

The following words are properly dissyllabic, in the Prologue to the
Canterbury Tales:--(l. 1) _shou-res_, _so-te_; (2) _drogh-te_, _Mar-che_,
_per-ced_, _ro-te_; (3) _ba-thed_, _vey-ne_; (5) _swe-te_; (7) _crop-pes_,
_yon-ge_, _son-ne_; (8) _half-e_; (9) _sma-le_, _fow-les_, _ma-ken_; (10)
_sle-pen_, _o-pen_, _y-ë_; (13) _straun-ge_, _strond-es_; (14) _fer-ne_,
_hal-wes_, _lon-des_; (15) _shi-res_, _end-e_; and so on.

In the same way, there are three syllables in (1) _A-pril-le_; (4)
_en-gend-red_; (5) _Zéph-i-rús_; (6) _In-spi-red_; (8) _y-ron-ne_; &c. And
there are four syllables in (9) _mél-o-dý-ë_; (12) _pil-grim-á-ges_.

Elision takes place of the _e_ in _drogh-te_ and of the _e_ in _couth-e_ in
l. 14; of the _e_ in _nyn-e_ in l. 24; &c. In such cases, the words may be
read as if spelt _droght_, _couth_, _nyn_, for convenience. There are some
cases in which the scribe actually fails to write a final _e_, owing to
such elision; but they are not common. I have noted a few in the Glossarial

The final _e_ is ignored, before a consonant, in _were_ (59, 68, 74, 81);
and even, which is not common, in _hope_ (88) and _nose_ (152).

As examples of accents to which we are no longer accustomed, we may notice
_A-príl-le_ (1); _ver-tú_ (4); _cor-á-ges_ (11); _á-ven-túre_ (25);
_tó-ward_ (27); _re-sóun_ (37); _hon-óur_ (46); _hon-óur-ed_ (50);
_a-ry´-ve_ (60); _sta-tú-re_ (83); _Cur-téys_ (99).

The lines were recited deliberately, with a distinct pause near the middle
of each, at which no elision could take place. At this medial pause there
is often a redundant syllable (as is more fully explained in vol. vi).
Thus, in l. 3, the _-e_ in _veyn-e_ should be preserved, though modern
readers are sure to ignore it. Cf. _carie_ in l. 130; _studie_ in l. 184;

§ 22. By help of the above hints, some notion of the melody of Chaucer may
be gained, even by such as adopt the modern English pronunciation. It is
right, however, to bear in mind that most of the vowels had, at that time,
much the same powers as in modern French and Italian; and it sometimes
makes a [xxv] considerable difference. Thus the word _charitable_ in l. 143
was really pronounced more like the modern French _charitable_; only that
the initial sound was that of the O. F. and E. _ch_, as in _church_, not
that of the modern French _ch_ in _cher_. For further remarks on the
pronunciation, see vol. vi.

§ 23. The feeble suggestion is sometimes made that Chaucer's spelling ought
to be modernised, like that of Shakespeare. This betrays a total ignorance
of the history of English spelling. It is not strictly the case, that
Shakespeare's spelling has been modernised; for the fact is the other way,
viz. that in all that is most essential, it is the spelling of
Shakespeare's time that has been adopted in modern English. The so-called
'modern' spelling is really a survival, and is sadly unfit, as we all know
to our cost, for representing modern English sounds. By 'modernising,' such
critics usually mean the cutting off of final _e_ in places where it was
just as little required in Elizabethan English as it is now; the freër use
of 'v' and of 'j'; and so forth; nearly all of the alterations referring to
unessential details. Such alterations would have been useful even in
Shakespeare's time, and would not have touched the character of the
spelling. But the spelling of Chaucer's time refers to quite a different
age, when a large number of inflections were still in use that have since
been discarded; so that it involves changes in essential and vital points.
As it happens, the spelling of the Ellesmere MS. is phonetic in a very high
degree. Pronounce the words _as they are spelt_, but with the Italian
vowel-sounds and the German final _e_, and you come very near the truth. If
this is too much trouble, pronounce the words _as they are spelt_, with
modern English vowels (usually adding a final _e_, pronounced like _a_ in
_China_, when it is visibly present); and, even so, it is easy to follow.
The alteration of a word like _quene_ to _queene_ does not make it any
easier; and the further alteration to _queen_ destroys its dissyllabic
nature. Besides, those who want the spelling modernised can get it in
Gilfillan's edition.

Surely, it is better to stick to the true old phonetic spelling. Boys at
school, who have learnt Attic Greek, are supposed to be able to face the
spelling of Homer without wincing, though it is not their native language;
and the number of Englishwomen who are fairly familiar with Middle-English
is becoming considerable.

§ 24. As regards the Notes in the present volume, it will be [xxvi] readily
understood that I have copied them or collected them from many sources.
Many of those on the Prologue and Knightes Tale were really written by Dr.
Morris; but, owing to the great kindness he shewed me in allowing me to
work in conjunction with him on terms of equality, I should often be hard
put to it to say which they are. A large number are taken from the editions
by Tyrwhitt, Wright, and Bell; but these are usually acknowledged. Others I
have adopted from the various works published by the Chaucer Society; from
the excellent notes by Dr. Köppell, Dr. Kölbing, and Dr. Koch that have
appeared in Anglia, and in similar publications; and from Professor
Lounsbury's excellent work entitled Studies in Chaucer. I have usually
endeavoured to point out the sources of my information; and, if I have in
several cases failed to do this, I hope it will be understood that, as
Chaucer's fox said, 'I dide it in no wikke entente.' Perhaps this may seem
an unlucky reference, for the fox was not speaking the strict truth, as we
all know that he ought to have done. If I may take any credit for any part
of the Notes, I think it may be for my endeavour to hunt up, as far as I
could, a large number of the very frequent allusions to Le Roman de la
Rose[22], and to such authors as Ovid and Statius; besides undertaking the
more difficult task involved in tracing out some of the mysterious
references which occur in the margins of the manuscripts. For the Tale of
Melibeus, I naturally derived much help and comfort from the admirable
edition of Albertano's Liber Consolationis by Thor Sundby, and the careful
notes made by Mätzner. As for the references in the Persones Tale, I should
never have found out so many of them, but for the kind assistance of the
Rev. E. Marshall. To all my predecessors in the task of annotation, and to
all helpers, I beg leave to express my hearty thanks. For further remarks
on this and some other subjects, see vol. vi.

As it frequently happens that it is highly desirable to be able to recover
speedily the whereabouts of a note on some particular word or subject, an
Index to the Notes is appended to this volume. [xxvii]


At p. xxiv of vol. iv, a list of Errata is given, many of which are of
slight importance. Much use of this volume, for the purpose of
illustration, has brought to my notice a few more Errata, six of which,
here marked with an asterisk, are worth special notice.

    P. 19. A 636. _For_ Thanne _read_ Than
    P. 37. A 1248. The end-stop should be only a colon.
    P. 41. A 1419. The end-stop should be only a semicolon.
    P. 138. B 295. _For_ moevyng _read_ moeving
    Pp. 151, 155. B 724, 858. _For_ Constable _read_ constable
  * P. 165. B 1178. _For_ be _read_ he
    P. 187. B 1843. The end-stop should (perhaps) be a semicolon.
    P. 232. B 2865. _For_ haue _read_ have
    P. 259. B 3670. The end-stop should be a comma.
  * P. 275. B 4167. _For_ Than _read_ That
  * P. 348. D 955. _For_ which _read_ whiche
    P. 349. D 1009. _For_ Plighte _read_ Plight
    P. 384. D 2152. _Dele 'at beginning._
  * P. 398. E 290. MS. E _has_ set (= setteth, _pr. s._); _which scans
      better than_ sette, _as in other_ MSS.
    P. 409. E 656. _For_ Left _read_ Lefte [though the _e_ is elided].
  * P. 462. F 56. _For_ Him _read_ Hem
    P. 546. G 1224. _Dele_ the final comma.
  * P. 608; end of l. 14. _For_ power or (_as in_ E.) _read_ power of (_as
      in the rest_).
    P. 620: ll. 16, 17. _Dele the commas after_ receyven _and_ folk



P. 73; l. 10 from bottom. _Dele_ comma after Thornton.

P. 119; l. 1. _For_ l. 393 _read_ l. 3931.

P. 262; note to C 60. Cf. Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 205:--'Ac the greate metes
and thet stronge wyn alighteth and norisseth lecherie, ase oyle other grese
alighteth and strengtheth thet uer' [i. e. the fire]. This passage occurs
quite close to that quoted in the note to A 4406. Probably Chaucer took
both of these from the French original of the Ayenbite. Cf. p. 447.

P. 450. The note to G 1171 has been accidentally omitted, but is important.
The reading should here be _terved_, not _torned_; and again, in G 1274,
read _terve_, not _torne_. The Ellesmere MS. is really right in both
places, though _terued_ appears as _terned_ in the Six-text edition. These
readings are duly noted in the Errata to vol. iv, at p. xxvi. The verb
_terve_ means 'to strip,' or 'to roll back' the edge of a cuff or the like.
The Bremen Wörterbuch has: '_um tarven, up tarven_, den Rand von einem
Kleidungstücke umschlagen, das innerste auswärts kehren.' Hence read
_tirueden_ in Havelok, 603; _teruen of_ in the Wars of Alexander, 4114;
_tyrue_ in Allit. Poems, ed. Morris, B. 630; and _tyruen_ in Gawain and the
Grene Knight, 1921.

       *       *       *       *       *





    N.B. The spellings between marks of parenthesis indicate the
    pronunciation, according to the scheme given in the Introduction.

    References to other lines in the Canterbury Tales are denoted by the
    Group and line. Thus 'B. 134' means Group B, l. 134, i. e. the first
    line in the Man of Lawes Tale.

    Notes taken from editions by Tyrwhitt, Wright, Bell, and Morris, are
    usually marked accordingly; sometimes T. denotes Tyrwhitt, and M.,

1. In the Man of Law's Prologue, B. 1-6, there is definite mention of the
18th day of April. The reference is, in that passage, to the second day of
the pilgrimage. Consequently, the allusion in ll. 19-23 below is to April
16, and in l. 822 to April 17. The year may be supposed to be 1387 (vol.
iii. p. 373).

'When that April, with his sweet showers.' _Aprille_ is here masculine,
like Lat. _Aprilis_; cf. l. 5.

_shoures_ (shuu·rez), showers; pl. of _shour_, A.S. _sc[=u]r_ (skuur). The
etymology of all words of this character, which are still in use, can be
found by looking out the modern form of the word in my Etymological
Dictionary. I need not repeat such information here.

_sote_, sweet, is another form of _swete_, which occurs just below in l. 5.
The _e_ is not, in this case, the mark of the plural, as the forms _sote_,
_swete_ are dissyllabic, and take a final _e_ in the singular also. _Sote_
is a less correct form of _swote_; and the variation between the long _o_
in _swote_ and the long _e_ in _swete_ is due to confusion between the
adverbial and adjectival uses. _Swote_ corresponds to A.S. _sw[=o]t_, adv.,
sweetly, and _swete_ to A.S. _sw[=e]te_, adj., sweet. The latter exhibits
mutation of _[=o]_ to _[=e]_; cf. mod. E. _goose_, pl. _geese_ (A.S.
_g[=o]s_, pl. _g[=e]s_).

In this Introduction, Chaucer seems to have had in his mind the [2] passage
which begins Book IV. of Guido delle Colonne's Historia Troiae, which is as
follows:--'Tempus erat quo sol maturans sub obliquo zodiaci circulo cursum
suum sub signo iam intrauerat Arietis ... celebratur equinoxium primi
veris, tunc cum incipit tempus blandiri mortalibus in aeris serenitate
intentis, tunc cum dissolutis ymbribus Zephiri flantes molliciter (_sic_)
crispant aquas ... tunc cum ad summitates arborum et ramorum humiditates ex
terre gremio examplantes extollunt in eis; quare insultant semina, crescunt
segetes, virent prata, variorum colorum floribus illustrata ... tunc cum
ornatur terra graminibus, cantant volucres, et in dulcis armonie modulamine
citharizant. Tunc quasi medium mensis Aprilis effluxerat'; &c.

We may also note the passage in Vincent of Beauvais, _Speculum Naturale_,
lib. xv. c. 66, entitled _De Vere_:--'Sol vero ad radices herbarum et
arborum penetrans, humorem quem ibi coadunatum hyeme reperit, attrahit;
herba vero, vel arbor suam inanitionem sentiens a terra attrahit humorem,
quem ibi sui similitudine adiuuante calore Solis transmutat, sicque
reuiuiscit; inde est quod quidam mensis huius temporis _Aprilis_ dicitur,
quia tunc terra praedicto modo aperitur.'

2. _droght-e_, dryness; A. S. _dr[=u]gathe_; essentially dissyllabic, but
the final _e_ is elided. Pron. (druuht'). _perced_, pierced, _rot-e_, dat.
of _root_, a root; Icel. _r[=o]t_; written for _roote_. The double _o_ is
not required to shew vowel-length, when a single consonant and an _e_

4. _vertu_, efficacy, productive agency, vital energy. 'And bathed every
vein (of the tree or herb) in such moisture, by means of which quickening
power the flower is generated.' Pron. (vertü').

5. _Zephirus_, the zephyr, or west wind. Cf. Chaucer's Book of the Duchess,
l. 402, and the note. There are two more references to Zephirus in the
translation of Boethius, bk. i. met. 5; bk. ii. met. 3.

6. _holt_, wood, grove; A. S. _holt_; cf. G. _Holz_.

7. _croppes_, shoots, extremities of branches, especially towards the top
of a tree; hence simply tree-tops, tops of plants, &c. Hence _to crop_ is
'to cut the tops off.' Cf. A. 1532; tr. of Boethius, bk. iii. met. 2. 24;
Rom. Rose, 1396; and note to P. Plowman, B. xvi. 69.

_yonge sonne_ (yungg[*e] sunn[*e]); see the next note. The _-e_ in _yong-e_
denotes the definite form of the article. _Sonn-e_, A. S. _sunna_, is
essentially dissyllabic.

8. _the Ram._ The difficulty here really resides in the expression 'his
halfe cours,' which means what it says, viz. 'his half-course,' and not, as
Tyrwhitt unfortunately supposed, 'half his course.' The results of the two
explanations are quite different. Taking Chaucer's own expression as it
stands, he tells us that, a little past the middle of April, 'the young sun
has run his half-course in the Ram.' Turning to Fig. 1 in The Astrolabe
(see vol. iii.), we see that, against the month 'Aprilis,' there appears in
the circle of zodiacal signs, the _latter_ half (roughly speaking) of
Aries, and the _former_ half of Taurus. Thus the sun in April runs a
half-course in the Ram and a half-course in the Bull. 'The former of these
was completed,' says the poet; which is as much [3] as to say, that _it was
past the eleventh of April_; for, in Chaucer's time, the sun entered Aries
on March 12, and left that sign on April 11. See note to l. 1.

     |   March.  |   April.  |    May.   |
           |   Aries.  |  Taurus.  |  Gemini.  |

The sun had, in fact, only just completed his course through the first of
the twelve signs, as the said course was supposed to begin at the vernal
equinox. This is why it is called 'the yonge sonne,' an expression which
Chaucer repeats under similar circumstances in the Squyeres Tale, F. 385.
_Y-ronne_, for A. S. _gerunnen_, pp. of _rinnan_, to run (M. E. _rinnen_,
_rinne_). The M. E. _y-_, A. S. _ge-_, is a mere prefix, mostly used with
past participles.

9. Pron. ([*e]nd smaa·l[*e] fuu·lez maa·ken melodii·[*e]); 'and little
birds make melody.' Cf. _fowel_ (fuul), a bird, in l. 190.

10. _open ye_, open eye. Cf. the modern expression 'with one eye open.'
This line is copied in the Sowdone of Babylon, ll. 41-46.

11. 'So nature excites them, in their feelings (instincts).' _hir_, their;
A. S. _hira_, lit. 'of them,' gen. pl. of _h[=e]_, he. _corage_
(kuraa·j[*e]); mod. E. courage; see l. 22.

12, 13. According to ordinary English construction, the verb _longen_ must
be supplied after _palmers_. In fact, l. 13 is parenthetical. Note that
_Than_, in l. 12, answers to _Whan_ in l. 1.

13. _palmer_, originally, one who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and
brought home a _palm_-branch as a token. Chaucer, says Tyrwhitt, seems to
consider all pilgrims to foreign parts as palmers. The essential difference
between the two classes of persons here mentioned, the palmer and the
pilgrim, was, that the latter had 'some dwelling-place, a palmer had none;
the pilgrim travelled to some certain place, the palmer to all, and not to
any one in particular; the pilgrim might go at his own charge, the palmer
must profess wilful poverty; the pilgrim might give over his profession,
the palmer must be constant'; Blount's Glossographia (taken from Speght).
See note to P. Plowman, B. v. 523.

The fact is, that palmers did not always reach the Holy Land. They commonly
went to Rome first, where not unfrequently the Pope 'allowed them to wear
the palm as if they had visited Palestine'; Rock, Church of our Fathers,
vol. iii. pt. 1. p. 439.

_to seken_, to seek; the A. S. gerund, _t[=o] s[=e]canne_; expressive of
purpose. _strondes_, strands, shores.

14. _ferne halwes_, distant saints, i. e. shrines. Here _ferne_ = _ferrene_
= distant, foreign. 'To _ferne_ poeples'; Chaucer's Boethius, bk. ii. met.
7. See Mätzner's M. E. Dict. _Ferne_ also means 'ancient,' but not here.

_halwes_, saints; cf. Scotch _Hallow-e'en_, the eve of All Hallows, or All
Saints; the word is here applied to their shrines.

Chaucer has, 'to go seken _halwes_,' to go (on a pilgrimage) to seek [4]
saints' shrines; D. 657. _couthe_ (kuudh'), well known; A. S. _c[=u]ð_,
known, pp. of _cunnan_, to know. _sondry_ (sun·dri), various.

16. _wende_, go; pret. _wente_, Eng. _went_. The use of the present tense
in modern English is usually restricted to the phrase 'he _wends_ his way.'

17. _The holy blisful martir_, Thomas à Becket. On pilgrimages, see
Saunders, Chaucer, p. 10; and Erasmus, _Peregrinatio religionis ergo_.
There were numerous places in England sought by pilgrims, as Durham, St.
Alban's, Bury, St. David's, Glastonbury, Lincoln, York, Peterborough,
Winchester, Holywell, &c.; but the chief were Canterbury and Walsingham.

18. _holpen_, pp. of _helpen_. The older preterites of this verb are
_heolp_, _help_, _halp_. _seke_, sick, rimes to _seke_, seek; this apparent
repetition is only allowed when the repeated word is used in two different

_seke_, pl. of _seek_, A. S. _s[=e]oc_, sick, ill. For _hem_, see n. to l.

19. _Bifel_, it befell. _seson_ (saesun), time. _on a day_, one day.

20. _Tabard_. Of this word Speght gives the following account in his
Glossary to Chaucer:--'Tabard--a jaquet or sleveless coate, worne in times
past by noblemen in the warres, but now only by heraults (heralds), and is
called theyre "coate of armes in servise." It is the signe of an inne in
Southwarke by London, within the which was the lodging of the Abbot of Hyde
by Winchester. This is the hostelry where _Chaucer_ and the other pilgrims
mett together, and, with Henry Baily their hoste, accorded about the manner
of their journey to Canterbury. And whereas through time it hath bin much
decayed, it is now by Master _J. Preston_, with the Abbot's house thereto
adgoyned, newly repaired, and with convenient rooms much encreased, for the
receipt of many guests.' The inn is well described in Saunders (on
Chaucer), p. 13. See also Stow, Survey of London (ed. Thoms, p. 154);
Nares' Glossary, s. v. _Tabard_; Dyce's Skelton, ii. 283; Furnivall's
Temporary Preface to Chaucer, p. 18.

The tabard, however, was _not_ sleeveless, though the sleeves, at first,
were very short. See the plate in Boutell's Heraldry, ed. Aveling, p. 69;
cf. note to P. Plowman, C. vii. 203.

_lay_; used like the modern 'lodged,' or 'was stopping.'

23. _come_ (kum'), short for _comen_, pp. of _comen_. _hostelrye_, a
lodging, inn, house, residence. _Hostler_ properly signifies the keeper of
an inn, and not, as now, the servant of an inn who looks after the horses.

24. _wel_ is here used like our word, _full_ or _quite_.

25. _by aventure y-falle_, by adventure (chance) fallen (into company).
Pron. (av·entü·r').

26. _felawshipe_, company; from M. E. _felawe_, companion, fellow.

27. _wolden ryde_, wished to ride. The latter verb is in the infinitive
mood, as usual after _will_, _would_, _shall_, _may_, &c.

29. _esed atte beste_, accommodated or entertained in the best manner.
_Easement_ is still used as a law term, signifying accommodation. Cf. F.
_bien aise_. Pron. (aezed). [5]

_atte_, i. e. at the, was shortened from _atten_, masc. and neut., from A.
S. _æt th[=a]m_. We also find M. E. _atter_, fem., from A. S. _æt

30. _to reste_, i. e. gone to rest, set.

31. _everichon_, for _ever-ich oon_, every one, lit. ever each one.

32. _of hir felawshipe_, (one) of their company.

33. _forward_, agreement. 'Fals was here _foreward_ so forst is in May,'
i. e. their agreement was as false as a frost in May; Ritson's Ancient
Songs, i. 30. A. S. _fore-weard_, lit. 'fore ward,' a precaution,

34. _ther as I yow devyse_, to that place that I tell you of (sc.
Canterbury); _ther_ in M. E. frequently signifies 'where,' and _ther as_
signifies 'where that.' _devyse_, speak of, describe; lit. 'devise.'

35. _natheles_, nevertheless; lit. 'no the less'; cf. A. S. _n[=a]_, no.
_whyl_, whilst. The form in _-es_ (_whiles_, the reading of some MSS.) is a
comparatively modern adverbial form, and may be compared with M. E.
_hennes_, _thennes_, hence, thence; _ones_, _twyes_, _thryes_, once, twice,
thrice; of which older forms are found in _-enne_ and _-e_ respectively.

37. 'It seemeth to me it is reasonable.'

_Me thinketh_ = _me thinks_, where _me_ is the dative before the impersonal
vb. _thinken_, to appear, seem; cp. _me liketh_, _me list_, it pleases me.
So the phrase _if you please_ = if it _please you_, you being the _dative_
and not the nominative case. _semed me_ = it seemed to me, occurs in l. 39.
The personal verb is properly _thenken_, as in the Clerkes Tale, E. 116,
641; or _thenchen_, as in A. 3253.

_accordaunt_, accordant, suitable, agreeable (to).

40. _whiche_, what sort of men; Lat. _qualis_.

41. _inne._ In M. E., _in_ is the preposition, and _inne_ the adverb.


43. _Knight._ It was a common thing in this age for knights to seek
employment in foreign countries which were at war. Cf. Book of the
Duchesse, 1024, and my note. Tyrwhitt cites from Leland's _Itinerary_, v.
iii. p. cxi., the epitaph of a knight of this period, Matthew de Gourney,
who had been at the battle of Benamaryn, at the siege of Algezir, and at
the Battles of Crecy, Poitiers, &c. See note to l. 51.

_worthy_, worthy, is here used in its literal signification of
distinguished, honourable. See ll. 47, 50. Pron. (wur·dhi).

For notes on the dresses, &c. of the pilgrims, see Todd's Illustrations of
Chaucer, p. 227; Fairholt's Costume in England, 1885, i. 129; and Saunders,
on the Canterbury Tales, where some of the MS. drawings are reproduced.
Also Warton, Hist. Eng. Poetry, sect. 17.

45. _chivalrye_ (chiv·alrii·[*e]), knighthood; also the manners, exercises,
and exploits of a knight.

47. _in his lordes werre_, i. e. in the king's service. 'The knight, by his
tenure, was obliged to serve the king on horseback in his wars, and
maintain a soldier at his own proper charge,' &c.; Strutt, Manners and
Customs, iii. 15. _werre_, war. [6]

48. _therto_, moreover, besides that; see l. 153 below, _ferre_, the comp.
of _fer_, far. Cf. M. E. _derre_, dearer (A. 1448); _sarre_, sorer, &c.

49. _hethenesse_, heathen lands, as distinguished from _Cristendom_,
Christian countries. The same distinction occurs in English Gilds, ed.
Toulmin Smith, p. 36, l. 1.

50. Pron. ([*e]nd ae·vr onuu·red for iz wur·dhines·s[*e]).

51. _Alisaundre_, in Egypt, 'was won, and immediately after abandoned in
1365, by Pierre de Lusignan, King of Cyprus'; Tyrwhitt. Froissart (Chron.
bk. iii. c. 22) gives the epitaph of Pierre de Lusignan, king of Cyprus,
who 'conquered in battle ... the cities of Alexandria in Egypt, Tripoli in
Syria, Layas in Armenia, Satalia in Turkey, with several other cities and
towns, from the enemies of the faith of Jesus Christ'; tr. by Johnes, vol.
ii. p. 138. 'To this I may add, from "Les Tombeaux des Chevaliers du noble
Ordre de la Toison d'Or," the exploits recorded on a monument also of a
French knight, who lived in Chaucer's age, and died in 1449, Jean, Seigneur
de Roubais, &c. "qui en son temps visita les Saints lieux de Ierusalem, ...
S. Iacques en Galice, ... et passa les perils mortels de plusieurs
batailles arrestées contre les Infidels, c'est a sçavoir en Hongrie et
Barbarie, ... en Prusse contre les Letaux, ... avec plusieurs autres faicts
exercice d'armes tant par mer que par terre,"' &c.--Todd, Illust. of Ch.,
p. 227. _wonne_ (wunn[*e]), won.

52. _he hadde the bord bigonne._ Here _bord_ = board, table, so that the
phrase signifies 'he had been placed at the head of the dais, or _table_ of
state.' Warton, in his Hist. of Eng. Poetry, ed. 1840, ii. 209 (ed. 1871,
ii. 373), aptly cites a passage from Gower which is quite explicit as to
the sense of the phrase. See Gower, Conf. Amantis, bk. viii. ed. Pauli,
iii. 299. We there read that a knight was honoured by a king, by being set
at the head of the middle table in the hall.

 'And he, _which had his prise deserved_,
  After the kinges owne word,
  Was maad _beginne a middel bord_.'

The context shews that this was at supper-time, and that the knight was
placed in this honourable position by the marshal of the hall.

Further illustrations are also given by Warton, ed. 1840, i. 174, footnote,
shewing that the phrases _began the dese_ (daïs) and _began the table_ were
also in use, with the same sense. I can add another clear instance from Sir
Beves of Hamptoun, ed. Kölbing, E. E. T. S., p. 104, where we find in one
text (l. 2122)--

 'Thow schelt this dai be priour,
  And beginne oure deis' [_daïs_];

where another text has (l. 1957) the reading--

  Palmer, thou semest best to me,
  Therfore men shal worshyp the;
  _Begyn the borde_, I the pray.'

[7] See also the New Eng. Dictionary, s. v. _Board_; Hartshorne's Metrical
Tales, pp. 72, 73, 215, 219; Early Popular Poetry, ed. Hazlitt, i. 104;
Todd's Illustrations, p. 322. Even in Stow's Survey of London, ed. Thoms,
p. 144, col. 2, we read how--'On the north side of the hall certain
aldermen _began the board_, and then followed merchants of the city.'

Another explanation is sometimes given, but it is wholly wrong.

53, 54. _Pruce._ When our English knights wanted employment, 'it was usual
for them to go and serve in Pruce, or Prussia, with the knights of the
Teutonic order, who were in a state of constant warfare with their heathen
neighbours in _Lettow_ (Lithuania), _Ruce_ (Russia), and
elsewhere.'--Tyrwhitt. Cf. Gower, Conf. Amant. ii. 56.

The larger part of Lithuania now belongs to Russia, and the remainder to
Prussia; but in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the natives long
maintained their independence against the Russians and Poles (Haydn, Dict.
of Dates).

_reysed_, made a military expedition. The O. F. _reise_, sb., a military
expedition, was in common use on the continent at that time. Numerous
examples of its use are given in Godefroy's O. F. Dict. It was borrowed
from O. H. G. _reisa_ (G. _Reise_), an expedition. Pron. (reized).

Warton, Hist. Eng. Poetry, ed. 1840, ii. 210, remarks--'Thomas duke of
Gloucester, youngest son of Edw. III, and Henry earl of Derby, afterwards
Henry IV, travelled into Prussia; and, in conjunction with the grand
Masters and Knights of Prussia and Livonia, fought the infidels of
Lithuania. Lord Derby was greatly instrumental in taking Vilna, the capital
of that country, in the year 1390. Here is a seeming compliment to some of
these expeditions.' Cf. Walsingham, Hist., ed. Riley, ii. 197. Hackluyt, in
his Voyages, ed. 1598, i. 122, cites and translates the passage from
Walsingham referred to above. However, the present passage was written
before 1390; see n. to l. 277.

In an explanation of the drawings in MS. Jul. E. 4, relating to the life of
Rd. Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick (born 1381, died 1439), I find--'Here shewes
how erle Richard from Venise took his wey to _Russy_, _Lettow_, and Velyn,
and Cypruse, Westvale, and other coostes of Almayn toward
Englond.'--Strutt, Manners and Customs.

56-8. _Gernade_, Granada. 'The city of Algezir was taken from the Moorish
King of _Granada_ in 1344.'--T. The earls of Derby and Salisbury assisted
at the siege; Weber, Met. Rom. iii. 306. It is the modern _Algeciras_ on
the S. coast of Spain, near Cape Trafalgar.

_Belmarye_ and _Tramissene_ (Tremezen), l. 62, were Moorish kingdoms in
Africa, as appears from a passage in Froissart (bk. iv. c. 24) cited by
Tyrwhitt. Johnes' translation has--'Tunis, Bugia, Morocco, Benmarin,
Tremeçen.' Cf. Kn. Tale, l. 1772 (A. 2630). Benmarin is called _Balmeryne_
in Barbour's Bruce, xx. 393, and _Belmore_ in the Sowdone of Babylon, 3122.
The Gulf of Tremezen is on the coast of Algiers, to the west.

_Lyeys_, in Armenia, was taken from the Turks by Pierre de Lusignan [8]
about 1367. It is the _Layas_ mentioned by Froissart (see note to l. 51)
and the modern _Ayas_; see the description of it in Marco Polo, ed. Yule,
i. 15. Cf. 'Laiazzo's gulf,' Hoole's tr. of Ariosto's Orlando; bk. xix. l.

_Satalye_ (Attalia, now Adalia, on the S. coast of Asia Minor) was taken by
the same prince soon after 1352.--T. See Acts xiv. 25.

_Palatye_ (Palathia, see l. 65), in Anatolia, was one of the lordships held
by Christian knights after the Turkish conquest.--T. Cf. Froissart, bk.
iii. c. 23.

59. _the Grete See._ The Great Sea denotes the Mediterranean, as
distinguished from the two so-called inland seas, the Sea of Tiberias and
the Dead Sea. So in Numb. xxxiv. 6, 7; Josh. i. 4; also in Mandevile's
Travels, c. 7.

60. _aryve_, arrival or disembarkation of troops, as in the Harleian and
Cambridge MSS. Many MSS. have _armee_, army, which gives no good sense, and
probably arose from misreading the spelling _ariue_ as _arme_. Perhaps the
following use of _rive_ for 'shore' may serve to illustrate this passage:--

 'The wind was good, they saileth blive,
  Till he _took lond_ upon the _rive_
  Of Tire,' &c.
             Gower, Conf. Amant. ed. Pauli, iii. 292.

_be_ = _ben_, been. Cf. _ydo_ = _ydon_, done, &c.

62. _foghten_ (f[o,]uhten), pp. fought; from the strong verb _fighten_.

63. 'He had fought thrice in the lists in defence of our faith'; i. e. when
challenged by an infidel to do so. Such combats were not uncommon. _slayn_,
slain, _hadde_ must be supplied from l. 61.

64. _ilke_, same; A. S. _ylca_.

65. _Somtyme_, once on a time; not our 'sometimes.' See l. 85.

66. _another hethen_, a heathen army different from that which he had
encountered at Tremezen.

67. _sovereyn prys_ (suv·rein priis), exceeding great renown.

69. 'As courteys as any mayde'; Arthur, ed. Furnivall (E. E. T. S.), l. 41.
Cf. B. 1636.

70. _vileinye_, any utterance unbecoming a gentleman. Cf. Trench, English
Past and Present, ch. 7, on the word _villain_.

71. _no maner wight_, no kind of person whatever. In M. E. the word _maner_
is used without _of_, in phrases of this character.

72. _verray_, very, true. _parfit_, perfect; F. _parfait_. _gentil_,
gentle; see D. 1109-1176.

74. 'His horses were good, but he himself was not gaudily dressed.' _Hors_
is plural as well as singular. In fact, the knight had _three_ horses; one
for himself, one for his son, and one for the yeoman. Perhaps we should
read--'but hé ne was not gay,' supplying _ne_ from Hl. and Hn. This makes
_he_ emphatic; and we may then treat the _e_ in _god-e_ as a light extra
syllable, at the caesural pause; for doing which there is ample authority.

75. _fustian_; see Babees Book, ed. Furnivall, p. 224. _gipoun_ (jipuu·n),
a diminutive of _gipe_, a tight-fitting vest, a doublet; also called a
_gipell_, as in Libeaus Disconus, 224. See Fairholt, s. v. _fustian_, and
s. v. _gipon_. The O. F. _gipe_ (whence F. _jupe_) meant a kind of frock or
jacket. _wered_ is the A. S. _werede_, pt. t. of the weak verb _werian_, to
wear. It is now strong; pt. t. _wore_. See l. 564.

76. This verse is defective in the first foot, which consists solely of the
word _Al_. Such verses are by no means uncommon in the Cant. Tales and in
the Leg. of Good Women. Pron. (al· bismut·erd widh·iz ha·berjuu·n). 'His
doublet of fustian was all soiled with marks made by the habergeon which he
had so lately worn over it.' _Bismotered_ has the same sense as mod. E.

_habergeoun_, though etymologically a diminutive of _hauberk_, is often
used as synonymous with it. 'It was a defence of an inferior description to
the hauberk; but when the introduction of plate-armour, in the reign of
Edward III, had supplied more convenient and effectual defences for the
legs and thighs, the long skirt of the hauberk became superfluous; from
that period the _habergeon_ alone appears to have been worn.'--Way, note to
Promptorium Parvulorum, p. 220.

 'And Tideus, above his _Habergeoun_,
  A _gipoun_ hadde, hidous, sharpe, and hoor,
  Wrought of the bristles of a wilde Boor.'
                        Lydgate, Siege of Thebes, pt. ii.

See the Glossary to Fairholt's Costume in England, s. v. _Habergeon_; and,
for the explanation of _gipoun_, see the same, under _gipon_ and
_gambeson_. For a picture of a _gipoun_, see Boutell's Heraldry, ed.
Aveling, p. 67.

77, 78. 'For he had just returned from his journey, and went to perform his
pilgrimage' (which he had vowed for a safe return) in his knightly array,
only without his habergeon.


79. _squyer_ = esquire, one who attended on a knight, and bore his lance
and shield. See Strutt, Sports and Pastimes, Introd. § 8. 'Esquires held
land by the service of the shield, and were bound by their fee to attend
the king, or their lords, in the war, or pay escuage.'--Strutt, Manners and
Customs, iii. 15. And see Ritson, Met. Romances, iii. 345.

As to the education and accomplishments of a squire, see note to Sir Topas,
B. 1927.

80. _lovyere_, lover. The _y_ in this word is not euphonic as in some
modern words; _lovyere_ (luv·yer) is formed from the verb _lovi-en_, A.S.
_lufian_, to love.

_bacheler_, a young aspirant to knighthood. There were bachelors in arms as
well as in arts. Cf. The Sowdone of Babylone, 1211. [10]

81. _lokkes_, locks (of hair). _crulle_ (krull'), curly, curled; cf. Mid.
Du. _krul_, a curl. In mod. E., the _r_ has shifted its place. In King
Alisaunder, ed. Weber, 4164, we find--'And his lokkes buth noght so
crolle.' _as they_, &c., as if they had been laid in an instrument for
curling them by pressure. Curling-tongs seem to be meant; or, possibly,
curling-papers. For _presse_, cf. l. 263.

82. _yeer_. In the older stages of the language, _year_, _goat_, _swine_,
&c., being neuter nouns, underwent no change in the nom. case of the plural
number. We have already had _hors_, pl., in l. 74.

_I gesse_, I should think. In M. E., _gesse_ signifies to judge, believe,
suppose, imagine. See Kn. Tale, l. 192 (A. 1050).

83. _of evene lengthe_, of ordinary or moderate height.

84. _deliver_, active. Cotgrave gives: '_delivre de sa personne_, an
active, nimble wight.'

85. _chivachye._ Fr. _chevauchée_. 'It most properly means an expedition
with a small party of _cavalry_; but is often used generally for any
military expedition.'--T. We should call it a 'raid.' Cf. H. 50.

87. _born him wel_, conducted himself well (behaved bravely), considering
the short time he had served.

88. _lady grace_, lady's grace. Here _lady_ represents A. S. _hlæfdigan_,
gen. case of _hlæfdige_, lady; there is therefore no final _s_. See l. 695,
and G. 1348. Cf. the modern phrase 'Lady-day,' as compared with 'Lord's

89. 'That was with floures swote enbrouded al'; Prol. to Legend of Good
Women, l. 119; and cf. Rom. Rose, 896-8. _Embrouded_ (embruu·ded _or_
embr[o,]u·ded), embroidered; from O. F. _brouder_, variant of _broder_, to
embroider; confused with A. S. _brogden_, pp. of _bregdan_, to braid.
_mede_, mead, meadow.

91. _floytinge_, playing the flute. Cf. _floute_ (ed. 1532, _floyte_), a
flute; Ho. of Fame, 1223. Hexham gives Du. '_Fluyte_, a Flute.'

96. 'Joust (in a tournament) and dance, and draw well and write.'

97. _hote_, adv. hotly; from _hoot_, adj. hot. _nightertale_, night-time,
time (or reckoning) of night. So also _wit nighter-tale_, lit. with
night-time, Cursor Mundi, l. 2783; _on nightertale_, id. 2991; _be_ [by]
_nychtyrtale_, Barbour's Bruce, xix. 495. The word is used by Holinshed in
his account of Joan of Arc (under the date 1429), but altered in the later
edition to 'the dead of the night'; it also occurs in Palladius on
Husbandry, ed. Lodge, bk. i. l. 910; and in The Court of Love, l. 1355. Cf.
Icel. _náttar-tal_, a tale, or number, of nights; and the phrase _á
náttar-þeli_, at dead of night.

98. _sleep_, also written _slep_, _slepte_. Cf. _weep_, _wepte_; _leep_,
_lepte_, &c.; such verbs, once strong, became weak. See l. 148; and Kn. Ta.
1829 (A. 2687).

100. _carf_, the past tense of _kerven_, to carve (pp. _corven_). The
allusion is to what was then a common custom; cf. E. 1773; Barbour's Bruce,
i. 356. _biforn_, before; A. S. _biforan_. [11]


101. _Yeman_, yeoman. 'As a title of service, it denoted a servant of the
next degree above a _garson_ or groom.... The title of _yeoman_ was given
in a secondary sense to people of middling rank not in service. The
appropriation of the word to signify a small landholder is more
modern.'--Tyrwhitt. In ed. 1532, this paragraph is headed--'The Squyers
yoman,' so that _he_ (in this line) means the Squire, as we should
naturally suppose from the context. Tyrwhitt, indeed, objects that 'Chaucer
would never have given the son an attendant, when the father had none'; but
he overlooks the fact that both the squire and the squire's man were
necessarily servants to the knight, who, in this way, really had _two_
servants; just as, in the note to l. 74, I have shewn that he had _three_
horses. Warton, Strutt, and Todd all take this view of the matter, as might
be expected. For further information as to the status of a _yeoman_, see
Blackstone; Spelman's Glossary, s. v. _Socman_; Strutt, Manners and
Customs, iii. 16; the Glossary to the Babees Book, ed. Furnivall;
Waterhous, Comment. on Fortescue's De Laudibus Legum Angliæ, ed. 1663, p.
391; &c.

_na-mo_, no more (in number). In M. E., _mo_ relates to number, but _more_
to size; usually, but not always; see l. 808.

102. _him liste_, it pleased him. _liste_ is the past tense; _list_, it
pleaseth, is the present. See note on l. 37.

103. Archers were usually clad in 'Lincoln green'; cf. D. 1382.

104. _a sheef of pecok-arwes_, a sheaf of arrows with peacocks' feathers.
Ascham, in his Toxophilus, ed. Arber, p. 129, does not say much in favour
of 'pecock fethers'; for 'there is no fether but onely of a goose that hath
all commodities in it. And trewelye at a short but, which some man doth
vse, the _pecock fether_ doth seldome kepe vp the shaft eyther ryght or
level, it is so roughe and heuy, so that many men which haue taken them vp
for gaynesse, hathe layde them downe agayne for profyte; thus for our
purpose, the goose is best fether for the best shoter.' In the Geste of
Robyn Hode, pr. by W. Copland, we read--

 'And every arrowe an ell longe
    With _peacocke_ well ydight,
  And nocked they were with white silk,
    It was a semely syght.'

'In the Liber Compotis Garderobæ, sub an. 4 Edw. II., p. 53, is this
entry--Pro duodecim flechiis cum pennis de pauone emptis pro rege de 12
den., that is, For twelve arrows plumed with peacock's feathers, bought for
the king, 12 d.... MS. Cotton, Nero c. viii.'--Strutt, Sports and Pastimes,
bk. ii. ch. i. § 12. In the Testamenta Eboracensia, i. 419, 420 (anno
1429), I find--'Item lego ... j. shaffe of pakok-fedird arrows: also I wyte
them a dagger harnest with sylver.' The latter phrase illustrates l. 114
below. See further in Warton's note on this passage; Hist. E. Poet. 1840,
ii. 211. [12]

106. _takel_, lit. 'implement' or 'implements'; here the set of arrows. For
_takel_ in the sense of 'arrow,' see Rom. Rose, 1729, 1863. 'He knew well
how to arrange his shooting-gear in a yeomanlike manner.' Strutt, Sports
and Pastimes, bk. ii. c. 1. § 16, quotes a ballad in which Robin Hood
proposes that each man who misses the mark shall lose 'his _takell_'; and
one of the losers says--'Syr abbot, I deliver thee myne _arrowe_.' Fairholt
(s. v. _Tackle_) quotes from A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hood--

 'When they had theyr _bowes_ ibent,
  Their _tacles_ fedred fre.'

In the Cursor Mundi, l. 3600, Isaac sends Esau to hunt, saying:--'Ga lok
thi _tacle_ be puruaid.' Cotgrave gives--'_Tacle_, m. any (headed) shaft,
or boult whose feathers be not waxed, but glued on.' Roquefort says the

107. The sense is--'His arrows did not present a draggled appearance owing
to the feathers being crushed'; i. e. the feathers stood out erect and
regularly, as necessary to secure for them a good flight.

109. _not-heed_, a head closely cut or cropped. Cf. 'To _Notte_ his haire,
_comas recidere_'; Baret's Alvearie, 1580. Shakespeare has _not-pated_,
i. e. crop-headed, 1 Henry IV, ii. 4. 78. Cooper's Thesaurus, 1565,
has:--'_Tondere_, to cause his heare to be _notted_ or polled of a
barbour'; also, 'to _notte_ his heare shorte'; also, '_Tonsus homo_, a man
rounded, polled, or _notted_.' Cotgrave explains the F. _tonsure_ as 'a
sheering, clipping, powling, _notting_, cutting, or paring round.' Florio,
ed. 1598, explains Ital. _zucconare_ as 'to poule, to _nott_, to shave, or
cut off one's haire,' and _zuccone_ as 'a shauen pate, a _notted_ poule.'
And more illustrations might be adduced, as e.g. the explanation of
_Nott-pated_ in Nares' Glossary. In later days the name of Roundhead came
into use for a like reason. Cf. 'your _nott-headed_ country gentleman';
Chapman, The Widow's Tears, Act i. sc. 4.

110. 'He understood well all the usage of woodcraft.'

111. _bracer_, a guard for the arm used by archers to prevent the friction
of the bow-string on the coat. It was made like a glove with a long
leathern top, covering the fore-arm (Fairholt). See it described in
Ascham's Toxophilus, ed. Arber, pp. 107, 108. Cf. E. _brace_.

112. For a description of 'sword and buckler play,' see Strutt's Sports and
Pastimes, bk. iii. c. 6. § 22; Brand, Pop. Antiquities, ed. Ellis, ii. 400.

114. _Harneised_, equipped. 'A certain girdle, _harnessed_ with silver' is
spoken of in Riley's Memorials of London, p. 399, with reference to the
year 1376; cf. Riley's tr. of Liber Albus, p. 521. 'De j daggar harnisiat'
xd.'; (1439) York Wills, iii. 96. 'De vj paribus cultellorum harnesiat' cum
auricalco. xvjd.'; ibid. 'A dagger harnest with sylver'; id. i. 419. And
see note to l. 104.

115. _Christofre._ 'A figure of St. Christopher, used as a brooch.... The
figure of St. Christopher was looked upon with particular reverence [13]
among the middle and lower classes; and was supposed to possess the power
of shielding the person who looked on it from hidden dangers'; note in
Wright's Chaucer. This belief is clearly shewn by a passage in Wright's
History of Caricature. It is of so early an origin that we already meet
with it in Anglo-Saxon in Cockayne's Shrine, p. 77, where we are told that
St. Christopher 'prayed God that every one who has any relic of him should
never be condemned in his sins, and that God's anger should never come upon
him'; and that his prayer was granted. There is a well-known early woodcut
exhibiting one of the earliest specimens of block-printing, engraved at p.
123 of Chambers' Book of Days, vol. ii, and frequently elsewhere. The
inscription beneath the figure of the saint runs as follows:--

 'Christofori faciem die quacunque tueris
  Illa nempe die morte mala non morieris.'

Hence the Yeoman wore his brooch for good luck. St. Christopher's day is
July 25. For his legend, see Mrs. Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art, ii.
48; &c. _shene_; see n. to l. 160.

116. Riley, in his Memorials of London, p. 115, explains _baldric_ as 'a
belt passing mostly round one side of the neck, and under the opposite
arm.' In 1314, a baldric cost 12d. (same reference). See Spenser, F. Q. i.
7. 29.

117. _forster_, forester. Hence the names Forester, Forster, and Foster.


118. 'A nunne, y wene a pryores'; Rob. of Brunne, Hand. Synne, 7809.

120. In this line, as in ll. 509 and 697, the word _se-ynt_ seems to be
dissyllabic. Six MSS. agree here; and the seventh (Harleian) has _nas_ for
_was_, which keeps the same rhythm. Edd. 1532, 1550, and 1561 have the same
words, omitting _but_.

_seynt Loy. Loy_ is from _Eloy_, i. e. St. _Eligius_, whose day is Dec. 1;
see the long account of him in Butler's Lives of the Saints. He was a
goldsmith, and master of the mint to Clotaire II., Dagobert I., and Clovis
II. of France; and was also bishop of Noyon. He became the patron saint of
goldsmiths, farriers, smiths, and carters. The Lat. _Eligius_ necessarily
became _Eloy_ in O. French, and is _Eloy_ or _Loy_ in English, the latter
form being the commoner. The Catholicon Anglicum (A.D. 1483) gives:
'_Loye_, elegius (_sic_), nomen proprium.' Sir T. More, Works, ed. 1577, p.
194, says: '_St. Loy_ we make an horse-leche.' Barnaby Googe, as cited in
Brand, Pop. Antiq. i. 364 (ed. Ellis), says:--

 'And _Loye_ the smith doth looke to horse, and smithes of all degree,
  If they with iron meddle here, or if they goldesmithes bee.'

There is a district called _St. Loye's_ in Bedford; a _Saint Loyes_ chapel
[14] near Exeter; &c. Churchyard mentions 'sweete _Saynct Loy_'; Siege of
Leith, st. 50. In Lyndesay's Monarchè, bk. ii. lines 2299 and 2367, he is
called 'sanct _Eloy_.' In D. 1564, the carter prays to God and Saint Loy,
joining the names according to a common formula; but the Prioress dropped
the divine name. Perhaps she invoked _St. Loy_ as being the patron saint of
goldsmiths; for she seems to have been a little given to a love of gold and
corals; see ll. 158-162. Warton's notion, that _Loy_ was a form of _Louis_,
only shews how utterly unknown, in his time, were the phonetic laws of Old

Many more illustrations might be added; such as--'_By St. Loy_, that draws
deep'; Nash's Lenten Stuff, ed. Hindley, p. xiv. 'God save her and _Saint
Loye_'; Jack Juggler, ed. Roxburgh Club, p. 9; and see _Eligius_ in the
Index to the Parker Society's publications.

We already find, in Guillaume de Machault's Confort d'Ami, near the end,
the expression:--'Car je te jur, par _saint Eloy_'; Works, ed. 1849, p.

The life of St. Eligius, as given in Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints,
contains a curious passage, which seems worth citing:--'St. Owen relates
many miracles which followed his death, and informs us that _the holy
abbess_, St. Aurea, who was swept off by a pestilence, ... was advertised
of her last hour some time before it, by a comfortable vision of _St.
Eligius_.' See also Mrs. Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art, 3rd ed., p.

There is, perhaps, a special propriety in selecting _St. Loy_ for mention
in the present instance. In an interesting letter in _The Athenæum_ for
Jan. 10, 1891, p. 54, Prof. Hales drew attention to the story about St.
Eligius cited in Maitland's Dark Ages, pp. 83-4, ed. 1853. When Dagobert
asked Eligius to swear upon the relics of the saints, the bishop _refused_.
On being further pressed to do so, he burst into tears; whereupon Dagobert
exclaimed that he would believe him _without an oath_. Hence, to swear by
St. Loy was to swear by one who refused to swear; and the oath became (at
second-hand) no oath at all. See Hales, Folia Literaria, p. 102. At any
rate, it was a very mild one for those times. Cf. Amis and Amiloun,
877:--'Than answered that maiden bright, And swore "by Jesu, ful of

121. _cleped_, called, named; A. S. _cleopian_, _clypian_, to call. Cf. Sir
David Lyndesay's Monarchè, bk. iii. l. 4663:--

 'The seilye Nun wyll thynk gret schame
  Without scho callit be _Madame_.'

122. 'She sang the divine service.' Here _sér-vic-è_ is trisyllabic, with a
secondary accent on the last syllable.

123. _Entuned_, intoned. _nose_ is the reading of the best MSS. The old
black-letter editions read _voice_ (wrongly).

_semely_, in a seemly manner, is in some MSS. written _semily_. The _e_ is
here to be distinctly sounded; _hertily_ is sometimes written for
_hertely_. See ll. 136, 151. [15]

124. _faire_, adv. fairly, well. _fetisly_, excellently; see l. 157.

125. _scole_, school; here used for _style_ or pronunciation.

126. _Frensh._ Mr. Cutts (Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages, p. 58)
says very justly:--'She spoke French correctly, though with an accent which
savoured of the Benedictine convent at Stratford-le-Bow, where she had been
educated, rather than of Paris.' There is nothing to shew that Chaucer here
speaks slightingly of the French spoken by the Prioress, though this view
is commonly adopted by newspaper-writers who know only this one line of
Chaucer, and cannot forbear to use it in jest. Even Tyrwhitt and Wright
have thoughtlessly given currency to this idea; and it is worth remarking
that Tyrwhitt's conclusion as to Chaucer thinking but meanly of
Anglo-French, was derived (as he tells us) from a remark in the Prologue to
the Testament of Love, _which Chaucer did not write_! But Chaucer merely
states a _fact_, viz. that the Prioress spoke the usual Anglo-French of the
English court, of the English law-courts, and of the English ecclesiastics
of the higher rank. The poet, however, had been himself in France, and knew
precisely the difference between the two dialects; but he had no special
reason for thinking _more highly_ of the Parisian than of the Anglo-French.
He merely states that the French which she spoke so 'fetisly' was,
_naturally_, such as was spoken in England. She had never travelled, and
was therefore quite satisfied with the French which she had learnt at home.
The language of the King of England was quite as good, in the esteem of
Chaucer's hearers, as that of the King of France; in fact, king Edward
called himself king of France as well as of England, and king John was, at
one time, merely his prisoner. Warton's note on the line is quite sane. He
shews that queen Philippa wrote business letters in French (doubtless
Anglo-French) with 'great propriety.' What Mr. Wright means by saying that
'it was similar to that used _at a later period_ in the courts of law' is
somewhat puzzling. It was, of course, not _similar to_, but the _very same_
language as was used _at the very same period_ in the courts of law. In
fact, he and Tyrwhitt have unconsciously given us the view entertained, not
by Chaucer, but by unthinking readers of the present age; a view which is
_not_ expressed, and was probably not intended. At the modern Stratford we
may find Parisian French inefficiently taught; but at the ancient
Stratford, the very important Anglo-French was taught efficiently enough.
There is no parallel between the cases, nor any such jest as the modern
journalist is never weary of, being encouraged by critics who ought to be
more careful. The 'French of Norfolk' as spoken of in P. Plowman (B. v.
239) was no French at all, but _English_; and the alleged parallel is
misleading, as the reader who cares to refer to that passage will easily

'Stratford-at-Bow, a Benedictine nunnery, was famous even then for its
antiquity.'--Todd, Illustrations of Chaucer, p. 233. It is said by Tanner
to have been founded by William, bp. of London, before 1087; but Dugdale
says it was founded by one Christiana de Sumery, and [16] that her
foundation was confirmed by King Stephen. It was dedicated to St. Leonard.

_unknowe_, short for _unknowen_, unknown.

127. _At mete._ Tyrwhitt has acutely pointed out how Chaucer, throughout
this passage, merely reproduces a passage in his favourite book, viz. Le
Roman de la Rose, ed. Méon, l. 13612, &c., which may be thus
translated:--'and takes good care not to wet her fingers up to the joints
in broth, nor to have her lips anointed with soups, or garlic, or fat
flesh, nor to heap up too many or too large morsels and put them in her
mouth. She touches with the tips of her fingers the morsel which she has to
moisten with the sauce (be it green, or brown, or yellow), and lifts her
mouthful warily, so that no drop of the soup, or relish or pepper may fall
on her breast. And so daintily she contrives to drink, as not to sprinkle a
drop upon herself ... she ought to wipe her lip so well, as not to permit
any grease to stay there, at least upon her upper lip.' Such were the
manners of the age. Cf. also Ovid, Ars Amatoria, iii. 755, 756.

129. _wette_, wet; pt. t. of _wetten_. _depe_, deeply, adv.

131. Scan--'Thát | no dróp | e ne fill | e,' &c. The _e_ in _drópe_ is very
slight; and the caesura follows. _Fille_ is the pt. t. subjunctive, as
distinct from _fil_, the pt. t. indicative. It means 'should fall.'

132. _ful_, very. _lest = list_, pleasure, delight; A. S. _lyst_.

133. _over_, upper, adj. 'The over lippe and the nethere'; Wright's Vocab.
1857, p. 146. _clene_ (klae·n[*e]), cleanly, adv.

134. _ferthing_ signifies literally a fourth part, and hence a small
portion, or a spot. In Caxton's Book of Curtesye, st. 27, such a spot of
grease is called a 'fatte ferthyng.'

_sen-e_, visible, is an adjective, A. S. _ges[=e]ne_, and takes a final
_-e_. This distinguishes it from the pp. _seen_, which is monosyllabic, and
cannot rime with _clen-e_. The fuller form _y-sen-e_ occurs in l. 592,
where it rimes with _len-e_.

136. 'Full seemlily she reached towards her meat (i. e. what she had to
eat), and certainly she was of great merriment (or geniality).'

_Mete_ is often used of eatables in general, _raughte_ (rauht[*e]), pt. t.
of _rechen_, to reach.

137. _sikerly_, certainly, _siker_ is an early adaptation of Lat.
_securus_, secure, sure. _disport_; mod. E. _sport_.

139-41. 'And took pains (endeavoured) to imitate courtly behaviour, and to
be stately in her deportment, and to be esteemed worthy of reverence.'

144. _sawe_, should see, happened to see (subjunctive).

146. _Of_, i. e. some. _houndes_ (huundez), dogs. 'Smale whelpes leeve to
ladyse and clerkys'; Political, Relig. and Love Poems, ed. Furnivall, p.
32; Bernardus de Cura Rei Familiaris, ed. Lumby, p. 13.

147. _wastel-breed_. Horses and dogs were not usually fed on _wastel-breed_
or cake-bread (bread made of the best flour), but on coarse lentil bread
baked for that purpose. See Our English Home, pp. 79, 80. [17] The O. F.
_wastel_ subsequently became _gastel_, _gasteau_, mod. F. _gâteau_, cake.
Cf. P. Plowman, B. vi. 217, and the note; Riley, Memorials of London, p.

148. The syllable _she_ is here very light; _she if oon_ constitutes the
third foot in the line. After _she_ comes the caesural pause. _weep_, wept;
A. S. _w[=e]op_.

149. _men smoot_, one smote. If _men_ were the ordinary plural of _man_,
_smoot_ ought to be _smiten_ (pl. past); but _men_ is here used like the
Ger. _man_, French _on_, with the singular verb. It is, in fact, merely the
_unaccented_ form of _man_. _yerde_, stick, rod; mod. E. _yard_. _smerte_,
sharply; adv.

151. _wimpel._ The _wimple_ or _gorger_ is stated first to have appeared in
Edward the First's reign. It was a covering for the neck, and was used by
nuns and elderly ladies. See Fairholt's Costume, 1885, ii. 413; Ancren
Riwle, ed. Morton, p. 420.

_pinched_, gathered in small pleats, closely pleated.

 'But though I olde and hore be, sone myne,
  And poore by my clothing and aray,
  And not so wyde a gown have as is thyne,
  So small _ypynched_ and so gay,
  My rede in happe yit the profit may.'
      Hoccleve, De Regimine Principum, ed. Wright, p. 15.

152. _tretys_, long and well-shaped. From O. F. _traitis_, Low Lat.
_tractitius_, i. e. drawn out; from L. _trahere_. Chaucer found the O. F.
_traitis_ in the Romaunt of the Rose, and translated it by _tretys_; see l.
1216 of the E. version. Cf. _fetis_ from _factitius_; l. 157. _eyen greye._
This seems to have been the favourite colour of ladies' eyes in Chaucer's
time, and even later. Cf. A. 3974; Rom. Rose, 546, 862; &c. 'Her eyen
_gray_ and stepe'; Skelton's Philip Sparowe, 1014 (see Dyce's note).

 'Her eyes are _grey as glass_.'--Two Gent. of Verona, iv. 4. 197.

                 'Hyr forheed lely-whyht,
  Hyr bent browys blake, and hyr _grey eyne_,
  Hyr chyry chekes, _hyr nose streyt_ and ryht,
  Hyr lyppys rody.'--Lives of Saints, Roxburgh Club, p. 14.

 'Wyth _eyene graye_, and browes bent,
  And yealwe traces [_tresses_], and fayre y-trent,
      Ech her semede of gold;
  Hure vysage was fair and _tretys_,
  Hure body iantil and pure _fetys_,
      And semblych of stature.'--Sir Ferumbras, l. 5881.

 'Dame Gaynour, with hur _gray een_.'
                        Three Met. Romances, ed. Robson, p. 22.

 'Hys _eyen grey_ as crystalle stone';--Sir Eglamour, l. 861.

 'Put out my _eyen gray_';--Sir Launfal, l. 810.


156. _hardily_ is here used for _sikerly_, certainly; so also in E. 25.

_undergrowe_, undergrown; i. e. of short, stinted growth.

157. _fetis_ literally signifies 'made artistically,' and hence well-made,
_feat_, neat, handsome; cf. n. to l. 152. M. E. _fetis_ answers to O. F.
_faitis_, _feitis_, _fetis_, neatly made, elegant; from Lat. _factitius_,

_war_, aware; 'I was _war_' = I perceived.

159. _bedes._ The word _bede_ signifies, (1) a prayer; (2) a string of
grains upon which the prayers were counted, or the grains themselves. The
beads were made of coral, jet, cornelian, pearls, or gold. A _pair_ here
means 'a set.' 'A _peire of bedis_ eke she bere'; Rom. Rose, 7372.

 'Sumtyme with a portas, sumtyme with a _payre of bedes_.'
                          Bale's King John, p. 27; Camden Soc.

_gauded al with grene_, 'having the _gawdies_ green. Some were of silver
gilt.'--T. The _gawdies_ or _gaudees_ were the larger beads in the set.
'One payre of beads of silver with riche _gaudeys_'; Monast. Anglicanum,
viii. 1206; qu. by Rock, Church of our Fathers, iii. i. 403. 'Unum par de
_Iett_ [jet] gaudyett with sylver'; Nottingham Records, iii. 188. 'A peyre
bedys of jeete [_get_], gaudied with corall'; Bury Wills, p. 82, l. 16: the
note says that every eleventh bead, or _gaudee_, stood for a Paternoster:
the smaller beads, each for an Ave Maria. The common number was 55, for 50
Aves and 5 Paternosters. The full number was 165, for 150 Aves and 15
Paternosters, also called a Rosary or Our Lady's Psalter; see the poem on
Our Lady's Psalter in Horstmann, Altenglische Legenden, Neue Folge, 1881,
pp. 220-4. '_Gaudye_ of beedes, _signeau de paternoster_.'--Palsgrave.
Cower (Conf. Amant., ed. Pauli, iii. 372) mentions 'A paire of bedes blacke
as sable,' with 'gaudees.' See _Gaudia_ and _Precula_ in Ducange. _Gaudee_
originally meant a prayer beginning with _Gaudete_, whence the name; see
_Gaudez_ in Cotgrave.

160. _broche_ = _brooch_, signified, (1) a pin; (2) a breast-pin; (3) a
buckle or clasp; (4) a jewel or ornament. It was an ornament common to both
sexes. The brooch seems to have been made in the shape of a capital A,
surmounted by a crown. See the figure of a silver-gilt brooch in the shape
of an A in the Glossary to Fairholt's Costume in England. The 'crowned A'
is supposed to represent _Amor_ or _Charity_, the greatest of all the
Christian graces. 'Omnia uincit amor'; Vergil, Eclog. x. 69. Cf. the use of
AMOR as a motto in the Squyer of Lowe Degree, l. 215.

_heng_, also spelt _heeng_, hung, is the pt. t. of M. E. _hangen_, to hang.
Cf. A. S. _h[=e]ng_, pt. t. of _h[=o]n_, to hang.

_shene_ (shee·n[*e]), showy, bright. Really allied, not to _shine_, but to
_shew_. Cf. mod. E. _sheen_, and G. _schön_.

161. _write_ is short for _writen_ (writ·en), pp. of _wryten_ (wrii·ten),
to write. [19]


163. _Another Nonne._ It was not common for Prioresses to have female
chaplains; but Littré gives _chapelaine_, fem., as an old title of dignity
in a nunnery. Moreover, it is an office still held in most Benedictine
convents, as is fully explained in a letter written by a modern
Nun-Chaplain, and printed in Anglia, iv. 238. See also N. and Q. 7 S. vi.
485; The Academy, Aug. 23, 1890, p. 152.

164. The mention of _three priests_ presents some difficulty. To make up
the twenty-nine mentioned in l. 24, we only want _one_ priest, and it is
afterwards assumed that there was but _one_ priest, viz. the Nonnes Preest,
who tells the tale of the Cock and Fox. Chaucer also, in all other cases,
supposes that there was but _one_ representative of each class.

The most likely solution is that Chaucer wrote a character of the Second
Nun, beginning--

 'Another Nonne with hir hadde she
  That was hir chapeleyne'--

and that, for some reason, he afterwards suppressed the description. The
line left imperfect, as above, may have been filled up, to stop a gap,
either by himself (temporarily), or indeed by some one else.

If we are to keep the text (which stands alike in all MSS.), we must take
'_wel_ nyne and twenty' to mean '_at least_ nine and twenty.'

The letter from the Nun-Chaplain mentioned in the last note shews that an
Abbess might have as many as _five_ priests, as well as a chaplain. See
Essays on Chaucer (Ch. Soc.), p. 183. The difficulty is, merely, how to
reconcile this line with l. 24.


165. _a fair_, i. e. a fair one. Cf. 'a merye' in l. 208; and l. 339.

_for the maistrye_ is equivalent to the French phrase _pour la maistrie_,
which in old medical books is 'applied to such medicines as we usually call
sovereign, excellent above all others'; Tyrwhitt. We may explain it by 'as
regards superiority,' or, 'to shew his excellence.' Cf. 'An stede he gan
aprikie · wel _vor the maistrie_'; Rob. of Glouc. l. 11554 (or ed. Hearne,
p. 553).

In the Romance of Sir Launfal, ed. Ritson, l. 957, is a description of a
saddle, adorned with 'twey stones of Ynde Gay _for the maystrye_'; i. e.
preëminently gay.

Several characteristics of various orders of monks are satirically noted in
Wright's Political Songs, pp. 137-148.

166. _out-rydere_, outrider; formerly the name of an officer of a monastery
or abbey, whose duty was to look after the manors belonging to it; or, as
Chaucer himself explains it, in B. 1255--

       'an officere out for to ryde
  To seen hir graunges and hir bernes wyde.


In the Visitations of the Diocese of Norwich, 1492-1532, ed. Jessop (Camden
Soc.), pp. 214, 279, the word occurs twice, as the name of an officer of
the Abbey of St. Benet's, Hulme; e.g. 'Dompnus Willelmus Hornyng,
_oute-rider_, dicit quod multa edificia et orrea maneriorum sunt prostrata
et collapsa praesertim violentia venti hoc anno.'

The Lat. name for this officer was _exequitator_, as appears from Wyclif,
Sermones, iii. 326 (Wyclif Soc.). I am indebted for these references and
for the explanation of _out-rydere_ to Mr. Tancock; see his note in N. and
Q. 7 S. vi. 425. The same vol. of Visitations also shews that, in the same
abbey, another monk, 'Thomas Stonham tertius prior' was devoted to hunting;
'communis venator ... solet exire solus ad venatum mane in aurora.' There
is also a complaint of the great number of dogs kept there--'superfluus
numerus canum est in domo.' In the Rolls of Parliament (1406), vol. iii. p.
598, the sheriffs collect payments for the repair of roads and bridges 'par
lour Ministres appellez Outryders'; N. and Q. 8 S. ii. 39. Note that this
fully explains the use of _outryders_ in P. Plowman, C. v. 116.

_venerye_, hunting; cf. A. 2308. 'The monks of the middle ages were
extremely attached to hunting and field-sports; and this was a frequent
subject of complaint with the more austere ecclesiastics, and of satire
with the laity.'--Wright. See Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, bk. i. c. 1. §§
9, 10; Our Eng. Home, p. 23. From Lat. _uenari_, to hunt.

168. _deyntee_, dainty, i. e. precious, valuable, rare; orig. a sb., viz.
O. F. _deintee_, dignity, from Lat. acc. _dignitatem_. Cf. l. 346.

170. _Ginglen_, jingle. (The line is deficient in the first foot.)
Fashionable riders were in the habit of hanging small bells on the bridles
and harness of their horses. Wyclif speaks of 'a worldly preest ... in
pompe and pride, coveitise and envye ... with fatte hors, and jolye and
gaye sadeles, and bridelis _ryngynge be the weye_, and himself in costy
clothes and pelure' [fur]; Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 519, 520.

In Richard Cuer de Lion, l. 1517, we read of a mounted messenger, with silk

 'With fyve hundred belles ryngande.'

And again, at l. 5712--

 'His crouper heeng al full off belles.'

'Vincent of Beauvais, speaking of the Knights Templars, and their gorgeous
horse-caparisons, says they have--in pectoralibus campanulas infixas magnum
emittentes sonitum'; Hist. lib. xxx. c. 85 (cited by Warton, Hist. E. P. i.
167). See B. 3984; and Spenser, F. Q. i. 2. 13; also Englische Studien,
iii. 105.

172. _Ther as_ = where that. _keper_, principal, head, i. e. prior.
_celle_, cell; a 'cell' was a small monastery or nunnery, dependent on a
larger one. '_Celle_, a religious house, subordinate to some great [21]
abby. Of these _cells_ some were altogether subject to their respective
abbies, who appointed their officers, and received their revenues; while
others consisted of a stated number of monks, who had a prior sent them
from the abby, and who paid an annual pension as an acknowledgment of their
subjection; but, in other matters, acted as an independent body, and
received the rest of their revenues for their own use. These _priories_ or
_cells_ were of the same order with the abbies on whom they depended. See
Tanner, Pref. Not. Monast. p. xxvii.'--Todd, Illustrations of Chaucer,
p.326. Cf. note to l. 670, and especially the note to D. 2259.

173. _The reule_ (rule) _of seint Maure_ (St. Maur) and that of _seint
Beneit_ (St. Benet or Benedict) were the oldest forms of monastic
discipline in the Romish Church. St. Maur (Jan. 15) was a disciple of St.
Benet (Dec. 4), who founded the Benedictine order, and died about A.D. 542.

174. Note that _streit_, mod. E. _strait_, A. F. _estreit_, from Lat.
_strictus_, is quite distinct from mod. E. _straight_, of A. S. origin.

175. The Harl. MS. reads, 'This ilke monk leet forby hem pace' (_error for_
leet hem forby him pace?), 'This same monk let them pass by him
unobserved.' _hem_ refers to the rules of St. Maur and St. Benet, which
were too _streit_ (strict) for this 'lord' or superior of the house, who
preferred a milder sort of discipline. _Forby_ is still used in Scotland
for _by_ or _past_. _pace_, pass by, remain in abeyance; cf. _pace_, pass
on, proceed, in l. 36. _hem_, them; originally dat. pl. of _he_.

176. _space_, course (Lat. _spatium_); 'and held his course in conformity
with the new order of things.'

177. _yaf not of_, gave not for, valued not. _yaf_ is the pt. t. of _yeven_
or _yiven_, to give.

_a pulled hen_, lit. a plucked hen; hence, the value of a hen without its
feathers; see l. 652. In D. 1112, the phrase is 'not worth a _hen_.'
Tyrwhitt says, 'I do not see much force in the epithet _pulled_'; but adds,
in his Glossary--'I have been told since, that a hen whose feathers are
pulled, or plucked off, will not lay any eggs.' Becon speaks of a 'polled
hen,' i. e. pulled hen, as one unable to fly; Works, p. 533; Parker Soc. It
is only one of the numerous old phrases for expressing that a thing is of
small value. See l. 182. I may add that _pulled_, in the sense of 'plucked
off the feathers,' occurs in the Manciple's Tale; H. 304. And see Troil. v.

_text_, remark in writing; the word was used of any written statement that
was frequently quoted. The allusion is to the legend of Nimrod, 'the mighty
hunter' (Gen. x. 9), which described him as a very bad man. 'Mikel he cuth
[much he knew] o sin and scham'; Cursor Mundi, l. 2202. It was he (it was
said) who built the tower of Babel, and introduced idolatry and
fire-worship. All this has ceased to be familiar, and the allusion has lost
its point. 'We enjoin that a priest be not a hunter, nor a hawker, nor a
dicer'; Canons of King Edgar, translated; no. 64. See my note to P.
Plowman, C. vi. 157. [22]

179. _recchelees_ (in MS. E.) means careless, regardless of rule; but 'a
careless monk' is not necessarily 'a monk out of his cloister.' But the
reading _cloisterless_ (in MS. Harl.) solves the difficulty; being _a
coined word_, Chaucer goes on to explain it in l. 181. See the quotation
from Jehan de Meung in the next note.

179-81. This passage, says Tyrwhitt, 'is attributed by Gratian (_Decretal._
P. ii. Cau. xvi. q. l. c. viii.) to a pope Eugenius: _Sicut piscis sine
aqua caret vita, ita sine monasterio monachus._' Joinville says, 'The
Scriptures do say that a monk cannot live out of his cloister without
falling into deadly sins, any more than a fish can live out of water
without dying.' Cf. Piers Plowman, B. x. 292; and my note.

Wyclif (Works, ed. Matthew), p. 449, has a similar remark:--'For, as they
seyn that groundiden [_founded_] these cloystris, thes men myghten no more
dwelle out ther-of than fizs myghte dwelle out of water, for vertu that
they han ther-ynne.' The simile is very old; in The Academy, Nov. 29, 1890,
Prof. Albert Cook traced it back to Sozomen, Eccl. Hist. bk. i. c. 13
(Migne, Patr. Graec. 67. 898):--[Greek: tous men gar ichthuas elege tên
hugran ousian trephein, monachois de kosmon pherein tên erêmon. episês te
tous men xêras aptomenous to zên apolimpanein, tous de tên monastikên
semnotêta apolluein tois astesi prosiontas.] And in The Academy, Dec. 6,
1890, Mr. H. Ellershaw, of Durham, shewed that it occurs still earlier, in
the Life of St. Anthony (c. 85) attributed to St. Athanasius, not later
than A.D. 373:--[Greek: hôsper hoi ichthues enchronizontes têi xêrai gêi
teleutôsin; houtôs hoi monachoi bradunontes meth' humôn kai par' humin
endiatribontes ekluontai.]

Moreover, the poet was thinking of a passage in Le Testament de Jehan de
Meung, ed. Méon, l. 1166:--

 'Qui les voldra trover, si les quiere en leur cloistre ...
  Car ne prisent le munde la montance d'une oistre.'

i. e. 'whoever would find them, let him seek them in their cloister; for
they do not prize the world at the value of an oyster.' Chaucer turns this
passage just the other way about.

182. _text_, remark, saying (as above, in l. 177). _held_, esteemed.

183. 'And _I_ said.' This is a very realistic touch; as if Chaucer had been
talking to the monk, obtaining his opinions, and professing to agree with

184. _What_ has here its earliest sense of _wherefore_, or _why_.

_wood_, mad, foolish, is frequently employed by Spenser; A. S. _w[=o]d_.

186. _swinken_, to toil; whence '_swinked_ hedger,' used by Milton (Comus,
l. 293). But _swinken_ is, properly, a strong verb; A. S. _swincan_, pt. t.
_swanc_, pp. _swuncen_. Hence _swink_, s., toil; l. 188.

187. _bit_, the 3rd pers. sing. pres. of _bidden_, to command. So also
_rit_, rideth, A. 974, 981; _fynt_, findeth, A. 4071; _rist_, riseth, A.
4193; _stant_, standeth, B. 618; _sit_, sitteth, D. 1657; _smit_, smiteth,
E. 122; _hit_, hideth, F. 512.

187, 188. _Austin_, St. Augustine. The reference is to St. Augustine [23]
of Hippo, after whom the Augustinian Canons were named. Their rule was
compiled from his writings. Thus we read that 'bothe monks and chanouns
forsaken the reules of Benet and Austyn'; Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii.
511. And again--'Seynt Austyn techith munkis _to labore with here hondis_,
and so doth seint Benet and seynt Bernard'; Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p.
51. See Cutts, Scenes and Characters, &c.; ch. ii. and ch. iii.

189. _a pricasour_, a hard rider. _priking_, hard riding (l. 191).

190. Cf. 'Also fast so the fowl in flyght'; Ywaine and Gawin, 630.

192. _for no cost_, for no expense. Dr. Morris explains _for no cost_ by
'for no reason,' and certainly M. E. _cost_ sometimes has such a force; but
see ll. 213, 799, where it clearly means 'expense.'

193. _seigh_, saw; A. S. _s[=e]ah_, pt. t. of _s[=e]on_, to see.

_purfiled_, edged with fur. The M. E. _purfil_ signifies the embroidered or
furred hem of a garment, so that _purfile_ is to work upon the edge.
_Purfiled_ has also a more extended meaning, and is applied to garments
overlaid with gems or other ornaments. '_Pourfiler d'or_, to _purfle_,
tinsell, or overcast with gold thread,' &c.: Cotgrave. Spenser uses
_purfled_ in the Fairy Queene, i. 2. 13; ii. 3. 26. Cf. note to P. Plowman,
C. iii. 10.

194. _grys_, a sort of costly grey fur, formerly very much esteemed; O. F.
_gris_, Rom. de la Rose, 9121, 9307; Sir Tristrem, l. 1381. 'The _grey_ is
the back-fur of the northern squirrel'; L. Gautier, Chivalry (Eng. tr.), p.
323. Such a dress as is here described must have been very expensive. In
1231 (Close Roll, 16 Hen. III.), king Henry III. had a skirt (_iupa_) of
scarlet, furred with red _gris_. See Gloss. to Liber Custumarum, ed. Riley,
s. v. _griseum_, p. 806.

In Lydgate's Dance of Macabre, the Cardinal is made to regret--

 'That I shal never hereafter clothed be
  In _grise_ nor ermine, _like unto my degree_.'

The Council of London (1342) reproaches the religious orders with wearing
clothing 'fit rather for knights than for clerks, that is to say, short,
very tight, with excessively wide sleeves, not reaching the elbows, but
hanging down very low, lined with fur or with silk'; see J. Jusserand,
English Wayfaring Life (1889). Cf. Wyclif, Works, ed. Matthew, p. 121.

'This worshipful man, this dene, came rydynge into a good paryssh with a x.
or xii. horses _lyke a prelate_'; Caxton, Fables of Æsop, &c.; last fable;
cf. l. 204 below.

196. 'He had an elaborate brooch, made of gold, with a love-knot in the
larger end.' _love-knotte_, a complicated twist, with loops.

198. _balled_, bald. See Specimens of Early English, ii. 15. 408.

199. _anoint_, anointed; O. F. _enoint_, Lat. _inunctus_.

200. _in good point_, in good case, imitated from the O. F. _en bon point_.
Cotgrave has: '_En bon poinct_, ou, _bien en poinct_, handsome: faire, fat,
well liking, in good taking.' [24]

201. _stepe_, E. E. _steap_, does not here mean _sunken_, but _bright_,
burning, fiery. Mr. Cockayne has illustrated the use of this word in his
Seinte Marherete, pp. 9, 108: 'His twa ehnen [semden] _steappre_ þene
steorren,' his two eyes seemed _brighter_ than stars. So also: 'schininde
and schenre, of [gh]imstanes _steapre_ then is eni steorre,' shining and
clearer, brighter with gems than is any star; St. Katherine, l. 1647. The
expression 'eyen gray and _stepe_,' i. e. bright, has already been quoted
in the note to l. 152. So also 'Eyyen _stepe_ and graye'; King of Tars, l.
15 (in Ritson, Met. Rom. ii. 157); and again, 'thair een _steep_';
Palladius on Husbandry, bk. iv. l. 800. Cf. _stemed_ in the next line; and
see l. 753.

202. _stemed as a forneys of a leed_, shone like the fire under a cauldron.
Here _stemed_ is related to the M. E. _st[=e]m_, a bright light, used in
Havelok, 591. Cf. 'two _stemyng_ eyes,' two bright eyes; Sir T. Wiat, Sat.
i. 53. _That_ refers to _eyen_, not to _heed_.

A kitchen-copper is still sometimes called a _lead_. As to the word _leed_,
which is the same as the modern E. _lead_ (the metal), Mr. Stevenson, in
his edition of the Nottingham Records, iii. 493, observes--'That these
vessels were really made of _lead_ we have ample evidence'; and refers us
to the Laws of Æthelstán, iv. 7 (Schmid, Anhang, xvi. § 1); &c. He
adds--'The _lead_ was frequently fixed, like a modern domestic copper, over
a grate. The grate and flue were known as a _furnace_. Hence the frequent
expression--_a lead in furnace_.' See also _led_ in Havelok, l. 924; and
_lead_ in Tusser's Husbandrie, E. D. S.

203. _botes souple_, boots pliable, soft, and close-fitting.

'This is part of the description of a smart abbot, by an anonymous writer
of the thirteenth century: "Ocreas habebat in cruribus quasi innatae
essent, sine plica porrectas."--MS. Bodley, James, no. 6. p. 121.'--T. See
Rom. of the Rose, 2265-70 (vol. i. p. 173).

205. _for-pyned_, 'tormented,' and hence 'wasted away'; from _pine_. The
_for-_ is intensive, as in Eng. _forswear_.


208. _Frere_, friar. The four orders of mendicant friars mentioned in l.
210 were:--(1) The Dominicans, or friars-preachers, who took up their abode
in Oxford in 1221, known as the Black Friars. (2) The Franciscans, founded
by St. Francis of Assisi in 1209, and known by the name of Grey Friars.
They made their first appearance in England in 1224. (3) The Carmelites, or
White Friars. (4) The Augustin (or Austin) Friars. The friar was popular
with the mercantile classes on account of his varied attainments and
experience. 'Who else so welcome at the houses of men to whom scientific
skill and information, scanty as they might be, were yet of no
inconsiderable service and attraction. He alone of learned and unlearned
possessed some knowledge of foreign countries and their productions; he
alone was acquainted with the composition and decomposition of bodies, with
the art of distillation, [25] with the construction of machinery, and with
the use of the laboratory.' See Professor Brewer's Preface to Monumenta
Franciscana, p. xlv; and, in particular, the poem called 'Pierce the
Ploughman's Crede,' and the satirical piece against the Friars entitled
Jack Upland, formerly printed with Chaucer's Works. Several pieces against
them will also be found in Political Poems, ed. Wright (Record Series); and
there are numerous outspoken attacks upon them in Wyclif's various works,
as, e.g. in the Select Eng. Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 366, and in his Works,
ed. Matthew, p. 47. See also the chapter on Friars in the E. translation of
Jusserand, Eng. Wayfaring Life; p. 293.

Many of the remarks concerning the Frere are ultimately due to Le Roman de
la Rose. See The Romaunt of the Rose, ll. 6161-7698; in vol. i. pp.

_wantown_, sometimes written _wantowen_, literally signifies untrained, and
hence wild, brisk, lively. _wan-_ is a common M. E. prefix, equivalent to
our _un-_ or _dis-_, as in _wanhope_, despair; _towen_ or _town_ occurs in
M. E. writers for well-behaved, well-taught; from A. S. _togen_, pp. of
_t[=e]on_, to educate.

_merye_, pleasant; cf. M. E. _mery wether_, pleasant weather.

209. _limitour_ was a begging friar to whom was assigned a certain district
or _limit_, within which he was permitted to solicit alms; it was also his
business to solicit persons to purchase a partnership, or _brotherhood_, in
the merits of their conventual services. See Tyndale's Works, i. 212
(Parker Soc.); and note to P. Plowman, B. v. 138. Hence in later times the
verb _limit_ signifies to beg.

 'Ther walketh now the _limitour_ himself,
  In undermeles and in morweninges;
  And seyth his matins and his holy thinges
  As he goth in his _limitacioun_.'
                        Wife of Bath's Tale; D. 874.

210. _ordres foure_, four orders (note to l. 208). _can_, i. e. 'knows.'

211. _daliaunce and fair langage_, gossip and flattery. _daliaunce_ in M.
E. signifies 'tittle-tattle' or 'gossip.' The verb _dally_ signifies not
only to loiter or idle, but to play, sport. Godefroy gives O. F.
'_dallier_, v. a., railler.'

212. 'He had, at his own expense, well married many young women.' This is
less generous than might appear; for it almost certainly refers to young
women who had been his concubines. As Dr. Furnivall remarks in his
Temporary Preface, p. 118--'the true explanation lies in the following
extract from a letter of Dr. Layton to Cromwell, in 1535 A. D., in Mr.
Thos. Wright's edition of Letters on the Suppression of the Monasteries
(Camden Soc.), p. 58: [At Maiden Bradley, near Bristol] "is an holy father
prior, and hath but vj. children, and but one dowghter mariede yet of the
goodes of the monasterie, trystyng shortly to mary the reste. His sones be
tall men, waittyng upon him; and he thankes Gode a never medelet with
marytt women, [26] but all with madens, the faireste cowlde be gottyn, and
_always marede them ryght well_."'

214. _post_, pillar or support, as in Troil. i. 1000. See Gal. ii. 9.

216. _frankeleyns_, wealthy farmers; see l. 331. _over-al_, everywhere.

217. _worthy_, probably 'wealthy'; or else, 'respectable.' Cf. l. 68.

219. The word _mór-e _occupies the fourth foot in the line; cf. n. to l.
320. It is an adj., with the sense of 'greater.'

220. _licentiat._ He had a licence from the Pope 'to hear confessions, &c.,
in all places, independently of the local ordinaries.'--T. The _curate_, or
parish priest, could not grant absolution in all cases, some of which were
reserved for the bishop's decision. See Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii.

224. _wiste to han_, knew (he was sure) to have.

_pitaunce_ here signifies a mess of victuals. It originally signified an
extraordinary allowance of victuals given to monastics, in addition to
their usual commons, and was afterwards applied to the whole allowance of
food for a single person, or to a small portion of anything.

225. 'For the giving (of gifts) to a poor order.' _povre_, O. F. _povre_,
poor; cf. _pover-ty_. See _pov-re_ in l. 232.

226. _y-shrive_ = _y-shriven_, confessed, _shriven_. The final _n_ is
dropped; cf. _unknowe_ for _unknowen_ in l. 126.

227. _he dorste_, he durst make (it his) boast, i. e. confidently assert.

_avaunt_, a boast, is from the O. F. vb. _avanter_, to boast, an intensive
form of _vanter_, whence E. _vaunt_.

230. _he may not_, he is not able to. _him sore smerte_, it may pain him,
or grieve him, sorely.

232. _Men moot_, one ought to. Here _moot_ is singular; cf. l. 149.

233. _tipet_, a loose hood, which seems to have been used as a pocket.
'When the Order [of Franciscans] degenerated, the friar combined with the
spiritual functions the occupation of pedlar, huxter, mountebank, and quack
doctor.' (Brewer.) 'Thei [the friars] becomen pedderis [pedlars], berynge
knyues, pursis, pynnys, and girdlis, and spices, and sylk, and precious
pellure and forrouris [_sorts of fur_] for wymmen, and therto smale gentil
hondis [_dogs_], to gete love of hem, and to haue many grete yiftis for
litil good or nought.'--Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 12. As to the
_tipet_, cf. notes to ll. 682, 3953.

In an old poem printed in Brewer's Monumenta Franciscana, we have the
following allusion to the dealings of the friar:--

 'For thai have noght to lyve by, they wandren here and there,
  And dele with dyvers marche, right as thai pedlers were;
  Thei dele with pynnes and knyves,
  With gyrdles, gloves for wenches and wyves,
  Ther thai are haunted till.'

In a poem in MS. Camb., Ff. 1. 6, fol. 156, it is explained that the
limitour craftily gives 'pynnys, gerdyllis, and knyeffis' to wommen, in
order to receive better things in return. He could get knives for [27] less
than a penny a-piece. Cf. 'De j. doss. cultellorum dict. penyware. xd.';
York Wills, iii. 96.

Women used to wear knives sheathed and suspended from their girdles; such
knives were often given to a bride. See the chapter on _Bride-knives_ in
Brand's Popular Antiquities.

_farsed_, stuffed; from F. _farcir_. Cf. E. _farce_.

236. _rote_ is a kind of fiddle or 'crowd,' not a hurdy-gurdy, as it is
explained by Ritson, and in the glossary to Sir Tristrem. Cf. Spenser, F.
Q. ii. 10. 3; iv. 9. 6; Sir Degrevant, l. 37 (see Halliwell's note, at p.
289 of the Thornton Romances). See my Etym. Dictionary.

237. _yeddinges_, songs embodying some popular tales or romances. In Sir
Degrevant, l. 1421, we are told that a lady 'song yeddyngus,' i. e. sang
songs. For singing such songs, he was in the highest estimation. From A. S.
_geddian_, to sing. Cf. P. Plowman, A. i. 138:--'Ther thou art murie at thy
mete, whon me biddeth the _yedde_.'

_prys_ answers both to E. _prize_ and _price_; cf. l. 67.

239. _champioun_, champion; i. e. a professional fighter in judicial lists.
Cf. P. Plowman, C. xxi. 104; and see Britton, liv. i. ch. 23. § 15.

241. _tappestere_, a female tapster. In olden times the retailers of beer,
and for the most part the brewers also, appear to have been females. The
_-stere_ or _-ster_ as a feminine affix (though in the fourteenth century
it is not always or regularly used as such) occurs in M. E. _brewstere_,
_webbestere_, Eng. _spinster_. In _huckster_, _maltster_, _songster_, this
affix has acquired the meaning of an agent; and in _youngster_, _gamester_,
_punster_, &c., it implies contempt. See Skeat, Principles of Etymology,
pt. i. § 238. Cf. _beggestere_, female beggar, 242.

242. _Bet_, better, adv.; as distinguished from _bettre_, adj. (l. 524).

_lazar_, a leper; from _Lazarus_, in the parable of Dives and Lazarus;
hence _lazaretto_, a hospital for lepers, a lazar-house.

244. 'It was unsuitable, considering his ability.'

246. 'It is not becoming, it may not advance (profit) to deal with
(associate with) any such poor people.' Cf. Rom. of the Rose, 6455, 6462;
and note to P. Plowman, C. xiii. 21.

247. The line is imperfect in the first foot.

_poraille_, rabble of poor people; from O. F. _povre_, poor.

248. _riche_, i. e. rich people.

249, 250. 'And everywhere, wherever profit was likely to accrue, courteous
he was, and humble in offering his services.'

251. _vertuous_, (probably) energetic, efficient; cf. _vertu_ in l. 4.

252, 253. Between these two lines the Hengwrt MS. inserts the two lines
marked 252 _b_ and 252 _c_, which are omitted in the other MSS., though
they certainly appear to be genuine, and are found in all the black-letter
editions, which follow Thynne. In the Six-text edition, which is here
followed, they are not counted in. Tyrwhitt both inserts and numbers them;
hence a slight difference in the methods of numbering the lines after this
line. Tyrwhitt's numbering is given, [28] at every tenth line, within marks
of parenthesis, for convenience of reference. The sense is--'And gave a
certain annual payment for the grant (to be licensed to beg; in consequence
of which) none of his brethren came with his limit.'

_ferme_ is the mod. E. _farm_; cf. 'to _farm_ revenues.'

253. _sho_, shoe; not _sou_ (as has been suggested), which would (in fact)
give _a false rime_. So also 'worth his olde _sho_'; D. 708.

The friars were not above receiving even the smallest articles; and
_ferthing_, in l. 255, may be explained by 'small article,' of a farthing's
value. See l. 134.

 'For had a man slayn al his kynne,
  Go shryve him at a frere;
  And for lasse then _a payre of shone_
  He wyl assoil him clene and sone!'
                    Polit. Poems, ed. Wright; i. 266.

'Ever be giving of somewhat, though it be but a cheese, or a piece of
bacon, to the holy order of sweet St. Francis, or to any other of my [i. e.
Antichrist's] friars, monks, canons, &c. Holy Church refuseth nothing, but
gladly taketh whatsoever cometh.'--Becon's Acts of Christ and of
Antichrist, vol. iii. p. 531 (Parker Society). And see the Somp. Tale, D.

254. _In principio._ The reference is to the text in John i. 1, as proved
by a passage from Tyndale (Works, ed. 1572, p. 271, col. 2; or iii. 61,
Parker Soc.):--'Such is the limiter's saying of _In principio erat verbum_,
from house to house.' Sir Walter Scott copies this phrase in The Fair Maid
of Perth, ch. iii. The friars constantly quoted this text.

256. _purchas_ = proceeds of his begging. What he acquired in this way was
greater than his _rent_ or income. '_Purchase_, ... any method of acquiring
an estate otherwise than by descent'; Blackstone, _Comment._ I. iii. For
_rente_, see l. 373.

We find also:

 'My purchas is theffect of al my rente'; D. 1451.

 'To winne is alway myn entent,
  _My purchas is better than my rent_.'
                        Romaunt of the Rose, l. 6837;

where the F. original has (l. 11760)--'Miex vaut mes porchas que ma rente.'

257. _as it were right_ (E. Hn. &c.); _and pleye as_ (Hl.). The sense
is--'and he could romp about, exactly as if he were a puppy-dog.'

258. _love-dayes._ 'Love-days (_dies amoris_) were days fixed for settling
differences by umpire, without having recourse to law or violence. The
ecclesiastics seem generally to have had the principal share in the
management of these transactions, which, throughout the Vision of Piers
Ploughman, appear to be censured as the means of hindering justice and of
enriching the clergy.'--Wright's Vision of Piers Ploughman, vol. ii. p.
535. [29]

 'Ac now is Religion a rydere, and a rennere aboute,
  A ledere of _love-dayes_,' &c.

Piers Ploughman, A. xi. 208, ed. Skeat; see also note to P. Pl. ed. Skeat,
B. iii. 157. The sense is--'he could give much help on love-days (by acting
as umpire).' See ll. 259-261.

As to _loveday_, see Wyclif, Works, ed. Matthew, pp. 172, 234, 512; and the
same, Works, ed. Arnold, ii. 77; iii. 322; Paston Letters, ed. Gairdner, i.
496; Titus Andronicus, i. 1. 491. In the Testament of Love, bk. i. (ed.
1561, fol. 287, col. 2) we find--'What (quod she) ... maked I not a
_louedaie_ betwene God and mankind, and chese a maide to be nompere
[_umpire_], to put the quarell at ende?'

260. _cope_, a priest's vestment; a cloak forming a semicircle when laid
flat; the _semi-cope_ (l. 262) was a short cloak or cape. Cf. Pierce the
Ploughman's Crede, ll. 227, 228:--

 'His _cope_ that biclypped him, wel clene was it folden,
  Of _double-worstede_ y-dyght, doun to the hele.'

This line is a little awkward to scan. _With a thred-_ constitutes the
first foot; and _povre_ is _povr'_ (cp. mod. F. _pauvre_).

261. 'The kyng or the emperour myghtte with worschipe were a garnement of a
frere for goodnesse of the cloth'; Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 50.

263. _rounded_, assumed a round form; used intransitively, _presse_, the
mould in which a bell is cast; cf. l. 81.

264. _lipsed_, lisped; by metathesis of _s_ and _p_. See footnote to l.
273. _for his wantownesse_, by way of mannerism.


270. _a forked berd._ In the time of Edward III. _forked beards_ were the
fashion among the franklins and bourgeoisie, according to the English
custom before the Conquest. See Fairholt's Costume in England, fig. 30.

271. _In mottelee_, in a motley dress; cf. l. 328.

273. _clasped_; fastened with a clasp fairly and neatly. See l. 124.

274. _resons_, opinions. _ful solempnely_, with much importance.

275. 'Always conducing to the increase of his profit.' _souninge_, sounding
like, conducing to; cf. l. 307. Compare--'thei chargen more [care more for]
a litil thing that _sowneth_ to wynnyng of hem, than a myche more [greater]
thing that _sowneth_ to worchip of God'; Wyclif, Works, ed. Arnold, ii.
383. 'These indulgencis ... done mykel harme to Cristen soulis, and
_sownen_ erroure ageynes the gospel'; id., iii. 459. Cf. Chaucer's
Doctour's Tale, C. 54; also P. Plowman, C. vii. 59, x. 216, xii. 79, xxii.
455. The M. E. sb. _soun_ is from F. _son_, Lat. acc. _sonum_.

276. _were kept_, should be guarded; so that he should not suffer from [30]
pirates or privateers. 'The old subsidy of tonnage and poundage was given
to the king for the safeguard and custody of the sea 12. Edw. IV. c.

 'The _see_ wel _kept_, it must be don for drede.'
                     A Libell of English Policie, l. 1083.

In 1360, a commission was granted to John Gibone to proceed, with certain
ships of the Cinque Ports, to free the sea from pirates and others, the
enemies of the king; Appendix E. to Rymer's Foedera, p. 50.

_for any thing_, i. e. for any sake, at any cost. The A. S. _thing_ is
often used in the sense of 'sake,' 'cause,' or 'reason.' _For_ in Chaucer
also means 'against,' or 'to prevent,' but not (I think) here.

277. _Middelburgh and Orewelle._ '_Middelburgh_ is still a well-known port
of the island of Walcheren, in the Netherlands, almost immediately opposite
Harwich, beside which are the estuaries of the rivers Stoure and _Orwell_.
This spot was formerly known as the port of _Orwell_ or
_Orewelle_.'--Saunders, p. 229.

This mention of Middelburgh 'proves that the Prologue must have been
written not before 1384, and not later than 1388. In the year 1384 the
wool-staple was removed from Calais and established at Middelburgh; in 1388
it was fixed once more at Calais; see Craik's Hist. of Brit. Commerce, i.
123.'--Hales, Folia Literaria, p. 100. This note has a special importance.

278. 'He well knew how to make a profit by the exchange of his crowns' in
the different money-markets of Europe. _Sheeldes_ are crowns (O. F.
_escuz_, F. _écus_), named from their having on one side the figure of a
shield. They were valued at half a noble, or 3s. 4d.; Appendix E. to
Rymer's Foedera, p. 55. See B. 1521.

279. _his wit bisette_, employed his knowledge to the best advantage.
_bisette_ = used, employed. Cf. Piers Plowman, ed. Skeat, B. v. 297:--

 'And if thow wite (know) nevere to whiche, ne whom to restitue
      [the goods gotten wrongfully]
  Bere it to the bisschop, and bidde hym, of his grace,
  _Bisette_ it hymselue, as best is for thi soule.'

281, 282. 'So ceremoniously (_or_, with such lofty bearing) did he order
his bargains and agreements for borrowing money.' A _chevisaunce_ was an
agreement for borrowing money on credit; cf. B. 1519; also P. Plowman, B.
v. 249, and the note. From F. _chevir_, to accomplish; cf. E. _achieve_.

284. _noot_ = _ne_ + _woot_, know not; so _niste_ = _ne_ + _wiste_, knew


285. _Clerk_, a university student, a scholar preparing for the priesthood.
It also signifies a man of learning, a man in holy orders. See [31]
Anstey's Munimenta Academica for much interesting information on early
Oxford life and studies.

_Oxenford_, Oxford, as if 'the ford of the oxen' (A. S. _Oxnaford_); and it
has not been proved that this etymology is wrong.

_y-go_, gone, betaken himself.

287. Hence 'Leane as a rake' in Skelton, Philip Sparowe, l. 913; 'A
villaine, leane as any rake, appeares'; W. Browne, Brit. Past. bk. ii. song

290. 'His uppermost short cloak (of coarse cloth).' The syllable _-py_
answers to Du. _pije_, a coarse cloth; cf. Goth. _paida_, a coat. Cf. E.
_pea_-jacket. See D. 1382; P. Plowman, B. vi. 191; Rom. Rose, 220.

292. 'Nor was he so worldly as to take a (secular) office.' Many clerks
undertook legal employments; P. Plowman, B. prol. 95.

293. 'For it was dearer to him to have,' i. e. he would rather have.

_lever_ is the comparative of M. E. _leef_, A. S. _l[=e]of_, lief, dear.

294. The first foot is defective: Twen | ty bo | kes, &c.

296. In the Milleres Tale, Chaucer describes a clerk of a very opposite
character, who loved dissipation and played upon a 'sautrye' or psaltery.
See A. 3200-20.

_fithel_ is the mod. E. _fiddle_. _sautrye_ is an O. F. spelling of our

297. _philosophre_ is used in a double sense; it sometimes meant an
alchemist, as in G. 1427. The clerk knew philosophy, but he was no
alchemist, and so had but little gold.

298. _Hadde_, possessed; as _hadde_ is here emphatic, the final _e_ is not
elided. So also in l. 386.

301. Chaucer often imitates his own lines. He here imitates Troil. iv.
1174--'And pitously gan for the soule preye.' _gan_, did.

302. _yaf him_, 'gave him (money) wherewith to attend school.' An allusion
to the common practice, at this period, of poor scholars in the
Universities, who wandered about the country begging, to raise money to
support them in their studies. Luther underwent a similar experience. Cf.
P. Plowman, B. vii. 31; also Ploughman's Crede, ed. Skeat, p. 71.

305. 'With propriety (due form) and modesty.'

307. _Souninge in_, conducing to; cf. note to l. 275 above.


309. _war_, wary, cautious; A. S. _wær_, aware. Cf. l. 157.

310. _at the parvys_, at the _church-porch_, or portico of St. Paul's,
where the lawyers were wont to meet for consultation. See Ducange, s. v.
_paradisus_, which is the Latin form whence the O. F. _parvis_ is derived.
Also the note in Warton, Hist. E. Poet., ed. 1840, ii. 212; cf. Anglia,
viii. 453. And see Rom. of the Rose. 7108, and the note.

315. _pleyn_, full; F. _plein_, Lat. acc. _plenum_. Cf. _pleyn_, fully, in
l. 327. [32]

320. _purchasing_, conveyancing; _infect_, invalid. 'The learned Sergeant
was clever enough to untie any entail, and pass the property as estate in
fee simple.'--W. H. H. Kelke, in N. and Q. 5 S. vi. 487.

The word _might-e_ occupies the fourth foot in the line.

323, 324. 'He was well acquainted with all the legal cases and decisions
(or decrees) which had been ruled in the courts of law (lit. had befallen)
since the time of William the Conqueror.' _In termes hadde he_, he had in
terms, knew how to express in proper terms, was well acquainted with.

325. _Therto_, moreover. _make_, compose, draw up, draught.

326. _pinche at_, find fault with; lit. nip, twitch at.

327. _coude he_, he knew; _coude_ is the pt. t. of _konnen_, to know, A. S.

328. _medlee cote_, a coat of mixed stuff or colour. In 1303, we find
mention of 'one woman's surcoat of _medley_'; see Memorials of London, ed.
Riley, p. 48.

329. _ceint of silk_, &c., a girdle of silk, with small ornaments. The
_barres_ were called _cloux_ in French (Lat. _clavus_), and were the usual
ornaments of a girdle. They were perforated to allow the tongue of the
buckle to pass through them. 'Originally they were attached transversely to
the wide tissue of which the girdle was formed, but subsequently were round
or square, or fashioned like the heads of lions, and similar devices, the
name of _barre_ being still retained, though improperly.'--Way, in
Promptorium Parvulorum; s. v. _barre_. And see _Bar_ in the New English
Dictionary. Gower also has: 'a ceinte of silk'; C. A. ed. Pauli, ii. 30.
Cf. A. 3235, and Rom. of the Rose, 1085, 1103.

_ceint_, O. F. _ceint_, a girdle; from Lat. _cinctus_, pp. of _cingere_, to


331. Fortescue (De Laudibus Legum Angliae, c. 29) describes a franklin to
be a _pater familias--magnis ditatus possessionibus_; i. e. he was a
substantial householder and a man of some importance. See Warton, Hist. E.
Poet., ed. 1840, ii. 202; and Gloss. to P. Plowman.

332. _dayes-ye_, daisy; A. S. _dæges [=e]age_, lit. eye of day (the sun).

333. 'He was sanguine of complexion.' The old school of medicine, following
Galen, supposed that there were four 'humours,' viz. hot, cold, moist, and
dry (see l. 420), and four complexions or temperaments of men, viz. the
sanguine, the choleric, the phlegmatic, and the melancholy. The man of
sanguine complexion abounded in hot and moist humours, as shown in the
following description, given in the Oriel MS. 79 (as quoted in my Preface
to P. Plowman, B-text, p. xix):-- [33]

  Largus, amans, hilaris, ridens, rubeique coloris,
  Cantans, carnosus, satis audax, atque benignus:
  multum appetit, quia calidus; multum potest, quia humidus.'

334. _by the morwe_, in the morning.

_a sop in wyn_, wine with pieces of cake or bread in it; see E. 1843. See
Brand, Antiq. (ed. Ellis), ii. 137. Later, _sop-in-wine_ was a jocose name
for a kind of pink or carnation; id. ii. 91.

In the Anturs of Arthur at the Tarnewathelan, st. 37, we read that

 'Thre soppus of demayn [i. e. paindemayn]
  Wos broght to Sir Gaua[y]n
  For to comford his brayne.'

And in MS. Harl. 279, fol. 10, we have the necessary instruction for the
making of these sops. 'Take mylke and boyle it, and thanne tak yolkys of
eyroun [_eggs_], ytryid [_separated_] fro the whyte, and hete it, but let
it nowt boyle, and stere it wyl tyl it be somwhat thikke; thenne cast
therto salt and sugre, and kytte [_cut_] fayre paynemaynnys in round
soppys, and caste the soppys theron, and serve it forth for a
potage.'--Way, in Promptorium Parvulorum, p. 378. The F. name is _soupe au
vin_. See also Ducange, s. v. _Merus_.

335. _wone_, wont, custom; A. S. _wuna_, _ge-wuna_.

_delyt_, delight; the mod. E. word is misspelt; _delite_ would be better.

336. 'A very son of Epicurus.' Alluding to the famous Greek philosopher
[died B. C. 270], the author of the Epicurean philosophy, which assumed
pleasure to be the highest good. Chaucer here follows Boethius, bk. iii.
pr. 2. 54: 'The whiche delyt only considerede Epicurus, and iuged and
establisshed that delyt is the sovereyn good.' Cf. Troil. iii. 1691, v.
763; also E. 2021.

340. '_St. Julian_ was eminent for providing his votaries with good
lodgings and accommodation of all sorts. [See Chambers' Book of Days, ii.
388.] In the title of his legend, Bodl. MS. 1596, fol. 4, he is called "St.
Julian the gode herberjour" (St. Julian the good harbourer).'--Tyrwhitt.
His day is Jan. 9. See the Lives of Saints, ed. Horstmann (E. E. T. S.);
also Gesta Romanorum, ed. Swan, tale 18; Mrs. Jameson, Sacred and Leg. Art,
ii. 393.

341. _after oon_, according to one invariable standard; 'up to the mark';
cf. A. 1781, and the note. A description of a Franklin's feast is given in
the Babees Book, ed. Furnivall, p. 170.

342. _envyned_, stored with wine. 'Cotgrave has preserved the French word
_enviné_ in the same sense.'--Tyrwhitt.

343. _bake mete_ = _baked meat_; the old past participle of _bake_ was
_baken_ or _bake_, as it was a strong verb. _Baked meats_ = meats baked in
_coffins_ (pies). Cf. Hamlet, i. 2. 180.

344. _plentevous_, plenteous, plentiful; O. F. _plentivous_, formed by
adding _-ous_ to O. F. _pleintif_, adj. abundant; see Godefroy's O. F.
Dict. [34]

345. The verb _snewed_ may be explained as a metaphor from snowing; in
fact, the M. E. _snewe_, like the Prov. Eng. _snie_ or _snive_, also
signifies _to abound, swarm_. Camb. MS. reads 'It snowede in his mouth of
mete and drynk.' Cf. 'He was with yiftes [presents] all _bisnewed_'; Gower,
C. A. iii. 51. From A. S. _sn[=i]wan_.

347. _After_, according to; it depended on what was in season.

348. _soper_ (supee·r), supper; from O. F. infin. _soper_; cf. F. 1189.

349. _mewe._ The _mewe_ was the place where the hawks were kept while
moulting; it was afterwards applied to the _coop_ wherein fowl were
fattened, and lastly to a place of confinement or secrecy.

350. _stewe_, fish-pond. 'To insure a supply of fish, stew-ponds were
attached to the manors, and few monasteries were without them; the moat
around the castle was often converted into a fish-pond, and well stored
with luce, carp, or tench.'--Our English Home, p. 65.

_breem_, bream; _luce_, pike, from O. F. _luce_, Low Lat. _lucius_.

351. _Wo was his cook_, woeful or sad was his cook. We now only use _wo_ or
_woe_ as a substantive. Cf. B. 757, E. 753; and 'I am _woe_ for 't';
Tempest, v. 1. 139.

'Who was _woo_ but Olyvere then?'--Sowdone of Babyloyne, l. 1271. Rob. of
Brunne, in his Handlyng Synne, l. 7250, says that a rich man's cook 'may no
day Greythe hym hys mete to pay.'

_but-if_, unless.

351, 352. _sauce--Poynaunt_ is like the modern phrase _sauce piquante_. Cf.
B. 4024. 'Our forefathers were great lovers of "piquant sauce." They made
it of expensive condiments and rare spices.'--Our English Home, p. 62.

353. _table dormant_, irremoveable table. 'Previous to the fourteenth
century a pair of common wooden trestles and a rough plank was deemed a
table sufficient for the great hall.... Tables, with a board attached to a
frame, were introduced about the time of Chaucer, and, from remaining in
the hall, were regarded as indications of a ready hospitality.'--Our
English Home, p. 29. Most tables were removeable; such a table was called a
_bord_ (board).

355. _sessiouns._ At the Sessions of the Peace, at the meeting of the
Justices of the Peace. Cf. '_At Sessions_ and at Sises we bare the stroke
and swaye.'--Higgins' Mirrour for Magistrates, ed. 1571, p. 2.

356. _knight of the shire_, the designation given to the representative in
parliament of an English county at large, as distinguished from the
representatives of such counties and towns as are counties of themselves
(Ogilvie). Chaucer was knight of the shire of Kent in 1386.

_tym-e_ here represents the A. S. _t[=i]man_, pl. of _t[=i]ma_, a time.

357. _anlas_ or _anelace_. Speght defines this word as a _falchion_, or
wood-knife. It was, however, a short two-edged knife or dagger usually worn
at the girdle, broad at the hilt and tapering to a point. See the New Eng.
Dictionary; Liber Albus, p. 75; Knight, Pict. Hist. of England, i. 872;
Gloss. to Matthew Paris, s. v. _anelacius_; Riley's [35] Memorials of
London, p. 15. The etymology is unknown; I _guess_ it to be from M. E.
_an_, on, and _las_, a lace, i. e. 'on a lace,' a dagger that hung from a
lace attached to the girdle. Cf. A. S. _bigyrdel_ (just below); and
'hanging on a laas' in l. 392.

_gipser_ was properly a pouch or budget used in hawking, &c., but commonly
worn by the merchant, or with any secular attire.--(Way.) It answers to F.
_gibecière_, a pouch; from O. F. _gibe_, a bunch (Scheler). In Riley's
Memorials of London, p. 398, under the date 1376, there is a mention of
'purses called _gibesers_.' In the Bury Wills, p. 37, l. 16, under the date
1463, we find--'My best _gypcer_ with iij. bagges.' The A. S. name was
_bigyrdel_, from its hanging _by the girdle_, as said in l. 358; it occurs
in the A. S. version of Matt. x. 9; and in P. Plowman, B. viii. 87.

358. _Heng_ (or _Heeng_), the past tense of _hongen_ or _hangen_, to hang.

_morne milk_ = morning-milk; as in A. 3236. 'As white as milke'; Ritson's
Met. Romances, iii. 292.

359. _shirreve_, the _reve_ of a _shire_, governor of a county; our modern
word _sheriff_.

_countour_, O. Fr. _comptour_, an accountant, a person who audited accounts
or received money in charge, &c.; ranked with pleaders in Riley's Memorials
of London, p. 58. It occurs in Rob. of Gloucester, l. 11153. In the Book of
the Duch. 435, it simply means 'accountant.' Perhaps it here means
'auditor.' 'Or stewards, _countours_, or pleadours'; Plowman's Tale, pt.
iii. st. 13.

360. _vavasour_, or _vavaser_, originally a sub-vassal or tenant of a
vassal or tenant of the king's, one who held his lands in fealty.
'_Vavasor_, one that in dignities is next to a Baron'; Cowel. Strutt
(Manners and Customs, iii. 14) explains that a _vavasour_ was 'a tenant by
knight's service, who did not hold immediately of the king _in capite_, but
of some mesne lord, which excluded him from the dignity of baron by
tenure.' Tyrwhitt says 'it should be understood to mean the whole class of
middling landholders.' See Lacroix, Military Life of Middle Ages, p. 9.
Spelt _favasour_ in King Alisaunder, ed. Weber, l. 3827. A. F. _uauassur_;
Laws of Will. I. c. 20. Lit. 'vassal of vassals'; Low Lat. _vassus


361. _Haberdassher._ Haberdashers were of two kinds: haberdashers of small
wares--sellers of needles, tapes, buttons, &c.; and haberdashers of hats.
The stuff called _hapertas_ is mentioned in the Liber Albus, p. 225.

362. _Webbe_, properly a male weaver; _webstere_ was the female weaver, but
there appears to have been some confusion in the use of the suffixes _-e_
and _-stere_; see Piers Plowman, ed. Skeat, B. v. 215: 'mi _wyf_ was a
_webbe_.' Hence the names _Webb_ and _Webster_. Cf. [36] A. S. _webba_, m.,
a weaver; _webbestere_, fem. _tapicer_, upholsterer; F. _tapis_, carpet.

363. _liveree_, livery. 'Under the term "livery" was included whatever was
dispensed (_delivered_) by the lord to his officials or domestics annually
or at certain seasons, whether money, victuals, or garments. The term
chiefly denoted external marks of distinction, such as the _roba estivalis_
and _hiemalis_, given to the officers and retainers of the court.... The
Stat. 7 Hen. IV expressly permits the adoption of such distinctive dress by
fraternities and "_les gentz de mestere_," the trades of the cities of the
realm, being ordained with good intent; and to this prevalent usage Chaucer
alludes when he describes five artificers of various callings, who joined
the pilgrimage, clothed all _in o lyveré of a solempne and greet
fraternité_.'--Way, note to Prompt. Parv., p. 308. We still speak of the
Livery Companies.

_And they were clothed alle_ (Elles., &c.); _Weren with vss eeke clothed_
(Harl.) The former reading leaves the former clause of the sentence without
a verb.

364. _fraternitee_, guild: see English Gilds, ed. Toulmin Smith, pp. xxx,
xxxix, cxxii. Each guild had its own livery; Rock, Church of our Fathers,
ii. 412.

365. _gere_, gear, apparel. _apyked_, signifies cleaned, trimmed, like
Shakespeare's _picked_. Cotgrave gives as senses of F. _piquer_, 'to
quilt,' and 'to stiffen a coller.'

366. _y-chaped_, having _chapes_ (i. e. plates or _caps_ of metal at the
point of the sheath or scabbard). Tradesmen and mechanics were prohibited
from using knives adorned with silver, gold, or precious stones. So that
Chaucer's pilgrims were of a superior estate, as is indicated in l. 369.
Cf. _chapeless_, Taming of the Shrew, iii. 2. 48.

370. _deys_, _dese_, or _dais_ (Fr. _deis_, from Lat. _discum_, acc.), is
used to denote the raised platform which was always found at the upper end
of a hall, on which the high table was placed; originally, it meant the
high table itself. In modern French and English, it is used of a canopy or
'tester' over a seat of state. Tyrwhitt's account of the word is confused,
as he starts with a false etymology.

_yeld-halle_, guild-hall. See _Gildhall_ in the Index to E. Gilds, ed.
Toulmin Smith.

371. _that he can_, that he knows; so also _as he couthe_, as he knew how,
in l. 390. This line is deficient in the first foot.

372. _shaply_, adapted, fit; sometimes comely, of good _shape_. The mention
of _alderman_ should be noted. It was the invariable title given to one who
was chosen as the head or principal of a guild (see English Gilds, ed.
Toulmin Smith, pp. ciii, 36, 148, 276, 446). All these men belonged to a
fraternity or guild, and each of them was a fit man to be chosen as head of

373. 'For they had sufficient property and income' (to entitle them to
undertake such an office).

376. _y-clept_, called; pp. of _clepen_; see l. 121. [37]

377. _And goon to vigilyes al bifore._ 'It was the manner in times past,
upon festival evens, called _vigiliæ_, for parishioners to meet in their
church-houses or church-yards, and there to have a drinking-fit for the
time. Here they used to end many quarrels betwixt neighbour and neighbour.
Hither came the wives in comely manner, and they which were of the better
sort had their mantles carried with them, as well for show as to keep them
from cold at table.'--Speght, Gl. to Chaucer.


379. _for the nones_ = _for the nonce_; this expression, if grammatically
written, would be _for then once_, M. E. _for þan anes_, for the once,
i. e. for the occasion; where the adv. _anes_ (orig. a gen. form) is used
as if it were a sb. in the dat. case. Cf. M. E. _atte_ = _atten_, A. S. _æt

381. _poudre-marchaunt tart_ is a sharp (tart) kind of flavouring powder,
twice mentioned in Household Ordinances and Receipts (Soc. Antiq. 1790) at
pp. 425, 434: 'Do therto _pouder marchant_,' and 'do thi flessh therto, and
gode herbes and _poudre marchaunt_, and let hit well stew.'--Notes and
Queries, Fourth Series, iii. 180. See _Powder_ in the Glossary to the
Babees Book.

'_Galingale_, which Chaucer, pre-eminentest, economioniseth above all
junquetries or confectionaries whatsoever.'--Nash's Lenten Stuff, p. 36,
ed. Hindley. _Galingale_ is the root of sweet cyperus. Harman (ed.
Strother) notices three varieties: _Cyperus rotundus_, _Galanga major_,
_Galanga minor_; Babees Book, ed. Furnivall, pp. 152, 216. See also Marco
Polo, ed. Yule, ii. 181; Prompt. Parv., p. 185, note 4; Rogers, Hist. of
Agriculture and Prices, i. 629; &c. And see Dr. H. Fletcher Hance's and Mr.
Daniel Hanbury's Papers on this spice in the Linnæan Society's Journal,

382. _London ale._ London ale was famous as early as the time of Henry
III., and much higher priced than any other ale; cf. A. 3140.

_Wel coude he knowe_, he well knew how to distinguish. In fact, we find, in
the Manciple's Prologue (H. 57), that the Cook loved good ale only too

384. _mortreux_ or _mortrewes_. There were two kinds of 'mortrews,'
'mortrewes de chare' and 'mortrewes of fysshe.' The first was a kind of
soup in which chickens, fresh pork, crumbs of bread, yolks of eggs, and
saffron formed the chief ingredients; the second kind was a soup containing
the roe (or milt) and liver of fish, bread, pepper, ale. The ingredients
were first stamped or brayed in a _mortar_, whence it probably derived its
name. Lord Bacon (Nat. Hist. i. 48) speaks of 'a _mortresse_ made with the
brawne of capons stamped and strained.' See Babees Book, pp. 151, 170, 172;
Liber Cure Cocorum, ed. Morris, pp. 9, 19; and the note to P. Plowman, C.
xvi. 47. This line, like ll. 371 and 391, is deficient in the first foot.

386. _mormal_, a cancer or gangrene. Ben Jonson, in imitation of [38] this
passage, has described a cook with an 'old _mortmal_ on his shin'; Sad
Shepherd, act ii. sc. 2. Lydgate speaks of 'Goutes, _mormalles_, horrible
to the sight'; Falls of Princes, bk. vii. c. 10. In Polit. Religious and
Love Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 218, we are told that the sin of Luxury 'ys a
lyther _mormale_.' In Skelton's Magnificence, l. 1932, Adversity is made to
say--'Some with the _marmoll_ to halte I them make'; and it is remarkable
that Palsgrave gives both--'_Mormall_, a sore,' and '_Marmoll_, a sore';
the latter being plainly a corrupt form. See also Prompt. Parvulorum, p.
343, note 5. In MS. Oo. i. 20, last leaf, in the Camb. Univ. Library, are
notices of remedies 'Por la maladie que est apele _malum mortuum_.' The MS.
says that it comes from melancholy, and shows a broad hard scurf or crust.

387. _blank-manger_, a compound made of capon minced, with rice, milk,
sugar, and almonds; see Liber Cure Cocorum, ed. Morris, p. 9. Named from
its white colour.


See the essay on Chaucer's Shipman in Essays on Chaucer, p. 455.

388. _woning_, dwelling; from A. S. _wunian_, to dwell.

_by weste_ = _westward_. A good old expression, which was once very common
as late as the sixteenth century.

389. Dartmouth was once a very considerable port; see Essays on Chaucer, p.
456. Compare the account of the Shipman's Gild at Lynn; E. Gilds, p. 54.

390. _rouncy_, a common hackney horse, a nag. Cf. _Rozinante_.
'_Rocinante_--significativo de lo que habia sido cuando fué _rocin, antes_
de lo que ahora era.' Don Quijote, cap. 1. 'From _Rozin_, a drudge-horse,
and _ante_, before.' Jarvis's note. The O. F. form is _roncin_; Low Lat.
_runcinus_. The _rouncy_ was chiefly used for agricultural work; see Essays
on Chaucer, p. 494.

_as he couthe_, as he knew how; but, as a sailor, his knowledge this way
was deficient.

391. _a goune of falding_, a gown (robe) of coarse cloth. The term
_falding_ signifies 'a kind of frieze or rough-napped cloth,' which was
probably 'supplied from the North of Europe, and identical with the woollen
wrappers of which Hermoldus speaks, "_quos nos appellamus
Faldones_."'--Way. '_Falding_ was a coarse serge cloth, very rough and
durable,' &c.; Essays on Chaucer, p. 438. In MS. O. 5. 4, in Trinity
College, Cambridge, occurs the entry--'Amphibulus, vestis equi villosa,
anglice _a sclauayn or faldyng_'; cited in Furnivall's Temporary Preface,
p. 99. In 1392, I find a mention of 'unam tunicam de nigro _faldyng_
lineatam'; Testamenta Eboracensia, i. 173. Hence its colour was sometimes
black, and the Shipman's gown is so coloured in the drawing in the
Ellesmere MS.; but see A. 3212. See the whole of Way's long note in the
Prompt. Parvulorum. [39]

392. _laas_, lace, cord. Seamen still carry their knives slung.

394. _the hote somer._ 'Perhaps this is a reference to the summer of the
year 1351, which was long remembered as the dry and hot summer.'--Wright.
There was another such summer in 1370, much nearer the date of this
Prologue. But it may be a mere general expression.

395. _a good felawe_, a merry companion; as in l. 648.

396-8. 'Very many a draught of wine had he drawn (stolen away or carried
off) from Bordeaux, cask and all, while the chapman (merchant or supercargo
to whom the wine belonged) was asleep; for he paid no regard to any
conscientious scruples.'

_took keep_; cf. F. _prendre garde_.

399. _hyer hond_, upper hand.

400. 'He sent them home to wherever they came from _by water_,' i. e. he
made them 'walk the plank,' as it used to be called; or, in plain English,
threw them overboard, to sink or swim. However cruel this may seem now, it
was probably a common practice. 'This battle (the sea-fight off Sluys) was
very murderous and horrible. Combats at sea are more destructive and
obstinate than upon land'; Froissart's Chron. bk. i. c. 50. See Minot's
Poems, ed. Hall, p. 16. In Wright's History of Caricature, p. 204, is an
anecdote of the way in which the defeat of the French at Sluys was at last
revealed to the king of France, Philippe VI., by the court-jester, who
alone dared to communicate the news. 'Entering the King's chamber, he
continued muttering to himself, but loud enough to be heard--"Those
cowardly English! the chicken-hearted English!" "How so, cousin?" the king
inquired. "Why," replied the fool, "because they have not courage enough
_to jump into the sea_, like your French soldiers, who went over headlong
from their ships, leaving them to the enemy, who had _no inclination to
follow them_." Philippe thus became aware of the full extent of his
calamity.' And see Essays on Chaucer, p. 460.

402. _stremes_, currents. _him bisydes_, ever near at hand.

403. _herberwe_, harbour; see note to l. 765. _mone_, moon, time of the

_lodemenage_, pilotage. A pilot was called a _lodesman_; see Way's note in
Prompt. Parv. p. 310; Riley's Memorials of London, p. 655; Chaucer's Legend
of Good Women, 1488. Furnivall's Temporary Preface, p. 98, gives the Lat.
form as _lodmannus_, whence _lodmannagium_, pilotage, examples of which are
given. Sometimes, _lodesman_ meant any guide or conductor, as in Rob. of
Brunne, Handlyng Synne, 9027; Monk of Evesham, ed. Arber, p. 106. M. E.
_lode_ is the A. S. _l[=a]d_, a way, a course, the sb. whence the verb to
_lead_ is derived. It is itself derived from A. S. _l[=i]ðan_, to travel.

404. Cf. Rom. de la Rose, 5394--'Qui cercheroit jusqu'en Cartage.'

408. _Gootland_, Gottland, an island in the Baltic Sea.

409. _cryke_, creek, harbour, port.

410. We find actual mention of a vessel called the _Maudelayne_ [40]
belonging to the port of Dartmouth, in the years 1379 and 1386; see Essays
on Chaucer, p. 484. See also N. & Q. 6 S. xii. 47.


415. _astronomye_, (really) astrology. See Saunders on Chaucer, p. 111;
Warton, Hist. E. Poet. (1840), ii. 202.

415, 416. _kepte_, watched. The _houres_ are the astrological hours. He
carefully watched for a favourable star in the ascendant. 'A great portion
of the medical science of the middle ages depended upon astrological and
other superstitious observances.'--Wright. 'A Phisition must take heede and
aduise him of a certaine thing, that _fayleth not, nor deceiueth_, the
which thing Astronomers of Ægypt taught, that by coniunction of the bodye
of the Moone with sterres fortunate, commeth dreadful sicknesse to good
end: and with contrary Planets falleth the contrary, that is, to euill
ende'; &c.--Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. viii. c. 29. Precisely the same
sort of thing was in vogue much later, viz. in 1578; see Bullein's Dialogue
against the Feuer Pestilence (E. E. T. S.), p. 32.

416. _magik naturel._ Chaucer alludes to the same practices in the House of
Fame, 1259-70 (vol. iii. p. 38):--

 'Ther saugh I pleyen Iogelours
    .    .    .    .    .    .
  And clerkes eek, which conne wel
  Al this _magyke naturel_,
  That craftely don hir ententes
  To make, _in certeyn ascendentes_,
  Images, lo! through which magyk
  To make a man ben hool or syk.'

417. The _ascendent_ is the point of the zodiacal circle which happens to
be ascending above the horizon at a given moment, such as the moment of
birth. Upon it depended the drawing out of a man's horoscope, which
represented the aspect of the heavens at some given critical moment. The
moment, in the present case, is that for making images. It was believed
that images of men and animals could be made of certain substances and _at
certain times_, and could be so treated as to cause good or evil to a
patient, by means of magical and planetary influences. See Cornelius
Agrippa, De Occulta Philosophia, lib. ii. capp. 35-47. The sense is--'He
knew well how to choose a fortunate ascendant for treating images, to be
used as charms to help the patient.'

     'With Astrologie joyne elements also,
      To _fortune_ their Workings as theie go.'
  Norton's Ordinall, in Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum, p. 60.

420. These are the _four_ elementary qualities, hot, cold, dry, moist; [41]
Milton, Par. Lost, ii. 898. Diseases were supposed to be caused by an undue
excess of some one quality; and the mixture of prevalent qualities in a
man's body determined his complexion or temperament. Thus the _sanguine_
man was thought to be hot and moist; the _phlegmatic_, cold and moist; the
_choleric_, hot and dry; the _melancholy_, cold and dry. The whole system
rested on the teaching of Galen, and was fundamentally wrong, as it assumed
that the 'elements,' or 'simple bodies,' were four, viz. earth, air, fire,
and water. Of these, earth was said to be cold and dry; water, cold and
moist; air, hot and moist; and fire, hot and dry. They thus correspond to
the four complexions, viz. melancholy, phlegmatic, sanguine, and choleric.
Each principal part of the body, as the brain, heart, liver, stomach, &c.,
could be 'distempered,' and such distemperance could be either 'simple' or
'compound.' Thus a simple distemperature of the brain might be 'an excess
of heat'; a compound one, 'an excess of heat and moisture.' See the whole
system explained in Sir Thos. Elyot's Castel of Helthe; at the beginning.

422. _parfit practisour_, perfect practitioner.

424. _his bote_, his remedy; A. S. _b[=o]t_, a remedy; E. _boot_.

426. _drogges._ MS. Harl. _dragges_; the rest _drogges_, _drugges_, drugs.
As to _dragges_ (which is quite a different word), the Promptorium
Parvulorum has '_dragge_, dragetum'; and Cotgrave defines _dragée_ (the
French form of the word _dragge_) as 'a kind of digestive powder prescribed
unto weak stomachs after meat, and hence any jonkets, comfits, or
sweetmeats served in the last course for stomach-closers.'

_letuaries_, electuaries. '_Letuaire, laituarie_, s. m., électuaire, sorte
de médicament, sirop'; Godefroy.

429-34. Read _th'oldë_. 'The authors mentioned here wrote the chief medical
text-books of the middle ages. Rufus was a Greek physician of Ephesus, of
the age of Trajan; Haly, Serapion, and Avicen (Ebn Sina) were Arabian
physicians and astronomers of the eleventh century; Rhasis was a Spanish
Arab of the tenth century; and Averroes (Ebn Roschd) was a Moorish scholar
who flourished in Morocco in the twelfth century. Johannes Damascenus was
also an Arabian physician, but of a much earlier date (probably of the
ninth century). Constanti[n]us Afer, a native of Carthage, and afterwards
a monk of Monte Cassino, was one of the founders of the school of
Salerno--he lived at the end of the eleventh century. Bernardus Gordonius,
professor of medicine at Montpellier, appears to have been Chaucer's
contemporary. John Gatisden was a distinguished physician of Oxford in the
earlier half of the fourteenth century. Gilbertyn is supposed by Warton to
be the celebrated Gilbertus Anglicus. The names of Hippocrates and Galen
were, in the middle ages, always (or nearly always) spelt Ypocras and
Galienus.'--Wright. Cf. C. 306. Æsculapius, god of medicine, was fabled to
be the son of Apollo. Dioscorides was a Greek physician of the second
century. See the long note in Warton, 1871, ii. 368; and the account in
Saunders' [42] Chaucer (1889), p. 115. I may note here, that Haly wrote a
commentary on Galen, and is mentioned in Skelton's Philip Sparowe, l. 505.
There were three Serapions; the one here meant was probably John Serapion,
in the eleventh century. Averroes wrote a commentary on the works of
Aristotle, and died about 1198. Constantinus is the same as 'the cursed
monk Dan Constantyn,' mentioned in the Marchaunt's Tale, E. 1810. John
Gatisden was a fellow of Merton College, and 'was court-doctor under Edw.
II. He wrote a treatise on medicine called _Rosa Anglica_'; J. Jusserand,
Eng. Wayfaring Life, (1889), p. 180. Cf. Book of the Duchess, 572. Dante,
Inf. iv. 143, mentions 'Ippocrate, Avicenna, e Gallieno, Averrois,' &c.

 'Par Hipocras, ne Galien,...
  Rasis, Constantin, Avicenne';
                     Rom. de la Rose, 16161.

See Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 393.

439. 'In cloth of a blood-red colour and of a blueish-grey.' Cf. 'robes de
_pers_,' Rom. de la Rose, 9116. In the Testament of Creseide, ed. 1550, st.
36, we find:--

 'Docter in phisike cledde in a scarlet gown,
  And furred wel as suche one oughte to be.'

Cf. P. Plowman, B. vi. 271; Hoccleve, de Reg. Princ. p. 26.

440. _taffata_ (or _taffety_), a sort of thin silk; E. _taffeta_.

_sendal_ (or _cendal_), a kind of rich thin silk used for lining, very
highly esteemed. Thynne says--'a thynne stuffe lyke sarcenett.' Palsgrave
however has '_cendell_, thynne lynnen, _sendal_.' See Piers Plowman, B. vi.
11; Marco Polo, ed. Yule (see the index).

441. _esy of dispence_, moderate in his expenditure.

442. _wan in pestilence_, acquired during the pestilence. This is an
allusion to the great pestilence of the years 1348, 1349; or to the later
pestilences in 1362, 1369, and 1376.

443. _For_ = because, seeing that. It was supposed that _aurum potabile_
was a sovereign remedy in some cases. The actual reference is, probably, to
Les Remonstrances de Nature, by Jean de Meun, ll. 979, 980, &c.; 'C'est le
fin et bon or potable, L'humide radical notable; C'est souveraine
medecine'; and the author goes on to refer us to Ecclus. xxxviii. 4--'The
Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not
abhor them.' Hence the Doctor would not abhor gold. And further--'C'est
medecine _cordiale_'; ib. 1029. To return to _aurum potabile_: I may
observe that it is mentioned in the play called Humour out of Breath, Act
i. sc. 1; and there is a footnote to the effect that this was the
'Universal Medicine of the alchemists, prepared from gold, mercury, &c. The
full receipt will be found in the Fifth and last Part of the Last Testament
of Friar Basilius Valentinus, London, 1670, pp. 371-7.' See also Thomson's
Hist. of Chemistry, vol. i. p. 164; Burton's Anat. of Melancholy, pt. 2.
sec. 4. mem. 1. subsec. 4. [43]


445. _of bisyde_, &c., from (a place) near Bath, i. e. from a place in its
suburbs; for elsewhere she is simply called the Wyf of Bathe.

446. 'But she was somewhat deaf, and that was her misfortune.' We should
now say--'and it was a pity.'

447. _clooth-making._ 'The West of England, and especially the
neighbourhood of Bath, from which the "good wif" came, was celebrated, till
a comparatively recent period, as the district of cloth-making. Ypres and
Ghent were the great clothing-marts on the Continent.'--Wright. 'Edward the
third brought clothing first into this Island, transporting some families
of artificers from _Gaunt_ hither.'--Burton's Anat. of Mel. p. 51. 'Cloth
of Gaunt' is mentioned in the Romaunt of the Rose, l. 574 (vol. i. p. 117).

_haunt_, use, practice; i. e. she was so well skilled (in it).

448. _passed_, i. e. surpassed.

450. _to the offring._ In the description of the missal-rites, Rock shews
how the bishop (or officiating priest) 'took from the people's selves their
offerings of bread and wine.... The men first and then the women, came with
their cake and cruse of wine.' So that, instead of money being collected,
as now, the people went up in order with their offerings; and questions of
precedence of course arose. The Wife insisted on going up first among the
women. See Rock, Church of our Fathers, iii. 2. 33, 149.

453. _coverchief_ (_keverchef_, or _kerchere_, _kerché_). The _kerchief_,
or covering for the head, was, until the fourteenth century, almost an
indispensable portion of female attire. See B. 837; Leg. of Good Women, l.

_ful fyne of ground_, of a very fine texture. See Pierce the Ploughman's
Crede, l. 230, which means 'it was of fine enough texture to take dye in

454. _ten pound._ Of course this is a playful exaggeration; but Tyrwhitt
was not justified in altering _ten pound_ into _a pound_; for a
pound-weight, in a head-dress of that period, was a mere nothing, as will
be readily understood by observing the huge structures represented in
Fairholt's Costume, figs. 125, 129, 130, 151, which were often further
weighted with ornaments of gold. Skelton goes so far as to describe Elinour
Rummyng (l. 72)--

 'With clothes upon her hed
  That wey a _sowe of led_.'

Cf. Pierce the Ploughman's Crede, l. 84, and the note; Stubbes, Anatomy of
Abuses, 1585, pp. 63, 70, 72; or ed. Furnivall, pp. 69, 74, 76.

457. _streite y-teyd_, tightly fastened. See note to l. 174.

_moiste_, soft--not 'as hard as old boots.' So, in H. 60, _moysty ale_ is
new ale. [44]

460. _chirche-dore._ The priest married the couple at the church-porch, and
immediately afterwards proceeded to the altar to celebrate mass, at which
the newly-married persons communicated. As Todd remarks--'The custom was,
that the parties did not enter the church till that part of the office,
where the minister now goes up to the altar [or rather, is directed to go
up], and repeats the psalm.' See Warton, Hist. Eng. Poet. 1871, ii. 366,
note 1; Anglia, vi. 106; Rock, Church of our Fathers, iii. pt. 2. 172;
Brand's Antiquities, ed. Ellis, ii. 134. And see D. 6.

461. _Withouten_ = besides. _other companye_, other lovers. This expression
(copied from Le Rom. de la Rose, l. 12985--'autre companie') makes it quite
certain that the character of the Wife of Bath is copied, in some respects,
from that of _La Vieille_ in the Roman de la Rose, as further appears in
the Wife's Prologue.

462. _as nouthe_, as now, i. e. at present. The form _nouthe_ is not
uncommon; it occurs in P. Plowman, Allit. Poems, Sir Gawain and the Grene
Knight, &c. A. S. _n[=u] ð[=a]_, now then.

465. _Boloigne._ Cf. 'I will have you swear by our dear Lady of Boulogne';
Gammer Gurton's Needle, Act 2, sc. 2. An image of the virgin, at Boulogne,
was sought by pilgrims. See Heylin's Survey of France, p. 163, ed. 1656
(quoted in the above, ed. Hazlitt).

466. _In Galice_ (Galicia), at the shrine of St. James of Compostella, a
famous resort of pilgrims in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As the
legend goes, the body of St. James the Apostle was supposed to have been
carried in a ship without a rudder to Galicia, and preserved at
Compostella. See Piers Plowman, A. iv. 106, 110, and note to B. Prol. 47;
also Eng. Gilds, ed. Toulmin Smith, pp. 172, 177.

_Coloigne._ At Cologne, where the bones of the Three Kings or Wise Men of
the East, _Gaspar_, _Melchior_ and _Balthazar_, are said to be preserved.
See Coryat's Crudities; Chambers, Book of Days, ii. 751.

467. 'She knew much about travelling.'

468. _Gat-tothed_ = _gat-toothed_, meaning gap-toothed, having teeth wide
apart or separated from one another. A _gat_ is an opening, and is allied
to E. _gate_. The Friesic _gat_, Dan., Du., and Icel. _gat_, and Norweg.
_gat_, all mean a hole, or a gap. Very similar is the use of the Shropshire
_glat_, a gap in a hedge, also a gap in the mouth caused by loss of teeth.
Example: 'Dick, yo' bin a flirt; I thought yo' wun (_were_) gwein to marry
the cook at the paas'n's. Aye, but 'er'd gotten too many _glats_ i' the
mouth for me'; Miss Jackson's Shropshire Wordbook. 'Famine--the
_gap-toothed_ elf'; Golding's Ovid, b. 8; leaf 105. It occurs again, D.
603. [_Gat-toothed_ has also been explained as _goat-toothed_, lascivious,
but the word _goat_ appears as _goot_ in Chaucer.] Perhaps the following
piece of 'folk-lore' will help us out. 'A young lady the other day, in
reply to an observation of mine--"What a lucky girl you are!"--replied; "So
they used to say I should be when at school." "Why?" "Because my teeth were
set _so far apart; it was a sure sign I should be lucky and
travel_."'--Notes & Queries 1 Ser. [45] vi. 601; cf. the same, 7 Ser. vii.
306. The last quotation shews that the stop after _weye_ at the end of l.
467 should be a mere semicolon; since ll. 467 and 468 are closely

469. _amblere_, an ambling horse.

470. _Y-wimpled_, covered with a wimple; see l. 151.

471. _targe_, target, shield.

472. _foot-mantel._ Tyrwhitt supposes this to be a sort of
_riding-petticoat_, such as is now used by market-women. It is clearly
shewn, as a blue outer skirt, in the drawing in the Ellesmere MS. At a
later time it was called a _safe-guard_ (see Nares), and its use was to
keep the gown clean. It may be added that, in the Ellesmere MS., the Wife
is represented as riding astride. Hence she wanted 'a pair of spurs.'

474. _carpe_, prate, discourse; Icel. _karpa_, to brag. The present sense
of _carp_ seems to be due to Lat. _carpere_.

475. _remedyes._ An allusion to the title and subject of Ovid's book,
Remedia Amoris.

476. _the olde daunce_, the old game, or custom. The phrase is borrowed
from Le Roman de la Rose, l. 3946--'Qu'el scet toute la vielle dance'; E.
version, l. 4300--'For she knew al the olde daunce.' It occurs again;
Troil. iii. 695. And in Troil. ii. 1106, we have the phrase _loves daunce_.
Cf. _the amorouse daunce_, Troil. iv. 1431.


478. _Persoun of a toun_, the parson or parish priest. Chaucer, in his
description of the parson, contrasts the piety and industry of the secular
clergy with the wickedness and laziness of the religious orders or monks.
See Dryden's 'Character of a Good Parson,' and Goldsmith's 'Deserted
Village'; also Wyclif, ed. Matthew, p. 179.

482. _parisshens_, parishioners; in which _-er_ is a later suffix.

485. _y-preved_, proved (to be). _ofte sythes_, often-times; from A. S.
_s[=i]ð_, a time.

486. 'He was very loath to excommunicate those who failed to pay the tithes
that were due to him.' 'Refusal to pay tithes was punishable with the
lesser excommunication'; Bell. Wyclif complains of 'weiward curatis' that
'sclaundren here parischenys many weies by ensaumple of pride, enuye,
coueitise and vnresonable vengaunce, so cruely cursynge for tithes'; Works,
ed. Matthew, p. 144 (cf. p. 132).

487. _yeven_, give; A. S. _gifan_. _out of doute_, without doubt.

489. _offring_, the voluntary contributions of his parishioners.

_substaunce_, income derived from his benefice.

490. _suffisaunce_, a sufficiency; enough to live on.

492. _lafte not_, left not, ceased not; from M. E. _leven_.

493. _meschief_, mishap, misfortune.

494. _ferreste_, farthest; superl. of _fer_, far. _muche_, great. _lyte_,
small; A. S. _lyt_, small, little. [46]

497. _wroghte_, wrought, worked; pt. t. of _werchen_, to work.

498. The allusion is to Matt. v. 19, as shewn by a parallel passage in P.
Plowman, C. xvi. 127.

502. _lewed_, unlearned, ignorant. _Lewed_ or _lewd_ originally signified
the people, laity, as opposed to the clergy; the modern sense of the word
is not common in Middle English. Cf. mod. E. _lewd_, in Acts xvii. 5. See
_Lewd_ in Trench, Select Glossary.

503-4. _if a preest tak-e keep_, if a priest may (i. e. will) but pay heed
to it. St. John Chrysostom also saith, 'It is a great shame for priests,
when laymen be found faithfuller and more righteous than they.'--Becon's
Invective against Swearing, p. 336.

507. _to hyre._ The parson did not leave his parish duties to be performed
by a stranger, that he might have leisure to seek a chantry in St. Paul's.
See Piers Plowman, B-text, Prol. l. 83; Hoccleve, De Regimine Principum,
ed. Wright, pp. 51, 52; Spenser, Shep. Kalendar (May).

508. _And leet_, and left (not). We should now say--'_Nor_ left.' So also,
in l. 509, _And ran_ = Nor ran. _Leet_ is the pt. t. of _leten_, to let
alone, let go.

509. Here again, _së-ynt_ is used as if it were dissyllabic; see ll. 120,

510. _chaunterie_, chantry; an endowment for the payment of a priest to
sing mass, agreeably to the appointment of the founder. 'There were
thirty-five of these chantries established at St. Paul's, which were served
by fifty-four priests; Dugd. Hist. pref. p. 41.'--Tyrwhitt's Glossary. On
the difference between a _gild_ and a _chantry_, see the instructive
remarks in Eng. Gilds, ed. Toulmin Smith, pp. 205-207, 259.

511. 'Or to be kept (i. e. remain) in retirement along with some
fraternity.' I do not see how _with-holde_ can mean 'maintained,' as it is
usually explained. Cf. _dwelte_ in l. 512, and _with-holde_ in G. 345.

514. _no mercenarie_, no hireling; see John x. 12, where the Vulgate
version has _mercenarius_.

516. _despitous_, full of _despite_, or contempt; cf. E. _spite_.

517. _daungerous_, not affable, difficult to approach. Cf. Rom. of the
Rose, l. 591:--'Ne of hir answer _daungerous_'; where the original has
_desdaigneuse_. _digne_, full of dignity; hence, repellent. 'She was as
_digne_ as water in a dich,' A. 3964; because stagnant water keeps people
at a distance.

519. _fairnesse_, i. e. by leading a fair or good life. The Harleian MS.
has _clennesse_, that is, a life of purity.

523. _snibben_, reprimand; cf. Dan. _snibbe_, to rebuke, scold; mod. E.
_snub_. In Wyclif's translation of Matt, xviii. 15, the earlier version has
_snybbe_ as a synonym for _reprove_.

_nones_; see l. 379, and the note.

525. _wayted after_, looked for. See line 571.

526. _spyced conscience_; so also in D. 435. _Spiced_ here seems to
signify, says Tyrwhitt, nice, scrupulous; for a reason which is given [47]
below. It occurs in the Mad Lover, act iii. sc. 1, by Beaumont and
Fletcher. When Cleanthe offers a purse, the priestess says--

 'Fy! no corruption....

    _Cle._ Take it, it is yours;
  Be not so _spiced_; 'tis good gold;
  And goodness is no gall to th' conscience.'

'Under pretence of _spiced_ holinesse.'--Tract dated 1594, ap. Todd's
Illustrations of Gower, p. 380.

 'Fool that I was, to offer such a bargain
  To a _spiced-conscience_ chapman! but I care not,
  What he disdains to taste, others will swallow.'
             Massinger, Emperor of the East, i. 1.

           'Will you please to put off
  Your holy habit, and _spiced conscience_? one,
  I think, infects the other.'
                         Massinger, Bashful Lover, iv. 2.

The origin of the phrase is French. The name of _espices_ (spices) was
given to the fees or dues which were payable (in advance) to judges. A
'spiced' judge, who would have a 'spiced' conscience, was scrupulous and
exact, because he had been prepaid, and was inaccessible to any but large
bribes. See Cotgrave, s. v. _espices_; Littré, s. v. _épice_; and, in
particular, Les Oeuvres de Guillaume Coquillart, ed. P. Tarbé, t. i. p. 31,
and t. ii. p. 114. (First explained by me in a letter to The Athenaeum,
Nov. 26, 1892, p. 741.)

527. 'But the teaching of Christ and his twelve apostles, that taught he.'

528. Cf. Acts, i. 1; Gower, Conf. Amant. ii. 188.


529. _Plowman_; not a hind or farm-labourer, but a poor farmer, who himself
held the plough; cf. note to P. Plowman, C. viii. 182. _was_, who was.

530. _y-lad_, carried, lit. led. Cf. prov. E. _lead_, to cart (corn).

531. _swinker_, toiler, workman; see l. 186. Cf. _swink_, toil, in l. 540.

534. _though him gamed or smerte_, though it was pleasant or unpleasant to

536. _dyke_, make ditches, _delve_, dig; A. S. _delfan_. Chaucer may be
referring to P. Plowman, B. v. 552, 553.

541. _mere._ People of quality would not ride upon a mare.


545. _carl_, fellow; Icel. _karl_, cognate with A. S. _ceorl_, a churl. See
A. 3469; also A. 1423-4. This description of the Miller should be compared
with that in A. 3925-3940. [48]

547. 'That well proved (to be true); for everywhere, where he came.'

548. _the ram._ This was the usual prize at wrestling-matches. Tyrwhitt
says--'Matthew Paris mentions a wrestling match at Westminster, A. D. 1222,
at which a ram was the prize.' Cf. Sir Topas, B. 1931; Tale of Gamelyn,
172, 280.

549. _a thikke knarre_, a thickly knotted (fellow), i. e. a muscular
fellow. Cf. M. E. _knor_, Mid. Du. _knorre_, a knot in wood; and E.
_gnarled_. It is worth notice that, in ll. 549-557, there is no word of
French origin, except _tuft_.

550. _of harre_, off its hinges, lit. hinge. 'I horle at the notes, and
heve hem al of herre'; Poem on Singing, in Reliq. Antiquae, ii. 292. Gower
has _out of herre_, off its hinges, out of use, out of joint; Conf. Amant.
bk. ii. ed. Pauli, i. 259; bk. iii. i. 318. Skelton has:--'All is out of
harre,' Magnificence, l. 921. From A.S. _heorr_, a hinge.

553. Todd cites from Lilly's _Midas_--'How, sir, will you be trimmed? Will
you have a beard like a _spade_ or a bodkin?'--Illust. of Gower, p. 258.

554. _cop_, top; A. S. _copp_, a top; cf. G. _Kopf_.

557. _nose-thirles_, lit. nose-holes; mod. E. _nostrils_.

559. _forneys._ 'Why, asks Mr. Earle, should Chaucer so readily fall on the
simile of a _furnace_? What, in the uses of the time, made it come so ready
to hand? The weald of Kent was then, like our "black country" now, a great
smelting district, its wood answering to our coal; and Chaucer was Knight
of the Shire, or M.P. for Kent.'--Temporary Preface to the Six-text edition
of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, p. 99.

560. _Ianglere_, loud talker.

_goliardeys_, a ribald jester, one who gained his living by following rich
men's tables, and telling tales and making sport for the guests. Tyrwhitt
says, 'This jovial sect seems to have been so called from _Golias_, the
real or assumed name of a man of wit, towards the end of the twelfth
century, who wrote the Apocalypsis Goliæ, and other pieces in burlesque
Latin rhymes, some which have been falsely [?] attributed to Walter Map.'
But it would appear that _Golias_ is the sole invention of Walter Map, the
probable author of the 'Golias' poems. See Morley's Eng. Writers, 1888,
iii. 167, where we read that the Apocalypse of Golias and the confession of
Golias 'have by constant tradition been ascribed to him [Walter Map]; never
to any other writer.' Golias is a medieval spelling of the Goliath of
scripture, and occurs in Chaucer, Man of Lawes Tale, B. 934. In several
authors of the thirteenth century, quoted by Du Cange, the _goliardi_ are
classed with the _joculatores et buffones_, and it is very likely that the
word _goliardus_ was, originally, quite independent of _Golias_, which was
only connected with it by way of jest. The word _goliardus_ seems rather to
have meant, originally, 'glutton,' and to be connected with _gula_, the
throat; but it was quite a common term, in the thirteenth century, for
certain men of some education but of bad repute, who composed or recited
satirical [49] parodies and coarse verses and epigrams for the amusement of
the rich. See T. Wright's Introduction to the poems of Walter Map (Camden
Soc.); P. Plowman, ed. Skeat, note to B. prol. 139; Wright's History of
Caricature, ch. X; and the account in Godefroy's O. French Dict., s. v.

561. _that_, i. e. his 'Iangling,' his noisy talk.

_harlotrye_ means scurrility; Wyclif (Eph. v. 4) so translates Lat.

562. 'Besides the usual payment in money for grinding corn, millers are
always allowed what is called "toll," amounting to 4 lbs. out of every sack
of flour.'--Bell. But it can hardly be doubted that, in old times, the toll
was wholly in corn, not in money at all. It amounted, in fact, to the
twentieth or twenty-fourth part of the corn ground, according to the
strength of the water-course; see Strutt, Manners and Customs, ii. 82, and
Nares, s. v. _Toll-dish_. At Berwick, the miller's share was reckoned as
'the thirteenth part for grain, and the twenty-fourth part for malt.' Eng.
Gilds, p. 342. When the miller 'tolled thrice,' he took thrice the legal
allowance. Cf. A. 3939, 3940.

563. _a thombe of gold._ An explanation of this proverb is given on the
authority of Mr. Constable, the Royal Academician, by Mr. Yarrell in his
History of British Fishes, who, when speaking of the Bullhead or _Miller's
Thumb_, explains that a miller's thumb acquires a peculiar shape by
continually feeling samples of corn whilst it is being ground; and that
such a thumb is called _golden_, with reference to the profit that is the
reward of the experienced miller's skill.

 'When millers toll not with a golden thumbe.'
                       Gascoigne's Steel Glass, l. 1080.

Ray's Proverbs give us--'An honest miller has a golden thumb'; ed. 1768, p.
136; taken satirically, this means that there are _no_ honest millers.
Brand, in his Pop. Antiquities, ed. Ellis, iii. 387, quotes from an old
play--'Oh the mooter dish, _the miller's Thumbe_!'

The simplest explanation is to take the words just as they stand, i. e. 'he
used to steal corn, and take his toll thrice; yet he had a golden thumb
such as all honest millers are said to have.'

565. W. Thorpe, when examined by Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, in
1407, complains of the pilgrims, saying--'they will ordain to have with
them both men and women that can well sing wanton songs; and some other
pilgrims will have with them _bagpipes_; so that every town that they come
through, what with the noise of their singing, and with the sound of their
piping, and with the jangling of their Canterbury bells, and with the
barking out of dogs after them, they make more noise than if the king came
there away, with all his clarions and many other minstrels.'--Arber's Eng.
Garner, vi. 84; Wordsworth, Eccl. Biography, 4th ed. i. 312; Cutts, Scenes
and Characters, p. 179.

566. 'And with its music he conducted us out of London.' [50]


567. _Maunciple_ or _manciple_, an officer who had the care of purchasing
provisions for a college, an inn of court, &c. (Still in use.) See A. 3993.
A _temple_ is here 'an inn of court'; besides the Inner and Middle Temple
(in London), there was also an Outer Temple; see Timbs, Curiosities of
London, p. 461; and the account of the Temple in Stow's Survey of London.

568. _which_, whom.

_achatours_, purchasers; cf. F. _acheter_, to buy.

570. _took by taille_, took by tally, took on credit. Cf. Piers Plowman,
ed. Wright, vol. i. p. 68, and ed. Skeat (Clarendon Press Series), B. iv.

 'And (he) bereth awey my whete,
  And taketh me but a _taille_ for ten quarters of otes.'

The buyer who took by tally had the price scored on a pair of sticks; the
seller gave him one of them, and retained the other himself. 'Lordis ...
taken pore mennus goodis and paien not therfore but white stickis ... and
sumtyme beten hem whanne thei axen here peye'; Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew,
p. 233 (see note at p. 519).

571. _Algate_, in every way, always; cf. prov. E. _gate_, a street.

_achat_, buying; see l. 568.

572. _ay biforn_, ever before (others).

574. _swich_, such; A. S. _swylce_. _lewed_, unlearned; as in l. 502.
_pace_, pass, i. e. surpass.

575. _heep_, heap, i. e. crowd; like G. _Haufe_.

581. 'To make him live upon his own income.'

582. 'Unless he were mad.' See l. 184.

583. 'Or live as economically as it pleases him to wish to do.'

584. _al a_, a whole. Cf. '_all a_ summer's day'; Milton, P. L. i. 449.

586. _hir aller cappe_, the caps of them all. _Hir aller_ = eorum omnium.
'_To sette_' a man's '_cappe_' is to overreach him, to cheat him, or to
befool him. Cf. A. 3143.


587. _Reve._ See Prof. Thorold Rogers' capital sketch of Robert Oldman, the
Cuxham bailiff, a serf of the manor (as reeves always were), in his
Agriculture and Prices in England, i. 506-510.

592. _Y-lyk_, like. _y-sen-e_, visible; see note to l. 134.

593. 'He knew well how to keep a garner and a bin.'

597. _neet_, neat, cattle. _dayerye_, dairy.

598. _hors_, horses; pl. See note to l. 74. _pultrye_, poultry.

599. _hoolly_, wholly; from A. S. _h[=a]l_, whole.

601. _Sin_, short for _sithen_; and _sithen_, with an added suffix, became
_sithen-s_ or _sithen-ce_, mod. E. _since_. [51]

602. 'No one could prove him to be in arrears.'

603. _herde_, herd, i. e. cow-herd or shep-herd. _hyne_, hind,

604. _That ... his_, whose; as in A. 2710.

_covyne_, deceit; lit. a deceitful agreement between two parties to
prejudice a third. O. F. _covine_, a project; from O. F. _covenir_, Lat.
_conuenire_, to come together, agree.

605. _adrad_, afraid; from the pp. of A. S. _ofdr[=æ]dan_, to terrify

_the deeth_, the pestilence; see note to l. 442.

606. _woning_, dwelling-place; see l. 388.

609. _astored_ (Elles. &c.); _istored_ (Harl.); furnished with stores.

611. _lene_, lend; whence E. _len-d_. _of_, some of.

613. _mister_, trade, craft; O. F. _mestier_ (F. _métier_), business; Lat.
_ministerium_. 'Men of all _mysteris_'; Barbour's Bruce, xvii. 542.

614. _wel_, very. _wrighte_, wright, workman.

615. _stot_, probably what we should now call a cob. Prof. J. E. T. Rogers,
in his Hist. of Agriculture, i. 36, supposes that a stot was a low-bred
undersized stallion. It frequently occurs with the sense of 'bullock'; see
note to P. Plowman, C. xxii. 267.

616. Sir Topas's horse was 'dappel-gray,' which has the same sense as
_pomely gray_, viz. gray dappled with round apple-like spots. 'Apon a
cowrsowre _poumle-gray_'; Wyntown, Chron. iv. 217; '_pomly-gray_';
Palladius on Husbandry, bk. iv. l. 809; 'Upon a _pomely_ palfray'; Lybeaus
Disconus, 844 (in Ritson's Metrical Romances). Florio gives Ital.
_pomellato_, 'pide, daple-graie.' The word occurs in the French Roman de
Troie by Benoît de Sainte-Maure, ed. Joly, 10722:--'Quant Troylus orent
monté Sor un cheval _sor pommelé_.' Cf. G. 559.

_Scot._ 'The name given to the horse of the reeve (who lived at Bawdeswell,
in Norfolk) is a curious instance of Chaucer's accuracy; for to this day
there is scarcely a farm in Norfolk or Suffolk, in which one of the horses
is not called Scot'; Bell's Chaucer. Cf. G. 1543.

617. _pers._ Some MSS. read _blew_. See note on l. 439.

621. _Tukked aboute_, with his long coat tucked up round him by help of a
girdle. In the pictures in the Ellesmere MS., both the reeve and the friar
have girdles, and rather long coats; cf. D. 1737. 'He (i. e. a friar) wore
a graie cote _well tucked under his corded girdle_, with a paire of trime
white hose'; W. Bullein, A Dialogue against the Feuer (E. E. T. S.), p. 68.
See _Tuck_ in Skeat, Etym. Dict.

622. _hind-r-este_, hindermost; a curious form, combining both the
comparative and superlative suffixes. Cf. _ov-er-est_, l. 290.


623. _Somnour_, summoner; an officer employed to summon delinquents to
appear in ecclesiastical courts; now called an apparitor. 'The
ecclesiastical courts ... determined all causes matrimonial and
testamentary.... They had besides to enforce the payment of tithes [52] and
church dues, and were charged with disciplinary power for punishment of
adultery, fornication, perjury, and other vices which did not come under
the common law. The reputation of the _summoner_ is enough to show how
abuses pervaded the action of these courts. Prof. Stubbs has summed up the
case concerning them in his Constitutional History, iii. 373.'--Wyclif's
Works, ed. Matthew, note at p. 514. For further information as to the
summoner's character, see the Frere's Tale, D. 1299-1374.

624. _cherubinnes face._ H. Stephens, Apologie for Herodotus, i. c. 30,
quotes the same thought from a French epigram--'Nos grands docteurs _au
cherubin visage_.'--T. Observe that _cherubin_ (put for _cherubim_) is a
plural form. 'As the pl. was popularly much better known than the singular
(e. g. in the Te Deum), the Romanic forms were all fashioned on _cherubin_,
viz. Ital. _cherubino_, Span. _querubin_, Port. _querubin_, _cherubin_, F.
_cherubin_'; New English Dictionary. Cherubs were generally painted red, a
fact which became proverbial, as here. Cotgrave has: '_Rouge comme un
cherubin_, red-faced, cherubin-faced, having a fierie facies like a
Cherubin.' Mrs. Jameson, in her Sacred and Legendary Art, has unluckily
made the cherubim _blue_, and the seraphim _red_; the contrary was the
accepted rule.

625. _sawcefleem_ or _sawsfleem_, having a red pimpled face; lit. afflicted
with pimples, &c., supposed to be caused by too much salt phlegm (_salsum
phlegma_) in the constitution. The four humours of the blood, and the four
consequent temperaments, are constantly referred to in various ways by
early writers--by Chaucer as much as by any. Tyrwhitt quotes from an O.
French book on physic (in MS. Bodley 761)--'Oignement magistrel pur
_sausefleme_ et pur chescune manere de _roigne_,' where _roigne_ signifies
any scorbutic eruption. 'So (he adds) in the Thousand Notable Things, B. i.
70--"A _sawsfleame_ or red pimpled face is helped with this medicine
following:"--two of the ingredients are _quicksilver_ and _brimstone_. In
another place, B. ii. 20, _oyle of tartar_ is said "to take away cleane all
spots, freckles, and filthy _wheales_."' He also quotes, in his Glossary,
from MS. Bodley 2463--'unguentum contra _salsum flegma_, scabiem, &c.'
_Flewme_ in the Prompt. Parv. answers to Lat. _phlegma_. See the long note
by J. Addis in N. and Q. 4 S. iv. 64; Babees Book, ed. Furnivall, p. 169,
l. 777. 'The Greke word that he vsed was [Greek: exanthêmata], that is,
little pimples or pushes, soche as, of cholere and salse flegme, budden out
in the noses and faces of many persones, and are called the Saphires and
Rubies of the Tauerne.'--Udall, tr. of Erasmus' Apophthegmes, _Diogenes_, §
6: [_printed_ false flegme _in_ ed. 1877.] See l. 420.

627. _scalled_, having the scall or scab, scabby, scurfy. _blake_, black.

_piled_, deprived of hair, thin, slight. Cf. E. _peel_, vb. Palsgrave
has--'_Pylled_, as one that wanteth heare'; and '_Pylled_, scal[l]ed.'

629. _litarge_, litharge, a name given to white lead.

630. _Boras_, borax. [53]

_ceruce_, ceruse, a cosmetic made from white lead; see New E. Dict. _oille
of tartre_, cream of tartar; potassium bitartrate.

632. Cf. 'Such _whelkes_ [on the head] haue small hoales, out of the which
matter commeth.... And this euill commeth of vicious and gleymie [viscous]
humour, which commeth to the skin of their head, and breedeth therein
pimples and _whelks_.'--Batman on Bartholomè, lib. 7. c. 3. In the same,
lib. 7. c. 67, we read that 'A _sauce flume_ face is a priuye signe of
leprosie.' Cf. Shak. Hen. V. iii. 6. 108.

635. See Prov. xxiii. 31. The drinking of strong wine accounts for the
Somnour's appearance. 'Wyne ... makith the uisage _salce fleumed_
[misprinted _falce flemed_], _rede_, and fulle of _white whelkes_'; Knight
de la Tour, p. 116 (perhaps copied from Chaucer).

643. _Can clepen Watte_, i. e. can call Walter (Wat) by his name; just as
parrots are taught to say 'Poll.' In Political Songs, ed. Wright, p. 328,
an ignorant priest is likened to a jay in a cage, to which is added:
'Go[o]d Engelish he speketh, ac [_but_] he wot nevere what'; referring to
the time when Anglo-French was the mother-tongue of many who became

644. 'But if any one could test him in any other point.'

646. _Questio quid iuris._ 'This kind of question occurs frequently in
Ralph de Hengham. After having stated a case, he adds, _quid juris_, and
then proceeds to give an answer to it.'--T. It means--'the question is,
what law (is there)?' i. e. what is the law on this point?

647. _harlot_, fellow, usually one of low conduct; but originally merely a
young person, without implication of reproach. See D. 1754.

649. 'For a bribe of a quart of wine, he would allow a boon companion of
his to lead a vicious life for a whole year, and entirely excuse him;
moreover (on the other hand) he knew very well how to pluck a finch,' i. e.
how to get all the feathers off any inexperienced person whom it was worth
his while to cheat. Cf. 'a _pulled_ hen' in l. 177. With reference to the
treatment of the poor by usurers, &c., we read in the Rom. of the Rose, l.
6820, that 'Withoute scalding they hem _pulle_,' i. e. pluck them. And see
Troil. i. 210.

654-7. 'He would teach his friend in such a case (i. e. if his friend led
an evil life) to stand in no awe of the archdeacon's curse
(excommunication), unless he supposed that his soul resided in his purse;
for in his purse [not in his soul] he should be punished' (i. e. by paying
a good round sum he could release himself from the archdeacon's curse).
'Your purse (said he) is the hell to which the archdeacon really refers
when he threatens you.' See, particularly, Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, pp.
35, 62, 496.

661. _assoilling_, absolution; from the vb. _assoil_.

662. _war him of_, i. e. let him beware of; _war_ is the pres. subj.

_significavit_, i. e. of a writ _de excommunicato capiendo_ [or
excommunication] which usually began, 'Significavit nobis venerabilis
frater,' &c.--T. See _Significavit_ in Cowel or Blount. [54]

663. _In daunger_, within his jurisdiction, within the reach or control of
his office; the true sense of M. E. _daunger_ is 'control' or 'dominion.'
Thus, in the Romaunt of the Rose, l. 1470, we find:--

 'Narcisus was a bachelere,
  That Love had caught _in his daungere_.'

i. e. whom Love had got into his power. So also in l. 1049 of the same.

664. _yonge girles_, young people, of either sex. In the Coventry
Mysteries, p. 181, there is mention of 'knave gerlys,' i. e. male children.
And see _gerles_ in the Gloss, to P. Plowman, and the note to the same, C.
ii. 29.

665. _and was al hir reed_, and was wholly their adviser.

666, 667. _gerland._ A _garland_ for an ale-stake was distinct from a
_bush_. The latter was made of ivy-leaves; and every tavern had an ivy-bush
hanging in front as its sign; hence the phrase, 'Good wine needs no bush,'
&c. But the _garland_, often used in addition to the _bush_, was made of
three equal hoops, at right angles to each other, and decorated with
ribands. It was also called a _hoop_. The sompnour wore only a _single_
hoop or circlet, adorned with large flowers (apparently roses), according
to his picture in the Ellesmere MS. Emelye, in the Knightes Tale, is
described as gathering white and red flowers to make 'a sotil gerland' for
her head; A. 1054. 'Garlands of flowers were often worn on festivals,
especially in ecclesiastical processions'; Rock, Church of our Fathers, ii.
72. Some garlands, worn on the head, were made of metal; see Riley,
Memorials of London, p. 133.

667. _ale-stake_, a support for a garland in front of an ale-house. For a
picture of an ale-stake with a garland, see Hotten's Book of Signboards.
The position of it was such that it did not stand upright, but projected
_horizontally_ from the side of a tavern at some height from the ground, as
shewn in Larwood and Hotten's Book of Signboards. Hence the enactments
made, that it should never extend above the roadway for more than seven
feet; see Liber Albus, ed. H. T. Riley, 1861, pp. 292, 389. Speght wrongly
explained _ale-stake_ as 'a Maypole,' and has misled many others, including
Chatterton, who thus was led to write the absurd line--'_Around_ the
ale-stake minstrels sing the song'; Ælla, st. 30. '_At_ the ale-stake' is
correct; see C. 321.


669. As to the character of the Pardoner, see further in the Pardoner's
Prologue, C. 329-462; P. Plowman, B. prol. 68-82; Heywood's Interlude of
the _Four Ps_, which includes a shameless plagiarism from Chaucer's
Pardoner's Prologue; and Sir David Lyndesay's Satire of the Three Estaits,
l. 2037. Cf. note to C. 349. See also the Essay on Chaucer's Pardoner and
the Pope's Pardoners, by Dr. J. Jusserand, in the Essays on Chaucer
(Chaucer Society), p. 423; and the Chapter on [55] Pardoners in Jusserand's
English Wayfaring Life. Jusserand shews that Chaucer has not in the least
exaggerated; for exaggeration was not possible.

670. _Of Rouncival._ Of course the Pardoner was an Englishman, so that he
could hardly belong to Roncevaux, in Navarre. The reference is clearly to
the hospital of the Blessed Mary of Rouncyvalle, in the parish of St.
Martin in the Fields, at Charing (London), mentioned in Dugdale's
Monasticon, ii. 443. Stow gives its date of foundation as the 15th year of
Edward IV., but this was only a revival of it, after it had been suppressed
by Henry V. It was a 'cell' to the Priory of Roncevaux in Navarre. See
Todd's Illustrations of Gower, p. 263: and _Rouncival_ in Nares. Cf. note
to l. 172.

672. _Com hider, love, to me._ 'This, I suppose, was the beginning or the
burthen of some known song.'--Tyrwhitt. It is quoted again in l. 763 of the
poem called 'The Pearl,' in the form--'Come hyder to me, my lemman swete.'
_hider_, hither.

The rime of _tó me_ with _Róme_ should be particularly noted, as it enables
even the reader who is least skilled in English phonology to perceive that
_Ro-me_ was really dissyllabic, and that the final _e_ in such words was
really pronounced. Similarly, in Octouian Imperator, ed. Weber, l. 1887, we
find _seint Ja-mè_, riming with _frá me_ (from me). Perhaps the most
amusing example of editorial incompetence is seen in the frequent
occurrence of the mysterious word _byme_ in Pauli's edition of Gower; as,
e.g. in bk. iii. vol. i. p. 370:--

 'So woll I nought, that any time
  Be lost, of that thou hast do _byme_.'

Of course, _by me_ should have been printed as two words, riming with
_ti-mè_. This is what happens when grammatical facts are ignored. _Time_ is
dissyllabic, because it represents the A. S. _t[=i]ma_, which is never
reduced to a monosyllable in A. S.

673. _bar ... a stif burdoun_, sang the bass. See A. 4165, and N. and Q. 4
S. vi. 117, 255. Cf. Fr. _bourdon_, the name of a deep organ-stop.

675, 676. _wex_, wax. _heng_, hung. _stryke of flex_, hank of flax.

677. _By ounces_, in small portions or thin clusters.

679. _colpons_, portions; the same word as mod. E. _coupon_.

680. _for Iolitee_, for greater comfort. He thought it pleasanter to wear
only a cap (l. 683). _wered_, wore; see l. 75. Cf. G. 571, and the note.

682. _the newe Iet_, the new fashion, which is described in ll. 680-683.

 'Also, there is another newe _gette_,
  A foule waste of clothe and excessyfe,
  There goth no lesse in a mannes typette
  Than of brode cloth a yerde, by my lyfe.'
              Hoccleve, De Regim. Principum, p. 17.

'_Newe Iette_, guise nouelle'; Palsgrave. [56]

683. _Dischevele_, with his hair hanging loose.

685. _vernicle_, a small copy of the 'vernicle' at Rome. _Vernicle_ is 'a
diminutive of _Veronike_ (Veronica), a copy in miniature of the picture of
Christ, which is supposed to have been miraculously imprinted upon a
handkerchief preserved in the church of St. Peter at Rome.... It was usual
for persons returning from pilgrimages to bring with them certain tokens of
the several places which they had visited; and therefore the Pardoner, who
is just arrived from Rome, is represented with a _vernicle sowed on his
cappe_.'--Tyrwhitt. See the description of a pilgrim in Piers Plowman, ed.
Skeat, B. v. 530, and the note. The legend was invented to explain the
name. First the name of Bernice, taken from the Acts, was assigned to the
woman who was cured by Christ of an issue of blood. Next, Bernice,
otherwise Veronica, was (wrongly) explained as meaning _vera icon_ (i. e.
true likeness), which was assigned as the name of a handkerchief on which
the features of Christ were miraculously impressed. Copies of this portrait
were called _Veronicae_ or _Veroniculae_, in English _vernicles_, and were
obtainable by pilgrims to Rome. There was also a later St. Veronica, who
died in 1497, after Chaucer's time, and whose day is Jan. 13.

See Legends of the Holy Rood, ed. Morris, pp. 170, 171; Mrs. Jameson's
Sacred and Legendary Art, ii. 269; Lady Eastlake's History of our Lord, i.
41; Rock, Church of our Fathers, iii. pt. i. p. 438; and the picture of the
vernicle in Chambers, Book of Days, i. 101.

687. _Bret-ful of pardon_, brim-full (top-full, full to the top) of
indulgences. Cf. Swed. _bräddfull_, brimful; from _brädd_, a brim. See A.
2164; Ho. of Fame, 2123.

692. _fro Berwik_, from Berwick to Ware (in Hertfordshire), from North to
South of England. See the similar phrase--'From Barwick to Dover, three
hundred miles over'--in Pegge's Kenticisms (E. D. S.), p. 70.

694. _male_, bag; cf. E. _mail_-bag.

_pilwebeer_, pillow-case. Cf. Low. G. _büren_, a case (for a pillow), Icel.
_ver_, Dan. _vaar_, a cover for a pillow. The form _pillow-bear_ occurs as
a Cheshire word as late as 1782; N. and Q. 6 S. xii. 217.

696. _gobet_, a small portion; O. F. _gobet_, a morsel; _gober_, to devour.

698. _hente_, caught hold of; from A. S. _hentan_, to seize.

699. 'A cross made of _latoun_, set full of (probably counterfeit) precious
stones.' _Latoun_ was a mixed metal, of the same colour as, and closely
resembling, the modern metal called _pinchbeck_, from the name of the
inventor. It was chiefly composed of copper and zinc. See further in the
note to C. 350; and cf. F. 1245.

701. Cf. Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 154; and the note to C. 349.

702. _up-on lond_, in the country. Country people used to be called
_uplondish men_. _Jack Upland_ is the name of a satire against the friars.

705, 706. _Iapes_, deceits, tricks. _his apes_, his dupes; cf. A. 3389.

710. _alder-best_, best of all; _alder_ is a later form of _aller_, from A.
S. _ealra_, of all, gen. pl. of _eal_, all. See ll. 586, 823.

712. _affyle_, file down, make smooth. Cf. 'affile His tunge'; Gower, C. A.
i. 296; 'gan newe his tunge affyle,' Troil. ii. 1681; 'his tongue [is]
_filed_'; Love's Labour's Lost, v. i. 12. So also Spenser, F. Q. i. 1. 35;
iii. 2. 12; Skelton, Colin Clout, 852.


716. _Thestat_, _tharray_ = the estate, the array: the coalescence of the
article with the noun is very common in Middle English.

719. _highte_, was named; cf. A. S. _h[=a]tan_, (1) to call, (2) to be
called, to be named (with a passive sense).

721. 'How we conducted ourselves that same night.'

726. 'That ye ascribe it not to my ill-breeding.' _narette_, for _ne
arette_. From O. F. _aretter_, to ascribe, impute; from Lat. _ad_ and
_reputare_; see _Aret_ in the New E. Dict. Also spelt _arate_, with the
sense 'to chide'; whence mod. E. _to rate_. So here the poet implies--'do
not _rate_ me for my ill-breeding.' The argument here used is derived from
Le Roman de la Rose, 15361-96.

727. _pleynly speke_ (Elles. &c.); _speke al pleyn_ (Harl.).

731. _shal telle_, has to tell. _after_, according to, just like.

734. _Al speke he_, although he speak. See _al have I_, l. 744.

738. 'He is bound to say one word as much as another.'

741, 742. This saying of Plato is taken from Boethius, De Consolatione, bk.
iii. pr. 12, which Chaucer translates: 'Thou hast lerned by the sentence of
Plato, that nedes the wordes moten be cosines to the thinges of which they
speken'; see vol. ii. p. 90, l. 151. In Le Roman de la Rose, 7131, Jean de
Meun says that Plato tells us, speech was given us to express our wishes
and thoughts, and proceeds to argue that men ought to use coarse language.
Chaucer was thinking of this singular argument. We also find in Le Roman
(l. 15392) an exactly parallel passage, which means in English, 'the saying
ought to resemble the deed; for the words, being neighbours to the things,
ought to be cousins to their deeds.' In the original French, these passages
stand thus:--

 'Car Platon disoit en s'escole
  Que donnee nous fu parole
  Por faire nos voloirs entendre,
  Por enseignier et por aprendre'; &c.

 'Li dis doit le fait resembler;
  Car les vois as choses voisines
  Doivent estre a lor faiz cousines.'

So also in the Manciple's Tale, H. 208.

744. 'Although I have not,' &c. Cf. l. 734. [58]


747. _Our hoste._ It has been remarked that from this character
Shakespeare's 'mine host of the Garter' in the Merry Wives of Windsor is
obviously derived.

752. The duty of the 'marshal of the hall' was to place every one according
to his rank at public festivals, and to preserve order. See Babees Book, p.
310. Cf. Spenser, F. Q. v. 9. 23; Gower, Conf. Amant. iii. 299. Even Milton
speaks of a '_marshall'd_ feast'; P. L. ix. 37.

753. _stepe_, bright; see note to l. 201.

754. _Chepe_, i. e. Cheapside, in London.

760. _maad our rekeninges_, i. e. paid our scores.

764. _I saugh nat_ (Elles. &c.); _I ne saugh_ (Harl.). To scan the line,
read _I n' saugh_, dropping the _e_ in _ne_. The insertion of _ne_ is
essential to the sense, viz. 'I have not seen.'

765. _herberwe_, inn, lit. harbour. The F. _auberge_ is from the O.H.G.
form of the same word.

770. 'May the blessed martyr duly reward you!'

772. _shapen yow_, intend; cf. l. 809. _talen_, to tell tales.

777. _yow lyketh alle_, it pleases you all; _yow_ is in the dat. case, as
in the mod. E. 'if _you_ please.' See note to l. 37.

783. 'Hold up your hands'; to signify assent.

785. _to make it wys_, to make it a matter of wisdom or deliberation; so
also _made it strange_, made it a matter of difficulty, A. 3980.

791. 'To shorten your way with.' In M. E., the prep. _with_ always comes
next the verb in phrases of this character. Most MSS. read _our_ for _your_
here, but this is rather premature. The host introduces his proposal to
accompany the pilgrims by the use of _our_ in l. 799, and _we_ in l. 801;
the proposal itself comes in l. 803.

792. As to the number of the tales, see vol. iii. pp. 374, 384.

798. 'Tales best suited to instruct and amuse.'

799. _our aller cost_, the expense of us all; here _our_ = A. S. _[=u]re_,
of us; see ll. 710, 823.

808. _mo_, more; A. S. _m[=a]_. In M. E., _mo_ generally means 'more in
number,' whilst _more_ means 'larger,' from A. S. _m[=a]ra_. Cf. l. 849.

810. _and our othes swore_, and _we_ swore our oaths; see next line.

817. _In heigh and lowe._ 'Lat. _In_, or _de alto et basso_, Fr. _de haut
en bas_, were expressions of entire submission on one side, and sovereignty
on the other.'--Tyrwhitt. Cotgrave (s. v. _Bas_) has:--'_Taillables haut et
bas_, taxable at the will and pleasure of their lord.' It here
means--'under all circumstances.'

819. _fet_, fetched; from A. S. _fetian_, to fetch, pp. _fetod_.

822. _day._ It is the morning of the 17th of April. See note to l. 1.

823. _our aller cok_, cock of us all, i. e. cock to awake us all. _our
aller_ = A. S. _[=u]re ealra_, both in gen. pl.

825. _riden_, rode; pt. t. pl., as in l. 856. The _i_ is short.

_pas_, a foot-pace. Cf. A. 2897; C. 866; G. 575; Troil. ii. 627. [59]

826. _St. Thomas a Waterings_ was a place for watering horses, at a brook
beside the second mile-stone on the road to St. Thomas's shrine, i. e. to
Canterbury. It was a place anciently used for executions in the county of
Surrey, as Tyburn was in that of Middlesex. See Nares, s. v. _Waterings_.

828. _if yow leste_, if it may please you. The verb _listen_ made _liste_
in the past tense; but Chaucer changes the verb to the form _lesten_, pt.
t. _leste_, probably for the sake of the rime. See ll. 750 and 102. In the
Knightes Tale, A. 1052, _as hir liste_ rimes with _upriste_.

The true explanation is, that the A. S. _y_ had the sound of mod. G. _ü_.
In Mid. Eng., this was variably treated, usually becoming either _i_ or
_u_; so that, e. g., the A. S. _pyt_ (a pit) became M. E. _pit_ or _put_,
the former of which has survived. But, in Kentish, the form was _pet_; and
it is remarkable that Chaucer sometimes deliberately adopts Kentish forms,
as here, for the sake of the rime. A striking example is seen in _fulfelle_
for _fulfille_, in Troil. iii. 510, to rime with _telle_. He usually has
_fulfille_, as below, in A. 1318, 2478.

829. _Ye woot_, ye know. Really false grammar, as the pl. of _woot_
(originally a past tense) is properly _witen_, just as the pl. of _rood_ is
_riden_ in l. 825. As _woot_ was used as a present tense, its original form
was forgotten. 'Ye know your agreement, and I recall it to your memory.'
See l. 33.

830. 'If even-song and matins agree'; i. e. if you still say now what you
said last night.

832. 'As ever may I be able to drink'; i. e. As surely as I ever hope to be
able, &c. Cf. B. 4490, &c.

833. _be_, may be (subjunctive mood).

835. _draweth cut_, draw lots; see C. 793-804. The Gloss. to Allan Ramsay's
poems, ed. 1721, has--'_cutts_, lots. These cuts are usually made of straws
unequally cut, which one hides between his finger and thumb, whilst another
draws his fate'; but the verb _to cut_ is unallied. See Brand, Pop. Antiq.,
iii. 337. The one who drew the shortest (or else the longest) straw was the
one who drew the lot. Cf. '_Sors_, a kut, or a lotte'; Reliquiae Antiquae,
i. 7. 'After supper, we drew _cuttes_ for a score of apricoks, the longest
_cut_ stil to draw an apricoke'; Marston, Induction to _The Malcontent_.

_ferrer twinne_, depart further. Here _ferrer_ is the comp. of _fer_, far.
_Twinnen_ is to separate, part in twain; hence, to depart.

844. _sort_, lot, destiny; O. F. _sort_; cf. E. _sort_.

847. _as was resoun_, as was reasonable or right.

848. _forward_, agreement, as in l. 33. _compositioun_ has almost exactly
the same sense, but is of French origin.

853. _shal biginne_, have to begin.

854. _What_; used interjectionally, like the modern E. 'why!'

_a_, in. Here _a_ is for _an_, a form of _on_; the A. S. _on_ is constantly
used with the sense of 'in.'

856. _riden_, rode; pt. pl. See l. 825. [60]


For general remarks on this tale, see vol. iii. p. 389.

It is only possible to give here a mere general idea of the way in which
the Knightes Tale is related to the Teseide of Boccaccio. The following
table gives a sketch of it, but includes many lines wherein Chaucer is
quite original. The references to the Knightes Tale are to the lines of
group A (as in the text); those to the Teseide are to the books and

  _Kn. Tale._      |             _Teseide._
   865-883         | I. and II.
   893-1027        | II. 2-5, 25-95.
  1030-1274        | III. 1-11, 14-20, 47, 51-54, 75.
  1361-1448        | IV. 26-29, 59.
  1451-1479        | V. 1-3, 24-27, 33.
  1545-1565        | IV. 13, 14, 31, 85, 84, 17, 82.
  1638-1641        | VII. 106, 119.
  1668-1739        | V. 77-91.
  1812-1860        | V. 92-98.
  1887-2022        | VII. 108-110, 50-64, 29-37.
  2102-2206        | VI. 71, 14-22, 65-70, 8.
  2222-2593        | VII. 43-49, 68-93, 23-41, 67, 95-99,
                   |         7-13, 131, 132, 14,
                   |         100-102, 113-118, 19.
  2600-2683        | VIII. 2-131.
  2684-2734        | IX. 4-61.
  2735-2739        | XII. 80, 83.
  2743-2808        | X. 12-112.
  2809-2962        | XI. 1-67.
  2967-3102        | XII. 3-19, 69-83.

The MSS. quote a line and a half from Statius, Thebaid, xii. 519, 520,
because Chaucer is referring to that passage in his introductory lines to
this tale; see particularly ll. 866, 869, 870.

There is yet another reason for quoting this scrap of Latin, viz. that it
is also quoted in the Poem of Anelida and Arcite, at l. 22, where the
'Story' of that poem begins; and ll. 22-25 of Anelida give a fairly close
translation of it. From this and other indications, it appears that Chaucer
first of all imitated Boccaccio's Teseide (more or less closely) in the
poem which he himself calls 'Palamon and Arcite,' of which but scanty
traces exist in the original form; and this poem was in 7-line stanzas. He
afterwards recast the whole, at the same time changing the metre; and the
result was the Knightes Tale, as we here have it. Thus the Knightes Tale is
not derived _immediately_ from Boccaccio or from Statius, but _through the
medium_ of an older poem [61] of Chaucer's own composition. Fragments of
the same poem were used by the author in other compositions; and the result
is, that the Teseide of Boccaccio is the source of (1) sixteen stanzas in
the Parliament of Foules; (2) of part of the first ten stanzas in Anelida;
(3) of three stanzas near the end of Troilus (Tes. xi. 1-3); as well as of
the original Palamon and Arcite and of the Knightes Tale.

Hence it is that ll. 859-874 and ll. 964-981 should be compared with
Chaucer's Anelida, ll. 22-46, as printed in vol. i. p. 366. Lines 882 and
972 are borrowed from that poem with but slight alteration.

859. The lines from Statius, Theb. xii. 519-22, to which reference is made
in the heading, relate to the return of Theseus to Athens after his
conquest of Hippolyta, and are as follows:--

  Iamque domos patrias, Scythicae post aspera gentis
  Proelia, laurigero subeuntem Thesea curru
  Laetifici plausus, missusque ad sidera uulgi
  Clamor, et emeritis hilaris tuba nuntiat armis.'

860. _Theseus_, the great legendary hero of Attica, is the subject of
Boccaccio's poem named after him the Teseide. He is also the hero of the
Legend of Ariadne, as told in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women. After
deserting Ariadne, he succeeded his father Aegeus as king of Athens, and
conducted an expedition against the Amazons, from which he returned in
triumph, having carried off their queen Antiope, here named Hippolyta.

861. _governour._ It should be observed that Chaucer continually accents
words of Anglo-French origin in the original manner, viz. on the _last_ or
on the _penultimate_ syllable. Thus we have here _governóur_ and
_conqueróur_; in l. 865, _chivalrý-e_; in l. 869, _contrée_; in l. 876,
_manére_, &c. The most remarkable examples are when the words end in _-oun_
(ll. 893, 935).

864. _cóntree_ is here accented on the _first_ syllable; in l. 869, on the
_last_. This is a good example of the unsettled state of the accents of
such words in Chaucer's time, which afforded him an opportunity of licence,
which he freely uses. In fact, _cóntree_ shows the _English_, and
_contrée_, the _French_ accent.

865. _chivalrye_, knightly exploits. In l. 878, _chivalrye_ means
'knights'; mod. E. _chivalry_. So also in l. 982.

866. _regne of Femenye_, the kingdom (Lat. _regnum_) of the Amazons.
_Femenye_ is from Lat. _femina_, a woman. Cf. Statius, Theb. xii. 578.
'Amazonia, womens land, is a Country, parte in Asia and parte in Europa,
and is nigh Albania; and hath that name of Amazonia of women that were the
wives of the men that were called Goths, the which men went out of the
nether Scithia, as Isidore seith, li. 9.'--Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. xv.
c. 12. Cf. Higden's Polychronicon, lib. i. cap. xviii; and Gower, Conf.
Amant., ii. 73:--

  Which was the quene of Feminee.'


867. _Scithea_, Scythia. Cf. _Scythicae_ in the quotation from Statius in
note to l. 859.

868. _Ipolita_, Shakespeare's _Hippolyta_, in Mids. Night's Dream. The name
is in Statius, Theb. xii. 534, spelt _Hippolyte_.

880. In this line, _Athenes_ seems to mean 'Athenians,' though elsewhere it
means 'Athens.' _Athénès_ is trisyllabic.

884. _tempest._ As there is no mention of a tempest in Boccaccio, Tyrwhitt
proposed to alter the reading to _temple_, as there is some mention of
Theseus offering in the temple of Pallas. But it is very unlikely that this
would be alluded to by the mere word _temple_; and we must accept the
reading _tempest_, as in all the seven MSS. and in the old editions.

I think the solution is to be found by referring to Statius. Chaucer seems
to have remembered that a tempest is there described (Theb. xii. 650-5),
but to have forgotten that it is merely introduced by way of _simile_. In
fact, when Theseus determines to attack Creon (see l. 960), the advance of
his host is likened by Statius to the effect of a tempest. The lines are:--

 'Qualis Hyperboreos ubi nubilus institit axes
  Iupiter, et prima tremefecit sidera bruma,
  Rumpitur Aeolia, et longam indignata quietem
  Tollit hiems animos, uentosaque sibilat Arctos;
  Tunc montes undaeque fremunt, tunc proelia caesis
  Nubibus, et tonitrus insanaque fulmina gaudent.'

885. _as now_, at present, at this time. Cf. the M. E. adverbs _as-swithe_,
_as-sone_, immediately. From the Rom. de la Rose, 21479:--

 'Ne vous voil or ci plus tenir,
  A mon propos m'estuet venir,
  Qu' autre champ me convient arer.'

889. _I wol nat letten eek noon of this route_, I desire not to hinder eke
(also) none of all this company. _Wol_ = desire; cf. 'I _will_ have mercy,'

890. _aboute_, i. e. in his turn, one after the other; corresponding to the
sense 'in rotation, in succession,' given in the New English Dictionary.
This sense of the word in this passage was pointed out by Dr. Kölbing in
Engl. Studien, ii. 531. He instanced a similar use of the word in the
Ormulum, l. 550, where the sense is--'and ay, whensoever that flock of
priests, being twenty-four in number, had all served once _about_ in the

901. _crëature_ is here a word of three syllables. In l. 1106 it has _four_

903. _nolde_, would not: the A. S. _nolde_ is the pt. t. of _nyllan_,
equivalent to _ne willan_, not to wish; cf. Lat. _noluit_, from _nolle_.

_stenten_, stop. 'It _stinted_, and said aye.'--Romeo and Juliet, i. 3. 48.

908. _that thus_, i. e. _ye_ that thus.

911. _clothed thus_ (Elles.); _clad thus al_ (Harl.). [63]

912. _alle_ is to be pronounced _al-lè_. Tyrwhitt inserts _than_, then,
after _alle_, against the authority of the best MSS. and of the old

Statius (Theb. xii. 545) calls this lady _Capaneia coniux_; see l. 932,
below. He says all the ladies were from Argos, and their husbands were

913. _a deedly chere_, a deathly countenance or look.

918. _we biseken_, we beseech, ask for. For such double forms as _beseken_
and _besechen_, cf. mod. Eng. _dike_ and _ditch_, _kirk_ and _chirch_,
_sack_ and _satchel_, _stick_ and _stitch_. In the Early Eng. period the
harder forms with _k_ were very frequently employed by _Northern_ writers,
who preferred them to the palatalised _Southern_ forms (perhaps influenced
by Anglo-French) with _ch_. Cf. M. E. _brig_ and _rigg_ with _bridge_ and

926. This line means 'that ensureth no estate to be (always) good.'
Suggested by Boethius; see bk. ii. pr. 2. ll. 37-41 (vol. ii. p. 27).

928. _Clemence_, Clemency, Pity. Suggested by 'il tempio ... di Clemenza,'
Tes. ii. 17; which again is from 'mitis posuit Clementia sedem,' Theb. xii.

932. _Capaneus_, one of the seven heroes who besieged Thebes: struck dead
by lightning as he was scaling the walls of the city, because he had defied
Zeus; Theb. x. 927. See note to l. 912, above.

937. The celebrated siege of 'The Seven against Thebes'; Capaneus being one
of the seven kings.

941. _for despyt_, out of vexation; mod. E. 'for spite.'

942. _To do the dede bodyes vileinye_, to treat the dead bodies shamefully.

948. _withouten more respyt_, without longer delay.

949. _They fillen gruf_, they fell flat with the face to the ground. In M.
E. we find the phrase _to fall grovelinges_ or _to fall groveling_. See
_Gruflynge_ and _Ogrufe_ in the Catholicon Anglicum, and the editor's
notes, pp. 166, 259.

954. _Himthoughte_, it seemed to him; cf. _methinks_, it seems to me. In M.
E. the verbs _like_, _list_, _seem_, _rue_ (pity), are used impersonally,
and take the dative case of the pronoun. Cf. the modern expression 'if you
please' = if it be pleasing to you.

955. _mat_, dejected. 'Ententyfly, not feynt, wery ne _mate_.'--Hardyng, p.

960. _ferforthly_, i. e. _far-forth-like_, to such an extent.

965. _abood_, delay, awaiting, abiding.

966. _His baner he desplayeth_, i. e. he summons his troops to assemble for
military service.

968. _No neer_, no nearer. Accent _Athén-es_ on the second syllable; but in
l. 973 it is accented on the _first_.

970. _lay_, lodged for the night.

975. _státue_, the image, as depicted on the banner.

977. _feeldes_, field, is an heraldic term for the ground upon which the
various charges, as they are called, are emblazoned. Some of this [64]
description was suggested by the Thebais, lib. xii. 665, &c.; but the
resemblance is very slight.

978. _penoun_, pennon. _y-bete_, beaten; the gold being hammered out into a
thin foil in the shape of the Minotaur; see Marco Polo, ed. Yule, i. 344.
But, in the Thebais, the Minotaur is upon Theseus' _shield_.

988. _In pleyn bataille_, in open or fair fight.

993. _obséquies_ (Elles., &c.); _exéquies_ (Harl.); accented on the
_second_ syllable.

1004. _as him leste_, as it pleased him.

1005. _tas_, heap, collection. Some MSS. read _cas_ (_caas_), which might =
downfall, ruin, Lat. _casus_; but, as _c_ and _t_ are constantly confused,
this reading is really due to a mere blunder. Gower speaks of gathering 'a
_tasse_' of sticks; Conf. Amant. bk. v. ed. Pauli, ii. 293. Palsgrave
has--'On a heape, _en vng tas_'; p. 840. Hexham's Dutch Dict. (1658)
has--'_een Tas_, a Shock, a Pile, or a Heape.' Chaucer found the word in Le
Roman de la Rose, 14870: 'ung _tas_ de paille,' a heap of straw.

1006. _harneys._ 'And _arma_ be not taken onely for the instruments of al
maner of crafts, but also for _harneys_ and weapon; also standards and
banners, and sometimes battels.'--Bossewell's Armorie, p. 1, ed. 1597. Cf.
l. 1613.

1010. _Thurgh-girt_, pierced through. This line is taken from Troilus, iv.
627: 'Thourgh-girt with many a wyd and blody wounde.'

1011. _liggyng by and by_, lying near together, as in A. 4143; the usual
old sense being 'in succession,' or 'in order'; see examples in the New
Eng. Dict., p. 1233, col. 3. In later English, _by and by_ signifies
presently, immediately, as 'the end is not _by and by_.'

1012. _in oon armes_, in one (kind of) arms or armour, shewing that they
belonged to the same house. Chaucer adapts ancient history to medieval time
throughout his works.

1015. _Nat fully quike_, not wholly alive.

1016. _by hir cote-armures_, by their coat-armour, by the devices on the
vest worn above the armour covering the breast. The _cote-armure_, as
explained in my note to Barbour's Bruce, xiii. 183, was 'of no use as a
defence, being made of a flimsy material; but was worn over the true armour
of defence, and charged with armorial bearings'; see Ho. Fame, 1326. Cf. l.
1012. _by hir gere_, by their _gear_, i. e. equipments.

1018. _they._ Tyrwhitt (who relied too much on the black-letter editions)
reads _tho_, those; but the seven best MSS. have _they_.

1023. _Tathenes_, to Athens (Harl. MS., which reads _for to_ for _to_). Cf.
_tallegge_, l. 3000 (foot-note).

1024. _he nolde no raunsoun_, he would accept of no ransom.

1029. _Terme of his lyf_, the remainder of his life. Cf. 'The end and
_term_ of natural philosophy.'--Bacon's Advancement of Learning, Bk. ii. p.
129, ed. Aldis Wright.

1035. Cf. Leg. of Good Women, 2425, 2426.

1038. _stroof hir hewe_, strove her hue; i. e. her complexion contested the
superiority with the rose's colour. [65]

1039. _I noot_, I know not; _noot_ = _ne woot_.

1047. _May._ 'Against Maie, every parishe, towne, and village, assembled
themselves together, bothe men, women, and children, olde and yonge, even
all indifferently, and either going all together or devidyng themselves
into companies, they goe, some to the woodes and groves, some to the hills
and mountaines, some to one place, some to another, where they spend all
the night in pastimes; in the morninge they return, bringing with them
birche, bowes and branches of trees, to deck their assemblies
withalle.'--Stubbes, Anatomy of Abuses, ed. 1585, leaf 94 (ed. Furnivall,
p. 149). See also Strutt, Manners and Customs, iii. 177. Cf. Midsummer
Night's Dream, i. 1, 167:--

 'To do observance to a morn of May.'

See also l. 1500, and the note.

1049. _Hir yelow heer was broyded_, her yellow hair was braided. Yellow
hair was esteemed a beauty; see Seven Sages, 477, ed. Weber; King
Alisaunder, 207; and the instances in Burton, Anat. of Melancholy, pt. 3.
sec. 2. mem. 2. subsec. 2. Boccaccio has here--'Co' biondi crini avvolti
alla sua testa'; Tes. iii. 10.

1051. _the sonne upriste_, the sun's uprising; the _-e_ in _sonne_
represents the old genitive inflexion. _Upriste_ is here the dat. of the
sb. _uprist_. It occurs also in Gower, Conf. Amantis, bk. i. ed. Pauli, i.

1052. _as hir liste_, as it pleased her.

1053. _party_, partly; Fr. _en partie_.

1054. _sotil gerland_, a subtle garland; _subtle_ has here the exact force
of the Lat. _subtilis_, finely woven.

1055. Cf. 'Con angelica voce'; Tes. iii. 10: and Troil. ii. 826.

1060. _evene-Ioynant_, joining, or adjoining.

1061. _Ther as this Emelye hadde hir pleyinge_, i. e. where she was amusing

1063. In the Teseide (iii. 11) it is Arcite who first sees Emily.

1074. _by aventure or cas_, by adventure or hap.

1076. _sparre_, a square wooden bolt; the bars, which were of iron, were as
thick as they must have been if wooden. See l. 990.

1078. _bleynte_, the past tense of _blenche_ or _blenke_ (to blench), to
start, draw back suddenly. Cf. _dreynte_, pt. t. of _drenchen_. 'Tutto
stordito, Gridò, Omè!' Tes. iii. 17.

1087. _Som wikke aspect._ Cf. 'wykked planete, as Saturne or Mars,'
Astrolabe, ii. 4. 22; notes in Wright's edition, ll. 2453, 2457; and Piers
the Plowman, B. vi. 327; and see Leg. of Good Women, 2590-7. Add to these
the description of Saturn: 'Significat in _quartanis_, _lepra_, _scabie_,
in mania, _carcere_, _submersione_, &c. Est infortuna.'--Johannis
Hispalensis, Isagoge in Astrologiam, cap. xv. See A. 1328, 2469.

1089. _al-though_, &c., although we had sworn to the contrary. Cf. 'And can
nought flee, _if I had it sworn_'; Lydgate, Dance of Machabre (The
Sergeaunt). Also--'he may himselfe not sustene Upon his feet, _though he
had it sworne_'; Lydgate, Siege of Thebes (The Sphinx), pt. i. [66]

 '_Thofe_ the rede knyghte _had sworne_,
  Out of his sadille is he borne.'
                         Sir Percevalle, l. 61.

1091. _the short and pleyn_, the brief and manifest statement of the case.
Pronounce _this is_ as _this_; as frequently elsewhere; see l. 1743, E. 56,
F. 889.

1100. Cf. 'That cause is of my torment and my sorwe': Troil. v. 654.

1101. Cf. 'But whether goddesse or womman, y-wis, She be, I noot'; Troil.
i. 425.

_wher_, a very common form for _whether_.

1105. _Yow_ (used reflexively), yourself.

1106. _wrecche_, wretched, is a word of two syllables, like _wikke_,
wicked, where the _d_ is a later and unnecessary addition.

1108. _shapen_, shaped, determined. '_Shapes_ our ends.'--Shakespeare,
Hamlet, v. 2. 10. Cf. l. 1225.

1120. 'And except I have her pity and her favour.'

1121. _atte leeste weye_, at the least. Cf. _leastwise_ = _at the
leastwise_: '_at leastwise_'; Bacon's Advancement of Learning, ed. Wright,
p. 146, l. 23. See English Bible (Preface of 'The Translators to the

1122. 'I am not but (no better than) dead, there is no more to say.'
Chaucer uses _ne_--_but_ much in the same way as the Fr. _ne--que_. Cf.
North English 'I'm _nobbut_ clemmed' = I am almost dead of hunger.

1126. _by my fey_, by my faith, in good faith.

1127. _me list ful yvele pleye_, it pleaseth me very badly to play.

1128. This debate is an imitation of the longer debate (in the Teseide),
where Palamon and Arcite meet in the grove; cf. l. 1580 below.

1129. _It nere_ = _it were not_, it would not be.

1132. 'It was a common practice in the middle ages for persons to take
formal oaths of fraternity and friendship; and a breach of the oath was
considered something worse than perjury. This incident enters into the
plots of some of the medieval romances. A curious example will be found in
the Romance of Athelston; Reliquiæ Antiquæ, ii. 85.'--Wright. A note in
Bell's Chaucer reminds us that instances occur also in the old heroic
times; as in the cases of Theseus and Peirithous, Achilles and Patroclus,
Pylades and Orestes, Nysus and Euryalus. See _Sworn Brothers_ in Nares'
Glossary; Rom. of the Rose, 2884.

1133. 'That never, even though it cost us a miserable death, a death by
torture.' So in Troilus, i. 674: 'That certayn, for to deyen in the peyne.'
Also in the E. version of The Romaunt of the Rose, 3326.

1134. 'Till that death shall part us two.' Cf. the ingenious alteration in
the Marriage Service, where the phrase 'till death us depart' was altered
into 'do part' in 1661.

1136. _cas_, case. It properly means event, hap. See l. 1074.

_my leve brother_, my dear brother.

1141. _out of doute_, without doubt, doubtless.

1147. _to my counseil_, to my adviser. See l. 1161.

1151. _I dar wel seyn_, I dare maintain. [67]

1153. _Thou shalt be._ Chaucer occasionally uses _shall_ in the sense of
_owe_, so that the true sense of _I shall_ is _I owe_ (Lat. _debeo_); it
expresses a strong obligation. So here it is not so much the sign of a
future tense as a separate verb, and the sense is 'Thou art sure to be
false sooner than I am.'

1155. _par amour_, with love, in the way of love. To love _par amour_ is an
old phrase for to love excessively. Cf. Bruce, xiii. 485; and see A. 2112,
below; Troil. v. 158, 332.

1158. _affeccioun of holinesse_, a sacred affection, or aspiration after.

1162. _I pose_, I put the case, I will suppose.

1163. 'Knowest thou not well the old writer's saying?' The _olde clerk_ is
Boethius, from whose book, De Consolatione Philosophiae, Chaucer has
borrowed largely in many places. The passage alluded to is in lib. iii.
met. 12:--

 'Quis legem det amantibus?
  Maior lex amor est sibi.'

Chaucer's translation (vol. ii. p. 92, l. 37) has--'But what is he that may
yive a lawe to loveres? Love is a gretter lawe ... than any lawe that men
may yeven.' And see Troil. iv. 618.

1167. _and swich decree_, and (all) such ordinances.

1168. _in ech degree_, in every rank of life.

1172. _And eek it is_, &c., 'and moreover it is not likely that ever in all
thy life thou wilt stand in her favour.'

1177. This fable, in this particular form, is not in any of the usual
collections; but it is, practically, the same as that called 'The Lion, the
Tiger, and the Fox' in Croxall's Æsop. Sometimes it is 'the Lion, the Bear,
and the Fox'; the Fox subtracts the prey for which the others fight. It is
no. 247 in Halm's edition of the 'Fabulae Æsopicae,' Lips., Teubner, 1852,
with the moral:--[Greek: ho muthos dêloi, hoti allôn kopiôntôn alloi
kerdainousin.] In La Fontaine's Fables, it appears as Les Voleurs et l'Âne.
Thynne coolly altered _kyte_ to _cur_, and then had to insert _so_ after
_were_ to fill up the line.

1186. _everich of us_, each of us, every one of us.

1189. _to theffect_, to the result, or end.

1196. From the Legend of Good Women, 2282.

1200. _in helle._ An allusion to Theseus accompanying Pirithous in his
expedition to carry off Proserpina, daughter of Aidoneus, king of the
Molossians, when both were taken prisoner, and Pirithous torn in pieces by
the dog Cerberus. At least, such is the story in Plutarch; see
Shakespeare's Plutarch, ed. Skeat, p. 289. Chaucer found the mention of
Pirithous' visit to Athens in Boccaccio's Teseide, iii. 47-51. The rest he
found in Le Roman de la Rose, 8186--

 'Si cum vesquist, ce dist l'istoire,
  Pyrithous apres sa mort,
  Que Theseus tant ama mort.
  Tant le queroit, tant le sivoit ...
  Que vis en enfer l'ala querre.'


1201. Observe the expression _to wryte_, which shews that this story was
not originally meant to be _told_. (Anglia, viii. 453.)

1212. Most MSS. read _or stounde_, i. e. or at any hour. MS. Dd. has _o
stound_, one moment, any short interval of time.

 'The storme sesed within a stounde.'
                         Ywaine and Gawin, l. 384.

On this slight authority, Tyrwhitt altered the reading, and is followed by
Wright and Bell, though MS. Hl. really has _or_ like the rest, and the
black-letter editions have the same.

1218. _his nekke lyth to wedde_, his neck is in jeopardy; lit. lies in
pledge or in pawn.

1222. _To sleen himself he wayteth prively_, he watches for an opportunity
to slay himself unperceived.

1223. This line, slightly altered, occurs also in the Legend of Good Women,

1225. _Now is me shape_, now I am destined; literally, now is it _shapen_
(or appointed) for me.

1247. It was supposed that all things were made of the four elements
mentioned in l. 1246. 'Does not our life consist of the four
elements?'--Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, ii. 3. 10.

1255. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xiii. 236.

1257. 'And another man would fain (get) out of his prison.'

1259. _matere_; in the _matter_ of thinking to excel God's providence.

1260. 'We never know what thing it is that we pray for here below.' See
Romans viii. 26.

1261. _dronke is as a mous._ This phrase seems to have given way to 'drunk
as a rat.' 'Thus satte they swilling and carousyng, one to another, till
they were both _as dronke as rattes_.'--Stubbes, Anatomie of Abuses; ed.
Furnivall, p. 113.

 'I am a Flemying, what for all that,
  Although I wyll be _dronken_ otherwhyles _as a rat_.'
                    Andrew Boorde, ed. Furnivall, p. 147.

Cf. 'When that he is _dronke as a dreynt mous_'; Ritson, Ancient Songs, i.
70 (Man in the Moon, l. 31). 'And I will pledge Tom Tosspot, till I be
_drunk as a mouse-a_'; Old Plays, ed. Hazlitt, iii. 339. See also Skelton,
Colin Clout, 803; and D. 246.

1262. This is from Boethius, De Consolatione, lib. iii. pr. 2: 'But I
retorne ayein to the studies of men, of whiche men the corage alwey
reherseth and seketh the sovereyn good, al be it so that it be with a
derked memorie; but he not by whiche path, _right as a dronken man not nat
by whiche path he may retorne him to his hous_.'--Chaucer's Translation of
Boethius; vol. ii. p. 54, l. 57.

1264. _slider_, slippery; as in the Legend of Good Women, l. 648. Cf. the
gloss--'_Lubricum_, slidere'; Reliquiae Antiquae, i. 7.

1279. _pure fettres_, the very fetters. 'So in the Duchesse, l. 583, _the
pure deeth_. The Greeks used [Greek: katharos] in the same
sense.'--Tyrwhitt. [69]

1283. _at thy large_, at large. Cf. l. 2288.

1302. 'White like box-wood, or ashen-gray'; cf. l. 1364. Cf. 'And pale as
box she wex'; Legend of Good Women, l. 866. Also 'asshen pale and dede';
Troil. ii. 539.

1308. Copied in Lydgate's Horse, Sheep, and Goose, 124:--'But here this
schepe, rukkyng in his folde.' '_Rukkun_, or cowre down'; Prompt. Parv. In
B. 4416, MSS. Cp. Pt. Ln. have _rouking_ in place of _lurking_.

1317. _to letten of his wille_, to refrain from his will (or lusts).

1333. Cf. the phrase 'paurosa gelosia'; Tes. v. 2.

1344. _upon his heed_, on pain of losing his head. 'Froissart has _sur sa
teste, sur la teste_, and _sur peine de la teste_.'--T.

1347. _this questioun._ 'An implied allusion to the medieval courts of
love, in which questions of this kind were seriously discussed.'--Wright.

1366. _making his mone_, making his complaint or _moan_.

1372. 'In his changing mood, for all the world, he conducted himself not
merely like one suffering from the lover's disease of Eros, but rather (his
disease was) like _mania_ engendered of melancholy humour.' This is one of
the numerous allusions to the four humours, viz. the choleric, phlegmatic,
sanguine, and melancholic. An excess of the latter was supposed to produce
'melancholy madness.' _gere_, flighty manner, changeableness; 'Siche _wilde
gerys_ hade he mo'; Thornton Romances, Sir Percival, l. 1353. See note to
l. 1536.

1376. _in his celle fantastyk._ Tyrwhitt reads _Beforne his hed in his
celle fantastike_. Elles. has _Biforn his owene celle fantastik_. 'The
division of the brain into cells, according to the different sensitive
faculties, is very ancient, and is found depicted in medieval manuscripts.
The _fantastic cell_ (_fantasia_) was in front of the head.'--Wright. Hence
_Biforen_ means 'in the front part of his head.'

'Madnesse is infection of the formost cel of the head, with priuation of
imagination, lyke as melancholye is the infection of the middle cell of the
head, with priuation of reason, as Constant. saith in _libro de
Melancolia_. Melancolia (saith he) is an infection that hath mastry of the
soule, the which commeth of dread and of sorrow. And these passions be
diuerse after the diuersity of the hurt of their workings; for by madnesse
that is called _Mania_, principally the imagination is hurt; and in the
other reson is hurted.'--Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. vii. c. 6. Vincent of
Beauvais, bk. xxviii. c. 41, cites a similar statement from the _Liber de
Anatomia_, which begins:--'Cerebrum itaque tribus cellulis est distinctum.
Duae namque meringes cerebri faciunt tres plicaturas inter se denexas, in
quibus tres sunt cellulae: phantastica scilicet ab anteriori parte capitis,
in qua sedem habet imaginatio.' So in Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. v. c.
3:--'The Braine ... is diuided in three celles or dens.... In the formost
cell ... imagination is conformed and made; in the middle, reason; in the
hindermost, recordation and minde' [memory]. Cf. also Burton, Anat. of
Melancholy, pt. 2. sec. 3. mem. 1. subsec. 2. [70]

1385-8. Probably from Claudian, De Raptu Proserpinae, i. 77:--

                      'Cyllenius astitit ales,
  Somniferam quatiens uirgam, tectusque galero.'

See Lounsbury, Studies, ii. 382.

1390. _Argus_, Argus of the hundred eyes, whom Mercury charmed to sleep
before slaying him. Ovid, Met. i. 714.

1401. Cf. 'Hir face ... Was al ychaunged in another kinde'; Troil. iv. 864.

1405. _bar him lowe_, conducted himself as one of low estate. Cf. E. 2013.

1409. Cf. 'in maniera di pover valletto'; Tes. iv. 22.

1428. In the Teseide, iv. 3, he takes the name of _Penteo_. _Philostrato_
is the name of another work by Boccaccio, answering to Chaucer's Troilus.
The Greek [Greek: philostratos] means, literally, 'army-lover'; but it is
to be noted that Boccaccio did not so understand it. He actually connected
it with the Lat. _stratus_, and explained it to mean 'vanquished or
prostrated with love'; and this is how the name is here used.

1444. _slyly_, prudently, wisely. The M. E. _sleigh_, _sly_ = wise,
knowing: and _sleight_ = wisdom, knowledge. (For change of meaning compare
_cunning_, originally knowledge; _craft_, originally power; _art_, &c.)

 'Ne swa _sleygh_ payntur never nan was,
  Thogh his _sleght_ mught alle other pas,
  That couthe ymagyn of þair [devils'] gryslynes.'
           Hampole's Pricke of Consc., ll. 2308, 2309.--M.

1463. The third night is followed by the fourth day; so Palamon and Arcite
meet on the 4th of May (l. 1574), which was a Friday (l. 1534); the first
hour of which was dedicated to Venus (l. 1536) and to lovers' vows (l.
1501). The 4th of May was a Friday in 1386.

1471. _clarree._ 'The French term _claré_ seems simply to have denoted a
clear transparent wine, but in its most usual sense a compounded drink of
wine with honey and spices, so delicious as to be comparable to the nectar
of the gods. In Sloane MS. 2584, f. 173, the following directions are found
for making _clarré_:--"Take a galoun of honi, and skome (skim) it wel, and
loke whanne it is isoden (boiled), that ther be a galoun; thanne take viii
galouns of red wyn, than take a pound of pouder canel (cinnamon), and half
a pounde of pouder gynger, and a quarter of a pounde of pouder peper, and
medle (mix) alle these thynges togeder and (with) the wyn; and do hym in a
clene barelle, and stoppe it fast, and rolle it wel ofte sithes, as men don
verious, iii dayes."'--Way; note to Prompt. Parv., p. 79. 'The Craft to
make Clarre' is also given in Arnold's Chronicle of London; and see the
Gloss. to the Babees Book. See Rom. of the Rose, 5971.

1472. Burton mentions 'opium Thebaicum,' which produced stupefaction; Anat.
Met. pt. 3. sec. 2. mem. 6. subsec. 2. The words 'Opium Thebaicum' are
written in the margin in MSS. E. and Hn. [71]

1477. _nedes-cost_, for _needes coste_, by the force of necessity. It seems
to be equivalent to M. E. _needes-wyse_, of necessity. _Alre-coste_
(Icelandic _alls-kostar_, in all respects) signifies 'in every wise.' It
occurs in Old English Homilies (ed. Morris), part i. p. 21: 'We ne ma[gh]en
_alre-coste_ halden Crist(es) bibode,' we are not able in every wise to
keep Christ's behests. The right reading in Leg. Good Women, 2697, is:--

 'And nedes cost this thing mot have an ende.'

1494. A beautiful line; but copied from Dante, Purg. i. 20--'Faceva tutto
rider l'oriente.'

1500. See note to l. 1047, where the parallel line from Shakespeare is
quoted. And cf. Troil. ii. 112--'And lat us don to May som observaunce.'
See the interesting article on May-day Customs in Brand's Popular
Antiquities (where the quotation from Stubbes will be found); also
Chambers, Book of Days, i. 577, where numerous passages relating to May are
cited from old poems. An early passage relative to the 1st of May occurs in
the Orologium Sapientiae, printed in Anglia, x. 387:--'And thanne is the
custome of dyuerse contrees that yonge folke gone on the nyghte or erely on
the morow to Medowes and woddes, and there they kutten downe bowes that
haue fayre grene leves, and arayen hem with flowres; and after they setten
hem byfore the dores where they trowe to haue amykes [friends?] in her
lovers, in token of frendschip and trewe loue.' And see _May-day_ in Nares.

1502. From the Legend of Good Women, 1204.

1508. _Were it_ = if it were only.

1509. So in Troilus, ii. 920:--

 'Ful loude sang ayein the mone shene.'

1522. 'Veld haueð hege, and wude haueð heare,' i. e. 'Field hath eye, and
wood hath ear.'

 'Campus habet lumen, et habet nemus auris acumen.'

This old proverb, with Latin version, occurs in MS. Trin. Coll. Cam. O. 2.
45, and is quoted by Mr. T. Wright in his Essays on England in the Middle
Ages, vol. i. p. 168. Cf. Cotgrave's F. Dict. s. v. _Oeillet_.

'Das Feld hat Augen, der Wald hat Ohren'; Ida von Düringsfeld,
Sprichwörter, vol. i. no. 453.

1524. _at unset stevene_, at a meeting not previously fixed upon, an
unexpected meeting or appointment. This was a proverbial saying, as is
evident from the way in which it is quoted in Sir Eglamour, 1282 (Thornton
Romances, p. 174):--

     '_Hyt ys sothe seyde_, be God of heven,
      Mony metyn at on-sett stevyn.'

  Cf. 'Wee may chance to meet with Robin Hood
      Here _att some unsett steven_.'
      Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne; in Percy's
    Reliques of Eng. Poetry.


'Thei _setten steuen_,' they made an appointment; Knight de la Tour-Landry,
ch. iii. And see below, The Cokes Tale:

 'And ther they _setten steven_ for to mete'; A. 4383.

1531. _hir queynte geres_, their strange behaviours.

1532. Now in the top (i. e. elevated, in high spirits), now down in the
briars (i. e. depressed, in low spirits).

 'Allas! where is this worldes stabilnesse?
  _Here up, here doune_; here honour, here repreef;
  Now hale, now sike; now bounté, now myscheef.'
                         Occleve, De Reg. Princip. p. 2.

1533. _boket in a welle._ Cf. Shakespeare's Richard II., iv. 1. 184. 'Like
so many buckets in a well; as one riseth another falleth, one's empty,
another's full.'--Burton's Anat. of Mel. p. 33.

1536. _gery_, changeable; so also _gerful_ in l. 1538. Observe also the sb.
_gere_, a changeable mood, in ll. 1372, 1531, and Book of the Duchesse,
1257. This very scarce word deserves illustration. Mätzner's Dictionary
gives us some examples.

 'By revolucion and turning of the yere
  A _gery_ March his stondis doth disclose,
  Nowe reyne, nowe storme, nowe Phebus bright and clere.'
                            Lydgate, Minor Poems, p. 24.

'Her _gery_ Iaces,' their changeful ribands; Richard Redeless, iii. 130.

 'Now _gerysshe_, glad and anoon aftir wrothe.'
                            Lydgate, Minor Poems, p. 245.

'In _gerysshe_ Marche'; id. 243. '_Gerysshe_, wylde or lyght-headed';
Palsgrave's Dict., p. 313. In Skelton's poem of Ware the Hauke (ed. Dyce,
i. 157) we find:--

 'His seconde hawke wexid _gery_,
  And was with flying wery.'

Dyce, in his note upon the word, quotes two passages from Lydgate's Fall of
Princes, B. iii. c. 10. leaf 77, and B. vi. c. 1. leaf 134.

 'Howe _gery_ fortune, furyous and wode.'

 'And, as a swalowe _geryshe_ of her flyghte,
  Twene slowe and swyfte, now croked, now upright.'

Two more occur in the same, B. iii. c. 8, and B. iv. c. 8.

 'The _gery_ Romayns, stormy and unstable.'

 'The _geryshe_ quene, of chere and face double.'

See also in his Siege of Troye, ed. 1555, fol. B 6, back, col. 2; &c.

1539. A writer in Notes and Queries quotes the following Devonshire
proverb: 'Fridays in the week are never aleek,' i. e. Fridays are unlike
other days.

 'Vendredy de la semaine est
  Le plus beau ou le plus laid';
       Recueil des Contes, par A. Jubinal, p. 375.


1566. Compare Legend of Good Women, 2629:--

 'Sin first that day that _shapen was my sherte_,
  Or by the _fatal sustren_ had my dom.'

So also in Troil. iii. 733.

1593. _I drede noght_, I have no fear, I doubt not.

1594. _outher ... or_ = either ... or.

1609. _To darreyne hir_, to decide the right to her. Spenser is very fond
of this word; see F. Q. i. 4. 40; i. 7. 11; ii. 2. 26; iii. i. 20; iv. 4.
26, 5. 24; v. 2. 15; vi. 7. 41. See _deraisnier_ in Godefroy's O. Fr. Dict.

1622. _to borwe._ This expression has the same force as _to wedde_, in
pledge. See l. 1218.

1625. The expression 'sooth is seyd' shews that Chaucer is here introducing
a quotation. The original passage is the following, from the Roman de la
Rose, 8487:--

 'Bien savoient cele parole,
  Qui n'est mençongiere ne fole:
  Qu'onques Amor et Seignorie
  Ne s'entrefirent companie,
  Ne ne demorerent ensemble.'

Again, the expression 'cele parole' shews that Jean de Meun is also here
quoting from another, viz. from Ovid, Met. ii. 846:--

 'Non bene conueniunt, nec in una sede morantur
  Maiestas et Amor.'

1626. _his thankes_, willingly, with good-will; cf. l. 2107. Cf. M. E. _myn
unthonkes_ = ingratis. 'He faught with them in batayle _their unthankes_';
Hardyng's Chronicle, p. 112.--M.

1638. Cf. Teseide, vii. 106, 119; Statius, Theb. iv. 494-9.

1654. _Foynen_, thrust, push. It is a mistake to explain this, as usual, by
'fence,' as fence (= defence) suggests _parrying_; whereas _foinen_ means
to thrust or push, as in attack, not as in defence. It occurs again in l.
2550. Hence it is commonly used of the pushing with spears.

 'With speres ferisly [fiercely] they foynede.'
            Sir Degrevant, 274 (Thornton, Rom. p. 188).

Strutt (Sports and Pastimes, bk. iii. c. 1. § 32) explains that a thrust is
more dangerous than a cut, and quotes the old advice, that 'to foyne is
better than to smyte.' 'And there kyng Arthur smote syr Mordred vnder the
shelde wyth a _foyne_ of his spere thorughoute the body more than a fadom';
Sir T. Malory, Morte Darthur, bk. xxi. c. 4. This was a foine indeed!

1656. Deficient in the first foot. Scan:--In | his fight | ing, &c. The
usual insertion of _as_ before _a_ is wholly unauthorised.

1665. _hath seyn biforn_, hath foreseen. Cf. Teseide, vi. 1. [74]

1668. From the Teseide, v. 77. Compare the medieval proverb:--'Hoc facit
una dies quod totus denegat annus.' Quoted in Die älteste deutsche
Litteratur; by Paul Piper (1884); p. 283.

1676. _ther daweth him no day_, no day dawns upon him.

1678. _hunte_, hunter, huntsman; whence _Hunt_ as a surname. I find this
form as late as in Gascoigne's Art of Venerie: 'I am the _Hunte_'; Works,
ed. Hazlitt, ii. 306.

1698. Similarly, Adrastus stopped the fight between Tydeus and Polynices;
Statius, Theb. i. Lydgate describes this in his Siege of Thebes, pt. ii,
and takes occasion to borrow several expressions from this part of the
Knightes Tale.

1706. _Ho_, an exclamation made by heralds, to stop the fight. It was also
used to enjoin silence. See ll. 2533, 2656; Troil. iv. 1242.

1707. _Up peyne_ is the old phrase; as in '_up peyne_ of emprisonement of
40 days'; Riley's Memorials of London, p. 580.

1736. _it am I._ 'This is the regular construction in early English. In
modern English the pronoun _it_ is regarded as the direct nominative, and
_I_ as forming part of the predicate.'--M.

1739. 'Therefore I ask my death and my doom.'

1747. _Mars the rede._ Boccaccio uses the same epithet in the opening of
his Teseide, i. 3: '_O Marte rubicondo._' _Rede_ refers to the colour of
the planet; cf. Anelida, 1.

1761. This line occurs again three times; March. Tale E. 1986; Squieres
Tale, F. 479; Legend of Good Women, 503.

1780. _can no divisoun_, knows no distinction.

1781. _after oon_ = after one mode, according to the same rule.

1783. _eyen lighte_, cheerful looks.

1785. See the Romaunt of the Rose, 878-884; vol. i. p. 130.

1799. 'Amare et Sapere vix Deo conceditur.'--Publius Syrus, Sent. 15. Cf.
Adv. of Learning, ii. proem. § 15--'It is not granted to man to love and to
be wise'; ed. Wright, p. 84. So also in Bacon's 10th Essay. The reading
here given is correct. _Fool_ is used with great emphasis; the sense
is:--'Who can be a (complete) fool, unless he is in love?' The old printed
editions have the same reading. The Harl. MS. alone has _if that_ for
_but-if_, giving the sense: 'Who can be fool, if he is in love?' As this is
absurd, Mr. Wright _silently_ inserted _not_ after _may_, and is followed
by Bell and Morris; but the latter prints _not_ in italics. Observe that
the line is deficient in the first foot. Read:--Whó | may bé | a fóol, &c.

1807. _jolitee_, joyfulness--said of course ironically.

1808. _Can ... thank_, acknowledges an obligation, owes thanks.

1814. _a servant_, i. e. a lover. This sense of _servant_, as a term of
gallantry, is common in our dramatists.

1815, 1818. Cf. the Teseide, v. 92.

1837. _looth or leef_, displeasing or pleasing.

1838. _pypen in an ivy leef_ is an expression like 'blow the buck's-horn'
in A. 3387, meaning to console oneself with any frivolous [75] employment;
it occurs again in Troilus, v. 1433. Cf. the expression 'to go and
whistle.' Cf. 'farwel the gardiner; he may pipe with an yue-leafe; his
fruite is failed'; Test. of Love, bk. iii; ed. 1561, fol. 316. Boys still
blow against a leaf, and produce a squeak. Lydgate uses similar

 'But let his brother blowe in an horn,
  Where that him list, or pipe in a reede.'
                       Destruction of Thebes, part ii.

Again, in Hazlitt's Proverbs, we find 'To go blow one's flute,' which is
taken from an old proverb. In Vox Populi Vox Dei (circa 1547), pr. in
Hazlitt's Popular Poetry, iii. 284, are the lines:--

 'When thei have any sute,
  Thei maye goo blowe theire flute,
  _This goithe the comon brute_.'

The custom is old. Cf. Zenobius, i. 19 (Paroem. Graec. I. p. 6):--

[Greek: aidein pros murrinên; ethos ên ton mê dunamenon en tois sumposiois
aisai, daphnês klôna ê murrinês labonta pros touton aidein.]

1850. _fer ne ner_, farther nor nearer, neither more nor less. 'After some
little trouble, I have arrived at the conclusion that Chaucer has given us
sufficient _data_ for ascertaining both the days of the month and of the
week of many of the principal events of the "Knightes Tale." The following
scheme will explain many things hitherto unnoticed.

'On Friday, May 4, before 1 A.M., Palamon breaks out of prison. For (l.
1463) it was during the "third night of May, but (l. 1467) a little _after_
midnight." That it was Friday is evident also, from observing that Palamon
hides himself at day's approach, whilst Arcite rises "for to doon his
observance to May, remembring on the _poynt of his desyr_." To do this
best, he would go into the fields at _sunrise_ (l. 1491), during the hour
dedicated to _Venus_, i. e. during the hour after sunrise _on a Friday_. If
however this seem for a moment doubtful, all doubt is removed by the
following lines:--

 "Right as the _Friday_, soothly for to telle,
  Now it shyneth, now it reyneth faste,
  Right so gan gery _Venus_ overcaste
  The hertes of hir folk; right as _hir day_
  Is gerful, right so chaungeth she array.
  Selde is the _Friday_ al the wyke ylyke."

'All this is very little to the point unless we suppose Friday to be the
day. Or, if the reader have _still_ any doubt about this, let him observe
the curious accumulation of evidence which is to follow.

'Palamon and Arcite meet, and a duel is arranged for an early hour on the
_day following_. That is, they meet on Saturday, May 5. But, as Saturday is
presided over by the inauspicious planet Saturn, it is no wonder that they
are both unfortunate enough to have their duel [76] interrupted by Theseus,
and to find themselves threatened with death. Still, at the intercession of
the queen and Emily, a day of assembly for a tournament is fixed for "_this
day fifty wykes_" (l. 1850). Now we must understand "fifty wykes" to be a
poetical expression for _a year_. This is not mere supposition, however,
but a _certainty_; because the appointed day was in the month of _May_,
whereas fifty weeks and no more would land us in _April_. Then "this day
fyfty wekes" means "this day year," viz. on May 5. [In fact, Boccaccio has
'un anno intero'; Tes. v. 98.]

'Now, in the year following (supposed not a leap-year), the 5th of May
would be _Sunday_. But this we are expressly told in l. 2188. It must be
noted, however, that this is not the day of the _tournament_[23], but of
the _muster_ for it, as may be gleaned from ll. 1850-1854 and 2096. The
eleventh hour "inequal" of Sunday night, or the second hour before sunrise
of Monday, is dedicated to _Venus_, as explained by Tyrwhitt (l. 2217); and
therefore Palamon then goes to the temple of Venus. The next hour is
dedicated to Mercury. The third hour, the first after sunrise on Monday, is
dedicated to Luna or Diana, and during this Emily goes to Diana's temple.
The fourth after sunrise is dedicated to Mars, and therefore Arcite then
goes to the temple of Mars. But the rest of the day is spent merely in
jousting and preparations--

 "Al that _Monday_ justen they and daunce." (l. 2486.)

The tournament therefore takes place on Tuesday, May 7, on the day of the
week presided over by _Mars_, as was very fitting; and this perhaps helps
to explain Saturn's exclamation in l. 2669, "Mars hath his wille."'--Walter
W. Skeat, in Notes and Queries, Fourth Series, ii. 2, 3; Sept. 12, 1868
(since slightly corrected).

To this was added the observation, that May 5 was on a Saturday in 1386,
and on a Sunday in 1387. Ten Brink (Studien, p. 189) thinks it is of no
value; but the coincidence is curious.

1866. 'Except that one of you shall be either slain or taken prisoner';
i. e. one of you must be fairly conquered.

1884. _listes_, lists. 'The lists for the tilts and tournaments resembled
those, I doubt not, appointed for the ordeal combats, which, according to
the rules established by Thomas, duke of Gloucester, uncle to Richard II.,
were as follows. The king shall find the field to fight in, and the lists
shall be made and devised by the constable; and it is to be observed, that
the list must be 60 paces long and 40 paces broad, set up in good order,
and the ground within hard, stable, and level, without any great stones or
other impediments; also, that the lists must be made _with one door to the
east, and another to the west_ [see [77] ll. 1893, 4]; and strongly barred
about with good bars 7 feet high or more, so that a horse may not be able
to leap over them.'--Strutt, Sports and Pastimes; bk. iii. c. 1. § 23.

1889. The various parts of this round theatre are subsequently described.
On the North was the turret of Diana, with an oratory; on the East the gate
of Venus, with altar and oratory above; on the West the gate of Mars,
similarly provided.

1890. _Ful of degrees_, full of steps (placed one above another, as in an
amphitheatre). 'But now they have gone a nearer way to the wood, for with
wooden galleries in the church that they have, and _stairy degrees of
seats_ in them, they make as much room to sit and hear, as a new west end
would have done.'--Nash's Red Herring, p. 21. See Shakespeare, Julius
Cæsar, ii. 126, and also 2 Kings xx. 9. Cf. 'While she stey up from _gre_
to _gre_.'--Lives of Saints, Roxb. Club, p. 59. Lines 1187-1894 are more or
less imitated from the Teseide, vii. 108-110.

1910. Coral is a curious material to use for such a purpose; but we find
posts of coral and a palace chiefly formed of coral and metal in Guy of
Warwick, ed. Zupitza, 11399-11401.

1913. _don wroght_, caused (to be) made; observe this idiom. Cf. _don yow
kept_, E. 1098; _han doon fraught_, B. 171; _haf gert saltit_, Bruce,
xviii. 168.

1918-32. See the analysis of this passage in vol. iii. p. 390.

1919. _on the wal_, viz. on the walls _within_ the oratory. The description
is loosely imitated from Boccaccio's Teseide, vii. 55-59. It is remarkable
that there is a much closer imitation of the same passage in Chaucer's
Parl. of Foules, ll. 183-294. Thus at l. 246 of that poem we find:--

 'Within the temple, of syghes hote as fyr,
  I herde a swogh, that gan aboute renne;
  Which syghes were engendred with desyr,
  That maden every auter for to brenne
  Of newe flaume; and wel aspyed I thenne
  That al the cause of sorwes that they drye
  Com of the bitter goddesse Ialousye.'

There is yet another description of the temple of Venus in the House of
Fame, 119-139, where we have the very line 'Naked fletinge in a see' (cf.
l. 1956 below), and a mention of the 'rose garlond' (cf. l. 1961), and of
'Hir dowves and daun Cupido' (cf. ll. 1962-3).

1929. _golde_, a marigold; _Calendula_. '_Goolde_, herbe: Solsequium, quia
sequitur solem, elitropium, calendula'; Prompt. Parv. The corn-marigold in
the North is called _goulans_, _guilde_, or _goles_, and in the South,
_golds_ (Way). Gower says that Leucothea was changed

 'Into a floure was named _golde_,
  Which stant governed of the sonne.'
                      Conf. Am., ed. Pauli, ii. 356.

[78] Yellow is the colour of jealousy; see _Yellowness_ in Nares. In the
Rom. de la Rose, 22037, Jealousy is described as wearing a 'chapel de
_soussie_,' i. e. a chaplet of marigolds.

1936. _Citheroun_ = Cithaeron, sacred to Venus; as said in the Rom. de la
Rose, 15865, q.v.

1940. In the Romaunt of the Rose, _Idleness_ is the _porter_ of the garden
in which the rose (Beauty) is kept. In the Parl. of Foules, 261, the
porter's name is _Richesse_. Cf. ll. 2, 3 of the Second Nonnes Tale (G. 2,

1941. _of yore agon_, of years gone by. Cf. Ovid, Met. iii. 407.

1953-4. Imitated from Le Roman de la Rose, 16891-2.

1955. The description of Venus here given has some resemblance to that
given in cap. v (De Venere) of Albrici Philosophi De Deorum Imaginibus
Libellus, in an edition of the Mythographi Latini, Amsterdam, 1681, vol.
ii. p. 304. I transcribe as much as is material. 'Pingebatur Venus
pulcherrima puella, nuda, et in mari natans; et in manu sua dextra concham
marinam tenens atque gestans; rosisque candidis et rubris sertum gerebat in
capite ornatum, et columbis circa se volando, comitabatur.... Hinc et
Cupido filius suus alatus et caecus assistebat, qui sagitta et arcu, quos
tenebat, Apollinem sagittabat.' It is clear that Chaucer had consulted some
such description as this; see further in the note to l. 2041.

1958. Cf. 'wawes ... clere as glas'; Boeth. bk. i. met. 7. 4.

1971. _estres_, the inner parts of a building; as also in A. 4295 and Leg.
of Good Women, 1715. 'To spere the _estyrs_ of Rome'; Le Bone Florence,
293; in Ritson, Met. Rom. iii. 13. See also Cursor Mundi, 2252.

       'For thow knowest better then I
  Al the _estris_ of this house.'
  Pardoner and Tapster, 556; pr. with Tale of Beryn (below).

'His sportis [portes?] and his _estris_'; Tale of Beryn, ed. Furnivall,
837. Cf. 'Qu'il set bien de l'ostel les _estres_'; Rom. de la Rose, 12720;
and see Rom. of the Rose, 1448 (vol. i. p. 153).

By mistaking the long _s_ for _f_, this word has been misprinted as
_eftures_ in the following: 'Pleaseth it yow to see the _eftures_ of this
castel?'--Sir Thomas Malory, Mort Arthure, b. xix. c. 7.

1979. _a rumbel and a swough_, a rumbling and a sound of wind.

1982. _Mars armipotente._

 'O thou rede Marz armypotente,
  That in the trende baye hase made thy throne;
  That God arte of bataile and regent,
  And rulist all that alone;
  To whom I profre precious present,
  To the makande my moone
  With herte, body and alle myn entente,
    .    .    .    .    .    .
  In worshipe of thy reverence
  On thyn owen Tewesdaye.'
                   Sowdone of Babyloyne, ll. 939-953.


The word _armipotent_ is borrowed from Boccaccio's _armipotente_, in the
Teseide, vii. 32. Other similar borrowings occur hereabouts, too numerous
for mention. Note that this description of the temple of Mars once belonged
to the end of the poem of Anelida, which see.

Let the reader take particular notice that the temple here described (ll.
1982-1994) is merely a _painted_ temple, depicted on one of the walls
_inside_ the oratory of Mars. The walls of the other temples had paintings
similar to those inside the temple of which the outside is here depicted.
Chaucer describes the painted temple as if it were real, which is somewhat
confusing. Inconsistent additions were made in revision.

1984. _streit_, narrow; 'la stretta entrata'; Tes. vii. 32.

1985. _vese_ is glossed _impetus_ in the Ellesmere MS., and means 'rush' or
'hurrying blast.' It is allied to M.E. _fesen_, to drive, which is
Shakespeare's _pheeze_. Copied from 'salit Impetus amens E foribus'; Theb.
vii. 47, 48.

1986. _rese_ = to shake, quake. 'Þe eorðe gon _to-rusien_,' 'the earth gan
to shake.'--La[gh]amon, l. 15946. _To resye_, to shake, occurs in Ayenbite
of Inwyt, pp. 23, 116. Cf. also--'The tre _aresede_ as hit wold falle';
Seven Sages, ed. Weber, l. 915. A.S. _hrysian_.

1987. 'I suppose the _northern light_ is the aurora borealis, but this
phenomenon is so rarely mentioned by mediaeval writers, that it may be
questioned whether Chaucer meant anything more than the faint and cold
illumination received by reflexion through the door of an apartment
fronting the north.' (Marsh.) The fact is, however, that Chaucer here
copies Statius, Theb. vii. 40-58; see the translation in the note to l.
2017 below. The 'northern light' seems to be an incorrect rendering of
'aduersum Phoebi iubar'; l. 45.

1990. 'E le porte eran d'eterno diamante'; Teseide, vii. 32. Such is the
reading given by Warton. However, the ultimate source is the phrase in
Statius--'adamante perenni ... fores'; Theb. vii. 68.

1991. _overthwart_, &c., across and along (i. e. from top to bottom). The
same phrase occurs in Rich. Coer de Lion, 2649, in Weber, Met. Romances,
ii. 104.

1997, 8. Cf. the Teseide, vii. 33:--

 'Videvi l' Ire rosse, come fuoco,
  E le Paure pallide in quel loco.'

But Chaucer follows Statius still more closely. Ll. 1195-2012 answer to
Theb. vii. 48-53:--

        --'caecumque Nefas, Iraeque rubentes,
  Exsanguesque Metus, occultisque ensibus astant
  Insidiae, geminumque tenens Discordia ferrum.
  Innumeris strepit aula minis; tristissima Virtus
  Stat medio, laetusque Furor, uultuque cruento
  Mars armata sedet.'

1999. Cf. Rom. of the Rose, 7419-20. [80]

2001. See Chaucer's Legend of Hypermnestra.

2003. 'Discordia, _contake_'; Glossary in Reliquiae Antiquae, i. 7.

2004. _chirking_ is used of grating and creaking sounds; and sometimes, of
the cry of birds. The Lansd. MS. has _schrikeinge_ (shrieking). See House
of Fame, iii. 853 (or 1943). In Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. viii. c. 29,
the music of the spheres is attributed to the '_cherkyng_ of the mouing of
the circles, and of the roundnes of heauen.' In Chaucer's tr. of Boethius,
bk. i. met. 6, it is an adj., and translates _stridens_. Cf. D. 1804, I.

2007. This line contains an allusion to the death of Sisera, Judges iv. But
Dr. Koch has pointed out (Essays on Chaucer, Chaucer Soc. iv. 371) that we
have here some proof that Chaucer may have altered his first draft of the
poem without taking sufficient heed to what he was about. The original line
may have stood--

 'The sleer of _her husband_ saw I there'--

or something of that kind; for the reason that no suicide has ever yet been
known to drive a nail into his own head. That a wife might do so to her
husband is _Chaucer's own_ statement; for, in the Cant. Tales, D. 765-770,
we find--

 'Of latter date, of wives hath he red,
  That somme han slayn hir housbondes in hir bed ...
  And somme han drive nayles in hir brayn,
  Whyl that they slepte, and thus they han hem slayn.'

Of course it may be said that l. 2006 is entirely _independent_ of l. 2007,
and I have punctuated the text so as to suit this arrangement; but the
suggestion is worth notice.

2011. From Tes. vii. 35:--'Videvi ancora l'allegro Furore.'--Kölbing.

2017. _hoppesteres._ Speght explains this word by pilots (_gubernaculum
tenentes_); Tyrwhitt, female dancers (Ital. _ballatrice_). Others explain
it _hopposteres_ = _opposteres_ = opposing, hostile, so that _schippes
hoppesteres_ = _bellatrices carinae_ (Statius). As, however, it is
impossible to suppose that even _opposteres_ without the _h_ can ever have
been formed from the verb to _oppose_, the most likely solution is that
Chaucer mistook the word _bellatrices_ in Statius (vii. 57) or the
corresponding Ital. word _bellatrici_ in the Teseide, vii. 37, for
_ballatrices_ or _ballatrici_, which might be supposed to mean 'female
dancers'; an expression which would exactly correspond to an M. E. form
_hoppesteres_, from the A. S. _hoppestre_, a female dancer. Herodias'
daughter is mentioned (in the dative case) as _þære lyðran hoppystran_
(better spelt _hoppestran_) in Ælfric's A. S. Homilies, ed. Thorpe, i. 484.
Hence _shippes hoppesteres_ simply means 'dancing ships.' Shakespeare
likens the English fleet to 'A city on the inconstant billows _dancing_';
Hen. V. iii. prol. 15. Cf. O. F. _baleresse_, a female dancer, in
Godefroy's Dict., s. v. _baleor_. In § 55 of Cl. Ptolomaei Centum Dicta,
printed at Ulm in 1641, we are told that Mars is hostile to ships when in
the zenith or the [81] eleventh house. '_Incendetur_ autem nauis, si
ascendens ab aliqua stella fixa quae ex Martis mixtura sit, affligetur.' So
that, if a fixed star co-operated with Mars, the ships were burnt.

The following extract from Lewis' translation of Statius' Thebaid, bk.
vii., is of some interest:--

 'Beneath the fronting height of Æmus stood
  The fane of Mars, encompass'd by a wood.
  The mansion, rear'd by more than mortal hands,
  On columns fram'd of polish'd iron stands;
  The well-compacted walls are plated o'er
  With the same metal; just without the door
  A thousand Furies frown. The dreadful gleam,
  That issues from the sides, reflects the beam
  Of adverse Phoebus, and with cheerless light
  Saddens the day, and starry host of night.
  Well his attendants suit the dreary place;
  First frantic Passion, Wrath with redd'ning face,
  And Mischief blind from forth the threshold start;
  Within lurks pallid Fear with quiv'ring heart,
  Discord, a two-edged falchion in her hand,
  And Treach'ry, striving to conceal the brand.'

2020. _for al_, notwithstanding. Cf. Piers the Plowman, B. xix. 274.

2021. _infortune of Marte._ 'Tyrwhitt thinks that Chaucer might intend to
be satirical in these lines; but the introduction of such apparently
undignified incidents arose from the confusion already mentioned of the god
of war with the planet to which his name was given, and the influence of
which was supposed to produce all the disasters here mentioned. The
following extract from the Compost of Ptolemeus gives some of the supposed
effects of Mars:--"Under Mars is borne theves and robbers that kepe hye
wayes, and do hurte to true men, and nyght-walkers, and quarell-pykers,
bosters, mockers, and skoffers, and these men of Mars causeth warre and
murther, and batayle; they wyll be gladly _smythes_ or workers of yron,
lyght-fyngred, and lyers, gret swerers of othes in vengeable wyse, and a
great surmyler and crafty. He is red and angry, with blacke heer, and
lytell iyen; he shall be a great walker, and a maker of swordes and knyves,
and a sheder of mannes blode, and a fornycatour, and a speker of rybawdry
... and good to be a _barboure_ and a blode-letter, and to drawe tethe, and
is peryllous of his handes." The following extract is from an old
astrological book of the sixteenth century:--"Mars denoteth men with red
faces and the skinne redde, the face round, the eyes yellow, horrible to
behold, furious men, cruell, desperate, proude, sedicious, souldiers,
captaines, _smythes_, colliers, bakers, alcumistes, armourers, furnishers,
_butchers_, chirurgions, _barbers_, sargiants, and hangmen, according as
they shal be well or evill disposed."'--Wright. So also in Cornelius
Agrippa, De Occulta Philosophia, lib. i. c. 22. [82] Chaucer has 'cruel
Mars' in The Man of Lawes Tale, B. 301; and cf. note to A. 1087.

2022. From Statius, Theb. vii. 58:--

 'Et uacui currus, protritaque curribus ora.'

2029. For the story of Damocles, see Cicero, Tuscul. 5. 61; cf. Horace, Od.
iii. 1. 17. And see Chaucer's tr. of Boethius, bk. iii. pr. 5. 17. Most
likely Chaucer got it from Boethius or from the Gesta Romanorum, cap. 143,
since the _name_ of Damocles is _omitted_.

2037. _sterres_ (Harl.) Elles. &c. have _certres_ (_sertres_); but this
strange reading can hardly be other than a mistake for _sterres_, which is
proved to be the right word by the parallel passage in The Man of Lawes
Tale, B. 194-6.

2041. In the note to l. 1955, I have quoted part of cap. v. of a work by
Albricus. In cap. iii. (De Marte) of the same, we have a description of
Mars, which should be compared. I quote all that is material. 'Erat enim
eius figura tanquam unius hominis furibundi, in curru sedens, armatus
lorica, et caeteris armis offensiuis et defensiuis.... Ante illum uero
lupus ouem portans pingebatur, quia illud scilicet animal ab antiquis
gentibus ipsi Marti specialiter consecratum est. Iste enim _Mauors_ est, id
est _mares uorans_, eo quod bellorum deus a gentibus dictus est.' Chaucer
seems to have taken the notion of the wolf devouring a man from this
singular etymology of _Mauors_.

In cap. vii. (De Diana) of the same, there is a description of 'Diana, quae
et Luna, Proserpina, Hecate nuncupatur.' Cf. l. 2313 below.

2045. 'The names of two figures in geomancy, representing two
constellations in heaven. Puella signifieth Mars retrogade, and Rubeus Mars
direct.'--Note in Speght's Chaucer. It is obvious that this explanation is
wrong as regards 'Mars retrograde' and 'Mars direct,' because a
constellation cannot represent a single planet. It happens to be also wrong
as regards 'constellations in heaven.' But Speght is correct in the main
point, viz., that Puella and Rubeus are 'the names of two figures in
geomancy.' Geomancy was described, under the title of 'Divination by
Spotting,' in The Saturday Review, Feb. 16, 1889. To form geomantic
figures, proceed thus. Take a pencil, and hurriedly jot down on a paper a
number of dots in a line, without counting them. Do the same three times
more. Now count the dots, to see whether they are odd or even. If the dots
in a line are _odd_, put down _one_ dot on another small paper, half-way
across it. If they are _even_, put down _two_ dots, one towards each side;
arranging the results in four rows, one beneath the other.

_Three_ of the figures thus formed require our attention; the whole number
being sixteen. Fig. 1 results from the dots being odd, even, odd, odd. Fig.
2, from even, odd, even, even. Fig. 3, from odd, odd, even, odd. These (as
well as the rest of the sixteen figures) are given in Cornelius Agrippa, De
Occulta Philosophia, lib. ii. cap. 48: De Figuris Geomanticis. Each
'Figure' had a 'Name,' belonged to an [83] 'Element,' and possessed a
'Planet' and a Zodiacal 'Sign.' Cornelius Agrippa gives our three 'figures'
as below.

    *        *   *        *
  *   *        *          *
    *        *   *      *   *
    *        *   *        *

Fig. 1 (Puella). Fig. 2 (Rubeus). Fig. 3 (Puer). That is, Fig. 1 is
'Puella,' or 'Mundus facie'; element, water; planet, Venus; sign, Libra.

Fig. 2 is 'Rubeus' or 'Rufus'; element, fire; planet, Mars; sign, Gemini.

Fig. 3 is 'Puer,' or 'Flavus,' or 'Imberbis'; element, fire; planet, Mars;
sign, Aries.

Chaucer (or some one else) seems to have confused figures 1 and 3, or Puer
with Puella; for Puella was dedicated to Venus. Rubeus is clearly right, as
Mars was the red planet (l. 1747). I first explained this, somewhat more
fully, in The Academy, March 2, 1889.

2049. From Tes. vii. 38:--'E tal ricetto edificato avea Mulcibero _sottil_
colla sua arte.'--Kölbing, in Engl. Studien, ii. 528.

2056. _Calistopee_ = _Callisto_, a daughter of Lycaon, King of Arcadia, and
companion of Diana. See Ovid's Fasti, ii. 153; Gower, Conf. Amantis, ed.
Pauli, ii. 336.

2059, 2061. 'Cf. Ovid's Fasti, ii. 153-192; especially 189, 190,

 "Signa propinqua micant. Prior est, quam dicimus Arcton,
    Arctophylax formam terga sequentis habet."

The nymph Callisto was changed into _Arctos_ or the Great Bear; hence "Vrsa
Maior" is written in the margin of E. Hn. Cp. Ln. This was sometimes
confused with the other Arctos or Lesser Bear, in which was situate the
_lodestar_ or Polestar. Chaucer has followed this error. Callisto's son,
Arcas, was changed into Arctophylax or Boötes: here again Chaucer says a
_sterre_, when he means a whole constellation; as, perhaps, he does in
other passages.'--Chaucer's Astrolabe, ed. Skeat (E. E. T. S.), pp. xlviii,

2062, 2064. _Dane_ = _Daphne_, a girl beloved by Apollo, and changed into a
laurel. See Ovid's Metamorph. i. 450; Gower, Conf. Amantis, ed. Pauli, i.
336; Troilus, iii. 726.

2065. _Attheon_ = _Actaeon_. See Ovid's Metamorph. iii. 138.

2070. _Atthalante_ = _Atalanta_. See Ovid's Metamorph. x. 560; and Troilus,
v. 1471.

2074. _nat drawen to memorie_ = not draw to memory, not call to mind.

2079. Cf. 'gawdy greene. _subviridis_'; Prompt. Parv. This _gaudè_ has
nothing whatever to do with the E. sb. _gaud_, but answers to F. _gaudé_,
the pp. of the verb _gauder_, to dye with weld; from the F. sb. _gaude_,
weld. As to _weld_, see my note to The Former Age, 17; in [84] vol. i. p.
540. Littré has an excellent example of the word: 'Les bleus teints en
indigo doivent être _gaudés_, et ils deviennent _verts_.'

2086. _thou mayst best_, art best able to help, thou hast most power.
Lucina was a title both of Juno and Diana; see Vergil, Ecl. iv. 10.

2112. Here _paramours_ is used adverbially, like _paramour_ in l. 1155.
From Le Roman de la Rose, 20984:--'Jamès par amors n'ameroit.'

2115. _benedicite_ is here pronounced as a trisyllable, viz. _ben'cite_. It
usually _is_ so, though five syllables in l. 1785. Cf. _benste_ in Towneley
Myst. p. 85. Cf. 'What, liveth nat thy lady, _benedicite_!' Troil. i. 780.
_Benedicite_ is equivalent to 'thank God,' and was used in saying graces.
See Babees Book, pp. 382, 386; and Appendix, p. 9.

2125. This line seems to mean that there is nothing new under the sun.

2129. This is the 're Licurgo' of the Teseide, vi. 14; and the Lycurgus of
the Thebaid, iv. 386, and of Homer, Il. vi. 130. But the description of him
is partly taken from that of another warrior, Tes. vi. 21, 22. It is worth
notice that, in Lydgate's Story of Thebes, pt. iii., king Ligurgus or
Licurgus (the name is spelt both ways) is introduced, and Lydgate has the
following remark concerning him:--

 'And the kingdom, but-if bokes lye,
  Of Ligurgus, called was Trace;
  And, as I rede _in another place_,
  He was the same mighty champion
  To Athenes that cam with Palamon
  Ayenst his brother (!) that called was Arcite,
  Y-led in his chare with foure boles whyte,
  Upon his bed a wreth of gold ful fyn.'

The term _brother_ must refer to l. 1147 above. See further, as to
Lycurgus, in the note to Leg. Good Women, 2423, in vol. iii. p. 344.

2134. '_kempe heres_, shaggy, rough hairs. Tyrwhitt and subsequent editors
have taken for granted that _kempe_ = _kemped_, combed (an impossible
equation); but _kempe_ is rather the reverse of this, and instead of
smoothly combed, means bristly, rough, or shaggy. In an Early English poem
it is said of Nebuchadnezzar that

 "Hol_gh_e (hollow) were his y_gh_en anunder (under) _campe hores_."
                     Early Eng. Alliterative Poems, p. 85, l. 1695.

_Campe hores_ = shaggy hairs (about the eyebrows), and corresponds exactly
in form and meaning to _kempe heres_,'--M. See Glossary.

2141. I. e. the nails of the bear were yellow. In Cutts, Scenes and
Characters of the Middle Ages, p. 345, the bad guess is hazarded that these
'nails' were metal studs. But Chaucer was doubtless thinking of the tiger's
skin described in the Thebaid, vi. 722:--

 'Tunc genitus Talao uictori tigrin inanem
  Ire iubet, fuluo quae circumfusa nitebat
  Margine, et extremes auro mansueuerat _ungues_.'

[85] Lewis translates the last line by:--'The sharpness of the claws was
dulled with gold.'

2142. _for-old_, very old. See next note.

2144. _for-blak_ is generally explained as _for blackness_; it means _very
black_. Cf. _fordrye_, very dry, in F. 409.

2148. _alaunts_, mastiffs or wolf-hounds. Florio has: '_Alano_, a mastiue
dog.' Cotgrave: '_Allan_, a kind of big, strong, thickheaded, and
short-snowted dog; the brood where-of came first out of Albania (old
Epirus).' Pineda's Span. Dict. gives: '_Alano_, a mastiff dog, particularly
a bull dog; also, an _Alan_, one of that nation.' This refers to the tribe
of _Alani_, a nation of warlike horsemen, first found in Albania. They
afterwards became allies, first of the Huns, and afterwards of the
Visi-Goths. It is thus highly probable that _Alaunt_ (in which the _t_ is
obviously a later addition) signifies 'an Alanian dog,' which agrees with
Cotgrave's explanation. Smith's Classical Dict. derives _Alanus_, said to
mean 'mountaineer,' from a Sarmatian word _ala_.

The _alaunt_ is described in the Maister of the Game, c. 16. We there learn
they were of all colours, and frequently white with a black spot about the

2152. _Colers of_, having collars of. Some MSS. read _Colerd of_, which I
now believe to be right. _Collared_ was an heraldic term, used of
greyhounds, &c.; see the New Eng. Dict. This leaves an awkward
construction, as _torets_ seems to be governed by _with_. See Launfal, 965,
in Ritson, Met. Rom. i. 212. Cf. 'as they (the Jews) were tied up with
girdles ... so were they _collared_ about the neck.'--Fuller's Pisgah Sight
of Palestine, p. 524, ed. 1869.

_torets_, probably eyes in which rings will turn round, because each eye is
a little larger than the thickness of the ring. This appears from Chaucer's
Astrolabe, i. 2. 1--'This ring renneth in a maner turet,' i. e. in a kind
of eye (vol. iii. p. 178). Warton, in his Hist. E. Poet. ed. 1871, ii. 314,
gives several instances. It also meant a small loose ring. Cotgrave gives:
'_Touret_, the annulet, or little ring whereby a hawk's lune is fastened
unto the jesses.' 'My lityll bagge of blakke ledyr with a cheyne and
_toret_ of siluyr'; Bury Wills, ed. Tymms, p. 16. Cf. E. _swivel_-ring.

2156. _Emetrius_ is not mentioned either by Statius or by Boccaccio; cf.
Tes. vi. 29, 17, 16, 41.

2158. _diapred_, variegated with flowery or arabesque patterns. See
_diaspre_ and _diaspré_ in Godefroy's O. F. Dict.; _diasprus_ and
_diasperatus_ in Ducange. In Le Rom. de la Rose, 21205, we find mention of
_samis diaprés_, diapered samites.

2160. _cloth of Tars_, 'a kind of silk, said to be the same as in other
places is called _Tartarine_ (_tartarinum_), the exact derivation of which
appears to be somewhat uncertain.'--Wright. Cf. Piers the Plowman, B. xv.
224, and my note to the same, C. xvii. 299; also _Tartarium_ in Fairholt.

2187. _alle and some_, 'all and singular,' 'one and all.' [86]

2205. See the Teseide, vi. 8; also Our Eng. Home, 22.

2217. _And in hir houre._ 'I cannot better illustrate Chaucer's astrology
than by a quotation from the old Kalendrier de Bergiers, edit. 1500, Sign.
K. ii. b:--"Qui veult savoir comme bergiers scevent quel planete regne
chascune heure du jour et de la nuit, doit savoir la planete du jour qui
veult s'enquerir; et la premiere heure temporelle du soleil levant ce jour
est pour celluy planete, la seconde heure est pour la planete ensuivant, et
la tierce pour l'autre," &c., in the following order: viz. Saturn, Jupiter,
Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, Luna. To apply this doctrine to the present
case, the first hour of the Sunday, reckoning from sunrise, belonged to the
Sun, the planet of the day; the second to Venus, the third to Mercury, &c.;
and continuing this method of allotment, we shall find that the
twenty-second hour also belonged to the Sun, and the twenty-third to Venus;
so that the hour of Venus really was, as Chaucer says, two hours before the
sunrise of the following day. Accordingly, we are told in l. 2271, that the
third hour after Palamon set out for the temple of Venus, the Sun rose, and
Emily began to go to the temple of Diane. It is not said that this was the
hour of Diane, or the Moon, but it really was; for, as we have just seen,
the twenty-third hour of Sunday belonging to Venus, the twenty-fourth must
be given to Mercury, and the first hour of Monday falls in course to the
Moon, the presiding planet of that day. After this, Arcite is described as
walking to the temple of Mars, l. 2367, in _the nexte houre of Mars_, that
is, the _fourth_ hour of the day. It is necessary to take these words
together, for _the nexte houre_, singly, would signify the _second_ hour of
the day; but that, according to the rule of rotation mentioned above,
belonged to Saturn, as the _third_ did to Jupiter. The _fourth_ was _the
nexte houre of Mars_ that occurred after the hour last named.'--Tyrwhitt.
Thus Emily is two hours later than Palamon, and Arcite is three hours later
than Emily.

2221-64. To be compared with the Teseide, vii. 43-49, and vii. 68.

2224. _Adoun_, Adonis. See Ovid, Met. x. 503.

2233-6. Imitated from Le Rom. de la Rose, 21355-65, q. v.

2238. 'I care not to boast of arms (success in arms).'

2239. _Ne I ne axe_, &c., are to be pronounced as _ni naxe_, &c. So in l.
2630 of this tale, _Ne in_ must be pronounced as _nin_.

2252. _wher I ryde or go_, whether I ride or walk.

2253. _fyres bete_, kindle or light fires. _Bete_ also signifies to mend or
make up the fire; see l. 2292.

2271. _The thridde hour inequal._ 'In the astrological system, the day,
from sunrise to sunset, and the night, from sunset to sunrise, being each
divided into twelve hours, it is plain that the hours of the day and night
were never equal except just at the equinoxes. The hours attributed to the
planets were of this _unequal_ sort. See Kalendrier de Berg. loc. cit., and
our author's treatise on the Astrolabe.'--Tyrwhitt.

2275-360. Cf. the Teseide, vii. 71-92.

2286. _a game_, a pleasure. [87]

2288. _at his large_, at liberty (to speak or to be silent).

2290. 'E coronò di quercia cereale'; Tes. vii. 74. _Cerial_ should be
_cerrial_, as spelt by Dryden, who speaks of 'chaplets green of _cerrial_
oak'; Flower and Leaf, 230. It is from _cerreus_, adj. of _cerrus_, also
ill-spelt _cerris_, as in the botanical name _Quercus cerris_, the Turkey
oak. The cup of the acorn is prickly; see Pliny, bk. xvi. c. 6.

2294. _In Stace of Thebes_, in the Thebaid of Statius, where the reader
will _not_ find it. Cf. the Teseide, vii. 72.

2303. _aboughte_, atoned for. _Attheon_, Actaeon; Ovid, Met. iii. 230.

2313. _thre formes._ Diana is called _Diva Triformis_;--in heaven, Luna; on
earth, Diana and Lucina, and in hell, Proserpina. See note to l. 2041.

2336. Cf. Statius, Theb. viii. 632:--'Omina cernebam, subitusque intercidit

2365. _the nexte waye_, the nearest way. Cf. the Teseide, vii. 93.

2368. _walked is_, has walked. See note to l. 2217.

2371-434. Cf. the Teseide, vii. 23-28, 39-41.

2388. For the story, see Ovid, Met. iv. 171-189; and, in particular, cf.
Rom. de la Rose, 14064, where Venus is said to be 'prise et _lacie_.'

2395. _lyves creature_, creature alive, living creature.

2397. See Compl. of Anelida, 182; cf. Compl. to his Lady, 52.

2405. _do_, bring it about, cause it to come to pass.

2422-34. From Tes. vii. 39, 40; there are several verbal resemblances

2437. 'As joyful as the bird is of the bright sun.' So in Piers Pl., B. x.
153. It was a common proverb.

2438-41. Cf. the Teseide, vii. 67.

2443. Cf. 'the olde colde Saturnus'; tr. of Boethius, bk. iv. met. 1.

2447-8. From Le Rom. de la Rose, 13022, q. v.

2449. 'Men may outrun old age, but not outwit (surpass its counsel).' Cf.
'Men may the wyse at-renne, but not at-rede.'--Troilus, iv. 1456.

 'For of him (the old man) þu migt leren
  Listes and fele þewes,
  Þe baldure þu migt ben:
  Ne for-lere þu his redes,
  For þe elder mon me mai of-riden
  Betere þenne of-reden.'

 'For of him thou mayest learn
  Arts and many good habits,
  The bolder thou mayest be.
  Despise not thou his counsels,
  For one may out-ride the old man
  Better than out-wit.'

The Proverbs of Alfred, ed. Morris, in an Old Eng. Miscellany, p. 136. And
see Solomon and Saturn, ed. Kemble, p. 253.

2451. _agayn his kynde._ According to the Compost of Ptolemeus, [88] Saturn
was influential in producing strife: 'And the children of the sayd Saturne
shall be great jangeleres and chyders ... and they will never forgyve tyll
they be revenged of theyr quarell.'--Wright.

2454. _My cours._ The course of the planet _Saturn_. This refers to the
orbit of Saturn, supposed to be the largest of all, until Uranus and
Neptune were discovered.

2455. _more power._ The Compost of Ptolemeus says of Saturn, 'He is mighty
of hymself.... It is more than xxx yere or he may ronne his course.... Whan
he doth reygne, there is moche debate.'--Wright.

2460. _groyning_, murmuring, discontent; from F. _grogner_. See Rom. Rose,
7049; Troil. i. 349.

2462. 'Terribilia mala operatur Leo cum malis; auget enim eorum
malitiam.'--Hermetis Aphorismorum Liber, § 66.


 'Er fyue [gh]er ben folfult, such famyn schal aryse,
  þorw flodes and foul weder, fruites schul fayle,
  And so seiþ Saturne, and sent vs to warne.'
        P. Plowman, A. vii. 309 (B. vi. 325; C. ix. 347).

2491-525. Cf. the Teseide, vii. 95-99.

2504. _Gigginge_, fitting or providing (the shield) with straps. Godefroy
gives O. F. _guige_, _guigue_, a strap for hanging a buckler over the
shoulder, a handle of a shield. Cotgrave gives the fem. pl. _guiges_, 'the
handles of a target or shield.' In Mrs. Palliser's Historic Devices, p.
277, she describes a monument in St. Edmund's chapel, in Westminster Abbey,
on which are three shields, each with 'the _guige_ or belt of Bourchier
knots formed of straps.' In the M. E. word _gigginge_, both the _g_'s are
hard, as in _gig_ (in the sense of a two-wheeled vehicle).

_Layneres lacinge_, lacing of thongs; see Prompt. Parv., s. v. _Lanere_.

In Sir Bevis, ed. Kölbing, p. 134, we find--

 'Sir Beues was ful glad, iwis,
  Hese _laynerys_ [printed _layuerys_] he took anon,
  And fastenyd hys hawberk hym upon.'

2507. Shakespeare seems to have observed this passage; cf. Hen. V. Act 4.
prol. 12.

2511. Cf. House of Fame, 1239, 1240:--

 'Of hem that maken blody soun
  In trumpe, beme, and clarioun.'

Also Tes. viii. 5:--'D'armi, di corni, nacchere e trombette.'

'The _Nakkárah_ or _Naqárah_ was a great kettle-drum, formed like a brazen
cauldron, tapering to the bottom, and covered with buffalo-hide, often 3½
or 4 feet in diameter.... The crusades naturalised the word in some form or
other in most European languages, but in our own apparently with a transfer
of meaning. Wright defines _naker_ as "a cornet or horn of brass," and
Chaucer's use seems to countenance this.'--Marco [89] Polo, ed. Yule, i.
303-4; where more is added. But Wright's explanation is a mere guess, and
should be rejected. There is no reason for assigning to the word _naker_
any other sense than 'kettle-drum.' Minot (Songs, iv. 80) is explicit:--

 'The princes, that war riche on raw,
  Gert _nakers_ strike, and trumpes blaw.'

Hence a _naker_ had to be struck, not blown. See also _Naker_ in
Halliwell's Dictionary. Boccaccio has the pl. _nacchere_; see above.

2520. _Sparth_, battle-axe; Icel. _sparða_. See Rom. Rose, 5978; Wars of
Alexander, ed. Skeat, 1403, 2458; Gawain and Grene Knight, 209; Prompt.
Parv. In Trevisa's tr. of Higden, bk. i. ch. 33, we are told that the
Norwegians first brought sparths into Ireland. Higden has 'usum securium,
qui Anglicè _sparth_ dicitur.'

2537. As to the regulations for tournaments, see Strutt's Sports and
Pastimes, bk. iii. c. 1. §§ 16-24; the passages are far too long for
quotation. We may, however, compare the following extract, given by Strutt,
from MS. Harl. 326. 'All these things donne, thei were embatailed eche
ageynste the othir, and the corde drawen before eche partie; and whan the
tyme was, the cordes were cutt, and the trumpettes blew up for every man to
do his devoir [_duty_]. And for to assertayne the more of the tourney,
there was on eche side a stake; and at eche stake two kyngs of armes, with
penne, and inke, and paper, to write the names of all them that were
yolden, for they shold no more tournay.' And, from MS. Harl. 69, he quotes
that--'no one shall bear a sword, pointed knife, mace, or other weapon,
except the sword for the tournament.'

2543-93. Cf. the Teseide, vii. 12, 131-2, 12, 14, 100-2, 113-4, 118, 19. In
2544, _shot_ means arrow or crossbow-bolt.

2546. 'Nor short sword having a _biting_ (sharp) point to stab with.'

2565. Cf. Legend of Good Women, 635:--'Up goth the trompe.'

2568. Cf. King Alisaunder, 189, where we are told that a town was similarly
decked to receive queen Olimpias with honour. See Weber's note.

2600-24. Cf. the Teseide, viii. 5, 7, 14, 12, &c.

2602. 'In go the spears full firmly into the _rest_,'--i. e. the spears
were couched ready for the attack.

 'Thai layden here speres in _areeste_,
  Togeder thai ronnen as fire of thondere,
  That both here launces to-braste;
  That they seten, it was grete wonder,
  So harde it was that they gan threste;
  Tho drowen thai oute here swordes kene,
  And smyten togeder by one assente.'
                 The Sowdone of Babyloyne, l. 1166.

'With spere in thyne _arest_'; Rom. of the Rose, 7561. [90]

2614. _he ... he_ = one ... another. See Historical Outlines of English
Accidence, p. 282. Cf. the parallel passage in the Legend of Good Women,

2615. _feet._ Some MSS. read _foot_. Tyrwhitt proposed to read _foo_, foe,
enemy; but see l. 2550.

2624. _wroght ... wo_, done harm to his opponent.

2626. _Galgopheye._ 'This word is variously written _Colaphey_,
_Galgaphey_, _Galapey_. There was a town called _Galapha_ in Mauritania
Tingitana, upon the river Malva (Cellar. Geog. Ant. v. ii. p. 935), which
perhaps may have given name to the vale here meant.'--Tyrwhitt. But
doubtless Chaucer was thinking of the Vale of Gargaphie, where Actæon was
turned into a stag:--

 'Vallis erat, piceis et acutâ densa cupressu,
  Nomine _Gargaphie_, succinctae sacra Dianae.'
                               Ovid, Met. iii. 155, 156.

2627. Cf. the Teseide, viii. 26.

2634. _Byte_, cleave, cut; cf. the cognate Lat. verb _findere_. See ll.
2546, 2640.

2646. _swerdes lengthe._ Cf.

 'And then he bar me sone bi strenkith
  Out of my sadel my speres lenkith.'
                     Ywaine and Gawin, ll. 421, 2.

2675. _Which a_, what a, how great a.

2676-80. Cf. the Teseide, viii. 131, 124-6.

2683. _al his chere_ may mean 'all his delight, as regarded his heart.' The
Harl. MS. does _not_ insert _in_ before _his chere_, as Wright would have
us believe.

2684. Elles. reads _furie_, as noted; so in the Teseide, ix. 4. This
incident is borrowed from Statius, Theb. vi. 495, where Phoebus sends a
hellish monster to frighten some horses in a chariot-race. And see Vergil,
Æn. xii. 845.

2686-706. Cf. the _Teseide_, ix. 7, 8, 47, 13, 48, 38, 26.

2689. The following is a very remarkable account of a contemporary
occurrence, which took place at the time when a parliament was held at
Cambridge, A. D. 1388, as told by Walsingham, ed. Riley, ii. 177:--

'Tempore Parliamenti, cum Dominus Thomas Tryvet cum Rege sublimis equitaret
ad Regis hospitium, quod fuit apud Bernewelle [Barnwell], dum nimis urget
equum calcaribus, equus cadit, et omnia pene interiora sessoris dirumpit
[cf. l. 2691]; protelavit tamen vitam in crastinum.' The _saddle-bow_ or
_arsoun_ was the 'name given to two curved pieces of wood or metal, one of
which was fixed to the front of the saddle, and another behind, to give the
rider greater security in his seat'; New Eng. Dict. s. v. _Arson_. Violent
collision against the front saddle-bow produced very serious results. Cf.
the Teseide, ix. 8--'E 'l forte arcione gli premette il petto.' [91]

2696. 'Then was he cut out of his armour.' I. e. the laces were cut, to
spare the patient trouble. Cf. Statius, Theb. viii. 637-641.

2698. _in memorie_, conscious.

2710. _That ... his_, i. e. whose. So _which ... his_, in Troil. ii. 318.

2711. 'As a remedy _for_ other wounds,' &c.

2712, 3. _charmes ... save._ 'It may be observed that the salves, charms,
and pharmacies of herbs were the principal remedies of the physician in the
age of Chaucer. _Save_ (_salvia_, the herb sage) was considered one of the
most universally efficiently medieval remedies.'--Wright. Hence the proverb
of the school of Salerno, 'Cur moriatur homo, dum salvia crescit in horto?'

2722. _nis nat but_ = is only. _aventure_, accident.

2725. _O persone_, one person.

2733. _Gree_, preëminence, superiority; lit. rank, or a step; answering to
Lat. _gradus_ (not _gratus_). The phrases _to win the gree_, i. e. to get
the first place, and _to bear the gree_, i. e. to keep the first place, are
still in common use in Scotland. See note to the Allit. Destruction of
Troy, ed. Panton and Donaldson, l. 1353, and Jamieson's Dictionary.

2736. _dayes three._ Wright says the period of three days was the usual
duration of a feast among our early forefathers. As far back as the seventh
century, when Wilfred consecrated his church at Ripon, he held 'magnum
convivium trium dierum et noctium, reges cum omni populo
laetificantes.'--Eddius, Vit. S. Wilf. c. 17.

2743. This fine passage is certainly imitated from the account of the death
of Atys in Statius, Theb. viii. 637-651. I quote ll. 642-651, in which Atys
fixes his last gaze upon his bride Ismene; as to ll. 637-641, see note to
l. 2696 above.

 'Prima uidet, caramque tremens Iocasta uocabat
  Ismenen: namque hoc solum moribunda precatur
  Uox generi, solum hoc gelidis iam nomen inerrat
  Faucibus: exclamant famulae: tollebat in ora
  Uirgo manus; tenuit saeuus pudor; attamen ire
  Cogitur (indulget summum hoc Iocasta iacenti),
  Ostenditque offertque: quater iam morte sub ipsa
  Ad nomen uisus, deiectaque fortiter ora
  Sustulit: illam unam neglecto lumine coeli
  Adspicit, et uultu non exsatiatur amato.'

2745. 'Also when bloude rotteth in anye member, but it be taken out by
skill or kinde, it tourneth into venime'; Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. iv.
c. 7. _bouk_, paunch; A. S. _b[=u]c_.

2749. 'The vertue Expulsiue is, which expelleth and putteth away that that
is vnconuenient and hurtfull to kinde' [nature]; Batman upon Bartholomè,
lib. iii. c. 8.

'This vertue [given by the soul to the body] hath three parts; one is
called _naturall_, and is in the lyuer: the other is called _vitall_, or
[92] _spiritall_, and hath place in the heart; the third is called
_Animal_, and hath place in the brayn'; id. c. 14.

'The vertue that is called _Naturalis_ moueth the humours in the body of a
beast by the vaines, and hath a principal place in the liuer'; id. c. 12.

2761. _This al and som_, i. e. _this_ (is) _the al and som_, this is the
short and long of it. A common expression; cf. F. 1606; Troil. iv. 1193,
1274. With ll. 2761-2808 compare the Teseide, x. 12, 37, 51, 54, 55, 64,
102-3, 60-3, 111-2.

2800. _overcome._ Tyrwhitt reads _overnome_, overtaken, the pp. of
_overnimen_; but none of the seven best MSS. have this reading.

2810. The _real_ reason why Chaucer could not here describe the passage of
Arcite's soul to heaven is because he had already copied Boccaccio's
description, and had used it with respect to the death of Troilus; see
Troil. v. 1807-27 (stanzas 7, 8, 9 from the end).

2815. _ther Mars_, &c., where I hope that Mars will, &c.; may Mars, &c.

2822. _swich sorwe_, so great sorrow. The line is defective in the third
foot, which consists of a single (accented) syllable.

2827-46. Cf. the Teseide, xi. 8, 7, 9-11, xii. 6.

2853-962. Cf. the Teseide, xi. 13-16, 30, 31, 35, 38, 40, 37, 18, 26-7,
22-5, 21, 27-9, 30, 40-67.

2863-962. The whole of this description should be compared with the funeral
rites at the burial of Archemorus, as described in Statius, Thebaid, bk.
vi; which Chaucer probably consulted, as well as the imitation of the same
in Boccaccio's Teseide. For example, the 'tree-list' in ll. 2921-3 is not a
little remarkable. The first list is in Ovid, Met. x. 90-105; with which
cf. Vergil, Æn. vi. 180; Lucan, Pharsalia, iii. 440-445. Then we find it in
Statius, vi. 98-106. After which, it reappears in Boccaccio, Teseide, xi.
22; in Chaucer, Parl. of Foules, 176; in the present passage; in Tasso,
Gier. Lib. iii. 75; and in Spenser, F.Q. i. 1. 8. There is also a list in
Le Roman de la Rose, 1338-1368. Again, we may just compare ll. 2951-2955
with the following lines in Lewis's translation of Statius:--

 'Around the pile an hundred horsemen ride,
  With arms reversed, and compass every side;
  They faced the left (for so the rites require);
  Bent with the dust, the flames no more aspire.
  Thrice, thus disposed, they wheel in circles round
  The hallow'd corse: their clashing weapons sound.
  Four times their arms a crash tremendous yield,
  And female shrieks re-echo through the field.'

Moreover, Statius imitates the whole from Vergil, Æn. xi. 185-196. And
Lydgate copies it all from Chaucer in his Sege of Thebes, part 3 (near the

2864. _Funeral he myghte al accomplice_ (Elles.); _Funeral he mighte hem
all complise_ (Corp., Pet.). The line is defective in the first foot. [93]
_Funeral_ is an adjective. Tyrwhitt and Wright insert _Of_ before it,
without authority of any kind; see l. 2942.

2874. _White_ gloves were used as mourning at the funeral of an unmarried
person; see Brand, Pop. Antiq. ed. Ellis, ii. 283.

2885. 'And surpassing others in weeping came Emily.'

2891. See the description of old English funerals in Rock, Church of our
Fathers, ii. 488: 'If the deceased was a knight, his helmet, shield, sword,
and coat-armour were each carried by some near kinsman, or by a herald clad
in his blazoned tabard'; &c.

2895. Cf. 'deux ars Turquois,' i. e. two Turkish bows; Rom. de la Rose,
913; see vol. i. p. 132.

2903. Compare the mention of 'blake clothes' in l. 2884. When 'master
Machyll, altherman, was bered, all the chyrche [was] hangyd with blake and
armes [coats-of-arms], and the strett [street] with blake and armes, and
the place'; &c.--Machyn's Diary (Camden Soc.) p. 171.

2923. _whippeltree_ (better _wippeltree_) is the cornel-tree or dogwood
(_Cornus sanguinea_); the same as the Mid. Low G. _wipel-bom_, the cornel.
Cf. '_wepe_, or _weype_, the dog-tree'; Hexham. See N. and Q. 7 S. vi. 434.

2928. _Amadrides_; i. e. _Hamadryades_; see Ovid, Met. i. 192, 193, 690.
The idea is taken from Statius, Theb. vi. 110-113.

2943. _men made the fyr_ (Hn., Cm.); _maad was the fire_ (Corp., Pet.).

2953. _loud_ (Elles.); _heih_ (Harl.); _bowe_ (Corp.).

2958. 'Chaucer seems to have confounded the _wake-plays_ of his own time
with the funeral games of the antients.'--Tyrwhitt. Cf. Troil. v. 304; and
see 'Funeral Entertainments' in Brand's Popular Antiquities.

2962. _in no disioynt_, with no disadvantage. Cf. Verg. Æn. iii. 281.

2967-86. Cf. the _Teseide_, xii. 3-5.

2968. Lounsbury (Studies in Chaucer, i. 345) proposes to put a full stop at
the end of this line, after _teres_; and to put _no_ stop at the end of l.

2991-3. _that faire cheyne of love._ This sentiment is taken from Boethius,
lib. ii. met. 8: 'þat þe world with stable feith / varieth acordable
chaungynges // þat the contraryos qualite of elementz holden amonge hem
self aliaunce perdurable / þat phebus the sonne with his goldene chariet /
bryngeth forth the rosene day / þat the mone hath commaundement ouer the
nyhtes // whiche nyhtes hesperus the euesterre hat[h] browt // þat þe se
gredy to flowen constreyneth with a certeyn ende hise floodes / so þat it
is nat l[e]ueful to strechche hise brode termes or bowndes vpon the erthes
// þat is to seyn to couere alle the erthe // Al this a-cordaunce of
thinges is bownden with looue / þat gouerneth erthe and see and hath also
commaundementz to the heuenes / and yif this looue slakede the brydelis /
alle thinges þat now louen hem togederes / wolden maken a batayle
contynuely and stryuen to fordoon the fasoun of this worlde / the which
they now leden in acordable feith by fayre moeuynges // this looue halt
to-gideres peoples ioygned with an hooly bond / and knytteth sacrement of
[94] maryages of chaste looues // And love enditeth lawes to trewe felawes
// O weleful weere mankynde / yif thilke loue þat gouerneth heuene
gouerned[e] yowre corages.'--Chaucer's Boethius, ed. Morris, p. 62; cf.
also pp. 87, 143. (See the same passage in vol. ii. p. 50; cf. pp. 73,
122.) And cf. the Teseide, ix. 51; Homer, II. viii. 19. Also Rom. de la
Rose, 16988:--

 'La bele chaéne dorée
  Qui les quatre elemens enlace.'

2994. What follows is taken from Boethius, lib. iv. pr. 6: 'þe engendrynge
of alle þinges, quod she, and alle þe progressiouns of muuable nature, and
alle þat moeueþ in any manere, takiþ hys causes, hys ordre, and hys formes,
of þe stablenesse of þe deuyne þou[gh]t; [and thilke deuyne thowht] þat is
yset and put in þe toure, þat is to seyne in þe hey[gh]t of þe simplicite
of god, stablisiþ many manere gyses to þinges þat ben to don.'--Chaucer's
Boethius, ed. Morris, p. 134. (See the same passage in vol. ii. p. 115).

3005. Chaucer again is indebted to Boethius, lib. iii. pr. 10, for what
follows: 'For al þing þat is cleped inperfit, is proued inperfit by þe
amenusynge of perfeccioun, or of þing þat is perfit; and her-of comeþ it,
þat in euery þing general, yif þat þat men seen any þing þat is inperfit,
certys in þilke general þer mot ben somme þing þat is perfit. For yif so be
þat perfeccioun is don awey, men may nat þinke nor seye fro whennes þilke
þing is þat is cleped inperfit. For þe nature of þinges ne token nat her
bygynnyng of þinges amenused and inperfit; but it procediþ of þingus þat
ben al hool and absolut, and descendeþ so doune into outerest þinges and
into þingus empty and wiþoute fruyt; but, as I haue shewed a litel
her-byforne, þat yif þer be a blisfulnesse þat be frele and vein and
inperfit, þer may no man doute þat þer nys som blisfulnesse þat is sad,
stedfast, and perfit.'--Chaucer (as above), p. 89. (See the same passage in
vol. ii. pp. 74, 75.)

3013. 'And thilke same ordre neweth ayein alle thinges growyng and fallyng
adoune by semblables progressiouns of seedes and of sexes.'--Chaucer's
Boethius, ed. Morris, p. 137. (See the same passage in vol. ii. p. 117;
i. e. in bk. iv. pr. 6. l. 103).

3016. _seen at ye_, see at a glance. Gower, ed. Pauli, i. 33, has:--'The
thing so open is at theye,' i. e. is so open at the eye, is so obvious.
'Now is the tyme _sen at eye_,' i. e. clearly seen; Coventry Myst. p. 122.

3017-68. Cf. the Teseide, xii. 7-10, 6, 11, 13, 9, 12-17, 19.

3042. So in Troilus, iv. 1586: 'Thus maketh vertu of necessite'; and in
Squire's Tale, pt. ii. l. 247 (Group F, l. 593): 'That I made vertu of
necessite.' It is from Le Roman de la Rose, 14217:--

 'S'il ne fait de necessité

So in Matt. Paris, ed. Luard, i. 20. Cf. Horace, Carm. i. 24:--

 'Durum! sed leuius fit patientia
  Quidquid corrigere est nefas.'


3068. Cf.

 'The time renneth toward right fast,
  Joy cometh after whan the sorrow is past.'
        Hawes' Pastime of Pleasure, ed. Wright, p. 148.

3089. _oghte to passen right_, should surpass mere equity or justice.

3094-102. Cf. the Teseide, xii. 69, 72, 83.

3105. Cf. Book of the Duchesse, 1287-97.


The Miller's name is _Robin_ (l. 3129).

3110. The reading _companye_ (as in old editions and Tyrwhitt) in place of
_route_ makes the line too long.

3115. I. e. the bag is unbuckled, the budget is opened; as when a packman
displays his wares. See Group I, l. 26.

3119. _To quyte with_, to requite the Knight with, for his excellent Tale.
This position of _with_, next its verb, is the almost invariable M. E.
idiom. Cf. F. 471, 641, C. 345; Notes to P. Pl., C. i. 133, &c.

3120. 'Very drunk, and all pale'; cf. A. 4150, H. 30.

3124. I. e. in a loud, commanding voice, such as that of Pilate in the
Mystery Plays. In the Chester Plays, Pilate is of rather a meek
disposition; but in the York Plays, pp. 270, 307, 320, he is represented as
boastful and tyrannical, as is evidently here intended. The expression
seems to have been proverbial. Palsgrave has: 'In a pylates voyce, _a
haulte voyx_'; p. 837. Udall, tr. of Erasmus' Apophthegms (repr. 1877),
last page, has--'speaking out of measure loude and high, and altogether in
_Pilates voice_.'

3125. _by armes_, i. e. by the arms of Christ; see note to C. 651.

3129. 'My dear brother'; a common form; cf. 3848, below, and 1136, above.

3131. _thriftily_, i. e. profitably, to a useful purpose; cf. B. 1165.

3134. _a devel wey_, in the devil's name; see Skelton, ed. Dyce, ii. 287;
originally, in the way to the devil, with all ill luck. Compare--

 'Hundred, chapitle, court, and shire,
  Al hit goth _a devel way_' [to the bad].
         Polit. Songs, ed. Wright, Camd. Soc. p. 254.

See note to l. 3713 below.

3140. _Wyte it_, lay the blame for it upon. _of Southwerk_, i. e. of the
Tabard inn.

3143. 'Made a fool of the wright,' i. e. of the carpenter; cf. A. 586, 614;
also A. 3911, and the note.

3145. The Reeve interferes, because he was a carpenter himself (A. 614).
'Let alone your ignorant drunken ribaldry.'

3152. A reference to a proverbial expression which is given in Rob. of
Brunne's Handlyng Synne, 1892:--

 'Men sey, ther a man ys gelous,
  That "ther ys a kokewolde at hous."'


Compare also Le Roman de la Rose, 9167-9171, which expresses a similar

3155-6. Tyrwhitt omits these two lines in his text, but admits, in his
Notes, that they should have been inserted. The former of the two lines is
repeated from l. 277 of the original (but rejected) Prologue to the Legend
of Good Women. _but-if thou madde_, unless thou art going mad.

3161. _oon_, one, i. e. a cuckold; or, possibly, an ox (l. 3159). As an ox
was a 'horned' animal, it comes to the same thing, according to the
miserable jest so common in our dramatists.

3165. _goddes foyson_, sufficient abundance, i. e. all he wants, all the
affection he expects. _there_, in his wife.

3166. A defective line; read--Of | the rém' | nant, &c.


On the Miller's Tale, see _Anglia_, i. 38, ii. 135, vii (appendix), 81; and
see the remarks in vol. iii. p. 395.

3188. _gnof_, churl, lit. a thief; a slang word, of Hebrew origin; Heb.
_gan[=a]v_, a thief, Exod. xxii. 1. The same as the mod. E. _gonoph_, the
epithet applied to Jo in Dickens, Bleak House, ch. xix. Halliwell's Dict.
quotes from The Norfolke Furies, 1623--'The country _gnoffes_, Hob, Dick,
and Hick, With clubbes and clouted shoon,' &c. Drant, in his tr. of Horace,
_Satires_, fol. A i, back (1566), has:--'The chubbyshe _gnof_ that toyles
and moyles.' Todd, in his Illustration of Chaucer, p. 260, says--'See A
Comment upon the Miller's Tale and the Wife of Bath, 12mo. Lond. 1665, p.
8, [where we find] "A rich _gnofe_; a rich grub, or miserable caitiff, as I
render it; which interpretation, to be proper and significant, I gather by
the sence of that antient metre:

  The caitiff _gnof_ sed to his crue,
  My meney is many, my incomes but few.

This, as I conceive, explains the author's meaning; which seems no less
seconded by that antient English bard:

  That _gnof_, that grub, of pesants blude,
  Had store of goud, yet did no gude."'

The note in Bell's Chaucer, connecting it with _oaf_, is wrong. The
carpenter's name was John (l. 3501).

3190. This shews that students used often to live in lodgings, as is so
common at Cambridge, where the number of students far exceeds the number of

3192, 3. Chaucer himself knew something of astrology, as shewn by his
numerous references to it. The word _conclusions_ in l. 3193 is the
technical name for 'propositions' or problems. In his Treatise on the
Astrolabe, prologue (l. 9), he says to his son Lowis--'I purpose to teche
thee a certein nombre of _conclusions_ apertening to the same [97]
instrument.' We here learn that one object of astrology was to answer
questions relating to coming weather, as well as with reference to almost
every other future event.

3195. _in certein houres._ In astrology, much depended on times; certain
times were supposed to be more favourable than others for obtaining
solutions of problems. The great book for prognostications of weather was
the _Calendrier des Bergiers_, an English version of which was frequently
reprinted as The Shepheards Kalendar. The old almanacks also predicted the
weather; see Ben Jonson's Every Man Out of his Humour, A. i. sc. 1--'Enter
_Sordido_, with an almanack in his hand.'

3199. _hende_, gracious, mild; hence, gentle, courteous; orig. near at
hand, hence, useful, serviceable; A. S. _gehende_. Ill spelt _hendy_ in
Tyrwhitt. Several passages from this Tale are quoted and illustrated by
Warton, Hist. E. Poetry, sect. xvi; which see.

3203. _hostelrye_, lodging. Nicholas had his room to himself; whereas it
was usual for two or more students to have a room in common, even in

3207. _cetewale_, zedoary; but commonly, though improperly, applied to
valerian (_Valeriana pyrenaica_); also spelt _setwall_. Gerarde, in his
Herball (ed. 1597, p. 919), says that 'it hath beene had (and is to this
day among the poore people of our northerne parts) in such veneration
amongst them, that no brothes, pottages, or phisicall meates are woorthe
anything, if _setwall_ were not at one end'; &c. See Britten's Plant-Names
(E. D. S.). See note to B. 1950.

3208. _Almageste_; Arab. _almajist[=i]_; from _al_, the, and _majist[=i]_,
for Gk. [Greek: megistê];, short for [Greek: megistê suntaxis], 'greatest
composition,' a name given to the great astronomical treatise of Ptolemy;
hence extended to signify, as here, a text-book on astrology. See Hallam,
Middle Ages, c. i. 77. Ptolemy's work 'was in thirteen books. He also wrote
four books of judicial astrology. He was an Egyptian astrologist, and
flourished under Marcus Antoninus.'--Warton. See D. 182, 325, 2289. And see
my note to Chaucer's Astrolabe, i. 17; vol. iii. p. 354.

3209. See Chaucer's own treatise on The Astrolabe, which he describes. It
was an instrument consisting of several flat circular brass plates, with
two revolving pointers, used for taking altitudes, and other astronomical

_longinge for_, suitable for, belonging to.

3210. _augrim-stones_, counters for calculation. _Augrim_ is _algorism_
(see New Eng. Dict.), or the Arabic system of arithmetic, performed with
the Arabic numerals, which became known in Europe from translations of a
work on algebra by the Arab mathematician Abu Ja'far Mohammed Ben Musa,
surnamed _al-Khow[=a]razm[=i]_, or the native of Khw[=a]razm (Khiva).
Chaucer speaks of 'nombres in _augrim_'; Astrolabe, i. 9. 3.

3212. _falding_, a kind of coarse cloth; see note on A. 391.

3216. _Angelus ad virginem._ This hymn occurs in MS. Arundel [98] 248, leaf
154, written about 1260, both in Latin and English, and with musical notes.
It is printed, with a facsimile of part of the MS., at p. 695 of the print
of MS. Harl. 7334, issued by the Chaucer Society. The first verse of the
Latin version runs thus:--

 'Angelus ad uirginem  subintrans in conclaue,
  Virginis formidinem  demulcens, inquit "Aue!
  Aue! regina uirginum  celi terreque dominum
  concipies et paries intacta,
  salutem hominum  tu, porta celi facta,
  medela criminum."'

Hence the subject of the anthem is the Annunciation.

3217. _the kinges note_, the name of some tune or song. There is nothing to
identify it with a _chant royal_, described by Warton, Hist. E. Poet. ii.
221, note b. Warton says that 'Chaucer calls the _chant royal_ ... a
_kingis note_.' But Chaucer says '_THE kinges note_,' which makes all the
difference; it is merely a bad guess. A song entitled 'Kyng villyamis
note,' or 'King William's note,' is mentioned in the Complaint of Scotland
(1549), ed. Murray, p. 64.

3220. 'According to the money provided by his friends and his own income.'

3223. _eight-e-ten-e_ has four syllables; cf. B. 5. Tyrwhitt read it as of
_two_ syllables, and inserted _I gesse_ after _she was_. He duly notes that
the words _I gesse_ are 'not in the MSS.'

3226. 'And considered himself to be like.' Tyrwhitt has _belike_, which he
probably took to be an adverb; but this is a gross anachronism. The adv.
_belike_ is unknown earlier than the year 1533.

3227. _Catoun_, Dionysius Cato; see note to G. 688. But Tyrwhitt notes,
that 'the maxim here alluded to is not properly one of Cato's; but I find
it (he says) in a kind of Supplement to the Moral Distichs entitled
_Facetus_, int. Auctores octo morales, Lugd. 1538, cap. iii.

 "Duc tibi prole parem sponsam moresque venustam,
  Si cum pace velis vitam deducere justam."'

He refers to the catalogue of MSS. in Trin. Coll. Dublin, No. 275 (under
_Urbanus_, another name for _Facetus_); and to Bale, Cent. iii. 17, and
Fabricius, Bib. Med. Aetatis.

3230. Note _is_, in the singular. 'Crabbed age and youth cannot live
together';--_Passionate Pilgrim_.

3235. _ceynt_, girdle; _barred_, adorned with cross stripes. Warton could
not understand the word; but a _bar_ is a transverse stripe on a girdle or
belt, as in A. 329, which see.

3236-7. _barm-clooth_, lap-cloth, i. e. an apron 'over her loins.' _gore_,
a triangular slip, used as an insertion to widen a garment in any
particular place. The apron spread out towards the bottom, owing rather, it
appears, to inserted 'gores' below than to pleats above. Or the pleats may
be called gores here, from their triangular shape. [99] Cf. A. S.
_g[=a]ra_, an angular projection of land, as in Kensington _Gore_.
'_Gheroni_, the _gores_ or gussets of a smocke or shirt'; Florio's Ital.
Dict. See note to B. 1979, and the note to l. 3321 below.

3238. _brouded_, embroidered; cf. B. 3659, Leg. Good Women, 227. _Of_ in l.
3240 means 'with.'

3241. _voluper_, lit. 'enveloper' or 'wrapper'; hence, kerchief, or cap. In
l. 4303, it means a night-cap. In Wright's Vocabularies, it translates Lat.
_calamandrum_ (568, 28), _inuolutarium_ (590, 28), and _mafora_ (594, 19).
In the Prompt. Parv. we find: '_volypere_, kerche, _teristrum_'; and in the
Catholicon, '_volyper_, caliend[r]um.' In Baret's Alvearie, h. 596, we
find: 'A woman's cap, hood, or bonet, _Calyptra_, _Caliendrum_.' The tapes
of this cap were 'of the same suit' as the embroidery of her collar, i. e.
were of black silk.

3245. _smale y-pulled_, i. e. partly plucked out, to make them narrow,
even, and well-marked.

3247. Tyrwhitt at first had '_for_ to see,' but corrected it to '_on_ to
see,' i. e. to look upon. Cf. Leg. Good Women, 2425.

3248. _pere-ionette_, early-ripe pear. Tyrwhitt refers us to a F. _poire
jeunette_, or an Ital. _pero giovanetto_, i. e. very young pear-tree; but I
believe the explanation is as imaginary as are these terms, which I seek
for in vain. I take it that he has been misled by a false etymology from F.
_jeune_, Ital. _giovane_, young, whereas the reference is to the early-ripe
pear called in O. F. _poire de hastivel_ (F. _hâtiveau_); see _hastivel_ in
Godefroy. The corresponding E. term is _gennitings_, applied to apples, but
applicable to pears also; and I take the etymology to be from F. _Jean_,
John, because such apples and pears ripen about St. John's day (June 24),
which is very early. Cotgrave has: '_Hastivel_, a soon-ripe apple, called
the St. John's apple.' Littré, s. v. _poire_, has: 'La poire appellée à
Paris _de messire Jean_ est celle qu'en Dauphiné et Languedoc l'on nomme
_de coulis_.' Lacroix (Manners, &c. during the Middle Ages, p. 116) says
that, in the thirteenth century, one of the best esteemed pears was the
_hastiveau_, which was 'an early sort, and no doubt the golden pear now
called St. Jean.' Finally, we learn from Piers Plowman, C. xiii. 221, that
'pere-Ionettes' were very sweet and very early ripe, and therefore very
soon rotten; see my note to that line. The text, accordingly, compares this
young and forward beauty to the _newe_ (i. e. fresh-leaved) early-ripe
pear-tree; and there is much propriety in the simile. Of course, this
explanation is somewhat of a guess; and perhaps I may add another possible
etymology, viz. from _jaune_, yellow, with reference to the golden colour
of the pear. Cf. _jaulnette_, in Cotgrave, as a name for St. John's wort,
and the form _floure-jonettis_ in the King's Quair, st. 47.

3251. 'With silk tassels, and pearls (or pearl-shaped knobs or buttons)
made of the metal called _latoun_.' Such is Tyrwhitt's simple explanation.
In Riley's Memorials of London, p. 398, we find that a man was accused of
having 'silvered 240 buttons of _latone_ ... for [100] purses.' The notes
in Warton are doubly misleading, first confusing _latoun_ with _cheklatoun_
(which are unconnected words), and then quoting the expression 'perled
cloth of gold,' which is another thing again. As to _latoun_, see note to
C. 350, and cf. A. 699, B. 2067, &c.

3254. _popelote_, darling, poppet. Not connected with _papillon_, but with
F. _poupée_ and E. _puppet_. Halliwell gives: '_Poplet_, a term of
endearment, generally applied to a young girl: _poppet_ is still in common
use.' Cotgrave has: '_Popelin_, masc. a little finicall darling.' Godefroy
gives: '_poupelet_, m. petit poupon.'

3256. Wright says: 'The gold noble of this period was a very beautiful
coin; specimens are engraved in Ruding's Annals of the Coinage. It was
coined in the Tower of London [as here said], the place of the principal
London mint.' It was worth 6s. 8d., and first coined about 1339. See C.
907, and note.

3258. 'Sitting on a barn.' Repeated in C. 397.

3261. _bragot_, a sweet drink, made of ale and honey fermented together;
afterwards, the honey was replaced by sugar and spice. See _Bragget_ in New
E. Dict. The full receipt for 'Braket' is given in Strutt, Manners and
Customs, iii. 74; it contained 4 gallons of ale to a pint of honey. In
1783, it was made of ale, sugar, and spices, and drunk at Easter; Brand,
Pop. Antiq. i. 112. Spelt _bragot_, Palladius on Husbandry, p. 90, l. 812;
&c. Of British origin; Welsh _bragawd_; cf. O. Irish _brac_, later
_braich_, malt. See also the note on _Bragott_ in the Catholicon, ed.

3262. Cf. 'An appyll-hurde, _pomarium_'; Catholicon Anglicum.

3263-4. These two lines are cited by Dryden with approval, in the Preface
to his Fables, as being 'not much behind our present English.' We are
amazed to find that Dryden condemns Chaucer's lines as unequal; and coolly
remarks that 'equality of numbers ... was either not known, or not always
practised in Chaucer's age.' The black-letter editions which Dryden read
were, in fact, full of misspelt words; but even in them, he might have
found plenty of good lines, if he had not been so prejudiced and (to say
the truth) conceited.

3268. _prymerole_, primrose; as in Gower, C. A. iii. 130. _pigges-nye_,
pig's eye, a term of endearment; pig's eyes being (as Tyrwhitt notes)
remarkably small. Cf. 'Waked with a wench, pretty peat, pretty love, and my
sweet pretty _pigsnie_'; Peele, Old Wives' Tale, ed. Dyce (1883), p. 455,
col. 1. And see Skelton, ed. Dyce, i. 28, ii. 97, 104. In fact, it is
common. Brand, quoting Douce (Illust. of Shak. ii. 151), says that
'Shadwell not only uses the word _pigsney_ in this sense, but also
_birdsney_ [bird's eye]; see his Plays, i. 357, iii. 385.' See also
_pigsney_ in Todd's Johnson, where one quotation has the form _pigs eie_.
_An ye_ became _a nye_; hence the pl. _nyes_, and even _nynon_ (= eyne), as
in Halliwell. See note to P. Plowman, C. xx. 306, where _bler-eyed_, i. e.
blear-eyed, appears as _bler-nyed_ in the B-text.

3269. _leggen_, to lay. Tyrwhitt has _liggen_, to lie, which is but poor
grammar. [101]

3274. _Oseneye_, Oseney, in the suburbs of Oxford, where there was an Abbey
of St. Austin's Canons; cf. l. 3666.

3286. _harrow_ (Pt. _harowe_), a cry for help, a cry of distress; O. F.
_haro_, _harou_, the same; see Godefroy. Cf. ll. 3825, 4307.

'_Primus Demon._ Oute, haro, out, out! harkyn to this horne'--&c. Towneley
Mysteries, Surtees Society, p. 307 (in the Mystery of "_Judicium_.") So in
the Coventry Mysteries, we have:--

 '_Omnes demones clamant._ Harrow and out! what xal we say?

          harrow! we crye, owt! And Alas!
          Alas, harrow! is þis þ_a_t day?...
          Alas, harrow! and owt! we crye.'
                                (Play of _Judgment_.)

'My mother was afrayde there had ben theves in her house, and she kryed out
_haroll alarome_ (F. elle sescria _harol alarme_)'; Palsgrave, s. v.
_crye_, p. 501. See _Haro_ in Littré, _hara_ in Schade. Cf. l. 3825; and
the note in Dyce's Skelton, ii. 274.

3291. I. e. St. Thomas of Canterbury.

3299. 'A clerk would have employed his time ill.'

3308. Defective in the first foot; scan: Crist | es, &c. Tyrwhitt inserts
_Of_ before _Cristes_, and coolly observes, in his Notes, that it is 'added
from conjecture only.' He might have said, that it makes bad grammar. And
it is from such manipulated lines as this that the public forms its
judgement of Chaucer's verse! Is it _nothing_ that all the authorities
begin the line alike?

3316. _shode_, not 'hair,' as in Tyrwhitt, but 'parting of the hair.'

3318. 'It was the fashion to wear shoes with the upper leather cut into a
variety of beautiful designs, resembling the tracery of window-heads,
through which the bright colour of the green, blue, or scarlet stocking
beneath was shewn to great advantage';--Rock, Church of our Fathers, ii.
239, with illustrations at p. 240. _Poules windowes_, windows like those in
St. Paul's Cathedral; hence, designs resembling them. Wright conjectures
that there may even be a reference to the rose-window of old St. Paul's;
and he says that examples of such shoes still exist, in the museum of Mr.
C. Roach Smith. Good illustrations of these beautifully cut shoes are given
in Fairholt's Costume, pp. 64, 65, who also notes that 'in Dugdale's view
of old St. Paul's ... the rose-window in the transept is strictly analogous
in design.' The Latin name for such shoes was _calcei fenestrati_, which
see in Ducange. Rock also quotes the phrase _corium fenestratum_ from Pope
Innocent III. Observe the mention of his scarlet hose in the next line. Cf.
note to Rom. of the Rose, 843, in vol. i. p. 423.

3321. _wachet_, a shade of blue. Tyrwhitt wrongly connects it with the town
of _Watchet_, in Somersetshire. But it is French. Littré, s. v. _vaciet_,
gives: 'Couleur d'hyacinthe ou _vaciet_,' colour of the hyacinth, or
_bilberry_ (Lat. _uaccinium_). Roquefort defines _vaciet_ as a shrub which
bears a dark fruit fit for dyeing violet; it is applied, he [102] says,
both to the fruit and the dye; and he calls it _Vaccinium hysginum_.
Phillips says _watchet_ is 'a kind of blew colour.' Todd's Johnson cites
from Milton's Hist. of Muscovia, c. 5, '_watchet_ or sky-coloured cloth';
and the line, 'Who stares, in Germany, at _watchet_ eyes,' tr. of Juvenal,
Sat. xiii, wrongly attributed to Dryden. See examples in Nares from Browne,
Lyly, Drayton, and Taylor: and, in Richardson, from Beaumont and Fletcher,
Hackluyt, Spenser, and Ben Jonson. Cotgrave explains F. _pers_ as 'watchet,
blunket, skie-coloured,' and _couleur perse_ as 'skie-colour, azure-colour,
a blunket, or light blue.' See _Blunket_ in the New E. Dict., and my
article in Philolog. Soc. Trans. Nov. 6, 1885, p. 329. Webster has
'_watchet_ stockings,' The Malcontent, A. iii. sc. 1. Lydgate has
'_watchet_ blewe'; see Warton, Hist. Eng. Poet. (1840), ii. 280.

3322. _poyntes_, tagged laces, as in Shakespeare. MS. Hl. has here a
totally different line, involving the word _gores_ (cf. l. 3237 above),
viz. 'Schapen with goores in the newe get,' i. e. in the new fashion.

3329. Tyrwhitt says:--'The school of Oxford seems to have been in much the
same estimation for its dancing, as that of Stratford for its French'; see
l. 125. He probably meant this satirically; but it may mean the very
opposite, or something nearly so. The Stratford-at-Bow French was excellent
of its kind, but unlike that of France (see note to l. 125); and probably
the Oxford dancing was, likewise, of no mean quality after its kind, having
twenty 'maneres.'

3331. _rubible_; also _ribible_ (4396). Cf. 'where was his fedylle [fiddle]
or hys _ribible_'; Knight de la Tour, cap. 117. See _Ribibe_, _Ribible_ in
Halliwell; The Squire of Low Degree (in Ritson), l. 1071; Warton, Hist.
Eng. Poetry, ii. 194. Also called a _rebeck_, as in Milton. A two-stringed
musical instrument, played with a bow, of Moorish origin; Arab. _rab[=a]b_.
'_Hec vitula_, a rybybe'; Wright's Gloss. 738. 19.

3332. _quinible._ Not a musical instrument, as Tyrwhitt supposed, but a
kind of voice. It is not singing consecutive fifths upon a plain song, as
Mr. Chappell once thought (Pop. Music of the Olden Time, i. 34); but, as
afterwards explained by him in Notes and Queries, 4 S. vi. 117, it refers
to a very high voice. The _quinible_ was an octave higher than the
_treble_; the _quatreble_ was an octave higher than the mean. The _mean_
was intermediate between the _plain-song_ or _tenor_ (so called from its
_holding on_ the notes) and the _treble_. It means 'at the extreme pitch of
the voice.' Skelton miswrites it _quibyble_.

3333. _giterne_, a kind of guitar. 'The gittern and the kit the wand'ring
fiddlers like'; Drayton, Polyolbion, song 4. See note to P. Pl. C. xvi.
208; Prompt. Parv. p. 196.

3337. _squaymous_, squeamish, particular. Tyrwhitt says--'I know not how to
make this sense agree with what follows' (l. 3807). But it is easy to
understand that he was, ordinarily, squeamish, retentive; exceptionally,
far otherwise. In the Knight de la Tour, cap. cxiv, p. 155, there is a
story of a lady who waited on her old husband, and nursed him under most
trying conditions; 'and unnethe there might [103] haue be founde a woman
but atte sum tyme she wolde haue lothed her, or ellys to haue be right
_scoymous_ ta haue do the seruice as thes good lady serued her husbonde
contynuelly.' In a version of the Te Deum, composed about 1400, we
read--'Thou were not _skoymus_ of the maidens wombe'; Maskell, Monumenta
Ritualia, ii. 14[24]. Cf. '_squaymose_, verecundus,' Catholicon;
'_skeymowse_, or _sweymows_ or _queymows_, abhominativus'; Prompt. Parv.
Spelt _squmous_ (badly), Court of Love, l. 332; and _sqymouse_ in Morris's
reprint of it. See _Desdaigneux_ in Cotgrave. 'To be _squamish_, or nice,
_delicias facere_'; Baret's Alvearie. 'They that be subiect to Saturne ...
be not _skoymous_ of foule and stinking clothing'; Batman on Bartholomè,
lib. 8. c. 23. In Weber's Metrical Romances, i. 359, we find:

 'Than was the leuedi of the hous
  A proude dame and an envieous,
  Hokerfulliche missegging,
  _Squeymous_ and eke scorning.'
                    Lay le Freine, ll. 59-62.

These examples quite establish the sense. The derivation is from the rare
A. F. _escoymous_, which occurs in P. Meyer's ed. of Nicole Bozon (Soc. des
Anc. Textes Français), p. 158:--'si il poy mange e beyt poy, lors est
gageous ou _escoymous_,' if he eats and drinks little, then is he delicate
or nice. Robert of Brunne has the spelling _esquaymous_; Handlyng Synne, l.

3338. _dangerous_, sparing; see the Glossary.

3340. Cutts (Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages, p. 219) seems to
think that the clerk went _about the parish_ with his censer, as he
sometimes certainly went about with holy water. Warton, on the other hand,
says that 'on holidays it was his business to carry the censer _about the
church_, and he takes this opportunity of casting unlawful glances on the
handsomest ladies of the parish.' Warton is clearly right here, for there
is an allusion to the ladies coming forward with the usual offering (l.
3350); cf. note to A. 450. And see Persones Tale, l. 407.

3354. _for paramours_, for love's sake: a redundant expression, since _par_
means 'for.' Cf. n. to l. 1155, at p. 67.

3358. _shot-windowe._ Brockett's Northern Glossary gives: '_Shot-window_, a
projecting window, common in old houses'; but this may have been copied
from Horne Tooke, who seems to have guessed at, and misunderstood, the
passage, below, in Gawain Douglas. In the new edition of Jamieson, Mr.
Donaldson defines _Schot_ as 'a window set on hinges and opening like a
shutter,' and explains that, 'in the West of Scotland, a projecting window
is called an _out-shot window_, whereas a _shot-window_ or _shot_ is one
that can be opened or shut like [104] a door or shutter by turning on its
hinges.' It is material to the story that the window here mentioned should
be readily opened and shut. The passage in G. Douglas's tr. of Virgil,
prol. to bk. vii, evidently refers to a window of this character, as the
poet first says:--

 'Ane _schot-wyndo_ vnschet a lytill on char,'

i. e. I unshut the shot-window, and left it a little ajar; and he goes on
to say that the weather was so cold that he soon shut it again--

 'The _schot_ I clossit, and drew inwart in hy.'

See also ll. 3695, 6 below. In the next line, _upon_ merely means 'in' or
'formed in.'

It is curious that, in Bell's Chaucer, a quotation is given from the Ballad
of _Clerk Saunders_ (Border Minstrelsy, vol. ii.) to shew that
_shot-window_ cannot mean '_shut_ window.' But it does not prove that it
cannot mean 'hinge-shutting window,' as I have shewn the right sense to be.

 'Then she has ta'en a crystal wand,
    And she has stroken her troth thereon;
  She has given it him out at the _shot-window_,
    With mony a sad sigh and heavy groan.'

3361. Tyrwhitt absurdly says that ll. 3361, 3362 should be broken into four
short verses, and that _ladý_ (sic) rimes with _be_! In Bell's edition,
they are printed in small type! They are just ordinary lines; and _be_
(pronounced nearly as modern _bay_) certainly never rimed with _lády_--nor
yet with _la-dý_--in Chaucer's time, when the final _y_ was sounded like
the modern _ee_ in _meet_, and would rather have rimed with a word like
_my_. It is a mere whim.

3375. _menes_, intermediate people, go-betweens; see _Mene_, sb., in Gloss.
to P. Plowman, with numerous references. _Brocage_ is the employment of a
'broker' or agent, and so means much the same. See _Brokage_ in New E.
Dict., and _Brocage_ in Gloss. to P. Plowman.

3377. _brokkinge_, with quick regular interruptions, quavering, in a
'broken' manner. See _Brock_ in New E. Dict.

3379. _wafres_, wafers. 'They (F. _gaufres_) are usually sold at fairs, and
are made of a kind of batter poured into an iron instrument, which shuts up
like a pair of snuffers. It is then thrust into the fire, and when it is
with-drawn and opened, the _gaufre_, or wafer, is taken out and eaten
"piping hote out of the glede," as here described.'--Note in Bell's

3380. _mede_, reward, money; distinct from _meeth_, mead, in l. 3378. The
sense of _mede_ is very amply illustrated in P. Plowman. L. 3380 intimates
that, as she lived in a town, she could spend money at any time.

3382. A side-note, in several MSS., says: 'Unde Ouidius: Ictibus agrestis.'
But the quotation is not from Ovid.

3384. The parish-clerks often took part in the Mystery Plays. The part of
Herod was an important one; cf. Hamlet, iii. 2. 15. [105]

3387. 'I presume this was a service that generally went
unrewarded.'--Wright. It was like 'piping in an ivy-leaf'; see A. 1838.

3389. _ape_, dupe; as in A. 706.

3392. Gower has the like, ed. Pauli, i. 343:--

 'An olde sawe is: who that is sligh,
  In place w[h]ere he may be nigh,
  He maketh the ferre leve loth
  Of love; and thus ful ofte it goth.'

Hending, among his Proverbs, has--'Fer from eye, fer from herte,' answering
to the mod. E. 'out of sight, out of mind.' Kemble cites: 'Quod raro cernit
oculi lux, cor cito spernit,' from MS. Trin. Coll., fol. 365. Also 'Qui
procul est oculis, procul est a lumine cordis,' from Gartner, Dict. 8 b.

3427. _deyde_, should die; subjunctive mood.

3430. _that ... him_ is equivalent to _whom_. Cf. A. 2710.

3445. _kyked_, stared, gazed; see l. 3841. Cf. Scotch _keek_, to peep, pry;
Burns has it in his Twa Dogs, l. 58.

3449. The carpenter naturally invokes St. Frideswide, as there was a priory
of St. Frideswide at Oxford, the church of which has become the present
cathedral. The shrine of St. Frideswide is still to be seen, though in a
fragmentary state, at the east end of the cathedral, on its former site
near the original chancel-arches and wall of her early stone church. In
this line, _seint-e_ has the fem. suffix.

3451. _astromye_ is obviously intentional, as it fills up the line, and is
repeated six lines below. The carpenter was not strong in technical terms.
In like manner, he talks of 'Nowelis flood'; see note to l. 3818. The
reading _astronomy_ just spoils both lines, and loses the jest.

3456. 'That knows nothing at all except his Creed.'

3457. This story is told of Thales by Plato, in his Theaetetus; it also
occurs, says Tyrwhitt, in the Cento Novelle Antiche, no. 36. It has often
been repeated, and may now be found in James's edition of Æsop, 1852, Fable

3469. Nearly repeated from A. 545.

3479. 'I defend thee with the sign of the cross from elves and living
creatures.' At the same time, the carpenter would make the sign over him.
_Wightes_ does not mean 'witches,' as Tyrwhitt thought, but 'creatures.'
Cf. l. 3484.

3480. _night-spel_, night-spell, a charm said at night to keep off evil
spirits. The carpenter says it five times, viz. towards the four corners of
the house and on the threshold. The charm is contained in lines 3483-6, and
is partly intentional nonsense, as such charms often were. See several
unintelligible examples in Cockayne's Leechdoms, iii. 286. The object of
saying it four times towards the four corners of the house was to invoke
the four evangelists, just as in the child's hymn still current, which is,
in fact, a charm:-- [106]

 'Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
  Bless the bed that I lie on;
  Four angels round my bed,' &c.

Lines 3483-4 are clear, viz. 'May Jesus Christ and St. Benedict bless this
house from every wicked creature.' As this is a reproduction of a popular
saying, it is not necessary that the lines should scan; still, they run
correctly, if we pronounce _seynt_ as _se-ynt_, as elsewhere (note to A.
509), and if we take both to be defective at the beginning. The last two
lines are mere scraps of older charms. It is just possible that _for
nightes verye_[25] represents an A. S. _for nihte werigum_, 'against the
evil spirits of night'; against whom 'the white Paternoster' is to be said.
The reading _white_ is perfectly correct. There really was a prayer so
called. See Notes and Queries, 1 Ser. xi. 206, 313; whence we learn that
the charm above quoted, beginning 'Matthew, Mark,' &c., resembles one in
the _Patenôtre Blanche_, to be found in the (apocryphal) Enchiridion Leonis
Papae (Romae, MDCLX), where occurs:--'Petite Patenôtre Blanche, que Dieu
fit, que Dieu dit, que Dieu mit en Paradis. Au soir m'allant coucher, je
trouvis trois anges à mon lit, couchès, un aux pieds, deux au chevet'; &c.
Here is a charm that mentions it, quoted in Notes and Queries, 1 Ser. viii.

 'White Paternoster, Saint Peter's brother,
    What hast thou i' th' t'one hand? White Booke leaves.
    What hast i' th' t'other hand? Heven-Yate Keyes.
    Open Heaven-Yates, and steike [shut] Hell-Yates.
  And let every crysome-child creepe to its owne mother.
                               White Paternoster! Amen.'

The mention of St. Peter's brother is remarkable. It is a substitution for
the older 'Saint Peter's sister' here mentioned. Again, St. Peter's sister
is a substitution for St. Peter's daughter, who is a well-known saint,
usually called St. Petronilla, or, in English, Saint Parnell, once a very
common female name, and subsequently a surname. Her day is May 31, and she
was said to cure the quartan ague; see Brand, Pop. Antiq., ed. Ellis, i.
363. A curious passage in the Ancren Riwle, p. 47, gives directions for
crossing oneself at night, and particularly mentions the use of four
crosses on 'four halves,' or in the original, 'vour creoices a uour halue';
with the remark 'Crux fugat omne malum,' &c. For 'Rural Charms,' see the
chapter in Brand's Popular Antiquities, vol. iii.; and see the charm
against rats in Political and Love Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 23. I may add
that, in Kemble's Solomon and Saturn, p. 136, is an A. S. poem, in which
the Paternoster is _personified_, and destroys evil spirits. In
Longfellow's Golden Legend, § II., Lucifer is made to say a _Black_

3507. 'That, if you betray me, you shall go mad (as a punishment).' [107]

3509. _labbe_, chatterbox, talkative person. In P. Plowm. C. xiii. 39, we
find the phrase 'ne _labbe_ it out,' i. e. do not chatter about it, do not
utter it foolishly. In the Romans of Partenay, ed. Skeat, 3751, we find: 'a
_labbyng_ tonge'; and Chaucer has elsewhere: 'a _labbing_ shrewe,' E. 2428.
Sewel's Du. Dict. (1754) gives: '_labben_, or _labbekakken_, to blab,
chat'; also '_labbekak_, a tattling gossip, a common blab'; and '_labbery_,
chat, idle talk.'

3512. _him_, i. e. Christ. The story of the Harrowing (or despoiling) of
Hell by Christ is derived from the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, and is a
favourite and common subject in our older authors. It describes the descent
of Christ into hell, after His crucifixion, in order to release the souls
of the patriarchs, whom He takes with Him to paradise. It is given at
length in P. Plowman, Text C. Pass. xxi; and was usually introduced into
the mystery plays; see the Coventry Mysteries, the York Plays, &c. See also
Cursor Mundi, 17,863; Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 12; &c.

3516. 'On Monday next, at the end of the first quarter of the night,' i. e.
about 9 P.M. Cf. ll. 3554, 3645.

3530. See Ecclesiasticus, xxxii. 24 [Eng. version, 19]; this was not said
by 'Solomon,' but by Jesus, son of Sirach. It is quoted again in the Tale
of Melibeus; B. 2193.

3539. 'The trouble endured by Noah and his company.' _Noë_ is the form in
the Latin Vulgate version. The allusion is to the intentionally comic scene
introduced into the mystery plays, as, e. g. in the Chester Plays, the
Towneley Plays, and the York Plays, in which Noah and his sons
(_felawshipe_) have much ado to induce Noah's wife to enter the ark; and,
in the course of the scene, she gives Noah a sound box on the ear.

3548. _kimelin_, a large shallow tub; especially one used for brewing; see
Prompt. Parv. p. 274; and _Kimnell_ in Miss Jackson's Shropshire Glossary.

3554. _pryme_, i. e. about 9 A.M. See note to F. 73.

3565. This shows that the hall was open to the roof, with cross-beams, and
that the stable was attached to it, between it and the garden.

3590. _sinne_, i. e. venial sin; see I. 859, 904, 920.

3598. Evidently a common proverb.

3616. It is obvious that the first foot is defective.

3624. _His owne hand_, with his own hand. Tyrwhitt points out the same
idiom in Gower, ed. Pauli, ii. 83:--

 'The craft Minerve of wolle fond
  And made cloth _her owne hond_.'

And again, id. ii. 310:--

 'Thing which he said _his owne mouth_.'

3625. _ronges_, rungs, rounds, steps; _stalkes_, upright pieces. To [108]
climb by the rungs and the stalks means to employ the hands as well as the
feet. A rung was also called a _stayre_ (stair); and _stalke_ is the
diminutive of _stele_, a handle, which was another name for the upright
part of a ladder. In Allit. Poems, ed. Morris, C. 513, the author complains
that some people cannot tell the difference between a _stele_ and a
_stayre_; and, in fact, the Glossary does not point it out. In the Ancren
Riwle, p. 354, we find mention of the two ladder-_stales_ that are upright
to the heaven, between which _stales_ the _tinds_ (or rungs) are fastened.
This makes the sense perfectly clear.

3637. _a furlong-way_, a few minutes; exactly, two minutes and a half, at
the rate of three miles an hour.

3638. 'Now say a Paternoster, and keep silence.' Accordingly, the carpenter
'says his devotion.' '_Clom!_' is a word imposing silence, like 'mum!' So
in the Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 266, we find: 'Yef ye me wylleth y-here,
habbeth amang you _clom_ and reste'; i. e. if you wish to hear me, keep
among you silence and rest.

3645. _corfew-tyme_, probably 8 P.M. The original time for ringing the
curfew-bell, as a signal for putting out fires and lights, was eight
o'clock. The custom has been kept up in some places till the present day;
the hour for it is sometimes 8 P.M., and sometimes 9 P.M. In olden times,
mention is usually made of the former of these hours; see Brand, Pop.
Antiq. ii. 220; Prompt. Parv. p. 110. People invariably went to bed very
early; see l. 3633.

3655. The service of _lauds_ followed that of _nocturns_; the latter
originally began at midnight, but usually somewhat later. The time
indicated seems to have been just before daybreak. 'These nocturns should
begin at such a time as to be ended just as morning's twilight broke, so
that the next of her services, the _lauds_, or _matutinae laudes_, might
come on immediately after.'--Rock, Church of our Fathers, iii. 2. 6. From
l. 3731, we learn, however, that the night was still 'as dark as pitch.'
Perhaps the time was between two and three o'clock, as Wright suggests.

3668. _the grange_, lit. granary; but the term was applied to a farm-house
and granary on an estate belonging to a feudal manor or (as here) to a
religious house. As the estate often lay at some distance from the abbey,
it might be necessary for the carpenter, who went to cut down trees, to
stay at the grange for the night. Cf. note to P. Pl. C. xx. 71; and Prompt.
Parv. (s. v. _grawnge_).

3675. _at cockkes crowe_; cf. l. 3687. The expression in l. 3674 must refer
to Monday: the 'cock-crow' refers to Tuesday morning, when it was still
pitch-dark (l. 3731). The time denoted by the 'first cock-crow' is very
vague; see the Chapter on Cock-crowing in Brand's Pop. Antiquities. The
'second cock-crow' seems to be about 3 A.M., as in Romeo and Juliet, iv. 4.
4; and the 'first cock-crow,' shortly after midnight, as in K. Lear, iii.
4. 121, 1 Hen. IV. ii. 1. 20. An early mention of the first cock occurs in
Ypomedon, 783, in Weber's Met. Romances, ii. 309:--'And at the fryst cokke
roos he.' The clearest [109] statement is in Tusser's Husbandrie, sect. 74
(E. D. S. p. 165), where he says that cocks crow 'At midnight, at three,
and an hower ere day,' which he afterwards explains by 'past five.'

3682. On 'itching omens,' see Miss Burne's _Shropshire Folk-Lore_, p. 269.
'If your right hand itches, you will receive money; ... if your nose
itches, you will be kissed, cursed, or vexed.'

3684. Cf. 'If [in a dream] you see many loaves, it portends joy'; A. S.
Leechdoms, iii. 215.

3689. _at point-devys_, with all exactness, precisely, very neatly; cf. As
You Like It, iii. 2. 401. O. F. _devis_, 'ordre, beauté; _a devis_, _par
devis_, en bel ordre, d'une manière bien ordonnée, à gré, à souhait';
Godefroy. See F. 560; Rom. of the Rose, 1215.

3690. _greyn_, evidently some sweet or aromatic seed or spice; apparently
cardamoms, otherwise called _grains of Paradise_ (New E. Dict.) '_Greynys_,
spyce, _Granum Paradisi_'; Prompt. Parv.; see Way's note. Cf. Rom. of the
Rose, 1369, and the note (vol. i. p. 428).

3692. _trewe-love_, (probably) a leaf of herb-paris; in the efficacy of
which he had some superstitious belief. _True-love_ is sometimes used as an
abbreviation of _true-love knot_, as in the last stanza of the Court of
Love; and such is the case here. True-love knots were of various shapes;
see pictures of four such in Ogilvie's Dictionary. Some had four loops,
which gave rise to the name _true-love_ as applied to herb-paris. Gerarde's
Herball, 1597, p. 328, thus describes herb-paris (_Paris quadrifolia_):--At
the top of the stalk 'come foorth fower leaves directly set one against
another, in manner of a Burgonnion crosse or a true love knot; for which
cause among the auncients it hath beene called herbe _Truelove_.' It is
still called _True Love's Knot_ in Cumberland.

3700. Note the rime of _tó me_ with _cinam-ó-me_.

3708. _Iakke_, Jack, here an epithet of a fool, like _Iankin_ (B. 1172);
and see note to B. 4000. Cf. E. _zany_.

3709. 'It wilt not be (a case of) come-kiss-me.' Chaucer has _ba_, to kiss,
D. 433; and _come-ba-me_, i. e. come kiss me, is here used as a phrase; so
that the line simply means 'you certainly will not get a kiss!' Observe the
rime with _bla-me_. _Bas_ also meant to kiss, and Skelton uses the words
together (ed. Dyce, i. 22):--

 'With _ba, ba, ba_, and _bas, bas, bas_,
  She cheryshed hym, both cheke and chyn';

i. e. with repeated kisses on cheek and chin. So again (i. 127) we find:
'_bas me_, buttyng, praty Cys!' And so again (ii. 6): '_bas me_, swete
Parrot, _bas me_, swete, swete!' Further illustration is afforded by
Burton's Anat. of Melancholy, pt. 3. sec. 2. mem. 4. subsec. 1: 'Yea, many
times, this love will make old men and women ... dance, _come-kiss-me-now_,
mask, and mum.' This complete explanation of an old _crux_ was first given
by Mr. Ellis, in 1870, in his Early Eng. [110] Pronunciation, p. 715, who
notes that the reading _com ba me_ is fairly well supported; see his
Critical Note. Several MSS. turn it into _compame_, which is clearly due to
the influence of the familiar word _companye_, which repeatedly ends a line
in Chaucer. Mr. Ellis well remarks--'_Com ba me!_ was probably the name of
a song, like ... the modern "Kiss me quick, and go, my love." It is also
probable that Absolon's speech contained allusions to it, and that it was
very well known at the time.'

The curious part of the story is that, in 1889, I adopted the same reading
independently, and for precisely similar reasons. But Mr. Ellis was before
me, by nineteen years. See l. 3716 below.

The following MSS. (says Mr. Ellis) read _combame_; viz. Harl. 7335--Camb.
Univ. Library, Ii. 3. 26--Trin. Coll. Camb. R. 3. 3--Rawl. MS. Poet. 141.
Bodl. 414 has _cum bame_; whilst Rawl. Misc. 1133 and Laud 739 have _come
ba me_.

3713. Lit. 'in the way to twenty devils'; hence, in the name of twenty
devils. 'In the twenty deuyll way, _Au nom du grant diable_'; Palsgrave
(1852), p. 838. See ll. 3134, 4257.

3721-2. These two lines are in E. only; Tyrwhitt omits them. But the old
black-letter editions retain them.

3723. He knelt down, because the window was so low (3696).

3725. Cf. 'For who-so kissing may attayne'; Rom. Rose, 3677; and Ovid, Ars
Amatoria, i. 669.

3726. _thyn ore_, thy favour, thy grace; the words 'grant me' being
understood. It is not uncommon.

     'Syr Lybeaus durstede [thirsted] sore,
      And seyde, Maugys, _thyn ore_,
        To drynke lette me go.'
              Ritson, Met. Romances, ii. 57.

 'I haue siked moni syk, lemmon, _for thin ore_';
           Böddeker's Altengl. Dichtungen, p. 174.

See Specimens of E. Eng., Part I; Glossary to Havelok; &c.

3728. _com of_, i. e. be quick; like _Have do_, have done! We now say 'come
on!' But strictly, _come on_ means 'begin,' and _come off_ means 'make an

3751. 'If it be not so that, rather than possess all this town, I would
like to be avenged.'

3770. _viritoot_ must be accepted as the reading; the reading _verytrot_ in
MS. Hl. gives a false rime, as the _oo_ in _woot_ is long. The meaning is
unknown; but the context requires the sense of 'upon the move,' or 'astir.'
My guess is that _viri-_ is from F. _virer_, to turn (cf. E. _virelay_),
and that _toot_ represents O. F. _tot_ (L. _totum_, F. _tout_), all; so
that _viritoot_ may mean 'turn-all.' Cotgrave gives _virevoulte_, 'a veere,
whirle a round gamball, friske, or turne,' like the Portuguese _viravolta_.
The form _verytrot_ (very trot) is clearly due to an attempt to make sense.
MS. Cam. has _merytot_, possibly with reference to M. E. _merytoter_, a
swing [111] (Catholicon); which is derived from _mery_, merry, and
_toteren_, to totter, oscillate. In the North of England, a swing is still
called a _merry-trotter_ (corruption of _merry-totter_), as noted by
Halliwell, who remarks that 'the _meritot_ is mentioned by Chaucer,' which
is not the fact. Both these 'glosses' give the notion of movement, as this
is obviously the general sense implied. Whatever the reading may be, we can
see the sense, viz. 'some gay girl (euphemism for light woman) has brought
you thus so early astir'; and Gervase accordingly goes on to say, 'you know
what I mean.'

Ed. 1561 has _berytote_, a misprint for _verytote_.

3771. Here as elsewhere, _së-ynt_ is dissyllabic; several MSS. have
_seinte_, but this can hardly be right. For _Note_, MSS. Pt. Hl. have
_Noet_, meaning _St. Neot_, whose day is Oct. 28, and whose name remains in
St. Neot's, in Cornwall, and St. Neot's, in Huntingdonshire. He died about
877; see Wright's Biogr. Brit. Litt., A. S. Period, p. 381. The spelling
_Note_ is remarkable, as the mod. E. name (pronounced as _Neet_, riming
with _feet_) suggests the A. S. form _N[=e]ot_, and M. E. _Neet_.

3774. A proverbial phrase. Tyrwhitt quotes from Froissart, v. iv. p. 92,
ed. 1574; 'Il aura en bref temps autres estoupes en sa quenoille.' To 'have
tow on one's distaff' is to have a task in hand. 'Towe on my dystaf have I
for to spynne'; Hoccleve, De Regimine Principum, p. 45.

3777. _As lene_, pray lend; see note to E. 7.

3782. MS. Hl. has _fo_, which is silently altered to _fote_ by Bell and
Wright. Tyrwhitt also has _fote_, which he found in the black-letter
editions. The reading _foo_ is probably quite right, and is an intentional
substitution for _foot_. It is notorious that oaths were constantly made
unmeaning, to avoid a too open profanity. In Chaucer, we have _cokkes
bones_, H. 9, I. 29, and _Corpus bones_, C. 314. Another corruption of a
like oath is _'s foot_, Shak. Troil. ii. 3. 6, which is docked at the other
end. It is poor work altering MSS. so as to destroy evidence. _Cristes foo_
might mean 'the devil'; but this is unlikely.

3785. _stele_, handle; i. e. by the cold end, which served as a handle. See
note to D. 949. _st[=e]le_, i. e. steel, would give a false rime.

3811. Tyrwhitt inserted _al_ before _aboute_ in his text, but withdrew it
in his notes. The A. S. has _hand-br[=æ]d_, but the M. E. _hand-e-brede_
had at least three syllables, if not four. This is shewn by MS. spellings
and by the metre, and still more clearly by Wyclif's Bible, which has: 'a
spanne, that is, an _handibreede_,' Ezek. xl. 5 (later version). It may
have been formed by analogy with M. E. _handiwerk_ (A. S. _hand-geweorc_)
and _handewrit_ (A. S. _hand-gewrit_). But the form is _handbrede_ in
Palladius on Husbandry, p. 80, l. 536.

3818. _Nowelis flood_ is the mistake of the illiterate carpenter for _Noes
flood_; see it again in l. 3834, where he is laughed at for having used the
expression in his previous talks with the clerk and his wife. It is on a
par with his _astromye_ (note to l. 3451). He was less familiar with the
_Noe_ of the Bible than with the _Nowel_ of the [112] carol-singers at
Christmas; see F. 1255. The editors carefully 'correct' the poet. In l.
3834, _Nowélis_ helps the scansion, whilst _Noes_ spoils the line, which
has to be 'amended.' The readings are: E. Hn. _as in the text_; Cm. Pt. Ln.
the Nowels flood; Pt. the Noes flood; Hl. He was agast and feerd of Noes
flood. Tyrwhitt actually reads; He was agast-e so of Noes flood; regardless
of the fact that _agast_ has no final _-e_. The carpenter's mistake is the
more pardonable when we notice that _Noë_ was sometimes used, instead of
_Noël_, to mean 'Christmas.' For an example, see the Poètes de Champagne,
Reims, 1851, p. 146.

3821. This singular expression is from the French. Tyrwhitt cites:--

 'Ainc tant come il mist a descendre,
  Ne trouva point de pain a vendre,'

i. e. he found no bread to sell in his descent. His reference is to the
Fabliaux, t. ii. p. 282; Wright refers, for the same, to the fabliau of
Aloul, in Barbazan, l. 591. I suppose the sense is, 'he never stopped, as
if to transact business.'

3822. E. Hn. celle; _rest_ selle. The word _celle_ might mean 'chamber.'
There was an approach to the roof, which they had reached by help of a
ladder; and the three tubs were hung among the balks which formed the roof
of the principal sitting-room below. But it is difficult to see how the
word _celle_ could be applied to the chief room in the house. Tyrwhitt
explains _selle_ as 'door-sill or threshold'; but we must bear in mind that
the _usual_ M. E. form of _sill_ was either _sille_ or _sulle_, from A. S.
_syll_. The spelling with _s_ proves nothing, since Chaucer undoubtedly
means 'cell' in A. 1376, where Cm. Hl. have _selle_, and in B. 3162, where
three MSS. (Cp. Pt. Ln.) all read _selle_ again. Why the carpenter should
have arrived at the door-sill, I do not know.

Nevertheless, upon further thoughts, I accept Tyrwhitt's view, with some
modification. We find that Chaucer actually uses Kentish forms (with _e_
for A. S. _y_) elsewhere, for the sake of a rime. A clear case is that of
_fulfelle_, in Troil. iii. 510. This justifies the dat. form _selle_ (A. S.
_sylle_). But we must take _selle_ to mean 'flooring' or 'boarding,' and
_floor_ to mean the ground beneath it; just as we find, in Widegren's
Swedish Dictionary, that _syll_ means 'the timber next the ground.' I would
therefore read _selle_, with the sense of 'flooring'; and I explain _floor_
by 'flat earth.' In the allit. Morte Arthure, 3249, _flores_ signifies
'plains.' In Gawayn and the Grene Knyght, 55, _sille_ means 'floor.'

3841. Observe the form _cape_, as a variant of _gape_, both here and in l.
3444 (see footnotes); and in Troil. v. 1133.


3855. For _laughen_, Tyrwhitt has _laughed_, and in l. 3858 has the
extraordinary form _lought_, but he corrects the former of these in his
[113] Notes. The verb was originally strong; see examples in Stratmann, s.
v. _hlahhen_.

3857. Repeated, nearly, in F. 202; see note.

3864. _so theek_, for _so thee ik_, so may I thrive, as I hope to thrive.
The Reve came from Norfolk, and Chaucer makes him use the Northern _ik_ for
_I_ in this expression, and again in l. 3867 (in the phrase _ik am_), and
in l. 3888 (in the phrase _ik have_), but not elsewhere; whence it would
seem that _ik_ for _I_ was then dying out in Norfolk; it has now died out
even in the North. Both the Host and the Canon's Yeoman use the Southern
form _so theech_; see C. 947, G. 929. Cf. _so the ik_, P. Pl., B. v. 228.

3865. To _blear_ (lit. to dim) _one's eye_ was to delude, hoodwink, or
cheat a man. So also _blered is thyn yë_, H. 252.

3868. _gras-time_, the time when a horse feeds himself in the fields. _My
fodder is now forage_, my food is now such as is provided for me; I am like
a horse in winter, whose food is hay in a stable. Thynne animadverts upon
this passage (Animadversions, p. 39), and says that _forage_ means 'such
harde and olde prouisione as ys made for horses and cattle in winter.' He
remarks, justly, that _forage_ is but loosely used in Sir Thopas, B. 1973.

3869. I take this to mean--'my old years write (mark upon me) this white
head,' i. e. turn me grey.

3870. 'My heart is as old (lit. mouldy) as my hairs are.' _Mouled_ is the
old pp. out of which we have made the mod. E. _mould-y_, adding _-y_ by
confusion with the adj. formed from _mould_, the ground. It is fully
explained in the Addenda to my Etym. Dict. 2nd ed. p. 818; and the verb
_moulen_, to grow mouldy, occurs in B. 32.

3871. 'Unless I grow like a medlar, which gets worse all the while, till it
be quite rotten, when laid up in a heap of rubbish or straw.'

3876. _hoppen_, dance; alluding to Luke vii. 32, where Wyclif has: 'we han
sungun to you with pipis, and ye han not daunsid.'

3877. _nayl_, a hindrance; like a nail that holds a box from being opened,
or that catches a man's clothes, and holds him back.

3878. 'E quegli che contro alla mia età parlando vanno, mostra mal che
conoscano che, perchè il porro abbia il capo blanco, che la coda sia
verde'; and, as for those that go speaking about my age, it shews that they
ill understand how, although the leek has a white head, its tail (or blade)
is green; Boccaccio, Decamerone; introduction to the Fourth Day. So also in
Northward Ho, by Dekker and Webster, Act iv. sc. 1: 'garlic has a white
head and a green stalk'; where Dyce remarks that it occurs again in The
Honest Lawyer, 1616, sig. G 2. Cf. P. Plowman, B. xiii. 352.

3878-82. Compare Alanus de Insulis, Parabolae, cap. I (in Leyser's
collection, p. 1067):--

 'Extincti cineres, si ponas sulphura, uiuent;
    Sic uetus apposita mente calescit amor.'


3882. For _olde_, T. has _cold_, I cannot guess why: smouldering ashes are
more likely to be hot. _Old ashes_ mean ashes left after a fire has died
down, in which, if raked together, fire can be long preserved. 'Still, in
our old ashes, is fire collected.' See the parallel passage in Troilus, ii.

In Soliman and Persida (Dodsley's Old Plays, ed. Hazlitt, v. 339) we

                         'as the fire
  That lay, with honour's hand raked up in ashes,
  Revives again to flames.'

We are reminded of line 92 in Gray's Elegy:--'Ev'n in our ashes live their
wonted fires'; but Gray himself tells us that he was thinking, not of
Chaucer, but of Sonnet 169 (170) of Petrarch:--

 'Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco,
  Fredda una lingua e due begli occhi chiusi,
  Rimaner doppo noi pien di faville'--

i. e. which (love-songs) I see in thought, O my sweet flame, when (my) one
tongue is cold, and (your) two fine eyes are closed, remaining after us,
full of sparkles.

_y-reke_, raked or heaped together, collected. Not explained by Wright or
Morris; Tyrwhitt explains it by 'smoking,' and takes it to be a _present_
participle, which is impossible. It is the pt. t. of the scarce strong verb
_reken_, pt. t. _rak_, pp. _y-reken_, _y-reke_, of which the primary notion
was to 'gather together.' It occurs, just once, in Gothic, in the
translation of Romans, xii. 20: 'haurja funins _rikis_ ana haubith is,'
i. e. coals of fire shalt thou heap together on his head. It is the very
verb from which the sb. _rake_ is derived. See _Rake_ in my Etym. Dict.,
and the G. _Rechen_ in Kluge. The notion is taken from the heaping together
of smouldering ashes to preserve the fire within. Lydgate copies this image
in his Siege of Troye, ed. 1555, fol. B 4:--

 'But inward brent of hate and of enuy
  The hoote fyre, and yet there was no smeke [smoke],
  So couertly the malyce was _yreke_.'

3895. _chimbe._ 'The prominency of the staves beyond the head of the
barrel. The imagery is very exact and beautiful'; Tyrwhitt. '_Chime_
(pronounced _choim_), sb. a stave of a cask, barrel, &c.'; Leicestershire
Glossary (E. D. S.) Urry gives '_Chimbe_, the Rim of a Cooper's Vessel on
the outside of the Head. The ends of the Staves from the Grooves outward
are called the _Chimes_.' Hexham's Du. Dict. has: '_Kimen_, _Kimmen_, the
Brimmes of a tubb or a barrill.' Sewel's Du. Dict. has: '_Kim_, the brim of
a barrel.' The Bremen _Kimm_ signifies not only the rim of a barrel, but
the edge of the horizon; cf. Dan. _Kiming_, _Kimming_, the horizon. See
further in New E. Dict. [115]

3901-2. _what amounteth_, to what amounts. _What shul_, why must.

3904. Tyrwhitt refers us to _Ex sutore medicus_, Phædrus, lib. i. fab. 14;
and to _ex sutore nauclerus_, alluded to by Pynson the printer, at the end
of his edition of Littleton's Tenures, 1525 (Ames, p. 488).

3906. _Depeford_ (lit. deep ford), Deptford; just beyond which is
_Grenewich_, Greenwich. Thus the pilgrims had not advanced very far,
considering that the Knight and Miller had both told a tale. They had made
an early start, and it was now 'half-way prime.' 'Deptford,' says Dr.
Furnivall, 'is 3 miles down the road [or a little more, it depends upon
whence we reckon]; and, as only the Reeve's Tale and the incomplete Cook's
Tale follow in Group A, we must suppose that Chaucer meant to insert here
[at the end of Group A] the Tales of some, at least, of the Five
City-Mechanics and the Ploughman ... in order to bring his party to their
first night's resting-place, Dartford, 15 miles from London'; Temp.
Preface, p. 19. 'The deep ford,' I may remark, must have been the one
through the Ravensbourn. Deptford and Greenwich (where, probably, Chaucer
was then residing) lay off the Old Kent Road, on the left; hence the host
points them out.

_half-way prime._ That is, half-past seven o'clock; taking _prime_ to mean
the first quarter of the day, or the period from 6 to 9 A.M. It was also
used to denote the _end_ of that period, or 9 A.M., as in B. 4387, where
the meaning is certain. In my Preface to Chaucer's Astrolabe, (E. E. T.
S.), I said: 'What _prime_ means in all cases, I do not pretend to say. It
is a most difficult word, and I think was used loosely. It might mean the
beginning or end of a period, and the period might be an hour, or a quarter
of a day. I think it was to obviate ambiguity that the end of the period
was sometimes expressed by _high prime_, or _passed prime_, or _prime
large_; we also find such expressions as _half prime_, _halfway prime_, or
_not fully prime_, which indicate a somewhat long period. For further
remarks, see Mr. Brae's Essay on Chaucer's Prime, in his edition of the
Astrolabe, p. 90. I add some references for the word _prime_, which may be
useful. We find _prime_ in Kn. Ta. 1331 (A. 2189); Mill. Ta. 368 (A. 3554);
March. Ta. 613 (E. 1857); Pard. Ta. 200 (C. 662); Ship. Ta. 206 (B. 1396);
Squi. Ta. 65 (F. 73); _fully prime_, Sir Topas, 114 (B. 2015); _halfway
prime_, Reve's Prol. 52 (A. 3906); _passed prime_, Ship. Ta. 88 (B. 1278),
Fre. Ta. 178 (D. 1476); _prime large_, Squi. Ta. ii. 14 (F. 360). See also
_prime_ in Troilus, ii. 992, v. 15; _passed prime_, ii. 1095 (in the same);
_an houre after the prime_, ii. 1557.' Cf. notes to F. 73, &c.

3911. _somdel_, in some degree. _sette his howve_, the same as _set his
cappe_, i. e. make him look foolish; see notes to A. 586, 3143. To come
behind a man, and alter the look of his head-gear, was no doubt a common
trick; now that caps are moveable, the perennial joy of the street-boy is
to run off with another boy's cap. [116]

3912. 'For it is allowable to repel (shove off) force by force.' The
Ellesmere MS. has here the sidenote--'vim vi repellere.'

3919. _stalke_, (here) a bit of stick; Lat. _festuca_. _balke_, a beam;
Lat. _trabs_. See the Vulgate version of Matt. vii. 3.


The origin of this Tale was a French Fabliau, like one that was first
pointed out by Mr. T. Wright, and printed in his Anecdota Literaria, p. 15.
Another similar one is printed in Méon's edition of Barbazan's Fabliaux,
iii. 239 (Paris, 1808). Both were reprinted for the Chaucer Society, in
Originals and Analogues, &c., p. 87. See further in vol. iii. p. 397.

3921. _Trumpington._ The modern mill, beside the bridge over the Granta,
between the villages of Trumpington and Grantchester, is familiar to all
Cambridge men; but this mill and bridge are both comparatively modern,
being placed upon an artificial channel. The old 'bridge' is that over the
old river-bed, somewhat nearer Trumpington; the 'brook' is this old course
of the Granta, which is hereabouts very narrow and circuitous; and the mill
stood a quarter of a mile above the bridge, at the spot marked 'Old Mills'
on the ordnance-map, though better known as 'Byron's pool,' which is the
old mill-pool. The fen mentioned in l. 4065 is probably the field between
the Old Mills and the road, which must formerly have been fen-land; though
Lingay Fen may be meant, which covers the space between Bourne Brook
(flowing into the Granta at the Old Mills) and the Cambridge and Bedford
Railway. We like to think that Chaucer saw the spot himself; but he
certainly seems to have thought that Trumpington was somewhat further from
Cambridge than it really is, as he actually makes the clerks to have been
benighted there; and he might easily have learnt some local particulars
from his wife's friend, Lady Blaunche de Trumpington, or from Sir Roger
himself. In any case, it is interesting to find him thus boldly assigning a
known locality to a mill which he had found in a French fabliau.

3927. _Pypen_, play the bag-pipe; see A. 565. The Reeve is clearly trying
to make his description suit the Miller in the company, whom it is his
express object to tease. Hence he says he could _wrestle well_ (cf. A. 548)
and could play the bag-pipe.

_nettes bete_, mend nets; he knew how to net.

3928. _turne coppes_, turn cups, make wooden cups in a turning-lathe; not a
very difficult operation. It is curious that Tyrwhitt gave up trying to
explain this simple phrase. In Riley's Memorials of London, p. 666, we find
that, in 1418, when the English were besieging Rouen, it was enacted that
'the turners should have 4s. for every hundred of 2,500 cups, in all
100s.': so that a wooden cup could be turned at the cost of a halfpenny.

3929. Printed _pavade_ by Tyrwhitt, _pauade_ by Thynne (ed. 1532), but
_panade_ in Wright. Levins' Manipulus Vocabulorum (1570) has: 'A PAUADE,
_pugio_'; but this is probably copied from Thynne. The exact form is not
found in O. F., but Godefroy's O. F. Dict. gives: '_Penart_, _pennart_,
_penard_, _panart_, _pannart_, coutelas, espèce de grand couteau à deux
tranchants ou taillants, sorte de poignard'; with seven examples, one of
which shows that it could be hung at the belt: 'Un grant _pennart_ qu'il
avoit pendu a sa sainture.' Ducange gives the Low Lat. form _penardus_, and
wrongly connects it with F. _poignard_, from which it is clearly distinct;
but he also gives the form _pennatum_ with the sense of 'pruning-knife,'
and Torriano gives an Ital. _pennato_ with the same sense. Cf. Lat.
_bi-pennis_. It was a two-edged cutlass, worn in addition to his sword; and
see below. It is also printed _pauade_ in Lydgate's Siege of Troy, ed.
1555, fol. N 5, back.

3931. _popper_, thruster, i. e. dagger; from the verb _pop_, to thrust in;
cf. _poke_. _Ioly_ probably means 'neat' or 'small.' This was the Miller's
third weapon of offence, of which he had three sizes, viz. a sword, a
cutlass, and a little dagger like a _misericorde_, used for piercing
between the joints of armour. No wonder that no one durst touch him 'for
peril.' The _poppere_ answers to the _boydekin_ of l. 3960, q.v. And
besides these, he carried a knife. 'Poppe, to stryke'; Cathol. Angl. p.

3933. _thwitel_, knife; from A.S. _thw[=i]tan_, to cut; now ill-spelt
_whittle_. The portraits of Chaucer show a knife hanging from his breast;
accordingly, in Greene's Description of Chaucer, we find this line: 'A
whittle by his belt he bare'; see Greene's Works, ed. Dyce, 1883, p. 320.
Note that Sheffield was already celebrated for its cutlery; so in the Witch
of Edmonton, Act ii. sc. 2, Somerton speaks of 'the new pair of _Sheffield

3934. _camuse_ (Hl. _camois_), low and concave; cf. l. 3974 below. F.
_camus_, 'flat-nosed'; Cotgrave. Ital. _camuso_, 'one with a flat nose';
Florio. See _Camois_ in the New E. Dict., where it is thus explained: 'Of
the nose: low and concave. Of persons: pug-nosed.' To the examples there
given, add the following from Holland's tr. of Pliny, i. 229; 'As for the
male goats, they are held for the best which are most _camoise_ or
snout-nosed.' Hexham's Du. Dict., s. v. _Neuse_, has the curious entry:
'_een Camuys ende opwaerts gaende Neuse_ [lit. a camus and upwards-going
Nose], Camell-nosed.'

3936. _market-beter_, a frequenter of markets, who swaggered about, and was
apt to be quarrelsome and in the way of others. See Wyclif's Works, ed.
Matthew, pp. 511, 520; and cf. F. _battre le pavé_, 'aller et venir sans
but, sans occupation'; Littré. And cf. E. 'policeman's _beat_.' Cotgrave
has: '_Bateur de pavez_, a pavement-beater; ... one that walks much abroad,
and riots it wheresoever he walks.' The following passage from the
Complaint of the Ploughman (in Wright's Polit. Poems, i. 330) makes it
clear-- [118]

 'At the wrastling, and at the wake,
    And chief chantours at the nale [_ale_];
  _Market-beaters_, and medling make,
    Hoppen and houten [_hoot_], with heve and hale.'

A synonymous term was _market-dasher_, spelt _market-daschare_ in the
Prompt. Parv.; see Way's note.

_atte fulle_, completely, entirely.

3941. _Simkin_, diminutive of _Simond_, which was his real name (ll. 4022,
4127). Altered to _Sim-e-kin_ by Tyrwhitt, for the scansion; but cf. ll.
3945, 3947, 4034, &c. He makes the same alteration in l. 3959, for a like
reason, but we may scan it: 'But if | he wold | e be | slayn,' &c. All the
MSS. have _Symkyn_, except Hl., which has _Symekyn_ here and in l. 3959. We
must either make the form variable, or else treat the word _de-y-nous_ as a
trisyllable. _Deynous_ was his regular epithet.

3943. This statement, that the parson of the town was her father, has
caused surprise. In Bell's Chaucer, the theory is started that the priest
had been a widower before he took orders, which no one can be expected to
believe; it is too subtle. It is clear that she was an illegitimate
daughter; this is why her father paid money to get her married to a miller,
and why she thought ladies ought to spare her (and not avoid her), because
it was an honour to have a priest for a father, and because she had learnt
so much good-breeding in a nunnery. The case is only too clear; cf. note to
l. 3963.

3953. _tipet_, not here a cape, but the long pendant from the hood at one
time fashionable, which Simkin wound round his head, in order to get it out
of the way. See _Tippett_ in Fairholt's Costume in England; Glossary. Cf.
notes to A. 233, 682.

3954. So also the Wife of Bath had 'gay scarlet _gytes_'; D. 559. Spelt
_gide_ in MS. Ln., and _gyde_ in Blind Harry's _Wallace_, i. 214: 'In-till
a _gyde_ of gudly ganand greyne,' where it is used of a gay dress worn by
Wallace. It occurs also twice in Golagros and Gawain, used of the gay dress
of a woman; see Jamieson. Nares shews that _gite_ is used once by Fairfax,
and thrice by Gascoigne. The sense is usually dubious; it may mean 'robe,'
or, in some places, 'head-dress.' The _g_ was certainly hard, and the word
is of F. origin. Godefroy gives '_guite_, chapeau'; and Roquefort has
'_wite_, voile.' The F. Gloss. appended to Ducange gives the word _witart_
as applied to a man, and _witarde_ as applied to a woman. Cf. O. F.
_wiart_, which Roquefort explains as a woman's veil, whilst Godefroy
explains _guiart_ as a dress or vestment. The form of the word suggests a
Teutonic origin; perhaps from O. H. G. _wît_, wide, ample, which would
explain its use to denote a veil or a robe indifferently. Ducange suggests
a derivation from Lat. _uitta_, which is also possible.

3956. _dame_, lady; see A. 376.

3959. _wold-e_, wished, seems to be dissyllabic; see note to l. 3941. [119]

3960. _boydekin_, dagger, as in B. 3892, q. v. Cf. note to l. 3931.

3962. 'At any rate, they would that their wives should think so.' _Wenden_,
pt. pl. subj. of _wenen_.

3963. _smoterlich_, besmutched; cf. _bismotered_ in A. 76. Tyrwhitt says:
'it means, I suppose, smutty, dirty; but the whole passage is obscure.'
Rather, it is perfectly clear when the allusion is perceived. The allusion
is to the smutch upon her reputation, on account of her illegitimacy. This
explains also the use of _somdel_; 'because she was, in some measure, of
indifferent reputation, she was always on her dignity, and ready to take
offence'; which is true to human nature. Thus the whole context is
illuminated at once.

3964. _digne_, full of dignity, and therefore (as Chaucer says, with
exquisite satire) like (foul) water in a ditch, which keeps every one at a
proper distance. However, the satire is not Chaucer's own, but due to a
popular proverbial jest, which occurs again in The Ploughman's Crede, l.
375, where the Dominican friars are thus described:--

 'Ther is more pryve pride in Prechours hertes
  Than ther lefte [_remained_] in Lucyfer, er he were lowe fallen;
  They ben _digne as dich-water_, that dogges in bayteth' [_feed in_].

And, again, in the same, l. 355:--

 'For with the princes of pride the Prechours dwellen,
  They bene _as digne as the devel_, that droppeth fro hevene.'

Hence _digne_ is proud, repulsive.

3965. 'And full of scorn and reproachful taunting'; like the lady in Lay de
Freine, l. 60 (in Weber's Met. Romances, i. 359):--

 'A proud dame and an enuious,
  Hokerfulliche missegging,
  Squeymous and eke scorning;
  To ich woman sche hadde envie.'

_Hoker_ is the A. S. _h[=o]cor_, scorn. _Bismare_ is properly of _two_
syllables only (A. S. _bismor_), but is here made into three; MS. Cp. has
_bisemare_, and Hl. has _bissemare_, and the spelling _bisemare_ also
appears much earlier, in the Ancren Riwle, p. 132, and _bisemære_ in
Layamon, i. 140. Owing to a change in the accentuation, the etymology had
been long forgotten. See _Bismer_ in the New E. Dict., and see the

3966. 'It seemed to her that ladies ought to treat her with consideration,'
and not look down upon her; see note to l. 3943.

3977. _The person_, the parson, i. e. her grandfather.

3980. 'And raised difficulties about her marriage.'

3990. The _Soler-halle_ has been guessed to be Clare Hall, merely because
that college was of early foundation, and was called a 'hall.' But a happy
find by Mr. Riley tells us better, and sets the question at rest. In the
First Report of the Historical MSS. Commission, p. 84, Mr. Riley gives
several extracts from the Bursar's Books of King's [120] Hall, in which the
word _solarium_ repeatedly occurs, shewing that this Hall possessed
numerous _solaria_, or sun-chambers, used as dwelling-rooms, apparently by
the fellows. They were probably fitted with bay-windows. This leaves little
doubt that _Soler-Hall_ was another name for _King's Hall_, founded in 1337
by Edward III, and now merged in Trinity College. It stood on the ground
now occupied by the Great Gate, the Chapel, Bowling-green, and Master's
Lodge of that celebrated college. On the testimony of Chaucer, we learn
that the King's Hall, even in his time, was 'a greet collegge.' Its
successor is the largest in England.

In Wright's Hist. of Domestic Manners, pp. 83, 127, 128, it is explained
that the early stone-built house usually had a hall on the ground-floor,
and a _soler_ above. The latter, being more protected, was better lighted,
and was considered a place of greater security. 'In the thirteenth century
a proverbial characteristic of an avaricious and inhospitable person, was
to shut his hall-door and live in the _soler_.' It was also 'considered as
the room of honour for rich lodgers or guests who paid well.' Udall speaks
of 'the _solares_, or loftes of my hous'; tr. of Erasmus' Apophthegmes,
_Aug. Cæsar_, § 27.

3999. _made fare_, made a to-do (as we now say).

4014. _Strother._ There is now no town of this name in England, but the
reference is probably to a place which gave its name to a Northumbrian
family. Mr. Gollancz tells me:--'The Strother family, of Northumberland,
famous in the fourteenth century, was a branch of the Strothers, of Castle
Strother in Glendale, to the west of Wooler. The chief member of this
Northumberland branch seems to have been _Alan de Strother_ the younger,
who died in 1381. (See Calendarium Inquis. post Mortem, 4 Ric. II, vol.
iii. p. 32.) The records contain numerous references to him; e. g. "Aleyn
de Struther, conestable de nostre chastel de Rokesburgh," A. D. 1366
(Rymer's Foedera, iii. 784); "Alanum del Strother, vicecomitem de
Rokesburgh et vicecomitem Northumbriæ" (id. iii. 919). It is a noteworthy
point that this Alan de Strother had a son _John_.' This definite
information does away with the old guess, that Strother is a mistake for
Langstrothdale Chase almost at the N.W. extremity of the W. Riding of
Yorkshire, joining the far end of Wharfdale to Ribblesdale, and even now
not very accessible, though it can be reached from Ribblehead station, on
the Skipton and Carlisle Railway, or from Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

I suppose that Castle Strother, mentioned above, must have been near
Kirknewton, some 5 miles or so to the west of Wooler. The river Glen falls
into the Till, which is a tributary of the Tweed. I find mention, in
1358-9, of 'Henry de Strother, of Kirknewton in Glendale'; Brand, Hist. of
Newcastle, ii. 414, note. W. Hutchinson, in his View of Northumberland,
1778, i. 260, speaks of 'Kirknewton, one of the manors of the Barony of
Wark, the ancient residence of the Strothers, now the property of John
Strother Ker, Esq.' [121]

We may here notice some of the characteristics of the speech which Chaucer
assigns to these two students from Northumberland.

(_a_) They use _a_ for A. S. _[=a]_, where Chaucer usually has _[=o]_ (long
and open). Ex. _na_ (Ch. _no_), _swa_ (_so_), _ham_ (_hoom_), _gas_
(gooth), _fra_ (_fro_), _banes_ (_bones_), _anes_ (_ones_), _waat_
(_woot_), _raa_ (_ro_), _bathe_ (_bothe_), _ga_ (_go_), _twa_, (_two_),
_wha_ (_who_). Similarly we find _saule_ for Ch. _soule_, soul, _tald_ for
_told_, _halde_ for _holde_, _awen_ for _owen_, own.

(_b_) They use _a_ for A. S. short _a_ before _ng_. Ex. _wanges_, but Ch.
also has _wang-tooth_, B. 3234; _sang_ for _song_ (4170), _lange_ for
_longe_, _wrang_ for _wrong_.

(_c_) They use (perhaps) _ee_ for _oo_; as in _geen_ for _goon_, gone,
4078; _neen_ for _noon_, none, 4185. This is remarkable, and, in fact, the
readings vary, as noted. _Geen_, _neen_ are in MS. E. Note also _pit_ for
_put_, 4088.

(_d_) They use the indicative sing. and pl. in _-es_ or _-s_. Ex. 3 pers.
sing. _far-es_, _bo-es_, _ga-s_, _wagg-es_, _fall-es_, _fynd-es_, 4130,
_bring-es_, _tyd-es_, 4175, _say-s_, 4180. Pl. _werk-es_, 4030. So also is
_I_, _I is_, _thou is_, 4089. In l. 4045, we find _are ye_, E.; _ar ye_
(better), Hn.; _ere ye_, Cp. Hl.; _is ye_, Cm. Pt.; _es ye_, Ln. Both _ar_
(_er_) and _is_ (_es_) are found in the present tense plural in Northern
works; _we is_ occurs in Barbour's Bruce, iii. 317. It is not
'ungrammatical,' as Tyrwhitt supposes.

(_e_) Other grammatical peculiarities are: _sal_ for _shal_, shall, 4087;
_slyk_ for _swiche_, such, 4173; _whilk_ for _whiche_, 4171; _thair_ for
_hir_, their, 4172 (which is now the standard use); _hethen_ for _hennes_,
hence, 4033; _til_ for _to_ (but Chaucer sometimes uses _til_ himself,
chiefly before a vowel); _y-mel_ for _amonges_, 4171; _gif_ for _if_, 4181.

(_f_) Besides the use of the peculiar forms mentioned in (_e_), we find
certain words employed which do not occur elsewhere in Chaucer, viz. _boes_
(see note to 4027), _lathe_, barn, _fonne_, fool, _hething_, contempt,
_taa_, take. To these Tyrwhitt adds _gar_, reading _Gar us have mete_ in l.
4132, but I can only find _Get us som mete_ in my seven MSS. _Capul_,
horse, occurs again in D. 1554, 2150.

I think Mr. Ellis a little underrates the 'marked northernism' of Chaucer's
specimens. Certainly _thou is_ is as marked as _I is_; and other certain
marks are the pl. indic. in _-es_, as in _werk-es_, 4030, the use of _sal_
for 'shall,' of _boes_ for 'behoves,' of _taa_ for 'take,' of _hethen_ for
'hence,' of _slyk_ for 'such,' the prepositions _fra_ and _y-mel_, and even
some of the peculiarities of pronunciation, as _[=a]_ for _[=o]_, _wrang_
for _wrong_.

It is worth enquiring whether Chaucer has made any mistakes, and it is
clear that he has made several. Thus _as clerkes sayn_ (4028) should be _as
clerkes says_; and _sayth_ should again be _says_ in l. 4210. In l. 4171,
_hem_ (them) should be _thaim_. In l. 4180, _y-greved_ should be _greved_;
the Northern dialect knows nothing of the prefix _y-_. It also ignores the
final _-e_ in definite adjectives; hence _thy fair-e_ (4023), _this
short-e_ (4265), and _this lang-e_ (4175) all have a superfluous _-e_. Of
course this is what we should expect; the poet merely gives [122] a
Northern colouring to his diction to amuse us; he is not trying to teach us
Northern grammar. The general effect is excellent, and that is all he was
concerned with.

4020. The mill lay a little way off the road on the left (coming from
Trumpington); so it was necessary to 'know the way.'

4026. _nede has na peer_, necessity has no equal, or, is above all. More
commonly, _Nede ne hath no lawe_, as in P. Plowman, B. xx. 10, or C. xxiii.
10; 'Necessitas non habet legem'; a common proverb.

4027. _boës_, contracted from _behoves_, a form peculiar to Chaucer. In
northern poems, the word is invariably a monosyllable, spelt _bos_, or more
commonly _bus_; and the pt. t. is likewise a monosyllable, viz. _bud_ or
_bood_, short for _behoved_. In Cursor Mundi, l. 9870, we have: 'Of a woman
_bos him_ be born; and in l. 10639: 'Than _bus_ this may be clene and
bright.' In M. E., it is always used impersonally; _him boes_ or _him bos_
means 'it behoves him,' or 'he must.' See _Bus_ in the New E. Dictionary.

Chaucer here evidently alludes to some such proverb as 'He who has no
servant must serve himself,' but I do not know the precise form of it. The
expression 'as clerkes sayn' hints that it is a Latin one.

4029. _hope_, expect, fear. Cf. P. Plowman, C. x. 275, and see _Hope_ in
Nares, who cites the story of the tanner of Tamworth (from Puttenham's Arte
of Poesie, bk. iii. c. 22) who said--'I _hope_ I shall be hanged
to-morrow.' Cf. also Thomas of Erceldoun, ed. Murray, l. 78:--

 'But-if I speke with yone lady bryghte,
  I _hope_ myne herte will bryste in three!'

4030. 'So ache his molar teeth.' _Wark_, to ache, is common in Yorkshire:
'My back _warks_ while I can hardly bide,' my back aches so that I can
hardly endure; Mid. Yks. Gloss. (E. D. S.).

4032. _ham_, i. e. _h[=a]m_, _haam_, home.

4033. _hethen_, hence, is very characteristic of a Northern dialect; it
occurs in Hampole, Havelok, Morris's Allit. Poems, Gawain, Robert of
Brunne, the Ormulum, &c.; see examples in Mätzner.

4037. One clerk wants to watch above, and the other below, to prevent
cheating. This incident is not in the French fabliaux. On the other hand,
it occurs in the Jest of the Mylner of Abyngton, which is plainly copied
from Chaucer.

4049. _blere hir yë_, blear their eyes, cheat them, as in l. 3865.

4055. 'The fable of the Wolf and the Mare is found in the Latin Esopean
collections, and in the early French poem of _Renard le Contrefait_, from
whence it appears to have been taken into the English _Reynard the Fox_';
Wright. Tyrwhitt observes that the same story is told of a mule in Cento
Novelle Antiche, no. 91. See Caxton's Reynard, ch. 27, ed. Arber, p. 62,
where the wolf wants to buy a mare's foal, who said that the price of the
foal was written on her hinder foot; 'yf ye conne rede and be a clerk, ye
may come see and rede it.' And when [123] the wolf said, 'late me rede it,'
the mare gave him so violent a kick that 'a man shold wel haue ryden a myle
er he aroos.' The Fox, who had brought it all about, hypocritically
condoles with the Wolf, and observes--'Now I here wel it is true that I
long syth haue redde and herde, that _the beste clerkes ben not the wysest

For the story in Le Roman du Renard Contrefait, see Poètes de Champagne,
Reims, 1851, p. 156. For further information, see Caxton's Fables of Æsop,
ed. Jacobs, lib. v. fab. 10; vol. i. 254, 255; vol. ii. 157, 179. La
Fontaine has a similar fable of the Fox, the Wolf, and the Horse. In
Croxall's Æsop, it is told of the Horse, who tells the Lion, who is acting
as physician, that he has a thorn in his foot. See further references in
the Exempla of Jacques de Vitry, ed. Crane, pp. 147, 197.

4061. _levesel_, an arbour or shelter formed of branches or foliage.
_Lev-e_ is the stem of _leef_, A. S. _l[=e]af_, a leaf; and _-sel_ is the
same as the A. S. _sæl_, _sele_, a hall, dwelling, Swed. _sal_, Icel.
_salr_, G. _Saal_. The A. S. _sæl_ occurs also in composition, as
_burg-sæl_, _folc-sæl_, _horn-sæl_, and _sele_ is still commoner; Grein
gives twenty-three compounds with the latter, as _gæst-sele_, guest-hall,
_hr[=o]f-sele_, roofed-hall, &c. In Icel. we have _lauf-hús_, leaf-house,
but we find the very word we require in Swed. _löfsal_, 'a hut built of
green boughs,' Widegren; Dan. _lövsals-fest_, feast of tabernacles. The
word occurs again in the Persones Tale, l. 411, where it means a leafy
arbour such as may still be seen to form the porch of a public-house. The
word is scarce; but see the following:--

 'Alle but Syr Gauan, graythest of alle,
  Was left with Dame Graynour, _vndur the greues_ [groves] _grene_.
  By a lauryel ho [she] lay, vndur a _lefe-sale_
  Of box and of barberè, byggyt ful bene.'
    Anturs of Arthur, st. 6; in Three Met. Romances, ed. Robson, p. 3.

The editor prints it as _lefe sale_, and explains it by 'leafy hall,' but
it is a compound word; the adjective would be _lefy_ or _leuy_. In this
case the arbour was 'built' of box and barberry.

 'All his devocioun and holynesse
  At the taverne is, as for the most dele,
  To Bacus syne, and to the _leef-sele_
  His youthe hym haleth,' &c.
              Hoccleve, De Regim. Principum, p. 22.

Again, in Allit. Poems, ed. Morris, iii. 448, the arbour formed by Jonah's
gourd is called a _lefsel_.

4066. Lydgate has 'through thinne and thikke'; Siege of Troy, fol. Cc. 6,

4078. _geen_, goon; so in MS. E., which again has _neen_, none, 4185. The
usual Northern form is _gan_ (= _gaan_), as in Hl.; Hn. Ln. have _gane_.
But we also find _gayn_, as in Wallace, iv. 102; Bruce, ii. 80. [124] The
forms _geen_, _neen_, are so remarkable that they are likely to be the
original ones.

4086. 'I am very swift of foot, God knows, (even) as is a roe; by God's
heart, he shall not escape us both; why hadst thou not put the horse in the
barn?' 'Light as a rae' [roe]; Tournament of Tottenham, st. 15.

4088. _capul_, a horse, occurs again, in D. 2150. _lathe_, a barn, is still
in use in some parts of Yorkshire, but chiefly in local designations, being
otherwise obsolescent; see the Cleveland and Whitby Glossaries. 'The
northern man writing to his neighbour may say, "My _lathe_ standeth neer
the _kirkegarth_," for My barne standeth neere the churchyard:' Coote's
Eng. Schoolemaster, 1632 (Nares). Ray gives: '_Lathe_, a barn' in 1691; and
we again find '_Leath_, a barn' in 1781 (E. D. S. Gloss. B. 1); and
'_Leath_, _Laith_, a barn' in 1811 (E. D. S. Gloss. B. 7); in all cases as
a Northern word.

4096. 'Trim his beard,' i. e. cheat him; and so again in D. 361. See
Chaucer's Hous of Fame, 689, and my note upon it.

 'Myght I thaym have spyde,
  I had _made thaym a berd_.'
                 Towneley Mysteries, p. 144.

4101. _Iossa_, 'down here'; a cry of direction. Composed of O. F. _jos_,
_jus_, down; and _ça_, here. Bartsch gives an example of _jos_ in his
Chrestomathie, 1875, col 8: 'tuit li felun cadegren _jos_,' all the felons
fell down; and Cotgrave has: '_Jus_, downe, or to the ground.' Godefroy
gives: _ça jus_, here below, down here. It is clearly a direction given by
one clerk to the other, and was probably a common cry in driving horses.

_warderere_, i. e. _warde arere_, 'look out behind!' Another similar cry.
MS. Cm. has: _ware the rere_, mind the rear, which is a sort of gloss upon

4110. _hething_, contempt. See numerous examples in Mätzner, s. v.
_hæthing_, ii. 396. Cf. 'Bothe in _hething_ and in _scorn_'; Sir Amadace,
l. 17, in Robson's _Three Met. Romances_, p. 27. 'Him thoght _scorn_ and
gret _hething_'; Seven Sages, ed. Weber, l. 91.

4112. The first foot is 'trochaic.'

4115. _in his hond_, in his possession, in his hold.

4126. 'Or enlarge it by argument'; prove by logic that it is the size you
wish it to be.

4127. _Cutberd_, St. Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, died in 686. Being a
Northumberland man, John swears by a Northumberland saint.

4130. Evidently a proverb: 'a man must take (one) of two things, either
such as he finds or such as he brings'; i. e. must put up with what he can

4134. Another proverb. Repeated in D. 415, with _lure_ for _tulle_. From
the Policraticus of John of Salisbury, liv. v. c. 10: 'Veteri [125]
celebratur proverbio: Quia vacuae manus temeraria petitio est.' MS. Cm. has
the rimes _folle_, _tolle_. For _tulle_, a commoner spelling is _tille_, to
draw, hence to allure, entice. Hence E. _till_ (for money), orig. meaning a
'drawer'; and the _tiller_ of a rudder, by which it is drawn aside. See
_tullen_ in Stratmann, and _tollen_ in Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. 11 (in vol.
ii. p. 45).

4140. _chalons_, blankets. The same word as mod. E. _shalloon_, 'a slight
woollen stuff'; Ogilvie's Dict. 'The blanket was sometimes made of a
texture originally imported from Chalons in France, but afterwards
extensively manufactured in England by the Chaloners'; Our Eng. Home, p.
108. 'Qwyltes ne _chalouns_'; Eng. Gilds, ed. Toulmin Smith, p. 350.

4152. _quakke_, asthma, or difficulty of breathing that causes a croaking
noise. Halliwell gives: '_Quack_, to be noisy, _West_. The term is applied
to any croaking noise.' Also: '_Quackle_, to choke, or suffocate, _East_.'
_Pose_, a cold in the head; A. S. _gepos_.

4155. '_To wet one's whistle_' is still in use for to drink deeply. '_I
wete my whystell_, as good drinkers do'; Palsgrave, p. 780. In Walton's
Complete Angler, Part i. ch. 5, we find: 'Let's drink the other cup to _wet
our whistles_.'

4172. _wilde fyr_, erysipelas (to torment them); see Halliwell. Cf. E.
2252. The entry--'_Erysipela_ (_sic_), wilde fyr' occurs in Ælfric's
Vocabulary. So in Le Rom. de la Rose:--'que Mal-Feu l'arde'; 7438, 8319.

4174. _flour_, choice, best of a thing; _il ending_, evil death, bad end.
'They shall have the best (i. e. here, the worst) of a bad end.' Rather a
wish than a prophecy.

4181. Sidenote in MS. Hl.--'Qui in vno grauatur in alio debet releuari.' A
Law Maxim.

4194. _upright_, upon her back. 'To slepe on the backe, _vpryght_, is
vtterly to be abhorred'; Babees Book, ed. Furnivall, p. 245. Palsgrave, s.
v. _Throwe_, has: 'I throwe a man _on his backe_ or _upright_, so that his
face is upwarde, _Ie renuerse_.' And see Nares. Cf. 'Now dounward groffe
[on your belly], and now _upright_'; Rom. Rose, 2561. _Bolt-upright_ occurs
in l. 4266; where _bolt_ is 'like a bolt,' hence 'straight,' or exactly.
See _Bolt_, adv., in the New E. Dictionary. And compare B. 1506.

4208. _daf_, fool; from E. _daf-t_. _cokenay_, a milk-sop, poor creature.
The orig. sense of _coken-ay_ is 'cocks' egg,' from a singular piece of
folk-lore which credited cocks with laying such eggs as happen to be
imperfect. 'The small yolkless eggs which hens sometimes lay are called
"cocks' eggs," generally in the firm persuasion that the name states a
fact'; Shropshire Folklore, by C. S. Burne, p. 229. The idea is old, and
may be found gravely stated as a fact in Bartolomæus De Proprietatibus
Rerum (14th century). See _Cockney_ in the New E. Dictionary.

4210. _Unhardy is unsely_, the cowardly man has no luck. 'Audentes [126]
fortuna iuuat'; Vergil, Aen. x. 284. So also our 'Nothing venture, nothing
have,' and 'Faint heart never won fair lady'; which see in Hazlitt's
Proverbs. For _seel_, luck, see l. 4239. See Troil. iv. 602, and the note.

4220. Pronounce _ben'cite_ in three syllables; as usual.

4233. _The thridde cok_; apparently, between 5 and 6 A.M.; see note to line
3675 above. It was near dawn; see l. 4249.

4236. _Malin_, another form of _Malkin_, which is a pet-name for _Matilda_.
See my note to P. Plowman, C. ii. 181, where my statement that _Malkin_
occurs in the present passage refers to Tyrwhitt's edition, which
substitutes _Malkin_ for the _Malin_ or _Malyn_ of the MSS. and of ed.
1532. Cf. B. 30.

'_Malyn_, tersorium,' Cath. Anglicum; i. e. _Malin_, like _Malkin_, also
meant a dishclout. _Malin_ has now become _Molly_.

4244. _cake._ In Wright's Glossaries, ed. Wülker, col. 788, l. 36, we find,
'_Hic panis subverucius_, a meleres cake'; on which Wright remarks:
'Perhaps this name alludes to the common report that the miller always
stole the flour from his customers to make his cakes, which were baked on
the sly.'

4253. _toty_, in the seven MSS.; _totty_ in ed. 1532. It means 'dizzy,
reeling'; and Halliwell, s. v. _Totty_, quotes from MS. Rawl. C. 86: 'So
_toty_ was the brayn of his hede.' Cf. 'And some also so _toty_ in theyr
heade'; Lydgate, Siege of Troy, ed. 1555, fol. L 1, back. Spenser has the
word twice, as _tottie_ or _totty_, and evidently copied it from this very
passage, which he read in a black-letter edition; see his Shep. Kal.,
_February_, 55, and F. Q. vii. 7. 39. Cf. E. _totter_.

4257. _a twenty devel way_, with extremely ill-luck. See note to l. 3713.

4264. Compare B. 1417.

4272. _linage_; her grandfather was a priest; see note to l. 3943.

4278. _poke_, bag; cf. the proverb, 'To buy a pig in a poke.'

 'Than on the grounde together rounde
    With many a sadde stroke
  They roule and rumble, they turne and tumble,
    _As pygges do in a poke_.'
                   Sir T. More, A Merrie Iest, &c. (1510).

This juvenile poem by Sir T. More is printed in Hazlitt's Popular Poetry,
iii. 128, and in the Preface to Todd's Johnson.

4286. _Bromeholm._ A piece of what was supposed to be the true cross was
brought from the East by an English priest to Norfolk in 1223, and
immediately became famous as an object of pilgrimage. It is called the
'Rode [rood] of Bromeholme' in P. Plowman, B. v. 231; see my note to that

4287. The full form is quoted in the note to Scott's Marmion, can. ii. st.
13:--'In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum; a vinculis enim mortis
redemisti me, Domine veritatis, Amen.' In [127] Ratis Raving, &c., ed.
Lumby, p. 8, l. 263, the form ends with 'spiritum meum, domine, deus
veritatis.' In Reliquiae Antiquae, i. 235, the following translation of the
Latin form is given:--

 'Loverd Godd, in hondes thine I bequethe soule mine;
  Thu me boctest with thi deadd, Loverd Godd of sothfastheedd.'

It here occurs in company with the Creed, the Paternoster, and the Ave
Maria; so that it was one of the very common religious formulae which were
familiar, even in the Latin form, to people of no education. They
frequently knew the words of these forms, without knowing more than the
general sense. _In manus tuas_, &c., was even recited by criminals before
being hung; see Skelton's Works, ed. Dyce, i. 5, 292, ii. 268. The words
are mostly taken from the Vulgate version of Luke, xxiii. 46.

4290. _oon_, one, some one; not common at this date.

4295. Cf. Roman de la Rose, 12720:--'Qui set bien de l'ostel les _estres_,'
i. e. who knows well the inner parts of the hostel. See note to A. 1971

4302. _volupeer_, nightcap; see note to A. 3241.

4307. _harrow_, a cry for help; see note to A. 3286.

4320. _Him thar_, lit. 'it needs him,' i. e. he need, he must. For _thar_,
ed. 1532 has _dare_, which Tyrwhitt rightly corrects to _thar_, which
occurs again in D. 329, 336, 1365, and H. 352. It is common enough in early
authors; the full form is _tharf_, as in Owl and Nightingale, 803 (or 180),
Moral Ode (Jesus MS.), 44; spelt _tharrf_, Ormulum, 12886; _therf_, Ancren
Riwle, p. 192; _darf_, Floris and Blancheflur, 315; _derf_, O. Eng.
Homilies, ed. Morris, i. 187, l. 31; _dar_, Octovian, 1337; &c. The pt. t.
is _thurfte_, _thurte_, _thorte_; see _tharf_ and _thurfen_ in Stratmann,
and cf. A. S. _thearf_, pt. t. _thurfte_. For _wene_, the correct reading,
Tyrwhitt substitutes _winne_, against all authority, because he could make
no sense of _wene_. It is odd that he should have missed the sense so
completely. _Wene_ is to imagine, think, also to expect; and the line means
'he must not expect good who does evil.' The very word is preserved by Ray,
in his Proverbs, 3rd ed., 1737, p. 288:--'He that evil does, never good
_weines_.' Hazlitt quotes a proverb to a like effect: 'He that does what he
should not, shall feel what he would not.' Cf. 'Whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap'; Gal. vi. 7.

4321. A common proverb; cf. Ps. vii. 16, ix. 15.

 'For often he that will beguile
  Is guiled with the same guile,
  And thus the guiler is beguiled.'
          Gower, Conf. Amant (bk. vi), iii. 47.

 'Begyled is the gyler thanne'; Rom. Rose, 5759.

See further in my note to P. Plowman, C. xxxi. 166, and Kemble's Solomon
and Saturn, p. 63. Le Rom. de la Rose, 7381, has:--'Qui les deceveors
deçoivent.' [128]

I can add another example from Caxton's Fables of Æsop, lib. ii. fab. 12
(The Fox and the Stork):--'And therfore he that begyleth other is oftyme
begyled hymself.'


4329. _herbergage_, lodging; alluding to l. 4123.

4331. Not from Solomon, but from Ecclesiasticus, xi. 31: 'Non omnem hominem
inducas in domum tuum; multae enim sunt insidiae dolosi.' In the E.
version, it is verse 29.

4336. _Hogge_, Hodge, for _Roger_ (l. 4353). _Ware_, in Hertfordshire.

4346. _laten blood_, let blood, i. e. removed gravy from. It refers to a
meat-pie, baked with gravy in it; as it was not sold the day it was made,
the gravy was removed to make it keep longer; and so the pie was eaten at
last, when far from being new.

4347. The meaning of 'a Jack of Dover' has been much disputed, but it
probably meant a pie that had been cooked more than once. Some have thought
it meant a sole (probably a fried sole), as 'Dover soles' are still
celebrated; but this is only a guess, and seems to be wrong. Sir T. More,
Works, p. 675 E, speaks of a '_Jak of Paris_, an evil pye twyse baken';
which is probably the same thing. Roquefort's _French Dict._ has:--

'_Jaquet_, _Jaket_, impudent, menteur. C'est sans doute de ce mot que les
pâtissiers ont pris leur mot d'argot _jaques_, pour signifier qu'une pièce
de volaille, de viande ou de pâtisserie cuite au four, est vieille ou

See Hazlitt's Proverbs, p. 20; and Hazlitt's Shakespeare Jest-books, ii.
366. Hence, in a secondary sense, _Jack of Dover_ meant an old story, or
hashed up anecdote. Ray says:--'This he [T. Fuller] makes parallel to
_Crambe bis cocta_, and applicable to such as grate the ears of their
auditors with ungrateful tautologies of what is worthless in itself;
tolerable as once uttered in the notion of novelty, but abominable if
repeated.' This may explain the fact that an old jest-book was printed with
the title _A Jack of Dover_ in 1604, and again in 1615. The E. word _jack_
has indeed numerous senses.

4350. The insinuation is that stray flies were mixed up with the parsley
served up with the Cook's geese. Tyrwhitt quotes from MS. Harl. 279--'Take
_percely_,' &c. in a receipt for stuffing a goose; so that parsley was
sometimes used for this purpose. It was also used for stuffing chickens;
see Liber Cure Cocorum, ed. Morris, p. 22.

4357. 'A true jest is an evil jest.' Hazlitt, in his Collection of
Proverbs, gives, 'True jest is no jest,' and quotes 'Sooth bourd is no
bourd' from Heywood, and from Harington's Brief Apologie of Poetrie, 1591.
Kelly's Scotch Proverbs includes: 'A sooth bourd is nae bourd.' Tyrwhitt
alters the second _play_ to _spel_, as being a Flemish word, but he only
found it in two MSS. (Askew 1 and 2), and nothing is gained [129] by it.
The fact is, that there is nothing Flemish about the proverb except the
word _quad_, though there may have been an equivalent proverb in that
language. We must take Chaucer's remark to mean that 'Sooth play is what a
Fleming would call _quaad_ play'; which is then quite correct. For just as
Flemish does not use the English words _sooth_ and _play_, so English
seldom uses the Flemish form _quaad_, equivalent to the Dutch _kwaad_,
evil, bad, spelt _quade_ in Hexham's Du. Dict. (1658). Cf. also O. Friesic
_kwad_, _quad_, East Friesic _kwâd_ (still in common use). The Mid. Eng.
form is not _quad_, but (properly) _qu[=e]d_ or _queed_; see examples in
Stratmann, s. v. _cwêd_. In P. Plowman, B. xiv. 189, _the qued_ means the
Evil One, the devil. _Queed_ occurs as a sb. as late as in Skelton, ed.
Dyce, i. 168. We find, however, the rare M. E. form _quad_ in Gower, ed.
Pauli, ii. 246, and in the Story of Genesis and Exodus, ed. Morris, 536;
and in another passage of the Cant. Tales, viz. B. 1628. The oldest English
examples seem to be those in the Blickling Glosses, viz. 'of cweade
arærende, _de stercore erigens_'; and 'cwed _uel_ meox, _stercus_.' There
is no difficulty about the etymology; the corresponding O. H. G. word is
_qu[=a]t_, whence G. _Koth_ or _Kot_, excrement; and the root appears in
the Skt. _gu_ or _g[=u]_, to void excrement; see _Kot_ in Kluge.

4358. This is interesting, as giving us the Host's name. _Herry_ is the
mod. E. _Harry_, with the usual change from _er_ to _ar_, as in M. E.
_derk_, dark, &c. It is the same as the F. _Herri_ (not uncommon in O. F.),
made from F. _Henri_ by assimilation of _nr_ to _rr_.

The name seems to have been taken from that of a real person. In the
Subsidy Rolls, 4 Rich. II. (1380-1), for Southwark, occurs the
entry--'Henri' Bayliff, Ostyler, Xpian [Christian] ux[or] eius ... ij s.'
In the parliament held at Westminster, in 50 Edw. III. (1376-7), Henry
Bailly was one of the representatives for that borough; and again, in the
parliament at Gloucester, 2 Rich. II., the name occurs. See Notes and
Queries, 2 S. iii. 228.


4368. 'Brown as a berry.' So in A. 207.

4377. 'There were sometimes Justs in Cheapside; Hollingshead, vol. ii. p.
348. But perhaps any procession may be meant.'--Tyrwhitt. 'Cheapside was
the grand scene of city festivals and processions.'--Wright.

4379. T. has _And til_, but his note says that _And_ was inserted by
himself. Wright reads, 'And tyl he hadde'; but _And_ is not in the Harleian
MS. Observe that Wright insists very much on the fact that he reproduces
this MS. 'with literal accuracy,' though he allows himself, according to
his own account, to make silent alterations due to collation with the
Lansdowne MS. But the word _And_ is not to be found in any of the seven
MSS., and this is only _one_ example of the numerous cases in which he has
_silently_ altered his text without any [130] MS. authority at all. His
text, in fact, is full of treacherous pitfalls; and Bell's edition is quite
as bad, though that likewise pretends to be accurate.

The easiest way of scanning the line is to ignore the elision of the final
_e_ in _had-de_, which is preserved, as often, by the cæsural pause.

4383. _sette steven_, made an appointment; see A. 1524.

4394. 'Though he (the master) may have,' &c.

4396. 'Though he (the apprentice) may know how to play,' &c. Opposed to l.
4394. The sense is--'The master pays for the revelling of the apprentice,
though he takes no part in such revel; and conversely, the apprentice may
gain skill in minstrelsy, but takes no part in paying for it; for, in his
case, his rioting is convertible with theft.' The master pays, but plays
not; the other pays not, but plays.

4397. 'Revelling and honesty, in the case of one of low degree (who has no
money), are continually wrath with (i. e. opposed to) each other.'

4402. 'And sometimes carried off to Newgate, with revel (such as he might
be supposed to approve of).' The point of the allusion lies in the fact
that, when disorderly persons were carried to prison, they were preceded
_by minstrels_, in order to call public attention to their disgrace. This
is clearly shewn in the Liber Albus, pp. 459, 460, (p. 396 of the E.
translation). E. g. 'Item, if any person shall be impeached of adultery,
and be thereof lawfully attainted, let him be _taken unto Newgate_, and
from thence, _with minstrelsy_, through Chepe, to the Tun on Cornhulle
[Cornhill], there to remain at the will of the mayor and alderman.'

4404. _paper._ The allusion is not clear; perhaps it means that he was
referring to his account-book, and found it unsatisfactory.

4406. In Hazlitt's Proverbs we find; 'The rotten apple injures its
neighbour.' Cf. G. 964.

In the Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 205, we are bidden to avoid bad company,
because a rotten apple rots the sound ones, if left among them.

In Ida von Düringsfeld's Sprichwörter, 1872-5, no. 354, is:--'Ein fauler
Apfel steckt den andern an. Pomum compunctum cito corrumpit sibi iunctum.'

4413. _his leve_, his leave to go, his dismissal, his _congé_.

4414. _or leve_, or leave it, i. e. or desist from it.

4415. _for_, because, since. _louke_, an accomplice who entices the dupe
into the thief's company, a decoyer of victims. Not 'a receiver to a
thief,' as Tyrwhitt guessed, but his assistant in thieving, one who helped
him (as Chaucer says) to suck others by stealing or borrowing. It answers
to an A. S. _*l[=u]ca_ (not found), formed with the agential suffix _-a_
from _l[=u]can_, lit. to pull, pluck, root up weeds, hence (probably) to
draw, entice. The corresponding E. Friesic _l[=u]kan_ or _lukan_ means not
only to pull, pluck, but also to milk or suck (see Koolman). The Low G.
_luken_ means not only to pull up weeds, but [131] also to suck down, or to
take a long pull in drinking; hence O. F. _louchier_, _loukier_, to
swallow. From the A. S. _l[=u]can_, to pluck up, comes the common prov. E.
_louk_, _lowk_, _look_, to pluck up weeds; see Ray, Whitby Glossary, &c.

4417. _brybe_, to purloin; not to bribe in the modern sense; see the New E.

4422. Here the Tale suddenly breaks off; so it was probably never finished.

*** See Notes to Gamelin at the end of the Notes to the Tales.

       *       *       *       *       *




1. If, as Mr. Furnivall supposes, the time of the telling of the Canterbury
Tales be taken to be longer than one day, we may suppose the Man of Lawes
Tale to begin the stories told on the _second_ morning of the journey,
April 18. Otherwise, we must suppose all the stories in Group A to precede
it, which is not impossible, if we suppose the pilgrims to have started
early in the morning.

_Hoste._ This is one of the words which are sometimes dissyllabic, and
sometimes monosyllabic; it is here a dissyllable, as in l. 39. See note to
line 1883 below.

_sey_, i. e. saw. The forms of 'saw' vary in the MSS. In this line we find
_saugh_, _sauh_, _segh_, _sauhe_, _sawh_, none of which are Chaucer's own,
but due to the scribes. The true form is determined by the rime, as in the
Clerkes Tale, E. 667, where most of the MSS. have _say_. A still better
spelling is _sey_, which may be found in the House of Fame, 1151, where it
rimes with _lay_. The A. S. form is _s[=e]ah_.

2. _The ark_, &c. In Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe, pt. ii. ch. 7
(vol. iii. 194), is the proposition headed--'to knowe the arch of the day,
that some folk callen the day artificial, from the sonne arysing til hit go
to reste.' Thus, while the 'day natural' is twenty-four hours, the 'day
artificial' is the time during which the sun is above the horizon. The
'arc' of this day merely means the extent or duration of it, as reckoned
along the circular rim of an astrolabe; or, when measured along the horizon
(as here), it means the arc extending from the point of sunrise to that of
sunset. _ronne_, run, performed, completed.

3. _The fourthe part._ The true explanation of this passage, which Tyrwhitt
failed to discover, is due to Mr. A. E. Brae, who first published it in
May, 1851, and reprinted it at p. 68 of his edition of Chaucer's Treatise
on the Astrolabe. His conclusions were based upon actual calculation, and
will be mentioned in due order. In re-editing the 'Astrolabe,' I took the
opportunity of roughly checking his calculations by other methods, and am
satisfied that he is quite correct, and that the day meant is not the 28th
of April, as in the Ellesmere MS., nor the 13th of April, as in the
Harleian MS., but the 18th, as in the Hengwrt [133] MS. and most others. It
is easily seen that _xviii_ may be corrupted into _xxviii_ by prefixing
_x_, or into _xiii_ by the omission of _v_; this may account for the

The key to the whole matter is given by a passage in Chaucer's 'Astrolabe,'
pt. ii. ch. 29, where it is clear that Chaucer (who, however, merely
translates from Messahala) actually confuses the hour-angle with the
azimuthal arc; that is, he considered it correct to find the hour of the
day by noting _the point of the horizon_ over which the sun appears to
stand, and supposing this point to advance, with a _uniform_, not a
_variable_, motion. The host's method of proceeding was this. Wanting to
know the hour, he observed how far the sun had moved southward along the
horizon since it rose, and saw that it had gone more than half-way from the
point of sunrise to the exact southern point. Now the 18th of April in
Chaucer's time answers to the 26th of April at present. On April 26, 1874,
the sun rose at 4h. 43m., and set at 7h. 12m., giving a day of about 14h.
30m., the fourth part of which is at 8h. 20m., or, with sufficient
exactness, at _half-past eight_. This would leave a whole hour and a half
to signify Chaucer's 'half an houre and more,' shewing that further
explanation is still necessary. The fact is, however, that the host
reckoned, as has been said, in another way, viz. by observing the sun's
position _with reference to the horizon_. On April 18 the sun was in the
6th degree of Taurus at that date, as we again learn from Chaucer's
treatise. Set this 6th degree of Taurus on the East horizon on a globe, and
it is found to be 22 degrees to the North of the East point, or 112 degrees
from the South. The half of this is at 56 degrees from the South; and the
sun would seem to stand above this 56th degree, as may be seen even upon a
globe, at about a quarter past nine; but Mr. Brae has made the calculation,
and shews that it was at _twenty minutes past nine_. This makes Chaucer's
'half an houre and more' to stand for _half an hour and ten minutes_; an
extremely neat result. But this we can check again by help of the host's
_other_ observation. He _also_ took note, that the lengths of a shadow and
its object were equal, whence the sun's altitude must have been 45 degrees.
Even a globe will shew that the sun's altitude, when in the 6th degree of
Taurus, and at 10 o'clock in the morning, is somewhere about 45 or 46
degrees. But Mr. Brae has calculated it exactly, and his result is, that
the sun attained its altitude of 45 degrees at _two minutes to ten_
exactly. This is even a closer approximation than we might expect, and
leaves no doubt about the right date being the _eighteenth_ of April. For
fuller particulars, see Chaucer on the Astrolabe, ed. Brae, p. 69; and ed.
Skeat (E.E.T.S.), preface, p. 1.

5. _eightetethe_, eighteenth. Mr. Wright prints _eightetene_, with the
remark that 'this is the reading in which the MSS. seem mostly to agree.'
This is right in substance, but not critically exact. No such word as
_eightetene_ appears here in the MSS., which denote the number by an
abbreviation, as stated in the footnote. The Hengwrt MS. has _xviijthe_,
and the Old English for _eighteenth_ must have have been [134]
_eightetethe_, the ordinal, not the cardinal number. This form is easily
inferred from the numerous examples in which _-teenth_ is represented by
_-tethe_; see _feowertethe_, _fiftethe_, &c. in Stratmann's Old English
Dictionary; we find the very form _eightetethe_ in Rob. of Glouc., ed.
Wright, 6490; and _eighteteothe_ in St. Swithin, l. 5, as printed in Poems
and Lives of Saints, ed. Furnivall, 1858, p. 43. _Eighte_ is of two
syllables, from A. S. _eahta_, cognate with Lat. _octo_. _Eightetethe_ has
four syllables; see A. 3223, and the note.

8. _as in lengthe_, with respect to its length.

13. The astrolabe which Chaucer gave to his little son Lewis was adapted
for the latitude of Oxford. If, as is likely, the poet-astronomer checked
his statements in this passage by a reference to it, he would neglect the
difference in latitude between Oxford and the Canterbury road. In fact, it
is less than a quarter of a degree, and not worth considering in the
present case.

14. _gan conclude_, did conclude, concluded. _Gan_ is often used thus as an
auxiliary verb.

15. _plighte_, plucked; cf. _shrighte_, shrieked, in Kn. A. 2817.--M.

16. _Lordinges_, sirs. This form of address is exceedingly common in Early
English poetry. Cf. the first line in the Tale of Sir Thopas.

18. _seint Iohn._ See the Squire's Tale, F. 596.

19. _Leseth_, lose ye; note the form of the imperative plural in _-eth_;
cf. l. 37. _As ferforth as ye may_, as far as lies in your power.

20. _wasteth_, consumeth; cf. _wastour_, a wasteful person, in P. Plowm. B.
vi. 154.--M. Hl. has _passeth_, i. e. passes away; several MSS. insert _it_
before _wasteth_, but it is not required by the metre, since the _e_ in
_time_ is here fully sounded; cf. A. S. _t[=i]ma_. Compare--

 'The tyme, that passeth night and day,
  And rest[e]lees travayleth ay,
  And _steleth_ from us so prively,
    .    .    .    .    .    .
  _As water that doun runneth ay,_
  _But never drope returne may_,' &c.
                 Romaunt of the Rose, l. 369.

See also Clerkes Tale, E. 118.

21. _what._ We now say--what with. It means, 'partly owing to.'

22. _wakinge_; strictly, it means _watching_; but here, _in our wakinge_ =
whilst we are awake.

23. Cf. Ovid, Art. Amat. iii. 62-65:--

   'Ludite; eunt anni more fluentis aquae.
  Nec quae praeteriit, cursu reuocabitur unda;
    Nec, quae praeteriit, hora redire potest.
  Utendum est aetate; cito pede labitur aetas.'

25. Seneca wrote a treatise De Breuitate Temporis, but this does not
contain any passage very much resembling the text. I have no doubt that
Chaucer was thinking of a passage which may easily have caught [135] his
eye, as being very near the beginning of the first of Seneca's epistles.
'Quaedam tempora eripiuntur nobis, quaedam subducuntur, quaedam _effluunt.
Turpissima tamen est iactura, quae per negligentiam fit._ Quem mihi dabis,
qui aliquod pretium tempori ponat? qui diem aestimet?... In huius rei unius
fugacis ac lubricae possessionem natura nos misit, ex qua expellit
quicumque uult; et tanta stultitia mortalium est, ut, quae minima et
uilissima sint, _certe reparabilia_, imputari sibi, quum impetrauere,
patiantur; nemo se iudicet quidquam debere, qui tempus accepit, quum
interim _hoc unum est, quod ne gratus quidem potest reddere_'; Epist. I.;
Seneca Lucilio suo.

30. _Malkin_; a proverbial name for a wanton woman; see P. Plowman, C. ii.
181 (B. i. 182), and my note. 'There are more maids than Malkin'; Heywood's

32. _moulen_, lit. 'become mouldy'; hence, be idle, stagnate, remain
sluggish, rot. See _Mouldy_ in the Appendix to my Etym. Dict. 2nd ed. 1884;
and cf. note to A. 3870.

33. _Man of Lawe._ This is the 'sergeant of the lawe' described in the
Prologue, ll. 309-330. _So have ye blis_, so may you obtain bliss; as you
hope to reach heaven.

34. _as forward is_, as is the agreement. See Prologue, A. 33, 829.

35. _been submitted_, have agreed. This illustrates the common usage of
expressing a perfect by the verb _to be_ and the past part. of an
_intransitive_ verb. Cf. _is went_, in B. 1730.--M.

36. _at my Iugement_, at my decree; ready to do as I bid you. See Prologue,
A. 818 and 833.

37. _Acquiteth yow_, acquit yourself, viz. by redeeming your promise.
_holdeth your biheste_, keep your promise. _Acquit_ means to absolve or
free oneself from a debt, obligation, charge, &c.; or to free oneself from
the claims of duty, by fulfilling it.

38. _devoir_, duty; see Knightes Tale, A. 2598.

_atte leste_, at the least. _Atte_ or _atten_ is common in Old English for
_at the_ or _at then_; the latter is a later form of A. S. _æt þ[=a]m_,
where _then_ (= _þ[=a]m_) is the dative case of the article. But for the
explanation of peculiar forms and words, the Glossarial Index should be

39. For _ich_, Tyrwhitt reads _jeo_ = _je_, though found in none of our
seven MSS. This makes the whole phrase French--_de par dieux jeo assente_.
Mr. Jephson suggests that this is a clever hit of Chaucer's, because he
makes the Man of Lawe talk in French, with which, as a lawyer, he was very
familiar. However, we find elsewhere--

 'Quod Troilus, "_depardieux I assente_";'--

and again--

 '"_Depardieux_," quod she, "god leve al be wel";'
                  Troilus and Cres. ii. 1058 and 1212;

and in the Freres Tale, D. 1395--

 '"_Depardieux_," quod this yeman, "dere brother."'


It is much more to the point to observe that the Man of Lawe talks about
_law_ in l. 43. Cotgrave, in his French Dictionary, under _par_,
gives--'_De par Dieu soit_, a [i. e. in] God's name be it. _De par moy_, by
my means. _De par le roy_, by the king's appointment.' _De par_ is a
corruption of O.Fr. _de part_, on the part or side of; so that _de par le
roy_ means literally, 'as for the king,' i. e. 'in the king's name.'
Similarly, _de par Dieu_ is 'in God's name.' See Burguy, Grammaire de la
Langue D'oil, ii. 359. The form _dieux_ is a _nominative_, from the Latin
_deus_; thus exhibiting an exception to the almost universal law in French,
that the modern F. substantives answer to the _accusative_ cases of Latin
substantives, as _fleur_ to _florem_, &c. Other exceptions may be found in
some proper names, as _Charles_, _Jacques_, from _Carolus_, _Jacobus_, and
in _fils_, from _filius_.

41. In the Morality entitled Everyman, in Hazlitt's Old Eng. Plays, i. 137,
is the proverb--'Yet promise is debt.' Mr. Hazlitt wrongly considers that
as the earliest instance of the phrase.--M. Cf. Hoccleve, De Regim.
Principum, p. 64:--'And of a trewe man _beheest is dette_.'

_holde fayn_, &c.; gladly perform all my promise.

43. _man ... another_ = one ... another. The Cambridge MS. is right.--M.
'For whatever law a man imposes on others, he should in justice consider as
binding on himself.' This is obviously a _quotation_, as appears from l.
45. The expression referred to was probably proverbial. An English proverb
says--'They that make the laws must not break them'; a Spanish one--'El que
ley establece, guardarla debe,' he who makes a law ought to keep it; and a
Latin one--'Patere legem quam ipse tulisti,' abide by the law which you
made yourself. The idea is expanded in the following passage from
Claudian's Panegyric on the 4th consulship of Honorius, carm. viii., l.

 'In commune iubes si quid censesue tenendum,
  Primus iussa subi; tunc obseruantior aequi
  Fit populus, nec ferre negat cum uiderit ipsum
  Auctorem parere sibi.'

45. _text_, quotation from an author, precept, saying. _Thus wol our text_,
i. e. such is what the expression implies.

47. _But._ This reading is given by Tyrwhitt, from MS. Dd. 4. 24 in the
Cambridge University Library and two other MSS. All our seven MSS. read
_That_; but this would require the word _Nath_ (hath not) instead of
_Hath_, in l. 49. Chaucer talks about his writings in a similar strain in
A. 746, 1460; and at a still earlier period, in his House of Fame, 620,
where Jupiter's eagle says to him:--

 'And nevertheles hast set thy wit,
  Although that in thy hede ful lyte is,
  To make bokes, songes, dytees,
  In ryme, or elles in cadence,
  As thou best canst, in reverence
  Of Love, and of his servants eke'; &c.


_can but lewedly on metres_, is but slightly skilled in metre. _Can_ =
_knows_ here; in the line above it is the ordinary auxiliary verb.

54. Ovid is mentioned for two reasons; because he has so many love-stories,
and because Chaucer himself borrowed several of his own from Ovid.

_made of mencioun_; we should now say--'made mention of.'

55. _Epistelles_, Epistles. (T. prints _Epistolis_, the Lat. form, without
authority. The word has here four syllables.) The book referred to is
Ovid's Heroides, which contains twenty-one love-letters. See note to l. 61.

56. _What_, why, on what account? cf. Prologue, A. 184.

57. 'The story of Ceyx and Alcyone is related in the introduction to the
poem which was for some time called "The Dreme of Chaucer," but which, in
the MSS. Fairfax 16 and Bodl. 638, is more properly entitled, "The Boke of
the Duchesse."'--Tyrwhitt. Chaucer took it from Ovid's Metamorphoses, bk.
xi. 'Ceyx and Alcyone' was once, probably, an independent poem; see vol. i.
p. 63.

59. _Thise_ is a monosyllable; the final _e_ probably denotes that _s_ was
'voiced,' and perhaps the _i_ was long, pronounced (dhiiz).

59, 60. For _eek_, _seek_, read _eke_, _seke_. Here _sek-e_ is in the
infinitive mood. The form _ek-e_ is not etymological, as the A.S. _[=e]ac_
was a monosyllable; but, as _-e_ frequently denoted an _adverbial_ suffix,
it was easily added. Hence, in M.E., both _eek_ and _ek-e_ occur; and
Chaucer uses either form at pleasure, _ek-e_ being more usual. For examples
of _eek_, see E. 1349, G. 794.

61. _the seintes legende of Cupyde_; better known now as The Legend of Good
Women. Tyrwhitt says--'According to Lydgate (Prologue to Boccace), the
number [of good women] was to have been _nineteen_; and perhaps the Legend
itself affords some ground for this notion; see l. 283, and Court of Love,
l. 108. But this number was never completed, and the last story, of
Hypermnestra, is seemingly unfinished.... In this passage the Man of Lawe
omits two ladies, viz. Cleopatra and Philomela, whose histories are in the
Legend; and he enumerates eight others, of whom there are no histories in
the Legend as we have it at present. Are we to suppose, that they have been
lost?' The Legend contains the nine stories following: 1. Cleopatra; 2.
Thisbe; 3. Dido; 4. Hypsipyle and Medea; 5. Lucretia; 6. Ariadne; 7.
Philomela; 8. Phyllis; 9. Hypermnestra. Of these, Chaucer here mentions, as
Tyrwhitt points out, all but two, Cleopatra and Philomela. Before
discussing the matter further, let me note that in medieval times, proper
names took strange shapes, and the reader must not suppose that the writing
of _Adriane_ for _Ariadne_, for example, is peculiar to Chaucer. The
meaning of the other names is as follows:--_Lucresse_, Lucretia; _Babilan
Tisbee_, Thisbe of Babylon; _Enee_, Æneas; _Dianire_, Deianira; _Hermion_,
Hermione; _Adriane_, Ariadne; _Isiphilee_, Hypsipyle; _Leander_, _Erro_,
Leander and Hero; _Eleyne_, Helena; _Brixseyde_, [138] Briseis (acc.
Briseïda); _Ladomea_, Laodamia; _Ypermistra_, Hypermnestra; _Alceste_,

Returning to the question of Chaucer's plan for his Legend of Good Women,
we may easily conclude what his intention was, though it was never carried
out. He intended to write stories concerning nineteen women who were
celebrated for being martyrs of love, and to conclude the series by an
additional story concerning queen Alcestis, whom he regarded as the best of
all the good women. Now, though he does not expressly say who these women
were, he has left us two lists, both incomplete, in which he mentions some
of them; and by combining these, and taking into consideration the stories
which he actually wrote, we can make out the whole intended series very
nearly. One of the lists is the one given here; the other is in a Ballad
which is introduced into the Prologue to the Legend. The key to the
incompleteness of the present list, certainly the later written of the two,
is that the poet chiefly mentions _here_ such names as are _also_ to be
found in Ovid's Heroides; cf. l. 55. Putting all the information together,
it is sufficiently clear that Chaucer's intended scheme must have been very
nearly as follows, the number of women (if we include Alcestis) being

1. Cleopatra. 2. Thisbe. 3. Dido. 4. and 5. Hypsipyle and Medea. 6.
Lucretia. 7. Ariadne. 8. Philomela. 9. Phyllis. 10. Hypermnestra
(unfinished). _After which_, 11. Penelope. 12. Briseis. 13. Hermione. 14.
Deianira. 15. Laodamia. 16. Helen. 17. Hero. 18. Polyxena (see the Ballad).
19. _either_ Lavinia (see the Ballad), _or_ Oenone (mentioned in Ovid, and
in the House of Fame). 20. Alcestis.

Since the list of stories in Ovid's Heroides is the best guide to the whole
passage, it is here subjoined.

In this list, the numbers refer to the letters as numbered in Ovid; the
italics shew the stories which Chaucer actually wrote; the asterisk points
out such of the remaining stories as he happens to mention in the present
enumeration; and the dagger points out the ladies mentioned in his Prologue
to the Legend of Good Women.

   1. Penelope Ulixi.*+
   2. _Phyllis Demophoonti._*+
   3. Briseis Achilli.*
   4. Phaedra Hippolyto.
   5. Oenone Paridi.
   6. _Hypsipyle Iasoni_;*+ 12. _Medea Iasoni_.*
   7. _Dido Aeneae._*+
   8. Hermione Orestae.*
   9. Deianira Herculi.*
  10. _Ariadne Theseo._*+
  11. Canace Macareo*+ (_expressly rejected_).
  13. Laodamia Protesilao.*+
  14. _Hypermnestra Lynceo._*+
  15. Sappho Phaoni.
  16. Paris Helenae; 17. Helena Paridi.*+
  18. Leander Heroni; 19. Hero Leandro.*+
  20. Acontius Cydippae; 21. Cydippe Acontio.

Chaucer's method, I fear, was to plan more than he cared to finish. He did
so with his Canterbury Tales, and again with his Treatise on the Astrolabe;
and he left the Squire's Tale half-told. According to his own account
(Prologue to Legend of Good Women, l. 481) he never intended to write his
Legend _all at once_, but only 'yeer by yere.' Such proposals are
dangerous, and commonly end in incompleteness. To Tyrwhitt's question--'are
we to suppose that they [i. e. the legends of Penelope and others] have
been lost?' the obvious answer is, that they were never written.

Chaucer alludes to Ovid's Epistles again in his House of Fame, bk. i.,
where he mentions the stories of Phyllis, Briseis, _Oenone_ (not mentioned
_here_), Hypsipyle, Medea, Deianira, Ariadne, and Dido; the last being told
at some length. Again, in the Book of the Duchesse, he alludes to Medea,
Phyllis, and Dido (ll. 726-734); to Penelope and Lucretia (l. 1081); and to
Helen (l. 331). As for the stories in the Legend which are not in Ovid's
Heroides, we find that of Thisbe in Ovid's Metamorphoses, bk. iv; that of
Philomela in the same, bk. vi; whilst those of Cleopatra and Lucretia are
in Boccaccio's book De Claris Mulieribus, from which he imitated the title
'Legend _of Good Women_,' and derived also the story of Zenobia, as told in
the Monkes Tale. However, Chaucer also consulted other sources, such as
Ovid's Fasti (ii. 721) and Livy for Lucretia, &c. See my Introduction to
the Legend in vol. iii. pp. xxv., xxxvii.

With regard to the title 'seintes legend of Cupide,' which in modern
English would be 'Cupid's Saints' Legend,' or 'the Legend of Cupid's
Saints,' Mr. Jephson remarks--'This name is one example of the way in which
Chaucer entered into the spirit of the heathen pantheism, as a real form of
religion. He considers these persons, who suffered for love, to have been
saints and martyrs for Cupid, just as Peter and Paul and Cyprian were
martyrs for Christ.'

63. Gower also tells the story of Tarquin and Lucrece, which he took, says
Professor Morley (English Writers, iv. 230), from the Gesta Romanorum,
which again had it from Augustine's De Civitate Dei.

_Babilan_, Babylonian; elsewhere Chaucer has _Babiloine_ = Babylon, riming
with _Macedoine_; Book of the Duchesse, l. 1061.

64. _swerd_, sword; put here for death by the sword. See Virgil's Aeneid,
iv. 646; and Chaucer's Legend of Good Women, 1351.

65. _tree_, put here, most likely, for death by hanging; cf. last line. In
Chaucer's Legend, 2485, we find--

 'She was her owne deeth right _with a corde_.'

The word may also be taken literally, since Phyllis was metamorphosed after
her death into a tree; Gower says she became a nut-tree, and [140] derives
_filbert_ from Phyllis; Conf. Amant. bk. iv. Lydgate writes _filbert_
instead of Phyllis; Complaint of Black Knight, l. 68.

66. _The pleinte of Dianire_, the complaint of Deianira, referring to
Ovid's letter 'Deianira Herculi'; so also that of _Hermion_ refers to the
letter entitled 'Hermione Orestae'; that of _Adriane_, to the 'Ariadne
Theseo'; and that of _Isiphilee_, to the 'Hypsipyle Iasoni.'

68. _bareyne yle_, barren island; of which I can find no correct
explanation by a previous editor. It refers to Ariadne, mentioned in the
previous line. The expression is taken from Ariadne's letter to Theseus, in
Ovid's Heroides, Ep. x. 59, where we find 'uacat insula cultu'; and just

 'Omne latus terrae cingit mare; nauita nusquam,
    Nulla per ambiguas puppis itura uias.'

Or, without referring to Ovid at all, the allusion might easily have been
explained by observing Chaucer's Legend of Ariadne, l. 2163, where the
island is described as solitary and desolate. It is said to have been the
isle of Naxos.

69. Scan--The dreynt | e Lé | andér |. Here the pp. _dreynt_ is used
adjectivally, and takes the final _e_ in the definite form. So in the Book
of the Duchesse, 195, it is best to read _the dreynte_; and in the House of
Fame, 1783, we must read _the sweynte_.

75. _Alceste._ The story of Alcestis--'that turned was into a dayesie'--is
sketched by Chaucer in his Prologue to the Legend, l. 511, &c. No doubt he
intended to include her amongst the Good Women, as the very queen of them

78. _Canacee_; not the Canace of the Squieres Tale, whom Chaucer describes
as so kind and good as well as beautiful, but Ovid's Canace. The story is
told by Gower, Confess. Amantis, book iii. It is difficult to resist the
conclusion that Chaucer is here making a direct attack upon Gower, his
former friend; probably because Gower had, in some places, imitated the
earlier edition of Chaucer's Man of Lawes Tale. This difficult question is
fully discussed in vol. iii. pp. 413-7.

81. 'Or else the story of Apollonius of Tyre.' The form _Tyro_ represents
the Lat. ablative in 'Apollonius de Tyro.' This story, like that of Canacee
(note to l. 78), is told by Gower, Conf. Amant. bk. viii., ed. Pauli, iii.
284; and here again Chaucer seems to reflect upon Gower. The story occurs
in the Gesta Romanorum, in which it appears as Tale cliii., being the
longest story in the whole collection. It is remarkable as being the only
really romantic story extant in an Anglo-Saxon version; see Thorpe's
edition of it, London, 1834. It is therefore much older than 1190, the
earliest date assigned by Warton. Compare the play of Pericles, Prince of

89. _if that I may_, as far as lies in my power (to do as I please); a
common expletive phrase, of no great force.

90. _of_, as to, with regard to. _doon_, accomplish it.

92. _Pierides_; Tyrwhitt rightly says--'He rather means, I think, the [141]
daughters of Pierus, that contended with the Muses, and were changed into
pies; Ovid, Metam. bk. v.' Yet the expression is not wrong; it
signifies--'I do not wish to be likened to those _would-be_ Muses, the
Pierides'; in other words, I do not set myself up as worthy to be
considered a poet.

93. _Metamorphoseos._ It was common to cite books thus, by a title in the
_genitive case_, since the word _Liber_ was understood. There is, however,
a slight error in this substitution of the singular for the plural; the
true title being P. Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoseon Libri Quindecim. See the
use of _Eneydos_ in the Nonne Prestes Tale, B. 4549; and of _Judicum_ in
Monk. Ta. B. 3236.

94. 'But, nevertheless, I care not a bean.' Cf. l. 4004 below.

95. _with hawe bake_, with plain fare, as Dr. Morris explains it; it
obviously means something of a humble character, unsuited for a refined
taste. This was left unexplained by Tyrwhitt, but we may fairly translate
it literally by 'with a baked haw,' i. e. something that could just be
eaten by a very hungry person. The expression _I sette nat an hawe_ (= I
care not a haw) occurs in the Wyf of Bathes Prologue, D. 659. _Haws_ are
mentioned as given to feed hogs in the Vision of Piers Plowman, B. x. 10;
but in The Romance of William of Palerne, l. 1811, a lady actually tells
her lover that they can live in the woods on _haws_, hips, acorns, and
hazel-nuts. There is a somewhat similar passage in the Legend of Good
Women, Prol. ll. 73-77. I see no difficulty in this explanation. That
proposed by Mr. Jephson--'hark back'--is out of the question; we cannot
rime _bak_ with _makë_, nor does it make sense.

_Baken_ was a strong verb in M. E., with the pp. _baken_ or _bake_ (A. S.
_bacen_). Dr. Stratmann, apparently by mistake, enters this phrase under
_hawe_, adj. dark grey! But he refrains from explaining _bake_.

96. _I speke in prose_, I generally have to speak in prose in the law
courts; so that if my tale is prosy as compared with Chaucer's, it is only
what you would expect. Dr. Furnivall suggests that perhaps the prose tale
of Melibeus was originally meant to be assigned to the Man of Lawe. See
further in vol. iii. p. 406.

98. _after_, afterwards, immediately hereafter. Cf. _other_ for _otherwise_
in Old English.--M.


99-121. It is important to observe that more than three stanzas of this
Prologue are little else than a translation from the treatise by Pope
Innocent III. entitled De Contemptu Mundi, sive de Miseria Conditionis
Humanae. This was first pointed out by Prof. Lounsbury, of Yale, Newhaven,
U.S.A., in the _Nation_, July 4, 1889. He shewed that the lost work by
Chaucer (viz. his translation of 'the Wreched Engendring of Mankinde As man
may in Pope Innocent y-finde,' mentioned in the Legend of Good Women,
Prologue A, l. 414) is not lost altogether, [142] since we find traces of
it in the first four stanzas of the present Prologue; in the stanzas of the
Man of Lawes Tale which begin, respectively, with lines 421, 771, 925, and
1135; and in some passages in the Pardoner's Prologue; as will be pointed

It will be observed that if Chaucer, as is probable, has preserved extracts
from this juvenile work of his without much alteration, it must have been
originally composed in seven-line stanzas, like his Second Nonnes Tale and
Man of Lawes Tale.

I here transcribe the original of the present passage from Innocent's
above-named treatise, lib. i. c. 16, marking the places where the stanzas

_De miseria divitis et pauperis._ (99) Pauperes enim premuntur inedia,
cruciantur aerumna, fame, siti, frigore, nuditate; vilescunt, tabescunt,
spernuntur, et confunduntur. O miserabilis mendicantis conditio; et si
petit, pudore confunditur, et si non petit, egestate consumitur, sed ut
mendicet, necessitate compellitur. (106) Deum causatur iniquum, quod non
recte dividat; proximum criminatur malignum, quod non plene subveniat.
Indignatur, murmurat, imprecatur. (113) Adverte super hoc sententiam
Sapientis, 'Melius est,' inquit, 'mori quam indigere': 'Etiam proximo suo
pauper odiosus erit.' 'Omnes dies pauperis mali'; (120) 'fratres hominis
pauperis oderunt eum; insuper et amici procul recesserunt ab eo.'

For further references to the quotations occurring in the above passage,
see the notes below, to ll. 114, 118, 120.

99. _poverte_ = _povértë_, with the accent on the second syllable, as it
rimes with _herte_; in the Wyf of Bathes Tale, it rimes with _sherte_.
Poverty is here personified, and addressed by the Man of Lawe. The whole
passage is illustrated by a similar long passage near the end of the Wyf of
Bathes Tale, in which the opposite side of the question is considered, and
the poet shews what can be said in Poverty's praise. See D. 1177-1206.

101. _Thee_ is a dative, like _me_ in l. 91.--M. See Gen. ii. 15 (A. S.
version), where _him þæs ne sceamode_ = they were not ashamed of it; lit.
it shamed them not of it.

102. _artow_, art thou; the words being run together: so also _seistow_ =
sayest thou, in l. 110.

104. _Maugree thyn heed_, in spite of all you can do; lit. despite thy
head; see Knightes Tale, A. 1169, 2618, D. 887.

105. _Or ... or_ = either ... or; an early example of this

108. _neighebour_ is a trisyllable; observe that _e_ in the middle of a
word is frequently sounded; cf. l. 115. _wytest_, blamest.

110. 'By my faith, sayest thou, he will have to account for it hereafter,
when his tail shall burn in the fire (lit. glowing coal), because he helps
not the needy in their necessity.'

114. 'It is better (for thee) to die than be in need.' Tyrwhitt says--'This
saying of Solomon is quoted in the Romaunt of the Rose, [143] l.
8573--Mieux vault mourir que pauvres estre'; [l. 8216, ed. Méon.] The
quotation is not from Solomon, but from Jesus, son of Sirach; see Ecclus.
xl. 28, where the Vulgate has--'Melius est enim mori quam indigere.' Cf. B.

115. _Thy selve neighebor_, thy very neighbour, even thy next neighbour.
See note to l. 108.

118. In Prov. xv. 15, the Vulgate version has--'Omnes dies _pauperis_
mali'; where the A. V. has 'the afflicted.'

119. The reading _to_ makes the line harsh, as the final _e_ in _come_
should be sounded, and therefore needs elision. _in that prikke_, into that
point, into that condition; cf. l. 1028.

120. Cf. Prov. xiv. 20--'the poor is hated even of his neighbour'; or, in
the Vulgate, 'Etiam proximo suo pauper odiosus erit.' Also Prov. xix.
7--'all the brethren of the poor do hate him; how much more do his friends
go far from him'; or, in the Vulgate, 'Fratres hominis pauperis oderunt
eum; insuper et amici procul recesserunt ab eo.' So too Ovid, Trist. i. 9.

 'Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos,
    Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris.'

Chaucer has the same thought again in his Tale of Melibeus (p. 227, B.
2749)--'and if thy fortune change, that thou wexe povre, farewel
freendshipe and felaweshipe!' See also note to B. 3436.

123. _as in this cas_, as relates to this condition or lot in life. In
Chaucer, _cas_ often means _chance_, _hap_.

124. _ambes as_, double aces, two aces, in throwing dice. _Ambes_ is Old
French for _both_, from Lat. _ambo_. The line in the Monkes Tale--'Thy
_sys_ fortune hath turned into _as_' (B. 3851)--helps us out here in some
measure, as it proves that a six was reckoned as a good throw, but an ace
as a bad one. So in Shakespeare, Mids. Nt. Dream, v. 1. 314, we find _less
than an ace_ explained as equivalent to _nothing_. In the next line, _sis
cink_ means _a six and a five_, which was often a winning throw. The
allusion is probably, however, not to the mere attempt as to which of two
players could throw the highest, but to the particular game called
_hazard_, in which the word _chance_ (here used) has a special sense. There
is a good description of it in the Supplemental volume to the English
Cyclopaedia, div. Arts and Sciences. The whole description has to be read,
but it may suffice to say here that, when the caster is going to throw, he
_calls a main_, or names one of the numbers five, six, seven, eight, or
nine; most often, he calls seven. If he then throws either seven or eleven
(Chaucer's _sis cink_), he wins; if he throws aces (Chaucer's _ambes as_)
or deuce-ace (two and one), or double sixes, he loses. If he throws some
other number, that number is called the caster's _chance_, and he goes on
playing till either the main or the chance turns up. In the first case he
loses, in the second, he wins. If he calls some other number, the winning
and losing throws are somewhat varied; but in all cases, the double ace is
a losing throw. [144]

Similarly, in The Pardoneres Tale, where _hazard_ is mentioned by name (C.
591), we find, at l. 653--'Seven is my chaunce, and thyn is cinq and
treye,' i. e. eight.

In Lydgate's Order of Fools, printed in Queen Elizabeth's Academy, ed.
Furnivall, p. 81, one fool is described--

 'Whos chaunce gothe nether yn _synke or syse_;
  With _ambes ase_ encressithe hys dispence.'

And in a ballad printed in Chaucer's Works, ed. 1561, folio 340, back, we

 'So wel fortuned is their chaunce
    The dice to turne[n] vppe-so-doune,
  With _sise and sincke_ they can auaunce.'

The phrase was already used proverbially before Chaucer's time. In the
metrical Life of St. Brandan, ed. T. Wright, p. 23, we find, 'hi caste an
_ambes as_,' they cast double aces, i. e. they wholly failed. See
_Ambs-ace_ in the New E. Dict. Dr. Morris notes that the phrase 'aums ace'
occurs in Hazlitt's O. E. Plays, ii. 35, with the editorial remark--'not
mentioned elsewhere' (!).

126. _At Cristemasse_, even at Christmas, when the severest weather comes.
In olden times, severe cold must have tried the poor even more than it does

 'Muche myrthe is in may · amonge wilde bestes,
  And so forth whil somer lasteþ · heore solace dureþ;
  And muche myrthe amonge riche men is · þat han meoble [_property_]
      ynow and heele [_health_].
  Ac beggers aboute myd-somere · bredlees þei soupe,
  And [gh]ut is wynter for hem wors · for wet-shood þei gangen,
  A-furst and a-fyngred [_Athirst and ahungered_] · and foule rebuked
  Of þese worlde-riche men · þat reuthe hit is to huyre [_hear of it_].'
                         Piers Plowman, C. xvii. 10; B. xiv. 158.

127. _seken_, search through; much like the word _compass_ in the phrase
'ye compass sea and land' in Matth. xxiii. 15.

128. _thestaat_, for _the estaat_, i. e. the estate. This coalescence of
the article and substantive is common in Chaucer, when the substantive
begins with a vowel; cf. _thoccident_, B. 3864; _thorient_, B. 3871.

129. _fadres_, fathers, originators; by bringing tidings from afar.

130. _debat_, strife. Merchants, being great travellers, were expected to
pick up good stories.

131. _were_, should be. _desolat_, destitute. 'The E. E. word is _westi_;
'westi of alle gode theawes,' destitute of all good virtues; O. Eng.
Homilies, i. 285.'--M.

132. _Nere_, for _ne were_, were it not. _goon is, &c._, many a year ago,
long since. [145]


A story, agreeing closely with The Man of Lawes Tale, is found in Book II.
of Gower's Confessio Amantis, from which Tyrwhitt supposed that Chaucer
borrowed it. But Gower's version seems to be later than Chaucer's, whilst
Chaucer and Gower were both alike indebted to the version of the story in
French prose (by Nicholas Trivet) in MS. Arundel 56, printed for the
Chaucer Society in 1872. In some places Chaucer agrees with this French
version rather closely, but he makes variations and additions at pleasure.
Cf. vol. iii. p. 409.

The first ninety-eight lines of the preceding Prologue are written in
couplets, in order to link the Tale to the others of the series; but there
is nothing to show which of the other tales it was intended to follow. Next
follows a more special Prologue of thirty-five lines, in five stanzas of
seven lines each; so that the first line in the Tale is l. 134 of Group B,
the second of the fragments into which the Canterbury Tales are broken up,
owing to the incomplete state in which Chaucer left them.

134. _Surrie_, Syria; called _Sarazine_ (Saracen-land) by N. Trivet.

136. _spycerye_, grocery, &c., lit. spicery. The old name for a grocer was
a _spicer_; and _spicery_ was a wide term. 'It should be noted that the
Ital. _spezerie_ included a vast deal more than ginger and other "things
hot i' the mouth." In one of Pegoletti's lists of _spezerie_ we find drugs,
dye-stuffs, metals, wax, cotton,' &c.--Note by Col. Yule in his ed. of
Marco Polo; on bk. i. c. 1.

143. _Were_ it, whether it were.

144. _message_, messenger, _not_ message; see l. 333, and the note.

145. The final _e_ in _Rome_ is pronounced, as in l. 142; but the words
_the ende_ are to be run together, forming but _one_ syllable, _thende_,
according to Chaucer's usual practice; cf. note to l. 255. Indeed in ll.
423, 965, it is actually so spelt; just as, in l. 150, we have
_thexcellent_, and in l. 151, _themperoures_.

151. _themperoures_, the emperor's. Gower calls him Tiberius Constantine,
who was Emperor (not of Rome, but) of the East, A. D. 578, and was
succeeded, as in the story, by Maurice, A. D. 582. His capital was
Constantinople, whither merchants from Syria could easily repair; but the
greater fame of Rome caused the substitution of the Western for the Eastern

156. _God him see_, God protect him. See note to C. 715.

161. _al Europe._ In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. is written the
note 'Europa est tercia pars mundi.'

166. _mirour_, mirror. Such French words are frequently accented on the
_last_ syllable. Cf. _minístr'_ in l. 168.

171. _han doon fraught_, have caused to be freighted. All the MSS. have
_fraught_, not _fraughte_. In the Glossary to Specimens of English, I
marked _fraught_ as being the infinitive mood, as Dr. Stratmann [146]
supposes, though he notes the lack of the final e. I have now no doubt that
_fraught_ is nothing but the past participle, as in William of Palerne, l.

 'And feithliche _fraught_ ful of fine wines,'

which is said of a ship. The use of this past participle after a _perfect_
tense is a most remarkable idiom, but there is no doubt about its
occurrence in the Clerkes Tale, Group E. 1098, where we find 'Hath doon yow
_kept_,' where Tyrwhitt has altered _kept_ to _kepe_. On the other hand,
Tyrwhitt actually notes the occurrence of 'Hath don _wroght_' in Kn. Tale,
1055, (A. 1913), which he calls an irregularity. A better name for it is
idiom. I find similar instances of it in another author of the same period,

 'Thai strak his hed of, and syne it
  Thai _haf gert saltit_ in-til a kyt.'
             Barbour's Bruce, ed. Skeat, xviii. 167.

I. e. they have caused it (to be) salted. And again in the same, bk. viii.
l. 13, we have the expression _He gert held_, as if 'he caused to be held';
but it may mean 'he caused to incline.' Compare also the following:--

 'And thai sall _let thame trumpit_ ill'; id. xix. 712.

I. e. and they shall consider themselves as evilly deceived.

In the Royal Wills, ed. Nichols, p. 278, we find:--'wher I have beforn
ordeyned and _do mad_ [caused to be made] my tombe.'

The infinitive appears to have been _fraughten_, though the earliest
certain examples of this form seem to be those in Shakespeare, Cymb. i. 1.
126, Temp. i. 2. 13. The proper form of the pp. was _fraughted_ (as in
Marlowe, 2 Tamb. i. 2. 33), but the loss of final _-ed_ in past participles
of verbs of which the stem ends in _t_ is common; cf. _set_, _put_, &c.
Hence this form _fraught_ as a pp. in the present instance. It is a
Scandinavian word, from Swed. _frakta_, Dan. _fragte_. At a later period we
find _freight_, the mod. E. form. The vowel-change is due to the fact that
there was an intermediate form _fret_, borrowed from the French form _fret_
of the Scandinavian word. This form _fret_ disturbed the vowel-sound,
without wholly destroying the recollection of the original guttural _gh_,
due to the Swed. _k_. For an example of _fret_, we have only to consult the
old black-letter editions of Chaucer printed in 1532 and 1561, which give
us the present line in the form--'These marchantes han don _fret_ her ships

185. _ceriously_, 'seriously,' i. e. with great minuteness of detail. Used
by Fabyan, who says that 'to reherce _ceryously_' all the conquests of
Henry V would fill a volume; Chron., ed. Ellis, p. 589. Skelton, in his
Garland of Laurell, l. 581, has: 'And _seryously_ she shewyd me ther
denominacyons'; on which Dyce remarks that it means _seriatim_, and gives a
clear example. It answers to the Low Latin _seriose_, used in two senses;
(1) seriously, gravely; (2) minutely, [147] fully. In the latter case it is
perhaps to be referred to the Lat. _series_, not _serius_. A similar word,
_cereatly_ (Lat. _seriatim_), is found three times in the Romance of
Partenay, ed. Skeat, with the sense of _in due order_; cf. _Ceriatly_ and
_Ceryows_ in the New E. Dict.

In N. and Q. 7 S. xii. 183, I shewed that Lydgate has at least _ten_
examples of this use of the word in his Siege of Troye. In one instance it
is spelt _seryously_ (with _s_).

190. This refers to the old belief in astrology and the casting of
nativities. Cf. Prol. A. 414-418. Observe that ll. 190-203 are not in the
original, and were doubtless added in revision. This is why _this sowdan_
in l. 186 is so far separated from the repetition of the same words in l.

197. Tyrwhitt shews that this stanza is imitated closely from some Latin
lines, some of which are quoted in the margin of many MSS. of Chaucer. He
quotes them at length from the Megacosmos of Bernardus Silvestris, a poet
of the twelfth century (extant in MS. Bodley 1265). The lines are as
follows, it being premised that those printed in italics are cited in the
margin of MSS. E. Hn. Cp. Pt. and Ln.:--

 'Praeiacet in stellis series, quam longior aetas
    Explicet et spatiis temporis ordo suis,
  _Sceptra Phoronei, fratrum discordia Thebis,_
    _Flamma Phaethontis Deucalionis aque_.
  In stellis Codri paupertas, copia Croesi,
    Incestus Paridis, Hippolytique pudor.
  _In stellis Priami species, audacia Turni,_
    _Sensus Ulixeus, Herculeusque uigor._
  In stellis pugil est Pollux et nauita Typhis,
    Et Cicero rhetor et geometra Thales.
  In stellis lepidum dictat Maro, Milo figurat,
    Fulgurat in Latia nobilitate Nero.
  Astra notat Persis, Ægyptus parturit artes,
    Graecia docta legit, praelia Roma gerit.'

See Bernardi Sylvestris Megacosmos, ed. C.S. Barach and J. Wrobel,
Innsbruck, 1876, p. 16. The names _Ector_ (Hector), &c., are too well known
to require comment. The death of Turnus is told at the end of Vergil's

207, 208. Here _have_, forming part of the phrase _mighte have grace_, is
unemphatic, whilst _han_ (for _haven_) is emphatic, and signifies
possession. See _han_ again in l. 241.

211. Compare Squieres Tale, F. 202, 203, and the note thereon.

224. _Mahoun_, Mahomet. The French version does not mention Mahomet. This
is an anachronism on Chaucer's part; the Emperor Tiberius II. died A. D.
582, when Mahomet was but twelve years old.

228. _I prey yow holde_, I pray you to hold. Here _holde_ is the infinitive
mood. The imperative plural would be _holdeth_; see _saveth_, next line.

236. _Maumettrye_, idolatry; from the Mid. E. _maumet_, an idol, corrupted
from Mahomet. The confusion introduced by using the word _Mahomet_ for an
idol may partly account for the anachronism in l. 224. The Mahometans were
falsely supposed by our forefathers to be idolaters.

242. _noot_, equivalent to _ne woot_, know not.

248. _gret-è_ forms the fourth foot in the line. If we read _gret_, the
line is left imperfect at the cæsura; and we should have to scan it with a
medial pause, as thus:--

  That thém | peróur || --óf | his grét | noblésse ||

Line 621 below may be read in a similar manner:--

  But ná | thelées || --thér | was gréet | moorning ||

253. 'So, when Ethelbert married Bertha, daughter of the Christian King
Charibert, she brought with her, to the court of her husband, a Gallican
bishop named Leudhard, who was permitted to celebrate mass in the ancient
British Church of St. Martin, at Canterbury.'--Note in Bell's Chaucer.

255. _ynowe_, being plural, takes a final _e_; we then read _th'ende_, as
explained in note to l. 145. The pl. _ino[gh]he_ occurs in the Ormulum.

263. _alle and some_, collectively and individually; one and all. See Cler.
Tale, E. 941, &c.

273-87. Not in the original; perhaps added in revision.

277. The word _alle_, being plural, is dissyllabic. _Thing_ is often a
plural form, being an A. S. neuter noun. The words _over_, _ever_, _never_
are, in Chaucer, generally monosyllables, or nearly so; just as _o'er_,
_e'er_, _ne'er_ are treated as monosyllables by our poets in general. Hence
the scansion is--'Ov'r al | lë thing |,' &c.

289. The word _at_ is inserted from the Cambridge MS.; all the other six
MSS. omit it, which makes the passage one of extreme difficulty. Tyrwhitt
reads 'Or Ylion brent, or Thebes the citee.' Of course he means _brende_,
past tense, not _brent_, the past participle; and his conjecture amounts to
inserting _or_ before Thebes. It is better to insert _at_, as in MS. Cm.;
see Gilman's edition. The sense is--'When Pyrrhus broke the wall, before
Ilium burnt, (nor) at the city of Thebes, nor at Rome,' &c. _Nat_ (l. 290)
= _Ne at_, as in Hl. _Ylion_, in medieval romance, meant 'the citadel' of
Troy; see my note to l. 936 of the Legend of Good Women. Tyrwhitt well
observes that 'Thebes the citee' is a French phrase. He quotes 'dedans
Renes _la cite_,' Froissart, v. i. c. 225.

295-315. Not in the original, and clearly a later addition. They include an
allusion to Boethius (see next note).

295. In the margin of the Ellesmere MS. is written--'Vnde Ptholomeus, libro
i. cap. 8. Primi motus celi duo sunt, quorum vnus est qui mouet totum
semper ab Oriente in Occidentem vno modo super orbes, &c. Item aliter vero
motus est qui mouet orbem stellarum currencium [149] contra motum primum,
videlicet, ab Occidente in Orientem super alios duos polos.' The old
astronomy imagined nine spheres revolving round the central stationary
earth; of the seven innermost, each carried with it one of the seven
planets, viz. the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; the
eighth sphere, that of the fixed stars, had a slow motion from west to
east, round the axis of the zodiac (_super alios duos polos_), to account
for the precession of the equinoxes; whilst the ninth or outermost sphere,
called the _primum mobile_, or the sphere of first motion, had a diurnal
revolution from east to west, carrying everything with it. This exactly
corresponds with Chaucer's language. He addresses the outermost sphere or
_primum mobile_ (which is the _ninth_ if reckoning from within, but the
_first_ from without), and accuses it of carrying with it everything in its
irresistible westward motion; a motion contrary to that of the 'natural'
motion, viz. that in which the sun advances along the signs of the zodiac.
The result was that the evil influence of the planet Mars prevented the
marriage. It is clear that Chaucer was thinking of certain passages in
Boethius, as will appear from consulting his own translation of Boethius,
ed. Morris, pp. 21, 22, 106, and 110. I quote a few lines to shew this:--

'O þou maker of þe whele þat bereþ þe sterres, whiche þat art fastned to þi
perdurable chayere, and turnest þe heuene wiþ a rauyssyng _sweighe_, and
constreinest þe sterres to suffren þi lawe'; pp. 21, 22.

'þe regioun of þe fire þat eschaufiþ by þe swifte _moeuyng of þe
firmament_'; p. 110.

The original is--

     'O stelliferi conditor orbis
      Qui perpetuo nixus solio
      _Rapidum caelum turbine uersas_,
      Legemque pati sidera cogis';
                    Boeth. Cons. Phil. lib. i. met. 5.

 'Quique _agili motu_ calet _aetheris_'; id. lib. iv. met. 1.

(See the same passages in vol. ii. pp. 16, 94).

To the original nine spheres, as above, was afterwards added a tenth or
crystalline sphere; see the description in the Complaint of Scotland, ed.
Murray (E. E. T. S.), pp. 47, 48. For the figure, see fig. 10 on Plate V.,
in my edition of Chaucer's Astrolabe (in vol. iii.).

Compare also the following passage:--

 'The earth, in roundness of a perfect ball,
  Which as a point but of this mighty all
  Wise Nature fixed, that permanent doth stay,
  Wheras the spheres by a _diurnal sway_
  Of the first Mover carried are about.'
                     Drayton: The Man in the Moon.

299. _crowding_, pushing. This is still a familiar word in East [150]
Anglia. Forby, in his Glossary of the East Anglian Dialect, says--'_Crowd_,
v. to push, shove, or press close. To the word, in its _common_
acceptation, _number_ seems necessary. With us, _one_ individual can
_crowd_ another.' To _crowd_ a wheelbarrow means to push it. The expression
'_crod_ in a barwe,' i. e. wheeled or pushed along in a wheelbarrow, occurs
in the Paston Letters, A.D. 1477, ed. Gairdner, iii. 215.

302. A planet is said to ascend directly, when in a direct sign; but
tortuously, when in a tortuous sign. The tortuous signs are those which
ascend most obliquely to the horizon, viz. the signs from Capricornus to
Gemini inclusive. Chaucer tells us this _himself_; see his Treatise on the
Astrolabe, part ii. sect. 28, in vol. iii. The most 'tortuous' of these are
the two middle ones, Pisces and Aries. Of these two, Aries is called the
mansion of Mars, and we may therefore suppose the ascending sign to be
Aries, the lord of which (Mars) is said to have fallen 'from his angle into
the darkest house.' The words 'angle' and 'house' are used technically. The
whole zodiacal circle was divided into twelve equal parts, or 'houses.' Of
these, four (beginning from the cardinal points) were termed 'angles,' four
others (next following them) 'succedents,' and the rest 'cadents.' It
appears that Mars was not then situate in an 'angle,' but in his 'darkest
(i. e. darker) house.' Mars had _two_ houses, Aries and Scorpio. The latter
is here meant; Aries being the ascendent sign, Scorpio was below the
horizon, and beyond the western 'angle.'

Now Scorpio was 'called the house of death, and of trauaile, of harm, and
of domage, of strife, of battaile, of guilefulnesse and falsnesse, and of
wit'; Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. viii. c. 17. We may represent the
position of Mars by the following table, where _East_ represents the
_ascending_ sign, _West_ the _descending_ sign; and A., S., and C. stand
for 'angle,' 'succedent,' and 'cadent house' respectively.

  _East._--Aries.  Taurus.  Gemini.  Cancer.  Leo.   Virgo.
           1. A.   2. S.    3. C.    4. A.    5. S.  6. C.

  _West._--Libra.  Scorpio.  Sagittarius.  Capricornus.  Aquarius.  Pisces.
           7. A.   8. S.       9. C.         10. A.       11. S.    12. C.

Again, the 'darkest house' was sometimes considered to be the _eighth_;
though authorities varied. This again points to Scorpio.

'Nulla diuisio circuli tam pessima, tamque crudelis in omnibus, quam octaua
est.'--Aphorismi Astrologi Ludovici de Rigiis; sect. 35. I may also note
here, that in Lydgate's Siege of Troy, ed. 1555, fol. Y 4, there is a long
passage on the evil effects of Mars in the 'house' of Scorpio.

305. The meaning of _Atazir_ has long remained undiscovered. But by the
kind help of Mr. Bensly, one of the sub-librarians of the Cambridge
University Library, I am enabled to explain it. _Atazir_ or _atacir_ is the
Spanish spelling of the Arabic _al-tasir_, influence, given at p. 351 of
Richardson's Pers. Dict., ed. 1829. It is a noun derived from _asara_, a
verb of the second conjugation, meaning to leave a mark [151] on, from the
substantive _asar_, a mark; the latter substantive is given at p. 20 of the
same work. Its use in astrology is commented upon by Dozy, who gives it in
the form _atacir_, in his Glossaire des Mots Espagnols dérivés de
l'Arabique, p. 207. It signifies the _influence_ of a star or planet upon
other stars, or upon the fortunes of men. In the present case it is clearly
used in a bad sense; we may therefore translate it by 'evil influence,'
i. e. the influence of Mars in the house of Scorpio. On this common
deterioration in the meaning of words, see Trench, Study of Words, p. 52.
The word _craft_, for example, is a very similar instance; it originally
meant _skill_, and hence, a trade, and we find _star-craft_ used in
particular to signify the science of astronomy.

307. 'Thou art in conjunction in an unfavourable position; from the
position in which thou wast favourably placed thou art moved away.' This I
take to mean that the Moon (as well as Mars) was in Scorpio; hence their
conjunction. But Scorpio was called the Moon's _depression_, being the sign
in which her influence was least favourable; she was therefore 'not well
received,' i. e., not supported by a lucky planet, or by a planet in a
lucky position. _weyved_, pushed aside.

312. 'Is there no choice as to when to fix the voyage?' The favourable
moment for commencing a voyage was one of the points on which it was
considered desirable to have an astrologer's opinion. Travelling, at that
time, was a serious matter. Yet this was only one of the many undertakings
which required, as was thought, to be begun at a favourable moment. Whole
books were written on 'elections,' i. e. favourable times for commencing
operations of all kinds. Chaucer was thinking, in particular, of the
following passage, which is written in the margins of the Ellesmere and
Hengwrt MSS.: 'Omnes concordati sunt quod elecciones sint debiles nisi in
diuitibus: habent enim isti, licet debilitentur eorum elecciones, radicem,
i. [_id est_] natiuitates eorum, que confortat omnem planetam debilem in
itinere.' The sense of which is--'For all are agreed, that "elections" are
weak, except in the case of the rich; for these, although their elections
be weakened, have a "root" of their own, that is to say, their nativities
(_or_ horoscopes); which root strengthens every planet that is of weak
influence with respect to a journey.' This is extracted, says Tyrwhitt,
from a Liber Electionum by a certain Zael; see MS. Harl. 80; MS. Bodley
1648. This is a very fair example of the jargon to be found in old books on
astrology. The old astrologers used to alter their predictions almost at
pleasure, by stating that their results depended on several causes, which
partly counteracted one another; an arrangement of which the convenience is
obvious. Thus, if the aspect of the planets at the time inquired about
appeared to be adverse to a journey, it might still be the case (they said)
that such evil aspect might be overcome by the fortunate aspect of the
inquirer's horoscope; or, conversely, an ill aspect in the horoscope could
be counteracted by a fit election of a time for action. A rich man would
probably be fitted with a fortunate [152] horoscope, or else why should he
buy one? Such horoscope depended on the aspect of the heavens at the time
of birth or 'nativity,' and, in particular, upon the 'ascendent' at that
time; i. e. upon the planets lying nearest to the point of the zodiac which
happened, at that moment, to be _ascending_, i. e. just appearing above the
horizon. So Chaucer, in his Treatise on the Astrolabe, pt. ii. § 4, (vol.
iii. 191), explains the matter, saying--'The assendent sothly, as wel in
alle nativitez as in questiouns and _elecciouns of tymes_, is a thing which
that thise Astrologiens gretly observen'; &c. The curious reader may find
much more to the same effect in the same Treatise, with directions to 'make
roots' in pt. ii. § 44.

The curious may further consult the Epitome Astrologiae of Johannes
Hispalensis. The whole of Book iv. of that work is 'De Electionibus,' and
the title of cap. xv. is 'Pro Itinere.'

Lydgate, in his Siege of Thebes, just at the beginning, describes the
astronomers as casting the horoscope of the infant Oedipus. They were

             'to yeue a judgement,
  The roote i-take at the ascendent,
  Truly sought out, by minute and degre,
  The selfe houre of his natiuite,
  Not foryet the heauenly mansions
  Clerely searched by smale fraccions,' &c.

To take a different example, Ashmole, in his Theatrum Chemicum, 1652, says
in a note on p. 450--'Generally in all Elections the Efficacy of the Starrs
are (_sic_) used, as it were by a certaine application made thereof to
those unformed Natures that are to be wrought upon; whereby to further the
working thereof, and make them more available to our purpose.... And by
such Elections as good use may be made of the Celestiall influences, as a
Physitian doth of the variety of herbes.... But Nativities are the Radices
of Elections, and therefore we ought chiefly to looke backe upon them as
the principal Root and Foundation of all Operations; and next to them the
quality of the Thing we intend to fit must be respected, so that, by an apt
position of Heaven, and fortifying the Planets and Houses in the Nativity
of the Operator, and making them agree with the thing signified, the
impression made by that influence will abundantly augment the Operation,'
&c.; with much more to the same effect. Several passages in Norton's
Ordinall, printed in the same volume (see pp. 60, 100), shew clearly what
is meant by Chaucer in his Prologue, ll. 415-7. The Doctor could 'fortune
the ascendent of his images,' by choosing a favourable moment for the
making of charms in the form of images, when a suitable planet was in the
ascendent. Cf. Troil. ii. 74.

314. _rote_ is the astrological term for the epoch from which to reckon.
The exact moment of a nativity being known, the astrologers were supposed
to be able to calculate everything else. See the last note.

332. _Alkaron_, the Koran; _al_ is the Arabic article. [153]

333. Here _Makomete_ is used instead of _Mahoun_ (l. 224). See Washington
Irving's Life of Mahomet.

_message_, messenger. This is a correct form, according to the usages of
Middle English; cf. l. 144. In like manner, we find _prison_ used to mean a
_prisoner_, which is often puzzling at first sight.

340. 'Because we denied Mahomet, our (object of) belief.'

360. 'O serpent under the form of woman, like that Serpent that is bound in
hell.' The allusion here is not a little curious. It clearly refers to the
old belief that the serpent who tempted Eve appeared to her _with a woman's
head_, and it is sometimes so represented. I observed it, for instance, in
the chapter-house of Salisbury Cathedral; and see the woodcut at p. 73 of
Wright's History of Caricature and Grotesque in Art. In Peter Comestor's
Historia Libri Genesis, we read of Satan--'Elegit etiam quoddam genus
serpentis (vt ait Beda) _virgineum vultum_ habens.' In the alliterative
Troy Book, ed. Panton and Donaldson, p. 144, the Tempter is called Lyuyaton
(i. e. Leviathan), and it is said of him that he

 'Hade a face vne fourmet _as a fre maydon_'; l. 4451.

And, again, in Piers the Plowman, B. xviii. 355, Satan is compared to a
'lusarde [lizard] _with a lady visage_.' In the Ancren Riwle, p. 207, we
are gravely informed that a scorpion is a kind of serpent that has a face
somewhat like that of a woman, and puts on a pleasant countenance. To
remember this gives peculiar force to ll. 370, 371. See also note to l.

367. _knowestow_ is a trisyllable; and _the olde_ is to be read _tholdè_.
But in l. 371, the word _Makestow_, being differently placed in the line,
is to be read with the _e_ slurred over, as a dissyllable.

380. _moste_, might. It is not always used like the modern _must_.

401. See Lucan's Pharsalia, iii. 79--'Perdidit o qualem uincendo plura
triumphum!' But Chaucer's reference, evidently made at random, is unlucky.
Lucan laments that he had no triumph to record.

404. The line is deficient at the beginning, the word _But_ standing by
itself as a foot. So also in A. 294, G. 341, &c. See Ellis's Early English
Pronunciation, pp. 333, 649. (This peculiarity was pointed out by me in
1866, in the Aldine edition of Chaucer, i. 174.) For the sense of
_scorpioun_, see the reference to the Ancren Riwle, in note to l. 360, and
compare the following extracts. 'Thes is the scorpioun, thet maketh uayr
mid the heauede, and enuenymeth mid the tayle'; Ayenbite of Inwyt, ed.
Morris, p. 62. 'The scorpion, the whiche enoynteth with his tongue, and
prycketh sore with his taylle'; Caxton, Fables of Æsop; Lib. iv. fable 3.
Chaucer repeats the idea, somewhat more fully, in the Marchaunts Tale, E.
2058-2060. So also _this wikked gost_ means this Evil Spirit, this Tempter.

421. Pronounce _ever_ rapidly, and accent _súccessour_ on the first
syllable. In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. Pt. and Cp. is the following [154]
note: 'Nota, de inopinato dolore. Semper mundane leticie tristicia
repentina succedit. Mundana igitur felicitas multis amaritudinibus est
respersa. Extrema gaudii luctus occupat. Audi ergo salubre consilium; in
die bonorum ne immemor sis malorum.' This is one of the passages from
Innocent's treatise de Contemptu Mundi, of which I have already spoken in
the note to B. 99-121 above (p. 140). Lib. i. c. 23 has the heading--'De
inopinato dolore.' It begins:--'Semper enim mundanae letitiae tristitia
repentina succedit. Et quod incipit a gaudio, desinit in moerore. Mundana
quippe felicitas multis amaritudinibus est respersa. Noverat hoc qui
dixerat: "Risus dolore miscebitur, et extrema gaudii luctus occupat."...
Attende salubrem consilium: "In die bonorum, non immemor sis malorum."'

This passage is mostly made up of scraps taken from different authors. I
find in Boethius, De Consolatione Philosophiae, lib. ii. pr. 4--'Quam
multis amaritudinibus humanae felicitatis dulcedo respersa est'; which
Chaucer translates by--'The swetnesse of mannes welefulnesse is _sprayned
with many biternesses_'; see vol. ii. p. 34; and the same expression is
repeated here, in l. 422. Gower quotes the same passage from Boethius in
the prologue to his Confessio Amantis. The next sentence is from Prov. xiv.
13--'Risus dolore miscebitur, et extrema gaudii luctus occupat.' The last
clause (see ll. 426, 427) is from Ecclesiasticus, xi. 27 (in the Vulgate
version). Cf. Troil. iv. 836.

438. Compare Trivet's French prose version:--'Dount ele fist estorier vne
neef de vitaile, de payn quest apele bisquit, & de peis, & de feues, de
sucre, & de meel, & de vyn, pur sustenaunce de la vie de la pucele pur
treis aunx; e en cele neef fit mettre la richesse & le tresour que Iempire
Tiberie auoit maunde oue la pucele Constaunce, sa fille; e en cele neef
fist la soudane mettre la pucele saunz sigle, & sauntz neuiroun, & sauntz
chescune maner de eide de homme.' I. e. 'Then she caused a ship to be
stored with victuals, with bread that is called biscuit, with peas, beans,
sugar, honey, and wine, to sustain the maiden's life for three years. And
in this ship she caused to be placed the riches and treasure which the
Emperor Tiberius had sent with the maid Constance his daughter; and in this
ship the Sultaness caused the maiden to be put, without sail or oar, or any
kind of human aid.'

_foot-hot_, hastily. It occurs in Gower, ed. Pauli, ii. 114; in The Romaunt
of the Rose, l. 3827: Octovian, 1224, in Weber's Met. Rom. iii. 208; Sevyn
Sages, 843, in the same, iii. 34; Richard Coer de Lion, 1798, 2185, in the
same, ii. 71, 86; and in Barbour's Bruce, iii. 418, xiii. 454. Compare the
term _hot-trod_, explained by Sir W. Scott to mean the pursuit of marauders
with bloodhounds: see note 3 H to the Lay of the Last Minstrel. We also
find _hot fot_, i. e. immediately, in the Debate of the Body and the Soul,
l. 481. It is a translation of the O. F. phrase _chalt pas_, immediately,
examples of which are given by Godefroy.

449-62. Not in the original; perhaps added in revision. [155]

451-62. Compare these lines with verses 3 and 5 of the hymn 'Lustra sex qui
iam peregit' in the office of Lauds from Passion Sunday to Wednesday in
Holy Week inclusive, in the Roman breviary.

This hymn was written by Venantius Fortunatus; see Leyser's collection, p.

 'Crux fidelis, inter omnes
  Arbor una nobilis:
  Silua talem nulla profert
  Fronde, flore, germine:
  Dulce ferrum, dulce lignum,
  Dulce pondus sustinent....

  Sola digna tu fuisti
  Ferre mundi uictimam;
  Atque portum praeparare,
  Arca mundo naufrago,
  Quam sacer cruor perunxit,
  Fusus Agni corpore.'

See the translation in Hymns Ancient and Modern, No. 97, part 2 (new
edition), beginning--'Now the thirty years accomplished.'

We come still nearer to the original of Chaucer's lines when we consider
the form of prayer quoted in the Ancren Riwle, p. 34, which is there given
as follows:--'Salue crux sancta, arbor digna, quae sola fuisti digna
portare Regem celorum et Dominum.... O crux gloriosa! o crux adoranda! o
lignum preciosum, et admirabile signum, per quod et diabolus est victus, et
mundus Christi sanguine redemptus.'

460. _him and here_, him and her, i. e. man and woman; as in Piers the
Plowman, A. Pass. i. l. 100. The allusion is to the supposed power of the
cross over evil spirits. See The Legends of the Holy Rood, ed. Morris;
especially the story of the Invention of the Cross by St. Helen, p.
160--'And anone, as he had made the [sign of the] crosse, þe grete
multitude of deuylles vanyshed awaye'; or, in the Latin original,
'statimque ut edidit signum crucis, omnis illa daemonum multitudo euanuit';
Aurea Legenda, ed. Grässe, 2nd ed. p. 311. Cf. Piers Plowman, B. xviii.

461. The reading of this line is certain, and must not be altered. But it
is impossible to _parse_ the line without at once noticing that there is
some difficulty in the construction. The best solution is obtained by
taking _which_ in the sense of _whom_. A familiar example of this use of
_which_ for _who_ occurs in the Lord's Prayer. See also Abbott's
Shakespearian Grammar, Sect. 265. The construction is as follows--'O
victorious tree, protection of true people, that alone wast worthy to bear
the King of Heaven with His new wounds--the White Lamb that was hurt with
the spear--O expeller of fiends out of both man and woman, on whom (i. e.
the men and women on whom) thine arms faithfully spread out,' &c. _Limes_
means the arms of the cross, spread before a person to protect him. [156]

464. _see of Grece_, here put for the Mediterranean Sea.

465. _Marrok_, Morocco; alluding to the Strait of Gibraltar; cf. l. 947. So
also in Barbour's Bruce, iii. 688.

470-504. Not in the French text; perhaps added in revision.

474. _Ther_, where; as usual. _knave_, servant.

475. 'Was eaten by the lion ere he could escape.' Cf. l. 437.

480. The word _clerkes_ refers to Boethius. This passage is due to Boeth.
bk. iv. pr. 6. 114-117, and 152-4; see vol. ii. pp. 117, 118.

491. See Revelation vii. 1-3.

497. Here (if _that_ be omitted) _As_ seems to form a foot by itself, which
gives but a poor line. See note to l. 404.

500. Alluding to St. Mary the Egyptian (_Maria Egiptiaca_), who according
to the legend, after a youth spent in debauchery, lived entirely alone for
the last forty-seven years of her life in the wilderness beyond the Jordan.
She lived in the fifth century. Her day is April 9. See Mrs. Jameson's
Sacred and Legendary Art; Rutebuef, ed. Jubinal, ii. 106-150; Maundeville's
Travels, ed. Halliwell, p. 96; Aurea Legenda, ed. Grässe, cap. lvi. She was
often confused with St. Mary Magdalen.

508. _Northumberlond_, the district, not the county. Yorkshire is, in fact,
meant, as the French version expressly mentions the Humber.

510. _of al a tyde_, for the whole of an hour.

512. _the constable_; named _Elda_ by Trivet and Gower.

519. Trivet says that she answered Elda in his own language, 'en
sessoneys,' in Saxon, for she had learnt many languages in her youth.

525. The word _deye_ seems to have had two pronunciations; in l. 644 it is
_dye_, with a different rime. In fact, Mr. Cromie's 'Ryme-Index' to Chaucer
proves the point. On the one hand, _deye_ rimes to _aweye_, _disobeye_,
_dreye_, _preye_, _seye_, _tweye_, _weye_; and on the other, _dye_ rimes to
_avoutrye_, _bigamye_, _compaignye_, _Emelye_, _genterye_, _lye_,
_maladye_, &c. So also, _high_ appears both as _hey_ and _hy_.

527. _forgat hir minde_, lost her memory.

531. The final _e_ in _plese_ is preserved from elision by the cæsural
pause. Or, we may read _plesen_; yet the MSS. have _plese_.

533. _Hermengild_; spelt _Hermyngild_ in Trivet; answering to A. S.
_Eormengild_ (Lappenberg, Hist. England, i. 285). Note that St. Hermengild
was martyred just at this very time, Apr. 13, 846.

543. _plages_, regions; we even find the word in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, pt.
i. act iv. sc. 4, and pt. ii. act i. sc. 1. The latter passage is--'From
Scythia to the oriental _plage_ Of India.'

552. 'Eyes of his mind.' Jean de Meun has the expression _les yex de cuer_,
the eyes of the heart; see his Testament, ll. 1412, 1683.

578. _Alla_, i. e. Ælla, king of Northumberland, A.D. 560-567; the same
whose name Gregory (afterwards Pope) turned, by a pun, into Alleluia,
according to the version of the celebrated story about Gregory and the
English slaves, as given in Beda, Eccl. Hist. b. ii. c. 1. [157]

584. _quyte her whyle_, repay her time; i. e. her pains, trouble; as when
we say 'it is worth _while_.' _Wile_ is _not_ intended.

585. 'The plot of the knight against Constance, and also her subsequent
adventure with the steward, are both to be found, with some variations, in
a story in the Gesta Romanorum, ch. 101; MS. Harl. 2270. Occleve has
versified the whole story'; Tyrwhitt. See vol. iii. p. 410, for further
information. Compare the conduct of Iachimo, in Cymbeline.

609. See Troil. iv. 357.

620. _Berth hir on hond_, affirms falsely; lit. bears her in hand. Chaucer
uses the phrase 'to bere in hond' with the sense of false affirmation,
sometimes with the idea of accusing falsely, as here and in the Wyf of
Bathes Prologue, D. 393; and sometimes with that of persuading falsely, D.
232, 380. In Shakespeare the sense is rather--'to keep in expectation, to
amuse with false pretences'; Nares's Glossary. Barbour uses it in the more
general sense of 'to affirm,' or 'to make a statement,' whether falsely or
truly. In Dyce's Skelton, i. 237, occurs the line--'They bare me in hande
that I was a spye'; which Dyce explains by 'they accused me, laid to my
charge that,' &c. He refers us to Palsgrave, who has some curious examples
of it. E.g., at p. 450:--'_I beare in hande_, I threp upon a man that he
hath done a dede or make hym beleve so, _Ie fais accroyre_ ... I beare hym
in hande he was wode, _Ie luy metz sus la raige_, or _ie luy metz sus quil
estoyt enragé_. What crime or yuell mayest thou beare me in hande of'; &c.
So also: 'Many be borne an hande of a faute, and punysshed therfore, that
were neuer gylty; Plerique facinoris _insimulantur_,' &c.; Hormanni
Vulgaria, sig. m. ii. ed. 1530. In Skelton's Why Come Ye Nat to Courte, l.
449, _bereth on hand_ simply means 'persuades.'

631-58. Not in the original. A later insertion, of much beauty.

634. 'And bound Satan; and he still lies where he (then) lay.' In the
Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, Christ descends into hell, and (according
to some versions) binds him with chains; see Piers Plowman, B. xviii. 401.

639. _Susanne_; see the story of Susannah, in the Apocrypha.

641. The Virgin's mother is called Anna in the Apocryphal Gospel of James.
Her day is July 26. See Aurea Legenda, ed. Grässe, cap. cxxxi; Cowper's
Apocryphal Gospels, p. 4.

647. 'Where that he gat (could get) for himself no favour.'

660. 'For pitee renneth sone in gentil herte'; Knightes Tale, A. 1761. And
see note to Sq. Tale, F. 479.

664. _us avyse_, deliberate with ourselves, consider the matter again.
Compare the law-phrase _Le roi s'avisera_, by which the king refuses assent
to a measure proposed. 'We will consider whom to appoint as judge.'

666. I. e. a copy of the Gospels in Welsh or British, called in the French
prose version 'liure des Ewangeiles.' Agreements were [158] sometimes
written on the fly-leaves of copies of the Gospels, as may be seen in two
copies of the A. S. version of them.

669. A very similar miracle is recorded in the old alliterative romance of
Joseph of Arimathea, l. 362. The French version has:--'a peine auoit fini
la parole, qe vne mayn close, com poyn de homme, apparut deuant Elda et
quant questoient en presence, et ferri tiel coup en le haterel le feloun,
que ambedeus lez eus lui enuolerent de la teste, & les dentz hors de la
bouche; & le feloun chai abatu a la terre; et a ceo dist vne voiz en le
oyance de touz: Aduersus filiam matris ecclesie ponebas scandalum; hec
fecisti, et tacui.' I. e. 'Scarcely had he ended the word, when a closed
hand, like a man's fist, appeared before Elda and all who were in the
presence, and smote such a blow on the nape of the felon's neck that both
his eyes flew out of his head, and the teeth out of his mouth; and the
felon fell smitten down to the earth; and thereupon a voice said in the
hearing of all, "Against the daughter of Mother Church thou wast laying a
scandal; this hast thou done, and I held my peace."' The reading _tacui_
suggests that, in l. 676, the word _holde_ should rather be _held_; but the
MSS. do not recognise this reading.

697. _hir thoughte_, it seemed to her; _thoughte_ is here impersonal; so in
l. 699. The French text adds that Domulde (Donegild) was, moreover, jealous
of hearing the praises of Constance's beauty.

701. _Me list nat_, it pleases me not, I do not wish to. He does not wish
to give every detail. In this matter Chaucer is often very judicious; Gower
and others often give the more unimportant matters as fully as the rest.
Cf. l. 706; and see Squyeres Tale, F. 401.

703. _What_, why. Cf. Squyeres Tale, F. 283, 298.

716. Trivet says--'Puis a vn demy aan passe, vint nouele al Roy que les
gentz de Albanie, qe sountz les Escotz, furent passes lour boundes et
guerrirent les terres le Roy. Dount par comun counseil, le Roi assembla son
ost de rebouter ses enemis. Et auant son departir vers Escoce, baila la
Reine Constaunce sa femme en la garde Elda, le Conestable du chastel, et a
Lucius, leuesqe de Bangor; si lour chargea que quant ele fut deliueres
denlaunt, qui lui feisoient hastiuement sauoir la nouele'; i. e. 'Then,
after half-a-year, news came to the king that the people of Albania, who
are the Scots, had passed their bounds, and warred on the king's lands.
Then by common counsel the king gathered his host to rebut his foes. And
before his departure towards Scotland, he committed Queen Constance his
wife to the keeping of Elda, the constable of the castle, and of Lucius,
bishop of Bangor, and charged them that when she was delivered, they should
hastily let him know the news.'

722. _knave child_, male child; as in Clerkes Tale, E. 444.

723. _at the fontstoon_, i. e. at his baptism; French text--'al baptisme fu
nome Moris.'

729. _to doon his avantage_, to suit his convenience. He hoped, by going
only a little out of his way, to tell Donegild the news also, and to
receive a reward for doing so. Trivet says that the old [159] Queen was
then at Knaresborough, situated 'between England and Scotland, as in an
intermediate place.' Its exact site is less than seventeen miles west of
York. Donegild pretends to be very pleased at the news, and gives the man a
rich present.

736. _lettres_; so in all seven MSS.; Tyrwhitt reads _lettre_. But it is
right as it is. _Lettres_ is sometimes used, like Lat. _literae_, in a
singular sense, and the French text has 'les lettres.' Examples occur in
Piers Plowman, B. ix. 38; Bruce, ii. 80. See l. 744, and note to l. 747.

738. _If ye wol aught_, if you wish (to say) anything.

740. _Donegild_ is dissyllabic here, as in l. 695, but in l. 805 it appears
to have three syllables. Chaucer constantly alters proper names so as to
suit his metre.

743. _sadly_, steadily, with the idea of long continuance.

747. _lettre_; here the singular form is used, but it is a matter of
indifference. Exactly the same variation occurs in Barbour's Bruce, ii.

 'And, among othir, _lettres_ ar gayn
  To the byschop off Androwis towne,
  That tauld how slayn wes that baroun.
  The _lettir_ tauld hym all the deid,' &c.

This circumstance, of exchanging the messenger's letters for forged ones,
is found in Matthew Paris's account of the Life of Offa the first; ed.
Wats, pp. 965-968.

748. _direct_, directed, addressed; French text 'maundez.'

751. Pronounce _horrible_ as in French.

752. The last word in this line should rather be _nas_ (= was not), as has
kindly been pointed out to me; though the seven MSS. and the old editions
all have _was_. By this alteration we should secure a true rime.

754. _elf_; French text--'ele fu malueise espirit en fourme de femme,' she
was an evil spirit in form of woman. _Elf_ is the A.S. _ælf_, Icel. _álfr_,
G. _alp_ and _elfe_; Shakespeare writes _ouphes_ for _elves_. 'The Edda
distinguishes between Ljósálfar, the elves of light, and Dökkálfar, elves
of darkness; the latter are not elsewhere mentioned either in modern fairy
tales or in old writers.... In the Alvismál, elves and dwarfs are clearly
distinguished as different. The abode of the elves in the Edda is
Álfheimar, fairy land, and their king the god Frey, the god of light. In
the fairy tales the Elves haunt the hills; hence their name Huldufólk,
hidden people; respecting their origin, life, and customs, see Íslenzkar
þjóðsögur, i. 1. In old writers the Elves are rarely mentioned; but that
the same tales were told as at present is clear'; note on the word _álfr_,
in Cleasby and Vigfusson's Icelandic Dictionary. See also Keightley's Fairy
Mythology, and Brand's Popular Antiquities. The word is here used in a bad
sense, and is nearly equivalent to witch. In the Prompt. Parv. we
find--'Elfe, spryte, _Lamia_'; and Mr. Way notes that these elves were
often supposed to bewitch children, and to use them cruelly. [160]

767. Pronounce _ágreáble_ nearly as in French, and with an accent on the
first and third syllables.

769. _take_, handed over, delivered. _Take_ often means to give or hand
over in Middle English: very seldom to convey or bring.

771. In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. Cp. and Pt. is written--'Quid turpius
ebrioso, cui fetor in ore, tremor in corpore, qui promit stulta, prodit
occulta, cuius mens alienatur, facies transformatur? Nullum enim latet
secretum ubi regnat ebrietas.' This is obviously the original of the
stanza, ll. 771-777; cf. note to B. 99 above. There is nothing answering to
it in Trivet, but it is to be found in Pope Innocent's treatise De
Contemptu Mundi, lib. ii. c. 19--_De ebrietate_. Migne's edition has
'promittit multa' for 'promit stulta.' The last clause is quoted from Prov.
xxxi. 4 in the Vulgate version; our English versions omit it. See B. 2384.

778. 'O Donegild, I have no language fit to tell,' &c.

782. _mannish_, man-like, i. e. harsh and cruel, not mild and gentle like a
woman. But Chaucer is not satisfied with the epithet, and says he ought
rather to call her 'fiend-like.' Perhaps it is worth while to say that in
Gower's Conf. Amant., lib. vi., where Pauli (iii. 52) has 'Most liche to
_mannes_ creature,' the older edition by Chalmers has the form _mannish_.
Lines 778-84 are not in the original.

789. 'He stowed away plenty (of wine) under his girdle,' i. e. drank his

794. Pronounce _constábl'_ much as if it were French, with an accent on a.
In l. 808 the accent is on _o_. Lastly, in l. 858, all three syllables are
fully sounded.

798. 'Three days and a quarter of an hour'; i. e. she was to be allowed
only three days, and after that to start off as soon as possible. _Tide_
(like _tíð_ in Icelandic) sometimes means an hour. The French text says
'deynz quatre iours,' within four days.

801. _croude_, push; see ll. 296, 299 above; and note to l. 299.

813-26. Lines 813-819 are not in the French, and ll. 820-826 are not at all
close to the original. The former stanza, which is due to Boeth. bk. i.
met. 5. 22-30, was doubtless added in the revision.

827-33. The French text only has--'en esperaunce qe dure comencement
amenera dieu a bon fyn, et qil me purra en la mere sauuer, qi en mere et en
terre est de toute puissaunce.'

835. The beautiful stanzas in ll. 834-868 are all Chaucer's own; and of the
next stanza, ll. 869-875, the French text gives but the merest hint.

842. _eggement_, incitement. The same word is used in other descriptions of
the Fall. Thus, in Piers Plowman, B. i. 65, it is said of Satan that 'Adam
and Eue he _egged_ to ille '; and in Allit. Poems, ed. Morris, B. 241, it
is said of Adam that 'thurgh the _eggyng_ of Eue he ete of an apple.'

852. _refut_, refuge; see G. 75, and A. B. C. 14.

859. _As lat_, pray, let. See note to Clerkes Prologue, E. 7. [161]

873. _purchace_, provide, make provision. So in Troilus, bk. ii. 1125, the
line 'And of som goodly answere you purchace' means--and provide yourself
with some kind answer, i. e. be ready with a kind reply.

875-84. Much abridged from the French text.

885. _tormented_, tortured. However, the French text says the messenger
acknowledged his drunkenness freely. Examination by torture was so common,
that Chaucer seems to have regarded the mention of it as being the most
simple way of telling the story.

893. _out of drede_, without doubt, certainly; cf. l. 869. The other
equally common expression _out of doute_ comes to much the same thing,
because _doute_ in Middle-English has in general the meaning of _fear_ or
_dread_, not of hesitation. See Group E. 634, 1155; and Prol. A. 487.

894. _pleinly rede_, fully read, read at length. In fact, Chaucer
judiciously omits the details of the French text, where we read that King
Ælla rushed into his mother's room with a drawn sword as she lay asleep,
roused her by crying 'traitress!' in a loud voice, and, after hearing the
full confession which she made in the extremity of her terror, slew her and
cut her to pieces as she lay in bed.

901. _fleteth_, floats. French text--'le quinte an de cest exil, come ele
_flotaunt_ sur le mere,' &c. Cf. _fleet_ in l. 463.

905. The name of the castle is certainly not given in the French text,
which merely says it was 'vn chastel dun Admiral de paens,' i. e. a castle
of an admiral of the Pagans.

912. _gauren_, gaze, stare. See note to Squ. Tale, F. 190.

913. _shortly_, briefly; because the poet considerably abridges this part
of the narrative. The steward's name was Thelous.

925. The word _Auctor_, here written in the margin of E., signifies that
this stanza and the two following ones are additions to the story by the
author. At the same time, ll. 925-931 are really taken from Chaucer's own
translation of Pope Innocent's treatise De Contemptu Mundi; see further in
the note to B. 99 above. Accordingly, we also find here, in the margin of
E., the following Latin note:--'O extrema libidinis turpitudo, que non
solum mentem effeminat, set eciam corpus eneruat. Semper sequ[u]ntur dolor
et penitentia post,' &c. This corresponds to the above treatise, lib. ii.
c. 21, headed 'De luxuria.' The last clause is abbreviated; the original
has:--'Semper illam procedunt ardor et petulantia; semper comitantur fetor
et immunditia; sequuntur semper dolor et poenitentia.'

932-45. These two stanzas are wholly Chaucer's, plainly written as a
parallel passage to that in ll. 470-504 above.

934. _Golias_, Goliath. See I Samuel xvii. 25.

940. See the story of Holofernes in the Monkes Tale, B. 3741; and the note.
I select the spelling _Olofernus_ here, because it is that of the majority
of the MSS., and agrees with the title _De Oloferno_ in the Monkes Tale.

947. In l. 465, Chaucer mentions the 'Strait of Marrok,' i. e. Morocco,
though there is no mention of it in the French text; so here he alludes
[162] to it again, but by a different name, viz. 'the mouth of Jubalter and
Septe.' _Jubaltar_ (Gibraltar) is from the Arabic _jabálu't tárik_, i. e.
the mountain of Tarik; who was the leader of a band of Saracens that made a
descent upon Spain in the eighth century. _Septe_ is Ceuta, on the opposite
coast of Africa.

965. _shortly_, briefly; because Chaucer here again abridges the original,
which relates how the Romans burnt the Sultaness, and slew more than 11,000
of the Saracens, without a single death or even wound on their own side.

967. _senatour._ His name was Arsemius of Cappadocia; his wife's name was
Helen. Accent _victorie_ on the _o_.

969. _as seith the storie_, as the history says. The French text relates
this circumstance fully.

971. The French text says that, though Arsemius did not recognise
Constance, she, on her part, recognised him at once, though she did not
reveal it.

981. _aunte._ Helen, the wife of Arsemius, was daughter of Sallustius,
brother of the Emperor Tiberius, and Constance's uncle. Thus Helen was
really Constance's first cousin. Chaucer may have altered it purposely; but
it looks as if he had glanced at the sentence--'Cest heleyne, la nece
Constaunce, taunt tendrement ama sa nece,' &c., and had read it as--'This
Helen ... loved her _niece_ so tenderly.' In reality, the word _nece_ means
'cousin' here, being applied to Helen as well as to Constance.

982. _she_, i. e. Helen; for Constance knew Helen.

991. _to receyven_, i. e. to submit himself to any penance which the Pope
might see fit to impose upon him. Journeys to Rome were actually made by
English kings; Ælfred was sent to Rome as a boy, and his father, Æthelwulf,
also spent a year there, but (as the Chronicle tells us) he went 'mid
micelre weorðnesse,' with much pomp.

994. _wikked werkes_; especially the murder of his mother, as Trivet says.
See note to l. 894.

999. _Rood him ageyn_, rode towards him, rode to meet him; cf. l. 391. See
Cler. Tale, E. 911, and the note.

1009. _Som men wolde seyn_, some relate the story by saying. The expression
occurs again in l. 1086. On the strength of it, Tyrwhitt concluded that
Chaucer here refers to Gower, who tells the story of Constance in Book ii.
of his Confessio Amantis. He observes that Gower's version of the story
includes both the circumstances which are introduced by this expression.
But this is not conclusive, since we find that Nicholas Trivet also makes
mention of the same circumstances. In the present instance the French text
has--'A ceo temps de la venuz le Roi a Rome, comensca Moris son diseotisme
aan. Cist estoit _apris priuement de sa mere Constance, qe, quant il irreit
a la feste ou son seignur le senatour_,' &c.; i. e. At this time of the
king's coming to Rome, Maurice began his eighteenth year. _He was secretly
instructed by his mother Constance, that, when he should go to the_ [163]
_feast with his lord the senator_, &c. See also the note to l. 1086 below.
Besides, Gower may have followed Chaucer.

1014. _metes space_, time of eating. This circumstance strikingly resembles
the story of young Roland, who, whilst still a child, was instructed by his
mother Bertha to appear before his uncle Charlemagne, by way of introducing
himself. The story is well told in Uhland's ballad entitled 'Klein Roland,'
a translation of which is given at pp. 335-340 of my 'Ballads and Songs of

 'They had but waited a little while,
    When Roland returns more bold;
  With hasty step to the king he comes,
    And seizes his cup of gold.

 "What ho, there! stop! you saucy imp!"
    Are the words that loudly ring.
  But Roland clutches the beaker still
    With eyes fast fixed on the king.

  The king at the first looked fierce and dark,
    But soon perforce he smiled--
 "Thou comest," he said, "into golden halls
    As though they were woodlands wild,"' &c.

The result is also similar; Bertha is reconciled to Charlemagne, much as
Constance is to Ælla.

1034. _aught_, in any way, at all; lit. 'a whit.'

1035. _sighte_, sighed. So also _pighte_, 'pitched'; _plighte_, 'plucked';
and _shrighte_, 'shrieked.' It occurs again in Troil. iii. 1080, iv. 714,
1217, v. 1633; and in the Romaunt of the Rose, l. 1746.

1036. _that he mighte_, as fast as he could.

1038. 'I ought to suppose, in accordance with reasonable opinion.' Chaucer
tells the story quite in his own way. There is no trace of ll. 1038-1042 in
the French, and scarcely any of ll. 1048-1071, which is all in his own
excellent strain.

1056. _shet_, shut, closed. Compare the description of Griselda in the
Clerkes Tale, E. 1058-1061.

1058. Both _twyes_ and _owne_ are dissyllabic.

1060. _all his halwes_, all His saints. Hence the term All-hallow-mas,
i. e. All Saints' day.

1061. _wisly_, certainly. _as have_, I pray that he may have; see note to
l. 859 above. 'I pray He may so surely have mercy on my soul, as that I am
as innocent of your suffering as Maurice my son is like you in the face.'

1078. After this line, the French text tells us that King Ælla presented
himself before Pope Pelagius, who absolved him for the death of his mother.
Pelagius II. was pope in 578-90.

1086. Here again, Tyrwhitt supposes Chaucer to follow Gower. But, in fact,
Chaucer and Gower both consulted Trivet, who says [164] here--'Constaunce
charga son fitz Morice del messager [_or_ message].... Et puis, quant
Morice estoit deuaunt lempereur venuz, oue la compaignie honurable, et
auoit son message fest de part le Roi son pere,' &c.; i. e. 'Constance
charged her son Maurice with the message ... and then, when Maurice was
come before the emperor, with the honourable company, and had done his
message on behalf of the king his father,' &c. Or, as before, Gower may
have copied Chaucer.

1090. _As he_; used much as we should now use 'as one.' It refers to the
Emperor, of course.

1091. _Sente_, elliptical for 'as that he would send.' Tyrwhitt reads
_send_; but it is best to leave an expression like this as it stands in the
MSS. It was probably a colloquial idiom; and, in the next line, we have
_wente_. Observe that _sente_ is in the subjunctive mood, and is equivalent
to 'he would send.'

1107. Chaucer so frequently varies the length and accent of a proper name
that there is no objection to the supposition that we are here to read
_Cústancë_ in three syllables, with an accent on the first syllable. In
exactly the same way, we find _Grísildis_ in three syllables (E. 948),
though in most other passages it is _Grisíld_. We have had _Cústance_,
accented on the first syllable, several times; see ll. 438, 556, 566, 576,
&c.; also _Custáncë_, three syllables, ll. 184, 274, 319, 612, &c. Tyrwhitt
inserts a second _your_ before _Custance_, but without authority.

1109. _It am I_; it is I. It is the usual idiom. So in the A.S. version of
St. John vi. 20, we find 'ic hyt eom,' i. e. I it am, and in a Dutch New
Testament, A.D. 1700, I find 'Ick ben 't,' i. e. I am it. The Moeso-Gothic
version omits _it_, having simply 'Ik im'; so does Wyclif's, which has 'I
am.' Tyndale, A.D. 1526, has 'it ys I.'

1113. _thonketh_, pronounced _thonk'th_; so also _eyl'th_, B. 1171,
_Abyd'th_, B. 1175. So also _tak'th_, l. 1142 below. _of_, for. So in
Chaucer's Balade of Truth, l. 19, we have 'thank God _of al_,' i. e. for
all things. See my notes to Chaucer's Minor Poems, vol. i. p. 552.

1123. The French text tells us that he was named Maurice of Cappadocia, and
was also known, in Latin, as _Mauritius Christianissimus Imperator_. Trivet
tells us no more about him, except that he accounts for the title 'of
Cappadocia' by saying that Arsemius (the senator who found Constance and
Maurice and took care of them) was a Cappadocian. Gibbon says--'The Emperor
Maurice derived his origin from ancient Rome; but his immediate parents
were settled at Arabissus in Cappadocia, and their singular felicity
preserved them alive to behold and partake the fortune of their august
son.... Maurice ascended the throne at the mature age of 43 years; and he
reigned above 20 years over the east and over himself.'--Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire, cap. xlv. He was murdered, with all his seven
children, by his successor, Phocas the Usurper; Nov. 27, A.D. 600. His
accession was in A.D. 582.

1127. The statement 'I bere it not in minde,' i. e. I do not remember it,
may be taken to mean that Chaucer could find nothing about [165] Maurice in
his French text beyond the epithet _Christianissimus_, which he has
skilfully expanded into l. 1123. He vaguely refers us to 'olde Romayn
gestes,' that is, to lives of the Roman emperors, for he can hardly mean
the Gesta Romanorum in this instance. Gibbon refers us to Evagrius, lib. v.
and lib. vi.; Theophylact Simocatta; Theophanes, Zonaras, and Cedrenus.

1132. In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. Cp. Pt. is written--'A mane usque ad
vesperam mutabitur tempus. Tenent tympanum et gaudent ad sonum organi,' &c.
See the next note.

1135. In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. Cp. Pt. is written--'Quis vnquam vnicam
diem totam duxit in sua dilectione [_vel_ delectatione] iocundam? quem in
aliqua parte diei reatus consciencie, vel impetus Ire, vel motus
concupiscencie non turbauerit? quem liuor Inuidie, vel Ardor Auaricie, vel
tumor superbie non vexauerit? quem aliqua iactura vel offensa, vel passio
non commouerit,' &c. Cp. Pt. insert _inde_ before _non turbauerit_. This
corresponds to nothing in the French text, but it is quoted from Pope
Innocent's treatise, De Contemptu Mundi, lib. i. c. 22; see note to B. 99
above. The extract in the note to l. 1132 occurs in the same chapter, but
both clauses in it are borrowed; the former from Ecclus. xviii. 26, the
latter from Job, xxi. 12.

1143. _I gesse_, I suppose. Chaucer somewhat alters the story. Trivet says
that Ælla died at the end of nine months after this. Half-a-year after,
Constance repairs to Rome. Thirteen days after her arrival, her father
Tiberius dies. A year later, Constance herself dies, on St. Clement's day
(Nov. 23), A.D. 584, and is buried at Rome, near her father, in St. Peter's
Church. The date 584, here given by Trivet, should rather be 583; the death
of Tiberius took place on Aug. 14, 582; see Gibbon.


1165. The host here refers to the Man of Lawes Tale, which had just been
told, and uses the expression '_thrifty_ tale' with reference to the same
expression above, B. 46. Most MSS. separate this end-link widely from the
Tale, but MS. Hl. and MS. Arch. Seld. B. 14 have it in the right place. See
vol. iii. pp. 417-9.

_for the nones_, for the nonce, for the occasion; see note to the Prologue,
A. 379. The A.S. _[=a]nes_ (= once) is an adverb with a genitive
case-ending; and, being an adverb, becomes indeclinable, and can
accordingly be used as a _dative_ case after the preposition _for_, which
properly governs the dative.

1166. The Host here turns to the Parson (see Prol. A. 477), and adjures him
to tell a tale, according to the agreement.

1167. _yore_, put for _of yore_, formerly, already.--M.

1169. _Can moche good_, know (or are acquainted with) much good; i. e. with
many good things, Cf. B. 47. [166]

1170. _Benedicite_, bless ye; i. e. bless ye the Lord; the first word of
the Song of the Three Children, and a more suitable exclamation than most
of those in common use at the time. In the Knightes Tale, A. 1785, where
Theseus is _pondering_ over the strange event he had just witnessed, the
word is pronounced _in full_, as five syllables. But in A. 2115, it is
pronounced, as here, as a mere trisyllable. The syllables to be dropped are
the second and third, so that we must say _ben'cite_. This is verified by a
passage in the Townley Mysteries, p. 85, where it is actually spelt
_benste_, and reduced to two syllables only. Cf. notes to B. 1974, and
Troil. i. 780.

1171. _man_; dat. case after _eyleth_. Swearing is alluded to as a
prevalent vice amongst Englishmen in Robert of Brunne, in the Persones Tale
of Chaucer, and elsewhere.--M.

1172. _O Iankin_, &c.; 'O Johnny, you are there, are you?' That is, 'so it
is you whom I hear, is it, Mr. Johnny?' A derisive interruption. It was
common to call a priest _Sir John_, by way of mild derision; see Monkes
Prol. (B. 3119) and Nonne Prestes Prol. (B. 4000). The Host carries the
derision a little further by using the diminutive form. See note to B.

1173. _a loller_, a term of reproach, equivalent to a canting fellow.
Tyrwhitt aptly cites a passage from a treatise of the period, referring to
the Harleian Catalogue, no. 1666:--'Now in Engelond it is a comun
protectioun ayens persecutioun, if a man is customable to swere nedeles and
fals and unavised, by the bones, nailes, and sides, and other membres of
Christ. And to absteyne fro othes nedeles and unleful, and repreve sinne by
way of charite, is mater and cause now, why Prelates and sum Lordes
sclaundren men, and clepen hem _Lollardes_, Eretikes,' &c.

The reader will not clearly understand this word till he distinguishes
between the Latin _lollardus_ and the English _loller_, two words of
different origin which were _purposely_ confounded in the time of Wyclif.
The Latin _Lollardus_ had been in use before Wyclif. Ducange quotes from
Johannes Hocsemius, who says, under the date 1309---'Eodem anno quidam
hypocritae gyrovagi, qui _Lollardi_, sive Deum laudantes, vocabantur, per
Hannoniam et Brabantiam quasdam mulieres nobiles deceperunt.' He adds that
Trithemius says in his Chronicle, under the year 1315--'ita appellatos a
Gualtero _Lolhard_, Germano quodam.' Kilian, in his Dictionary of Mid.
Dutch, says--'_Lollaerd_, mussitator, mussitabundus'; i. e. a mumbler of
prayers. This gives two etymologies for _Lollardus_. Being thus already in
use as a term of reproach, it was applied to the followers of Wyclif, as we
learn from Thomas Walsingham, who says, under the year 1377--'Hi uocabantur
a uulgo _Lollardi_, incedentes nudis pedibus'; and again--'_Lollardi_
sequaces Joannis Wiclif.' But the Old English _loller_ (from the verb to
_loll_) meant simply a lounger, an idle vagabond, as is abundantly clear
from a notable passage in Piers the Plowman, C-text (ed. Skeat), x.
188-218; where William tells us plainly-- [167]

 'Now kyndeliche, by crist · beþ suche callyd _lolleres_,
  As by englisch of oure eldres · of olde menne techynge.
  He that _lolleþ_ is lame · oþer his leg out of ioynte,' &c.

Here were already two (if not three) words confused, but this was not all.
By a bad pun, the Latin _lolium_, tares, was connected with _Lollard_, so
that we find in Political Poems, i. 232, the following--

 'Lollardi sunt zizania,
  Spinae, uepres, ac _lollia_,
    Quae uastant hortum uineae.'

This obviously led to allusions to the Parable of the Tares, and fully
accounts for the punning allusion to _cockle_, i. e. tares, in l. 1183. Mr.
Jephson observes that _lolium_ is used in the Vulgate Version, Matt. xii.
25; but this is a mistake, as the word there used is _zizania_. Gower,
Prol. to Conf. Amant., ed. Pauli, i. 15, speaks of--

 'This newe secte of _lollardie_,
  And also many an heresie.'

Also in book v., id. ii. 187,--

 'Be war that thou be nought oppressed
  With anticristes _lollardie_,' &c.

See Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. iii. 355-358; Wordsworth's Eccl. Biography, i.
331, note.

1180. 'He shall not give us any commentary on a gospel.' To _glose_ is to
comment upon, with occasional free introduction of irrelevant matter. The
_gospel_ is the text, or portion of the Gospel commented upon.

1181. 'We all agree in the one fundamental article of faith'; by which he
insinuates--'and let that suffice; we want no theological subtilties
discussed here.'

1183. _springen_, scatter, _sprink_-le. The pt. t. is _spreynde_ or
_spreynte_; the pp. _spreynd_ occurs in B. 422, 1830.--M. Gower, Conf.
Amantis, bk. v., ed. Pauli, ii. 190, speaks of _lollardie_

 'Which now is come for to dwelle,
  To sowe cockel with the corne.'

1185. _body_, i. e. self. Cf. _lyf_ = a person, in P. Plowman, B. iii.

1186. See B. 3984, which suggests that there is a play upon words here. The
Shipman will make his horse's bells ring loudly enough to awake them all;
or he will ring so merry a peal, as to rouse them like a church bell that
awakes a sleeper.

1189. It is plain that the unmeaning words _phislyas_ and _phillyas_, as in
the MSS., must be corruptions of some difficult form. I think that form is
certainly _physices_, with reference to the Physics of Aristotle, here
conjoined with 'philosophy' and 'law' in order to include the chief forms
of medieval learning. Aristotle was only known, in Chaucer's time, in Latin
translations, and _Physices Liber_ would be a possible title for such a
translation. Lewis and Short's Lat. Dict. gives '_physica_, gen. [168]
_physicae_, and _physice_, gen. _physices_, f., = [Greek: phusikê], natural
science, natural philosophy, physics, Cicero, Academ. 1. 7. 25; id. De
Finibus, 3. 21. 72; 3. 22. 73.' Magister Artium et _Physices_ was the name
of a degree; see Longfellow's Golden Legend, § vi.

That Chaucer should use the gen. _physices_ alone, is just in his usual
manner; cf. _Iudicum_, B. 3236; _Eneidos_, B. 4549; _Metamorphoseos_, B.
93. Tyrwhitt's reading _of physike_ gives the same sense.


This Tale agrees rather closely with one in Boccaccio's _Decamerone_, Day
viii. nov. 1. See further in vol. iii. p. 420.

1191. _Seint Denys_, Saint Denis, in the environs of Paris. Cf. ll. 1247,
1249, and note to 1341.

1202. _us_, i. e. us women. This is clear proof that some of the opening
lines of this Tale were not originally intended for the Shipman, but for
the Wife of Bath, as she is the only lady in the company to whom they would
be suitable. We may remember that Chaucer originally meant to make each
pilgrim tell _four_ Tales; so there is nothing surprising in the fact that
he once thought of giving this to the Wife. This passage is parallel to D.

1209. _perilous._ Cf. D. 339: 'it is peril of our chastitee.'

1228. Referring to the common proverb--'As fain as a fowl [bird] of a fair
day'; cf. l. 1241 below, A. 2437, G. 1342.

1233. _Daun_, Dan, for Lat. _Dominus_, corresponding to E. _sir_, as in
'Sir John,' a common title for a priest. Cf. B. 3119.

1244. _Shoop him_, lit. shaped himself, set about, got ready. Cf. P.
Plowman, C. i. 2, xiv. 247, and the notes.

1245. _Brugges_, Bruges; which, as Wright remarks, was 'the grand central
mart of European commerce in the middle ages.' Cf. P. Plowman, C. vii. 278,
and the note.

1256. _graunges_, granges; cf. notes to A. 3668, and A. 166.

1260. _Malvesye_, Malmsey; so named from _Malvasia_, now _Napoli di
Malvasia_, a town on the E. coast of Lacedaemonia in the Morea. See note in
the Babees Book, ed. Furnivall, p. 206, where _Malvasia_ is explained as
the Ital. corruption of _Monemvasia_, from Gk. [Greek: monê embasia],
single entrance; with reference to its position.

1261. _Vernage._ In the Babees Book, ed. Furnivall, p. 203, _vernage_ is
said to be a red wine, bright, sweet, and somewhat rough, from Tuscany and
Genoa, and other parts of Italy. The Ital. name is _vernaccia_, lit. the
name of a thick-skinned grape. The information in this note and the
preceding one is drawn from Henderson's History of Ancient and Modern
Wines, 1824: which see.

1262. _volatyl_, wild fowl, game; here used as a collective plural, to
represent Lat. _uolatilia_. Littré quotes: 'Tant ot les _volatiles_
chieres'; Roman de la Rose, 20365. Wyclif has _al volatile_ to translate
_cunctum_ [169] _uolatile_, Gen. vii. 14; also _my volatilis_ in Matt.
xxii. 4, where the Vulgate has _altilia_. Cf. F. _volaille_.

1278. _passed pryme_, past 9 A.M. See notes to A. 3906, F. 73; and cf. B.

1281. _his thinges_, the things he had to say; cf. F. 78. It 'means the
divine office in the Breviary, i. e. the psalms and lessons from scripture
which, being absent from the convent, he was bound to say privately'; Bell.
_curteisly_, reverently. See note to l. 1321 below.

1287. _under the yerde_, still subject to the discipline of the rod. As
girls were married at a very early age, this should mean 'still quite a
child.' Cf. _as hir list_ in l. 1286. And see E. 22. See Ælfric's Colloquy
(Wright's Vocab. ed. Wülker, p. 102), where the boy says he is still _sub
uirga_, on which the A.S. gloss is _under gyrda_. F. _sous la verge_

1292. _appalled_, enfeebled, languid; see F. 365.

1293. _dare_, lie motionless. This is the original sense of the word, as in
E. Friesic _bedaren_. So also Low G. _bedaren_, to be still and quiet; as
in _dat weer bedaart_, the weather becomes settled; _een bedaart mann_, a
man who has lost the fire of youth. Du. _bedaren_, to compose, to calm. The
rather common M.E. phrase _to droupe and dare_ means 'to sink down and lie
quiet,' like a hunted animal in hiding; hence came the secondary sense 'to
lurk' or 'lie close,' as in the Prompt. Parv. Cotgrave has F. _blotir_, 'to
squat, skowke, or lie close to the ground, like a _daring_ lark or
affrighted foul.' Hence also a third sense, 'to peer round,' as a lurking
creature that looks out for possible danger. The word is common in M.E.,
and in many passages the sense 'to lie still' suits better than 'lurk,' as
it is usually explained.

1295. _Were_, 'which might be,' 'which should happen to be'; the relative
is understood. _forstraught_, distracted. Such is evidently the sense; but
the word occurs nowhere else, and is incorrect. As far as I can make it
out, Chaucer has coined this word incorrectly. The right word is _destrat_
(vol. ii. p. 67, l. 1), from O.F. _destrait_, pp. of _destraire_, to tear
asunder (as by horses), to torment, fatigue (Godefroy). Next, he turned it
(1) into _forstrait_, pp. of _forstraire_ (_fortraire_ in Cotgrave), to
purloin; and (2) into _forstraught_, as if it were the pp. of an A.S.
*_for-streccan_, to stretch exceedingly. Thus, he has made one change by
altering the prefix, and another by misdividing the word and substituting
English for French. A similar mistake is seen in the absurd form
_distraught_, used for 'distracted,' though it is, formally, equivalent to
_dis-straught_, as if made up of the prefix _dis_- and the pp. of
_strecchen_, to stretch. An early instance occurs in Lydgate's Minor Poems,
ed. Halliwell, p. 206, where we find '_Distrauhte_ in thouhte,' i. e.
distracted in thought, mad. There is much confusion between the E. prefixes
_for-_, _fore-_, and the F. _fors-_, _for-_. Chaucer has _straughte_
(correctly), as the pt. t. of _strecchen_, in A. 2916.

1298. Accent _labóured_ on the second syllable. [170]

1303. 'God knows all'; implying, 'I can contradict you, if I choose to

1321. _port-hors_, for _porte-hors_, lit. 'carry-abroad,' the F. equivalent
of Lat. _portiforium_, a breviary. Also spelt _portous_, _portess_, &c.
'The _Portous_, or Breviary, contained whatever was to be said by all
beneficed clerks, and those in holy orders, either in choir, or privately
by themselves, as they recited their daily canonical hours; no musical
notation was put into these books.'--Rock, Church of our Fathers, v. iii.
pt. 2, p. 212. Dan John had just been saying 'his things' out of it (l.
1281). The music was omitted to save space. See P. Plowman, B. xv. 122, and
my note on the line.

1327. _for to goon_, i. e. even though going to hell were the penalty of my
keeping secret what you tell me.

1329. 'This I do, not for kinship, but out of true love.'

1335. _a legende_, a story of martyrdom, like that of a saint's life.

1338. St. Martin of Tours, whose day is Nov. 11.

1341. St. Denis of France, St. Dionysius, bishop of Paris, martyred A.D.
272, whose day is Oct. 9. Near his place of martyrdom was built a chapel,
which was first succeeded by a church, and then by the famous abbey of St.
Denis, in which King Dagobert and his successors were interred. The French
adopted St. Denis as their patron saint; see Chambers, Book of Days, ii.
427; Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints, Oct. 9.

1353. _sit_, is becoming, befits; see E. 460, 1277.

1384. _Geniloun_, Genilon or Ganelon, the traitor who betrayed
Charlemagne's army at Roncesvalles. For this deed he was torn to death by
wild horses, according to the romance-writers. See La Chanson de Roland, l.
3735. Cf. note to B. 3579, and Book of the Duchesse, 1121, and my note upon

1396. _chilindre_, a kind of portable sun-dial, lit. cylinder. A
thirteenth-century Latin treatise on the use of the _chilindre_ was edited
by Mr. E. Brock for the Chaucer Society, and I here copy his clear
description of the instrument. 'The Chilindre (_cylindrus_) or cylinder is
one of the manifold forms of the sun-dial, very simple in its construction,
but rude and inaccurate as a time-shower. According to the following
treatise, it consists of a wooden cylinder, with a central bore from top to
bottom, and with a hollow space in the top, into which a moveable rotary
lid with a little knob at the top is fitted. This lid is also bored in the
centre, and a string passed through the whole instrument. Upon this string
the chilindre hangs [perpendicularly] when in use. The style or gnomon
works on a pin fixed in the lid. When the instrument is in use, the style
projects at a right angle to the surface of the cylindrical body, through a
notch in the side of the lid, but can, at pleasure, be turned down and
slipt into the central bore, which is made a little wider at the top to
receive it. The body of the _chilindre_ is marked with a table of the
points of the shadow, a table of degrees for finding the sun's altitude,
and spaces corresponding to [171] the months of the year and the signs of
the zodiac. Across these spaces are drawn six oblique hour-lines.

'To ascertain the time of day by the _chilindre_, consider what month it
is, and turn the lid round till the style stands directly over the
corresponding part of the _chilindre_; then hold up the instrument by the
string so that the style points towards the sun, or in other words, so that
the shadow of the style falls perpendicularly, and the hour will be shewn
by the lowest line reached by the shadow.'

Another treatise of the same character was subsequently edited by Mr. Brock
for the same Society. It is entitled 'Practica Chilindri; or the Working of
the Cylinder; by John Hoveden.'

There is a curious reference to the same instrument in the following
passage from Horman's Vulgaria, leaf 338, back:--'There be iorneyringis
[day-circles, dials] and instrume_n_t_is_ lyke an ha_n_gynge pyler with a
tu_n_ge lyllyng [lolling] out, to knowe what tyme of the day.'

In Wright's Vocabularies, ed. Wülker, 572. 22, we find: '_Chilindrus,
anglice_ a leuel; _uel est instrumentum quo hore notantur, anglice_ a
chylaundre.' It thus appears that the reading _kalendar_, in the old
editions, is due to a mistake.

The most interesting comment on this passage is afforded by the opening
lines of the Prologue to Part II. of Lydgate's _Siege of Thebes_, where
Lydgate is clearly thinking of Chaucer's words. Here also the black-letter
edition of 1561 has _Kalendar_, but the reading of MS. Arundel 119 (leaf
18) is more correct, as follows:--

 'Passed the throp of Bowton on the Ble,
  By my _chilyndre_ I gan anon to se,
  Thorgh the sonne, that ful cler gan shyne,
  Of the clok[ke] that it drogh to nyne.'

_pryme of day_, 9 A.M., in the present passage; see above, and note the
preparations for dinner in ll. 1399-1401; the dinner-hour being 10 A.M. See
also note to A. 3906. 'Our forefathers dined at an hour at which we think
it fashionable to breakfast; _ten o 'clock_ was the time established by
ancient usage for the principal meal'; Our Eng. Home, p. 33. In earlier
times it was _nine_ o'clock; see Wright, Hist. of Domestic Manners, p. 155.

1399. 'As cheery as a magpie.'

1404. _Qui la?_ who's there. All the MSS. agree in thus cutting down the
expression _qui est la_ to two words; and this abbreviation is emphasised
by the English gloss 'Who ther' in E. and Hn.; Cm. has _Who there_, without
any French. It is clear, too, that the line is imperfect at the caesura,

  _Qui la_? | quod he. | --Pe | ter it | am I ||

This medial pause is probably intentional, to mark the difference between
the speakers. Ed. 1532 (which Tyrwhitt follows) has _Qui est la_, in order
to fill out the line. Wright has the same; and (as usual) suppresses the
fact that the word _est_ is not in the MS. which he follows 'with literal
accuracy.' [172]

_Peter!_ by Saint Peter! a too common exclamation, shewing that even women
used to swear. It occurs again in D. 446, 1332, and Hous of Fame, 1034,

1412. _elenge_, pronounced (eeléngg[*e]), in a dreary, tedious, lonely
manner; drearily. From A. S. _[=æ]lenge_, lengthy, protracted; a derivative
from _lang_, long; see P. Plowman, C. i. 204, and the note. In Pegge's
Kenticisms (E. D. S. Gloss. C. 3), we have: '_Ellinge_ [_pronounced_
éllinj], _adj._ solitary, lonely, melancholy, farre from neighbours. See
Ray.' It is also still in use in Sussex. The usual derivation from A. S.
_ellende_, foreign, is incorrect; but it seems to have been confused with
this word, whence the sense of 'strange, foreign,' was imported into it.
See _Alange_ in the New E. Dictionary.

1413. _go we dyne_, let us go and dine; as in P. Plowman, C. i. 227.

1417. _Seint Yve._ 'St. Ivia, or Ivo,' says Alban Butler, 'was a Persian
bishop, who preached in England in the seventh century.' He died at St.
Ive's in Huntingdonshire. A church was also built in his honour at St.
Ive's in Cornwall. His day is April 25. This line is repeated in D. 1943.
Cf. A. 4264.

1421. _dryve forth_, spend our time in; cf. P. Plowman, C. i. 225.

1423. _pleye_, 'take some relaxation by going on a pilgrimage'; clearly
shewing the chief object of pilgrimages. Cf. D. 557. The line also
indicates that it was a practice, when men could no longer make a show in
the world, to go on a pilgrimage, or 'go out of the way' somewhere, to
avoid creditors.

1436. _houshold._ So in E. Hn. Cm.; Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. T. have _housbonde_,
_housbond_, but the application of this word to a housewife is not happy.

1441. _messe_, mass; it seems to have been said, on this occasion, about
9.30 A.M. It did not take long; cf. l. 1413.

1445. _At-after_, soon after. This curious form is still in use; see the
Cleveland Glossary. So in the Whitby Glossary:--'All things in order;
ploughing first, sowing _at-after_.' Cf. _'at-after_ supper,' Rich. III.
iv. 3. 31; and see _At_, § 40, in the New E. Dict. We find also _at-under_
and _at-before_. It occurs again in F. 1219.

1466. _a myle-wey_, even by twenty minutes (the time taken to walk a mile).

1470. _Graunt mercy of_, many thanks for.

1476. 'God defend (forbid) that ye should spare.'

1484. _took_, handed over, delivered; see note to P. Plowman, C. iv. 47.
And see l. 1594 below.

1496. _let_, leadeth, leads; note the various readings. Cf. 'Thet is the
peth of pouerte huerby _let_ the holy gost tho thet,' &c.; i. e. that is
the path of poverty whereby the Holy Ghost leads those that, &c.--Ayenbite
of Inwyt, p. 185; and so again in the same, p. 115, l. 9, and p. 51, l. 13.
In P. Plowman, B. iii. 157, the Rawlinson MS. has _let_ instead of
_ledeth_. [173]

1499. _crowne_; alluding to the priestly tonsure. See note to P. Plowman,
C. i. 86.

1506. For _bolt-upright_, see note to A. 4194. This line is defective in
the first foot; read--Hav' | hir in | his, &c. Tyrwhitt reads _Haven_, but
admits, in the notes, that the final _n_ came out of his own head.

1515. _the faire_, the fair at Bruges. On fairs, see the note to P.
Plowman, C. vii. 211.

1519. _chevisaunce_, a contract for borrowing money on his credit; see A.
282, and note to P. Plowman, B. v. 249. For the purpose of making such a
contract, a proportional sum had to be paid down in ready money; see note
to l. 1524.

1524. 'A certain (number of) franks; and some (franks) he took with him.'
The latter sum refers to the money he had to pay down in order to get the
_chevisance_ made. See note to Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 528. And see
l. 1558.

1542. Here _sheeld_ is used as a plural, by analogy with _pund_, i. e.
pounds. A _sheeld_ was a French _écu_, or crown; see A. 278.

1557. _Lumbardes_, Lombards, the great money-lenders and bankers of the
middle ages. Cf. 'Lumbardes of Lukes, that lyuen by lone as Iewes,'
Lombards from Lucca, that live by lending, as Jews do; P. Plowman, C. v.
194. Owing to the accent, _Lumbard's_ is dissyllabic.

1558. _bond_ is misprinted _hond_ in Wright's edition; MS. Hl. has _bond_,
correctly, though the note in Bell says otherwise.

1592. _Marie_, by St. Mary; the familiar 'Marry!' as used by our

1595. _yvel thedom_, ill success. Cf. 'Now, sere, evyl thedom com to thi
snoute'; Coventry Mysteries, p. 139. This is printed by Halliwell in the
form--'Now, sere evyl Thedom, com to thi snoute,' i. e. 'now, sir Ill
Success, come to thy snout'; but _how_ a man can come to his own nose, we
are not told.

1599. _bele chere_, fair entertainment, hospitality. _Bele_ = mod. F.

1606. 'Score it upon my tally,' make a note of it. See A. 570, and note to
P. Plowman, C. v. 61.

1613. _to wedde_, as a pledge (common). Cf. A. 1218.

1621. _large_, liberal; hence E. _largesse_, liberality.


1625. _corpus dominus_; of course for _corpus domini_, the Lord's body. But
it is unnecessary to correct the Host's Latin.

1626. 'Now long mayest thou sail along the coast!'

1627. _marineer_, Fr. _marinier_; we now use the ending _-er_; but modern
words of French origin shew their lateness by the accent on the last
syllable, as _engineer_.--M. The Fr. _pionnier_ is _pioner_ in Shakespeare,
but is now _pioneer_.

1628. 'God give this monk a thousand cart-loads of bad years!' [174] He
alludes to the deceitful monk described in the Shipman's Tale. A _last_ is
a very heavy load. In a Statute of 31 Edw. I. a _weight_ is declared to be
14 stone; 2 _weights_ of wool are to make a _sack_; and 12 _sacks_ a
_last_. This makes a last of wool to be 336 stone, or 42 cwt. But the
dictionaries shew that the weight was very variable, according to the
substance weighed. The word means simply a heavy burden, from A. S.
_hlæst_, a burden, connected with _hladan_, to load; so that _last_ and
_load_ are alike in sense. _Laste_, in the sense of heavy weight, occurs in
Richard the Redeles, ed. Skeat, iv. 74. _Quad_ is the Old English
equivalent of the Dutch _kwaad_, bad, a word in very common use. In O.E.,
_þe qued_ means the evil one, the devil; P. Pl. B. xiv. 189. Cf. note to A.
4357. The omission of the word _of_ before _quad_ may be illustrated by the
expression 'four score years,' i. e. _of_ years.

1630. 'The monk put an ape in the man's hood, and in his wife's too.' We
should now say, he made him look like an ape. The contents of the _hood_
would be, properly, the man's head and face; but neighbours seemed to see
peeping from it an ape rather than a man. It is a way of saying that he
made a dupe of him. In the Milleres Tale (A. 3389), a girl is said to have
made her lover _an ape_, i. e. a dupe; an expression which recurs in the
Chanones Yemannes Tale, G. 1313. Spenser probably borrowed the expression
from this very passage; it occurs in his Faerie Queene, iii. 9. 31:--

                              'Thus was _the ape_,
  By their faire handling, _put into Malbeccoes cape_.'

1632. 'Never entertain monks any more.'

1637. See the description of the Prioress in the Prologue, A. 118.


For general remarks upon this Tale, see vol. iii. p. 421.

1643. Cf. Ps. viii. 1-2. The Vulgate version has--'Domine Dominus noster,
quam admirabile est nomen tuum in uniuersa terra! Quoniam eleuata est
magnificentia tua super caelos! Ex ore infantium et lactentium perfecisti
laudem,' &c.

1650. _can or may_, know how to, or have ability to do.

1651. The 'white lily' was the token of Mary's perpetual virginity. See
this explained at length in Rock, Church of our Fathers, iii. 245.

1655. 'For she herself is honour, and, next after her Son, the root of
bounty, and the help (or profit) of souls.'

1658. Cf. Chaucer's A.B.C, or Hymn to the Virgin, (Minor Poems, vol. i. p.
266), where we find under the heading M--

 'Moises, that saugh the bush with flaumes rede
  Brenninge, of which ther never a stikke brende,
  Was signe of thyn unwemmed maidenhede;
  Thou art the bush, on which ther gan descende
  The Holy Gost, the which that Moises wende
  Had been a-fyr.'

[175] So also in st. 2 of an Alliterative Hymn in Warton, Hist. Eng.
Poetry, ed. Hazlitt, ii. 284.

1659. 'That, through thy humility, didst draw down from the Deity the
Spirit that alighted in thee.'

1660. _thalighte_ = _thee alighte_, the two words being run into one. Such
agglutination is more common when the def. art. occurs, or with the word
_to_; cf. _Texpounden_ in B. 1716.

1661. _lighte_ may mean either (1) cheered, lightened; or (2) illuminated.
Tyrwhitt and Richardson both take the latter view; but the following
passage, in which _hertes_ occurs, makes the former the more probable:--

 'But nathelees, it was so fair a sighte
  That it made alle hir _hertes_ for to _lighte_.'
                                      Sq. Ta.; F. 395.

1664. Partly imitated from Dante, Paradiso, xxxiii. 16:--

 'La tua benignità non pur soccorre
    A chi dimanda, ma molte fiate
    Liberamente al dimandar precorre.
  In te misericordia, in te pietate,
    In te magnificenza, in te s'aduna
    Quantunque in creatura è di bontate.

1668. _goost biforn,_ goest before, dost anticipate. _of_, by. The eighth
stanza of the Seconde Nonnes Tale (G. 50-56) closely resembles ll. 1664-70;
being imitated from the same passage in Dante.

1677. _Gydeth_, guide ye. The plural number is used, as a token of respect,
in addressing superiors. By a careful analysis of the words _thou_ and _ye_
in the Romance of William of Palerne, I deduced the following results,
which are generally true in Mid. English. '_Thou_ is the language of a lord
to a servant, of an equal to an equal, and expresses also companionship,
love, permission, defiance, scorn, threatening: whilst _ye_ is the language
of a servant to a lord, and of compliment, and further expresses honour,
submission, or entreaty. _Thou_ is used with singular verbs, and the
possessive pronoun _thine_; but _ye_ requires plural verbs, and the
possessive _your_.'--Pref. to Will. of Palerne, ed. Skeat, p. xlii. Cf.
Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar, sect. 231.

1678. _Asie_, Asia; probably used, as Tyrwhitt suggests, in the sense of
Asia Minor, as in the Acts of the Apostles.

1679. _a Iewerye_, a Jewry, i. e. a Jews' quarter. In many towns there was
formerly a Jews' quarter, distinguished by a special name. There is still
an _Old Jewry_ in London. In John vii. 1 the word is used as equivalent to
_Judea_, as also in other passages in the Bible and in Shakesp. Rich. II,
ii. 1. 55. Chaucer (House of Fame, 1435) says of Josephus--

 'And bar upon his shuldres hye
  The fame up of the _Jewerye_.'

[176] Thackeray uses the word with an odd effect in his Ballad of 'The
White Squall.' See also note to B. 1749.

1681. _vilanye._ So the six MSS.; Hl. has _felonye_, wrongly. In the margin
of the Ellesmere MS. is written 'turpe lucrum,' i. e. vile gain, which is
evidently the sense intended by _lucre of vilanye_, here put for _villanous
lucre_ or _filthy lucre_, by poetical freedom of diction. See Chaucer's use
of _vilanye_ in the Prologue, A. 70 and A. 726.

1684. _free_, unobstructed. People could ride and walk through, there being
no barriers against horses, and no termination in a _cul de sac_. Cf.
Troilus, ii. 616-8.

1687. _Children an heep_, a heap or great number of children. _Of_ is
omitted before _children_ as it is before _quad yere_ in B. 1628. For
_heep_, see Prologue, A. 575.

1689. _maner doctrine_, kind of learning, i. e. reading and singing, as
explained below. Here again _of_ is omitted, as is usual in M.E. after the
word _maner_; as--'In another _maner_ name,' Rob. of Glouc. vol. i. p. 147;
'with somme _manere_ crafte,' P. Plowman, B. v. 25: 'no _maner_ wight,' Ch.
Prol. A. 71; &c. See Mätzner, Englische Grammatik, ii. 2. 313. _men used_,
people used; equivalent to _was used_. Note this use of _men_ in the same
sense as the French _on_, or German _man_. This is an excellent instance,
as the poet does not refer to _men_ at all, but to _children_. Moreover,
_men_ (spelt _me_ in note to B. 1702) is an attenuated form of the sing.
_man_, and not the usual plural.

1693. _clergeon_, not 'a young clerk' merely, as Tyrwhitt says, but a
happily chosen word implying that he was a chorister as well. Ducange
gives--'_Clergonus_, junior clericus, vel puer choralis; jeune clerc, petit
clerc ou enfant de choeur'; see Migne's edition. And Cotgrave
has--'_Clergeon_, a singing man, or Quirester in a Queer [choir].' It means
therefore 'a chorister-boy.' Cf. Span. _clerizon_, a chorister,
singing-boy; see New E. Dict.

1694. _That_, as for whom. A London street-boy would say--'_which_ he was
used to go to school.' _That ... his_ = whose.

1695. _wher-as_, where that, where. So in Shakespeare, 2 Hen. VI. i. 2. 58;
Spenser, F. Q. i. 4. 38. See Abbott's Shakesp. Grammar, sect. 135.
_thimage_, the image; alluding to an image of the Virgin placed by the
wayside, as is so commonly seen on the continent.

1698. _Ave Marie_; so in Spenser, F. Q. i. 1. 35. The words were--'Aue
Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum; benedicta tu in mulieribus, et
benedictus fructus uentris tui. Amen.' See the English version in Specimens
of Early English, ed. Morris and Skeat, p. 106. It was made up from Luke i.
28 and i. 42. Sometimes the word _Jesus_ was added after _tui_, and, at a
later period, an additional clause--'Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis
peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.' See Rock, Church of
our Fathers, iii. 315; and iii. pt. 2, 134. [177]

1702. 'For a good child will always learn quickly.' This was a proverbial
expression, and may be found in the Proverbs of Hending, st. 9:--

 'Me may lere a sely fode [_one may teach a good child_]
  That is euer toward gode
    With a lutel lore;
  Yef me nul [_if one will not_] him forther teche,
  Thenne is [_his_] herte wol areche
    Forte lerne more.
  _Sely chyld is sone ylered_; Quoth Hendyng.'

1704. _stant_, stands, is. Tyrwhitt says--'we have an account of the very
early piety of this Saint in his lesson; Breviarium Romanum, vi.
Decemb.--Cuius uiri sanctitas quanta futura esset, iam ab incunabulis
apparuit. Nam infans, cum reliquas dies lac nutricis frequens sugeret,
quarta et sexta feria (i. e. _on Wednesdays and Fridays_) semel duntaxat,
idque uesperi, sugebat.' Besides, St. Nicholas was the patron of
schoolboys, and the festival of the 'boy-bishop' was often held on his day
(Dec. 6); Rock, Church of our Fathers, iii. 2. 215.

1708. _Alma redemptoris mater._ There is more than one hymn with this
beginning, but the one meant is perhaps one of five stanzas printed in
Hymni Latini Medii Ævi, ed. F. J. Mone, vol. ii. p. 200, from a St. Gallen
MS. no. 452, p. 141, of the thirteenth century. The first and last stanzas
were sung in the Marian Antiphon, from the Saturday evening before the 1st
Sunday in Advent to Candlemas day. In l. 4 we have the _salutation_ which
Chaucer mentions (l. 1723), and in the last stanza is the prayer (l. 1724).
These two stanzas are as follows:--

 'Alma redemptoris mater,
  quam de caelis misit pater
    propter salutem gentium;
  tibi dicunt omnes "aue!"
  quia mundum soluens a uae
    mutasti uocem flentium....
  Audi, mater pietatis,
  nos gementes a peccatis
    et a malis nos tuere;
  ne damnemur cum impiis,
  in aeternis suppliciis,
    peccatorum miserere.'

There is another anthem that would suit almost equally well, but hardly
comes so near to Chaucer's description. It occurs in the Roman Breviary,
ed. 1583, p. 112, and was said at compline from Advent eve to Candlemas
day, like the other; cf. l. 1730. The words are:-- [178]

 'Alma redemptoris mater, quae peruia caeli
  Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
  Surgere qui curat, populo: Tu quae genuisti,
  Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem,
  Virgo priùs ac posteriùs, Gabrielis ab ore
  Sumens illud "Aue!" peccatorum miserere.'

In the Myrour of Our Lady, ed. Blunt, p. 174, an English translation of the
latter anthem is given, with the heading 'Alma redemptoris mater.'

1709. _antiphoner_, anthem-book. 'The Antiphoner, or Lyggar, was always a
large codex, having in it not merely the words, but the music and the
tones, for all the invitatories, the hymns, responses, versicles, collects,
and little chapters, besides whatever else belonged to the solemn chanting
of masses and lauds, as well as the smaller canonical hours'; Rock, Church
of our Fathers, v. 3, pt. 2, p. 212.

1710. _ner and ner_, nearer and nearer. The phrase _come neor and neor_ (=
come nearer and nearer) occurs in King Alisaunder, in Weber's Metrical
Romances, l. 599.

1713. _was to seye_, was to mean, meant. _To seye_ is the gerundial or
dative infinitive; see Morris, Hist. Outlines of English Accidence, sect.

1716. _Texpounden_, to expound. So also _tallege_ = to allege, Kn. Ta., A.
3000 (Harl. MS.); _tespye_ = to espy, Nonne Pr. Ta., B. 4478. See note to
l. 1733.

1726. _can but smal_, know but little. Cf. 'the compiler is _smal_
learned'; Old Plays, ed. Hazlitt, i. 10.--M. Cf. _coude_ = knew, in l.

1733. _To honoure_; this must be read _tonóure_, like _texpounden_ in l.

1739. _To scholeward_; cf. _From Bordeaux ward_ in the Prologue, A.

1749. The feeling against Jews seems to have been very bitter, and there
are numerous illustrations of this. In Gower's Conf. Amant. bk. vii, ed.
Pauli, iii. 194, a Jew is represented as saying--

 'I am a Jewe, and by my lawe
  I shal to no man be felawe
  To kepe him trouth in word ne dede.'

In Piers the Plowman, B. xviii. 104, Faith reproves the Jews, and says to

 '[gh]e cherles, and [gh]owre children · chieue [_thrive_] shal [gh]e
  Ne haue lordship in londe · ne no londe tylye [_till_],
  But al bareyne be · & vsurye vsen,
  Which is lyf þat owre lorde · in alle lawes acurseth.'

See also P. Pl., C. v. 194. Usury was forbidden by the canon law, and those
who practised it, chiefly Jews and Lombards, were held to [179] be grievous
sinners. Hence the character of Shylock, and of Marlowe's Jew of Malta. Cf.
note on the Jews in England in the Annals of England, p. 162.

1751. _honest_, honourable; as in the Bible, Rom. xii. 17, &c.

1752. _swich_, such. The sense here bears out the formation of the word
from _so-like_.--M.

1753. _your_, of you. Shakespeare has 'in _your_ despite,' Cymb. i. 6. 135;
'in _thy_ despite,' 1 Hen. VI, iv. 7. 22. _Despite_ is used, like the Early
and Middle English _maugre_, with a genitive; as _maugre þin_, in spite of
thee, in Havelok, ll. 1128, 1789.--M.

1754. 'Which is against the respect due to your law.' Cf. 'spretaeque
iniuria formae'; Æneid, i. 27.

1762. _Wardrobe_, privy. Godefroy's O. F. Dict. shews that _garderobe_
meant not only a wardrobe, or place for keeping robes, &c., but also any
small chamber; hence the sense. See Cotgrave.

1764. 'O accursed folk (composed) of Herods wholly new.'

1766. 'Murder will out'; a proverb; see B. 4242.

1769. _Souded to_, confirmed in. From O. F. _souder_, Lat. _solidare_,
whence E. _solder_. Wyclif's later version has--'hise leggis and hise feet
weren _sowdid_ togidere'; Acts, iii. 7. The reference in ll. 1770-5 is to
Rev. xiv. 3, 4.

1793. _Iesu._ This word is written 'Ihu' in E. Hn. Cm.; and 'ihc' in Cp.
Pt. Ln.; in both cases there is a stroke through the _h_. This is
frequently printed _Ihesu_, but the retention of _h_ is unnecessary. It is
not really an _h_ at all, but the Greek [Eta], meaning _long e_ ([=e]). So,
also, in 'ihc,' the _c_ is not the Latin _c_, but the Gk. C, meaning
[Sigma] or _s_; and _ihc_ are the first three letters of the word [Greek:
IÊSOUS] = [Greek: iêsous] = iesus. _Iesu_, as well as _Iesus_, was used as
a nominative, though really the genitive or vocative case. At a later
period, _ihs_ (still with a stroke through the _h_) was written for _ihc_
as a contraction of _iesus_. By an odd error, a new meaning was invented
for these letters, and common belief treated them as the initials of three
Latin words, viz. Iesus Hominum Salvator. But as the stroke through the _h_
or mark of contraction still remained unaccounted for, it was turned into a
cross! Hence the common symbol I.H.S. with the small cross in the upper
part of the middle letter. The wrong interpretation is still the favourite
one, all errors being long-lived. Another common contraction is _Xpc._,
where _all_ the letters are Greek. The _x_ is _ch_ ([chi]), the _p_ is _r_
([rho]), and _c_ is _s_, so that _Xpc_ = _chrs_, the contraction for
_christus_ or Christ. This is less common in decoration, and no false
interpretation has been found for it.

1794. _inwith_, within. This form occurs in E. Hn. Pt. Ln.; the rest have
_within_. Again, in the Merchant's Tale (E. 1944), MSS. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. have
the form _inwith_. It occurs in the legend of St. Katharine, ed. Morton, l.
172; in Sir Perceval (Thornton Romances), l. 611; in Alliterative Poems,
ed. Morris, A. 970; and in Palladius on Husbandry, ed. Lodge, iii. 404. Dr.
Morris says it was [180] (like _utwith_ = without) originally peculiar to
the Northern dialect. See the Glossary, and the note to l. 2159 below (p.

1805. _coomen_; so in E. Hn.; _comen_ in Pt. Cp. But it is the past tense =
came. The spelling _comen_ for the _past_ tense plural is very common in
Early English, and we even find _com_ in the singular. Thus, in l. 1807,
the Petworth MS. has 'He come,' equivalent to 'coom,' the _o_ being long.
But _herieth_ in l. 1808 is a _present_ tense.

1814. _nexte_, nighest, as in Kn. Ta. A. 1413. So also _hext_ = highest, as
in the Old Eng. proverb--'When bale is hext, then bote is next,' i. e.
'when woe is highest, help is nighest.' _Next_ is for _neh-est_, and _hext_
is for _heh-est_.

1817. _newe Rachel_, second Rachel, as we should now say; referring to
Matt. ii. 18.

1819. _dooth for to sterve_, causes to die. So also in l. 1823, _dide hem
drawe_ = caused them to be drawn.

1822. Evidently a proverb; compare Boeth. bk. iv. pr. 1. 37-40 (vol. ii. p.
93); and note to P. Plowman, C. v. 140.

1826. The body occupied the place of honour. 'The bier, if the deceased had
been a _clerk_, went into the chancel; if a layman, and not of high degree,
the bearers set it down in the nave, hard by the church-door'; Rock, Ch. of
our Fathers, ii. 472. He cites the Sarum Manual, fol. c.

1827. _the abbot_; pronounced _thabbòt_. _covent_, convent; here used for
the monks who composed the body over which the abbot presided. So in
Shakespeare, Hen. VIII, iv. 2. 18--'where the reverend abbot, With all his
_covent_, honourably received him.' The form _covent_ is Old French, still
preserved in _Covent Garden_.

1835. _halse_; two MSS. consulted by Tyrwhitt read _conjure_, a mere gloss,
caught from the line above. Other examples of _halse_ in the sense of
_conjure_ occur. 'Ich _halsi_ þe o godes nome' = I conjure thee in God's
name; St. Marherete, ed. Cockayne, p. 17. Again, in Joseph of Arimathie,
ed. Skeat, l. 400--

 'Vppon þe hei[gh]e trinite · I _halse_ þe to telle'--

which closely resembles the present passage.

1838. _to my seminge_, i. e. as it appears to me.

1840. 'And, in the ordinary course of nature.'

1843. _Wil_, wills, desires. So in Matt. ix. 13, I _will_ have mercy = I
require mercy; Gk. [Greek: eleon thelô]; Vulgate, misericordiam uolo. Cf.
B. 45.

1848. In the Ellesmere MS. (which has the metrical pauses marked) the pause
in this line is marked after _lyf_. The word _sholde_ is dissyllabic here,
having more than the usual emphasis; it has the force of _ought to_. Cf. E.

1852. In the Cursor Mundi, 1373-6, Seth is told to place three pippins
under the root of Adam's tongue.

1857. _now_ is used in the sense of _take notice that_, without any [181]
reference to _time_. There is no necessity to alter the reading to _than_,
as proposed by Tyrwhitt. See Mätzner, Engl. Gram. ii. 2. 346, who refers to
Luke ii. 41, John i. 44, and quotes an apt passage from Maundeville's
Travels, p. 63--'_Now_ aftre that men han visited the holy places, _thanne_
will they turnen toward Jerusalem.' In A. S. the word used in similar cases
is _s[=o]þl[=i]ce_ = soothly, verily.

1873. _Ther_, where. _leve_, grant. No two words have been more confused by
editors than _lene_ and _leue_. Though sometimes written much alike in
MSS., they are easily distinguished by a little care. The A. S. _l[=y]fan_
or _l[=e]fan_, spelt _lefe_ in the Ormulum (vol. i. p. 308), answers to the
Germ. _erlauben_, and means _grant_ or _permit_, but it can only be used in
certain cases. The verb _lene_, A. S. _l[=æ]nan_, now spelt _lend_, often
means to give or grant in Early English, but again only in certain cases. I
quote from my article on these words in Notes and Queries, 4 Ser. ii.
127--'It really makes all the difference whether we are speaking of to
_grant_ a thing to a person, or to _grant_ that a thing may happen. "God
_lene_ thee grace," means "God _grant_ thee grace," where to grant is to
_impart_; but "God _leue_ we may do right" means "God _grant_ we may do
right," where to _grant_ is to permit.... Briefly, _lene_ requires _an
accusative case_ after it, _leue_ is followed by _a dependent clause_.'
_Lene_ occurs in Chaucer, Prol. A. 611, Milleres Tale, A. 3777, and
elsewhere. Examples of _leue_ in Chaucer are (1) in the present passage,
misprinted _lene_ by Tyrwhitt, Morris, Wright, and Bell, though five of our
MSS. have _leue_; (2) in the Freres Tale, D. 1644, printed _lene_ by
Tyrwhitt (l. 7226), _leene_ by Morris, _leeve_ by Wright and Bell; (3) (4)
(5) in three passages in Troilus and Criseyde (ii. 1212, iii. 56, v. 1750),
where Tyrwhitt prints _leve_, but unluckily recants his opinion in his
Glossary, whilst Morris prints _lene_. For other examples see Stratmann,
s. v. _lænan_ and _leven_.

It may be remarked that _leve_ in Old English has several other senses;
such as (1) to believe; (2) to live; (3) to leave; (4) to remain; (5)
leave, _sb._; (6) dear, _adj._ I give an example in which the first, sixth,
and third of these senses occur in one and the same line:--

 'What! leuestow, leue lemman, that i the [_thee_] leue wold?'
                                         Will. of Palerne, 2358.

1874. _Hugh of Lincoln._ The story of Hugh of Lincoln, a boy supposed to
have been murdered at Lincoln by the Jews, is placed by Matthew Paris under
the year 1255. Thynne, in his Animadversions upon Speght's editions of
Chaucer (p. 45 of the reprint of the E.E.T.S.), addresses Speght as
follows--'You saye, that in the 29 Henry iii. eightene Jewes were broughte
fro_m_ Lincolne, and hanged for crucyfyinge a childe of eight yeres olde.
Whiche facte was in the 39 Hen. iii., so that yo_u_ mighte verye well haue
sayed, that the same childe of eighte yeres olde was the same hughe of
Lincolne; of whiche name there were twoe, viz. thys younger Seinte Hughe,
and Seinte Hughe bishoppe of Lincolne, which dyed in the yere 1200, long
before this [182] little seinte hughe. And to prove that this childe of
eighte yeres olde and that yonge hughe of Lincolne were but one; I will
sett downe two auctoryties out of Mathewe Paris and Walsinghame, wherof the
fyrste wryteth, that in the yere of Christe 1255, being the 39 of Henry the
3, a childe called Hughe was sleyne by the Jewes at Lyncolne, whose
lamentable historye he delyvereth at large; and further, in the yere 1256,
being 40 Hen. 3, he sayeth, Dimissi sunt quieti 24 Judei á Turri London.,
qui ibidem infames tenebantur compediti pro crucifixione sancti Hugonis
Lincolniae: All which Thomas Walsingham, in Hypodigma Neustriae,
confirmeth: sayinge, Ao. 1255, Puer quidam Christianus, nomine Hugo, à
Judeis captus, in opprobriu_m_ Christiani nominis crudeliter est
crucifixus.' There are several ballads in French and English, on the
subject of Hugh of Lincoln, which were collected by M. F. Michel, and
published at Paris in 1834, with the title--'Hugues de Lincoln, Recueil de
Ballades Anglo-Normandes et Ecossoises relatives au Meurtre de cet Enfant.'
The day of St. Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, is Aug. 27; that of St. Hugh, boy
and martyr, is June 29. See also Brand's Pop. Antiq. ed. Ellis, i. 431. And
see vol. iii. p. 423.

1875. _With_, by. See numerous examples in Mätzner, Engl. Gram. ii. 1. 419,
amongst which we may especially notice--'Stolne is he _with_ Iues';
Towneley Mysteries, p. 290.


1881. _miracle_, pronounced _míracl'_. Tyrwhitt omits _al_, and turns the
word into _mirácle_, unnecessarily.

1883. _hoste_ is so often an evident dissyllable (see l. 1897), that there
is no need to insert _to_ after it, as in Tyrwhitt. In fact, _bigan_ is
seldom followed by _to_.

1885. _what man artow_, what sort of a man art thou?

1886. _woldest finde_, wouldst like to find. We learn from this passage,
says Tyrwhitt, that Chaucer 'was used to look much upon the ground; that he
was of a corpulent habit; and reserved in his behaviour.' We cannot be
quite sure that the poet is serious; but these inferences are probably
correct; cf. Lenvoy a Scogan, 31.

1889. _war you_, mind yourselves, i. e. make way.

1890. _as wel as I_; said ironically. Chaucer is as corpulent as the host
himself. See note to l. 1886 above.

1891. _were_, would be. _tenbrace_, to embrace. In the Romaunt of the Rose,
true lovers are said to be always lean; but deceivers are often fat

 'For men that shape hem other wey
  Falsly hir ladies to bitray,
  It is no wonder though they be fat'; l. 2689.

1893. _elvish_, elf-like, akin to the fairies; alluding to his absent looks
[183] and reserved manner. See _Elvish_ in the Glossary, and cf. 'this
_elvish_ nyce lore'; Can. Yeom. Tale, G. 842. Palsgrave has--'I waxe
_eluysshe_, nat easye to be dealed with, _Ie deuiens mal traictable_.'

1900. _Ye_, yea. The difference in Old English between _ye_ and _yis_ (yes)
is commonly well marked. _Ye_ is the weaker form, and merely assents to
what the last speaker says; but _yis_ is an affirmative of great force,
often followed by an oath, or else it answers a question containing a
_negative_ particle, as in the House of Fame, 864. Cf. B. 4006 below.


In the black-letter editions, this Tale is called 'The ryme of Sir Thopas,'
a title copied by Tyrwhitt, but not found in the seven best MSS. This word
is now almost universally misspelt _rhyme_, owing to confusion with the
Greek _rhythm_; but this misspelling is _never_ found in old MSS. or in
early printed books, nor has any example yet been found earlier than the
reign of Elizabeth. The old spelling _rime_ is confirmed by the A. S.
_r[=i]m_, Icel. _rím_, Dan. _rim_, Swed. _rim_, Germ. _reim_, Dutch _rijm_,
Old Fr. _rime_, &c. Confusion with _rime_, hoarfrost, is impossible, as the
context always decides which is meant; but it is worth notice that it is
the latter word which has the better title to an _h_, as the A. S. word for
hoarfrost is _hr[=i]m_. Tyrwhitt, in his edition of Chaucer, attempted two
reforms in spelling, viz. _rime_ for _rhyme_, and _coud_ for _could_. Both
are most rational, but probably unattainable.

_Thopas._ In the Supplement to Ducange we find--'_Thopasius_, pro Topasius,
Acta S. Wencesl. tom. 7. Sept. p. 806, col. 1.' The Lat. _topazius_ is our
_topaz_. The whole poem is a burlesque (see vol. iii. p. 423), and _Sir
Topaz_ is an excellent title for such a gem of a knight. The name _Topyas_
occurs in Richard Coer de Lion, ed. Weber, ii. 11, as that of a sister of
King Richard I; but no such name is known to history.

The metre is that commonly used before and in Chaucer's time by long-winded
ballad-makers. Examples of it occur in the Romances of Sir Percevall, Sir
Isumbras, Sir Eglamour, and Sir Degrevant (in the Thornton Romances, ed.
Halliwell), and in several romances in the Percy Folio MS. (ed. Hales and
Furnivall), such as Libius Disconius, Sir Triamour, Sir Eglamour, Guy and
Colbrande, The Grene Knight, &c.; see also Amis and Amiloun, and Sir Amadas
in Weber's Metrical Romances; and Lybeaus Disconus, The King of Tars, Le
Bone Florence, Emare, The Erle of Tolous, and Horn Childe in Ritson's
collection. To point out Chaucer's sly imitations of phrases, &c. would be
a long task; the reader would gain the best idea of his manner by reading
any one of these old ballads. To give a few illustrations is all that can
be attempted here; I refer the reader to Prof. Kölbing's elaborate article
in the Englische Studien, xi. 495, for further information; also to the
dissertation by C. J. Bennewitz mentioned in vol. iii. [184] p. 424. It is
remarkable that we find in Weber a ballad called 'The Hunting of the Hare,'
which is a pure burlesque, like Chaucer's, but a little broader in tone and
more obviously comic.

1902. _Listeth, lordes_, hearken, sirs. This is the usual style of
beginning. For example, Sir Bevis begins--

 '_Lordynges, lystenyth_, grete and smale';

and Sir Degaré begins--

 '_Lystenyth, lordynges_, gente and fre,
  Y wylle yow telle of syr Degaré.'

Warton well remarks--'This address to the lordings, requesting their
silence and attention, is a manifest indication that these ancient pieces
were originally sung to the harp, or recited before grand assemblies, upon
solemn occasions'; Obs. on F. Queene, p. 248.

1904. _solas_, mirth. See Prol. l. 798. 'This word is often used in
describing the festivities of elder days. "She and her ladyes called for
their minstrells, and _solaced_ themselves with the disports of dauncing";
Leland, Collectanea, v. 352. So in the Romance of Ywaine and Gawin:--

 "Full grete and gay was the assemble
  Of lordes and ladies of that cuntre,
  And als of knyghtes war and wyse,
  And damisels of mykel pryse;
  Ilkane with other made grete gamen
  And grete _solace_, &c."' (l. 19, ed. Ritson).
                     Todd's Illust. of Chaucer, p. 378.

1905. _gent_, gentle, gallant. Often applied to ladies, in the sense of
pretty. The first stanzas in Sir Isumbras and Sir Eglamour are much in the
same strain as this stanza.

1910. _Popering._ 'Poppering, or Poppeling, was the name of a parish in the
Marches of Calais. Our famous antiquary Leland was once rector of it. See
Tanner, Bib. Brit. in v. _Leland_.'--Tyrwhitt. Here _Calais_ means the
district, not the town. _Poperinge_ has a population of about 10,500, and
is situate about 26 miles S. by W. from Ostend, in the province of Belgium
called West Flanders, very near the French 'marches,' or border. Ypres (see
A. 448) is close beside it. _place_, the mansion or chief house in the
town. Dr. Pegge, in his Kentish Glossary, (Eng. Dial. Soc.), has--'_Place_,
that is, the manor-house. Hearne, in his pref. to Antiq. of Glastonbury, p.
xv, speaks of a _manour-place_.' He refers also to Strype's Annals, cap.

1915. _payndemayn._ 'The very finest and the _whitest_ [kind of bread] that
was known, was _simnel-bread_, which ... was as commonly known under the
name of _pain-demayn_ (afterwards corrupted into [_painmain_ or] _payman_);
a word which has given considerable trouble to Tyrwhitt and other
commentators on Chaucer, but which means no [185] more than "bread of our
Lord," from the figure of our Saviour, or the Virgin Mary, impressed upon
each round flat loaf, as is still the usage in Belgium with respect to
certain rich cakes much admired there'; Chambers, Book of Days, i. 119. The
Liber Albus (ed. Riley, p. 305) speaks of '_demesne_ bread, known as
_demeine_,' which Mr. Riley annotates by--'_Panis Dominicus_. Simnels made
of the very finest flour were thus called, from an impression upon them of
the effigy of our Saviour.' Tyrwhitt refers to the poem of the Freiris of
Berwick, in the Maitland MS., in which occur the expressions _breid of
mane_ and _mane breid_. It occurs also in Sir Degrevant (Thornton Romances,
p. 235):--

'_Paynemayn_ prevayly Sche brou[gh]th fram the pantry,' &c.

It is mentioned as a delicacy by Gower, Conf. Amantis, bk. vi. (ed. Pauli,
iii. 22).

1917. _rode_, complexion. _scarlet in grayn_, i. e. scarlet dyed in grain,
or of a fast colour. Properly, to dye _in_ grain meant to dye _with_ grain,
i. e. with cochineal. In fact, Chaucer uses the phrase '_with greyn_' in
the epilogue to the Nonne Prestes Tale; B. 4649. See the long note in
Marsh's Lectures on the English Language, ed. Smith, pp. 54-62, and the
additional note on p. 64. Cf. Shak. Tw. Nt. i. 5. 255.

1920. _saffroun_; i. e. of a yellow colour. Cf. Bottom's description of
beards--'I will discharge it in either your straw-colour beard, your
orange-tawney beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your
French-crown-colour beard, _your perfect yellow_'; Mids. Nt. Dr. i. 2. In
Lybeaus Disconus (ed. Ritson, Met. Rom. ii. 6, or ed. Kaluza, l. 139) a
dwarf's beard is described as 'yelow as ony wax.'

1924. _ciclatoun_, a costly material. From the O. Fr. _ciclaton_, the name
of a costly cloth. [It was early confused with the Latin _cyclas_, which
Ducange explains by 'vestis species, et panni genus.' The word _cyclas_
occurs in Juvenal (Sat. vi. 259), and is explained to mean a robe worn most
often by women, and adorned with a border of gold or purple; see also
Propertius, iv. 7. 40.] _Ciclatoun_, however, is of Eastern origin, as was
well suggested in the following note by Col. Yule in his edition of Marco
Polo, i. 249:--

'The term _suklát_ is applied in the Punjab trade-returns to _broadcloth_.
Does not this point to the real nature of the _siclatoun_ of the Middle
Ages? It is, indeed, often spoken of as used for banners, which implies
that it was not a heavy woollen. But it was also a material for ladies'
robes, for quilts, leggings, housings, pavilions. Michel does not decide
what it was, only that it was generally _red_ and wrought with gold. Dozy
renders it "silk stuff brocaded with gold," but this seems conjectural. Dr.
Rock says it was a thin glossy silken stuff, often with a woof of gold
thread, and seems to derive it from the Arabic _sakl_, "polishing" (a
sword), which is improbable.' Compare the following examples, shewing its
use for tents, banners, &c.:-- [186]

 'Off silk, cendale, and _syclatoun_
  Was the emperours pavyloun';...
 'Kyng Richard took the pavylouns
  Off sendels and off _sykelatouns_';
      Rich. Coer de Lion (Weber, ii. 90 and 201).

 'There was mony gonfanoun
  Of gold, sendel, and _siclatoun_';
                   Kyng Alisaunder (Weber, i. 85).

Richardson's Pers. and Arab. Dict. (ed. Johnson, 1829), p. 837, gives:
'Pers. _saqlat[=u]n_, scarlet cloth (whence Arab. _siql[=a]t_, a fine
painted or figured cloth)'; and the derivation is probably (as given in the
New E. Dict.) from the very Pers. word which has given us the word
_scarlet_; so that it was originally named from its colour. It was
afterwards applied to various kinds of costly materials, which were
sometimes embroidered with gold. See _Ciclaton_ in Godefroy, and in the New
E. Dict.; and _Scarlet_ in my Etym. Dictionary.

The matter has been much confused by a mistaken notion of Spenser's. Not
observing that Sir Thopas is here described in his robes of _peace_, not in
those of _war_ (as in a later stanza), he followed Thynne's spelling, viz.
_chekelatoun_, and imagined this to mean 'that kind of guilded leather with
which they [the Irish] use to embroder theyr Irish jackes'; View of the
State of Ireland, in Globe edition, p. 639, col. 2. And this notion he
carried out still more boldly in the lines--

 'But in a jacket, quilted richly rare
  Upon _cheklaton_, he was straungely dight';
                                     F. Q. vi. 7. 43.

1925. _Jane_, a small coin. The word is known to be a corruption of
_Genoa_, which is spelt _Jeane_ in Hall's Chronicles, fol. xxiv. So too we
find _Janueys_ and _Januayes_ for _Genoese_. See Bardsley's English
Surnames, s. v. _Janeway_. Stow, in his Survey of London, ed. 1599, p. 97,
says that some foreigners lived in Minchin Lane, who had come from _Genoa_,
and were commonly called galley-men, who landed wines, &c. from the galleys
at a place called 'galley-key' in Thames Street. 'They had a certaine coyne
of silver amongst themselves, which were half-pence of Genoa, and were
called _galley half-pence_. These half-pence were forbidden in the 13th
year of Henry IV, and again by parliament in the 3rd of Henry V, by the
name of _half-pence of Genoa_.... Notwithstanding, in my youth, I have seen
them passe currant,' &c. Chaucer uses the word again in the Clerkes Tale
(E. 999), and Spenser adopted it from Chaucer; F. Q. iii. 7. 58. Mr. Wright
observes that 'the _siclaton_ was a rich cloth or silk brought from the
East, and is therefore appropriately mentioned as bought with Genoese

1927. _for rivéer_, towards the river. This appears to be the best reading,
and we must take _for_ in close connexion with _ryde_; perhaps it [187] is
a mere imitation of the French _en riviere_. It alludes to the common
practice of seeking the river-side, because the best sport, in hawking, was
with herons and waterfowl. Tyrwhitt quotes from Froissart, v. 1. c.
140--'Le Comte de Flandres estoit tousjours _en riviere_--un jour advint
qu'il alla voller _en la riviere_--et getta son fauconnier un faucon _apres
le heron_.' And again, in c. 210, he says that Edward III 'alloit, chacun
jour, ou _en chace_ on _en riviere_,' &c. So we read of Sir Eglamour:--

 'Sir Eglamore took the way
  to the riuèr ffull right';
                         Percy Folio MS. ii. 347.

Of Ipomydon's education we learn that his tutor taught him to sing, to
read, to serve in hall, to carve the meat, and

 'Bothe of howndis and haukis game
  Aftir he taught hym, all and same,
  In se, in feld, and eke _in ryuere_,
  In wodde _to chase the wild dere_,
  And in the feld to ryde a stede,
  That all men had joy of his dede.'
               Weber's Met. Romances, ii. 283.

See also the Squire of Low Degree, in Ritson, vol. iii. p. 177.

1931. _ram_, the usual prize at a wrestling match. Cf. Gk. [Greek:

_stonde_, i. e. be placed in the sight of the competitors; be seen. Cf.
Prol. A. 548, and the Tale of Gamelyn, 172. Tyrwhitt says--'Matthew Paris
mentions a wrestling-match at Westminster, A.D. 1222, in which a ram was
the prize, p. 265.' Cf. also--

 'At wresteling, and at ston-castynge
  He wan the prys without lesynge,' &c.;
    Octouian Imperator, in Weber's Met. Rom. iii. 194.

1933. _paramour_, longingly; a common expression; see the Glossary.

1937. _hepe_, mod. E. 'hip,' the fruit of the dog-rose; A. S. _h[=e]ope_.

1938. Compare--'So hyt be-felle upon a day'; Erle of Tolous, Ritson's Met.
Rom. iii. 134. Of course it is a common phrase in these romances.

1941. _worth_, lit. became; _worth upon_ = became upon, got upon. It is a
common phrase; compare--

 'Ipomydon sterte vp that tyde;
  Anon he _worthyd vppon_ his stede';
                     Weber, Met. Rom. ii. 334.

1942. _launcegay_, a sort of lance. Gower has the word, Conf. Amant. bk.
viii. (ed. Pauli, iii. 369). Cowel says its use was prohibited by the
statute of 7 Rich. II, cap. 13. Camden mentions it in his Remaines, p. 209.
Tyrwhitt quotes, from Rot. Parl. 29 Hen. VI, n. 8, the following--'And the
said Evan then and there with a _launcegaye_ smote the said William Tresham
throughe the body a foote and more, wherof he died.' Sir Walter Raleigh
(quoted by Richardson) [188] says--'These carried a kind of _lance de gay_,
sharp at both ends, which they held in the midst of the staff.' But this is
certainly a corrupt form. It is no doubt a corruption of _lancezagay_, from
the Spanish _azagaya_, a word of Moorish origin. Cotgrave gives--'_Zagaye_,
a fashion of slender, long, and long-headed pike, used by the Moorish
horsemen.' It seems originally to have been rather a short weapon, a kind
of half-pike or dart. The Spanish word is well discussed in Dozy, Glossaire
des mots Espagnols et Portugais dérivés de l'Arabe, 2nd ed. p. 225. The
Spanish _azagaya_ is for _az-zagaya_, where _az_ is for the definite
article _al_, and _zagaya_ is a Berber or Algerian word, not given in the
Arabic dictionaries. It is found in Old Spanish of the fourteenth century.
Dozy quotes from a writer who explains it as a Moorish half-pike, and also
gives the following passage from Laugier de Tassy, Hist. du royaume
d'Alger, p. 58--'Leurs armes sont _l'azagaye_, qui est une espéce de _lance
courte_, qu'ils portent toujours à la main.' The Caffre word _assagai_, in
the sense of javelin, was simply borrowed from the Portuguese _azagaia_.

1949. _a sory care_, a grievous misfortune. Chaucer does not say what this
was, but a passage in Amis and Amiloun (ed. Weber, ii. 410) makes it
probable that Sir Thopas nearly killed his horse, which would have been
grievous indeed; see l. 1965 below. The passage I allude to is as

 'So long he priked, withouten abod,
  The stede that he on rode,
    In a fer cuntray,
  Was ouercomen and fel doun ded;
  Tho couthe he no better red [_counsel_];
    His song was "waileway!"'

Readers of Scott will remember Fitz-James's lament over his 'gallant grey.'

1950. This can hardly be other than a burlesque upon the Squire of Low
Degree (ed. Ritson, iii. 146), where a long list of _trees_ is followed up,
as here, by a list of _singing-birds_. Compare also the Romaunt of the
Rose, l. 1367:--

 'There was eek wexing many a spyce,
  As _clow-gelofre_ and _licoryce_,
  Gingere, and greyn de paradys,
  Canelle, and _setewale_ of prys,' &c.

Observe the mention of _notemigges_ in the same, l. 1361.

Line 21 of the Milleres Tale (A. 3207) runs similarly:--

 'Of _licorys_ or any _setewale_.'

Maundeville speaks of the _clowe-gilofre_ and _notemuge_ in his 26th
chapter; see Specimens of E. Eng. ed. Morris and Skeat, p. 171. _Cetewale_
is generally explained as the herb valerian, but is certainly zedoary; see
the Glossary. _Clowe-gilofre_, a clove; _notemuge_, a [189] nutmeg. 'Spiced
ale' is amongst the presents sent by Absolon to Alisoun in the Milleres
Tale (A. 3378). Cf. the list of spices in King Alisaunder, ed. Weber,

1955. _leye in cofre_, to lay in a box.

1956. Compare Amis and Amiloun, ed. Weber, ii, 391:--

 'She herd the foules grete and smale,
  The swete note of the nightingale,
    Ful mirily sing on tre.'

See also Romaunt of the Rose, ll. 613-728. But Chaucer's burlesque is far
surpassed by a curious passage in the singular poem of The Land of
Cockaygne (MS. Harl. 913), ll. 71-100:--

 'In þe praer [_meadow_] is a tre
  Swiþe likful for to se.
  Þe rote is gingeuir and galingale,
  Þe siouns beþ al _sed_[_e_]_wale_;
  Trie maces beþ þe flure;
  Þe rind, canel of swet odur;
  Þe frute, _gilofre_ of gode smakke, &c.
    Þer beþ briddes mani and fale,
  Þ_rostil_, þruisse, and ni[gh]tingale,
  Chalandre and wod[e]wale,
  And oþer briddes wiþout tale [_number_],
  Þat stinteþ neuer by har mi[gh]t
  Miri to sing[e] dai and ni[gh]t,' &c.

1964. _as he were wood_, as if he were mad, 'like mad.' So in Amis and
Amiloun (ed. Weber), ii. 419:--

 'He priked his stede _night and day_
  As a gentil knight, stout and gay.'

Cf. note to l. 1949.

1974. _seinte_, being feminine, and in the vocative case, is certainly a
dissyllable here--'O seintè Márie, _ben'cite_.' Cf. note to B. 1170 above.

1977. _Me dremed_, I dreamt. Both _dremen_ (to dream) and _meten_ (also to
dream) are sometimes used with a dative case and reflexively in Old
English. In the Nonne Prestes Tale we have _me mette_ (l. 74) and _this man
mette_ (l. 182); B. 4084, 4192.

1978. _An elf-queen._ Mr. Price says--'There can be little doubt that at
one period the popular creed made the same distinctions between the Queen
of Faerie and the Elf-queen that were observed in Grecian mythology between
their undoubted parallels, Artemis and Persephone.' Chaucer makes
Proserpine the 'queen of faerie' in his Marchauntes Tale; but at the
beginning of the Wyf of Bathes Tale, he describes the _elf-queen_ as the
queen of the _fairies_, and makes _elf_ and _fairy_ synonymous. Perhaps
this _elf-queen_ in Sire Thopas (called the _queen of fairye_ in l. 2004)
may have given Spenser the hint for _his_ Faerie [190] Queene. But the
subject is a vast one. See Price's Preface, in Warton's Hist. Eng. Poetry,
ed. Hazlitt, pp. 30-36; Halliwell's Illustrations of Fairy Mythology;
Keightley's Fairy Mythology; Warton's Observations on the Faerie Queene,
sect. ii; Sir W. Scott's ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, &c.

1979. _under my gore_, within my robe or garment. In l. 2107 (on which see
the note) we have _under wede_ signifying merely 'in his dress.' We have a
somewhat similar phrase here, in which, however, _gore_ (lit. gusset) is
put for the whole robe or garment. That it was a mere phrase, appears from
other passages. Thus we find _under gore_, under the dress, Owl and
Nightingale, l. 515; Reliquiae Antiquae, vol. i. p. 244, vol. ii. p. 210;
with three more examples in the Gloss. to Böddeker's Altenglische
Dichtungen des MS. Harl. 2253. In one of these a lover addresses his lady
as 'geynest under gore,' i. e. fairest within a dress. For the exact sense
of _gore_, see note to A. 3237.

1983. _In toune_, in the town, in the district. But it must not be supposed
that much _sense_ is intended by this inserted line. It is a mere tag, in
imitation of some of the romances. Either Chaucer has neglected to conform
to the new kind of stanza which he now introduces (which is most likely),
or else three lines have been lost before this one. The next three stanzas
are longer, viz. of _ten_ lines each, of which only the seventh is very
short. For good examples of these short lines, see Sir Gawayne and the
Greene Kny[gh]t, ed. Morris; and for a more exact account of the metres
here employed, see vol. iii. p. 425.

1993. _So wilde._ Instead of this short line, Tyrwhitt has:--

 'Wherin he soughte North and South,
  And oft he spied with his mouth
    In many a forest wilde.'

But none of our seven MSS. agrees with this version, nor are these lines
found in the black-letter editions. The notion of _spying_ with one's
_mouth_ seems a little too far-fetched.

1995. This line is supplied from MS. Reg. 17 D. 15, where Tyrwhitt found
it; but something is so obviously required here, that we must insert it to
make some sense. It suits the tone of the context to say that 'neither wife
nor child durst oppose him.' We may, however, bear in mind that the meeting
of a knight-errant with one of these often preceded some great adventure.
'And in the midst of an highway he [Sir Lancelot] met a damsel riding on a
white palfrey, and there either saluted other. Fair damsel, said Sir
Lancelot, know ye in this country any adventures? Sir knight, said that
damsel, here are adventures near hand, and thou durst prove them'; Sir T.
Malory, Morte Arthur, bk. vi. cap. vii. The result was that Lancelot fought
with Sir Turquine, and defeated him. Soon after, he was 'required of a
damsel to heal her brother'; and again, 'at the request of a lady' he
recovered a falcon; an adventure which ended in a fight, as usual. Kölbing
points out a parallel line in Sir Guy of Warwick, 45-6:-- [191]

 'In all Englond ne was ther none
  That durste in wrath ayenst hym goon';
                     Caius MS., ed. Zupitza, p. 5.

1998. _Olifaunt_, i. e. Elephant; a proper name, as Tyrwhitt observes, for
a giant. Maundeville has the form _olyfauntes_ for _elephants_. By some
confusion the Moeso-Goth. _ulbandus_ and A. S. _olfend_ are made to signify
a _camel_. Spenser has put Chaucer's _Olifaunt_ into his Faerie Queene, bk.
iii. c. 7. st. 48, and makes him the brother of the giantess Argantè, and
son of Typhoeus and Earth. The following description of a giant is from
Libius Disconius (Percy Folio MS. vol. ii. p. 465):--

 'He beareth haires on his brow
  Like the bristles of a sow,
    His head is great and stout;
  Eche arme is the lenght of an ell,
  His fists beene great and fell,
    Dints for to driue about.'

Sir Libius says:--

 'If God will me grace send,
  Or this day come to an end
      I hope him for to spill,' &c.

Another giant, 20 feet long, and 2 ells broad, with two boar's tusks, and
also with brows like bristles of a swine, appears in Octouian Imperator,
ed. Weber, iii. 196. See also the alliterative Morte Arthure, ed. Brock, p.

2000. _child_; see note to l. 2020. _Termagaunt_; one of the idols whom the
Saracens (in the medieval romances) are supposed to worship. See The King
of Tars, ed. Ritson (Met. Rom., ii. 174-182), where the Sultan's gods are
said to be Jubiter, Jovin (both forms of Jupiter), Astrot (Astarte), Mahoun
(Mahomet), Appolin (Apollo), Plotoun (Pluto), and _Tirmagaunt_. Lybeaus
Disconus (Ritson, Met. Rom. ii. 55) fought with a giant 'that levede yn
Termagaunt.' The Old French form is _Tervagant_, Ital. _Tervagante_ or
_Trivigante_, as in Ariosto. Wheeler, in his Noted Names of Fiction, gives
the following account--'Ugo Foscolo says: "_Trivigante_, whom the
predecessors of Ariosto always couple with Apollino, is really Diana
_Trivia_, the sister of the classical Apollo.".... According to Panizzi,
_Trivagante_ or _Tervagante_ is the Moon, or Diana, or Hecate, _wandering
under three names_. _Termagant_ was an imaginary being, supposed by the
crusaders, who confounded Mahometans with pagans, to be a Mahometan deity.
This imaginary personage was introduced into early English plays and
moralities, and was represented as of a most violent character, so that a
ranting actor might always appear to advantage in it. See Hamlet, iii. 2.
15.' Fairfax, in his translation of Tasso (c. i. st. 84), speaks of
Termagaunt and Mahound, but Tasso mentions 'Macometto' only. See also
Spenser, F. Q. vi. 7. 47. Hence comes our _termagant_ in the sense of a
noisy boisterous woman. Shakespeare has--'that hot [192] _termagant_ Scot';
1 Hen. IV., v. 2. 114. Cf. Ritson's note, Met. Rom. iii. 257.

2002. _slee_, will slay. In Anglo-Saxon, there being no distinct future
tense, it is expressed by the present. Cf. _go_ for _will go_ in 'we also
_go_ with thee'; John xxi. 3.

2005. _simphonye_, the name of a kind of tabor. In Ritson's Ancient Songs,
i. lxiv., is a quotation from Hawkins's Hist. of Music, ii. 284, in which
that author cites a passage from Batman's translation of Bartholomaeus de
Proprietatibus Rerum, to the effect that the _symphonie_ was 'an instrument
of musyke ... made of an holowe tree [i. e. piece of wood], closyd in
lether in eyther syde; and mynstrels beteth it with styckes.' Probably the
_symphangle_ was the same instrument. In Rob. of Brunne's Handlyng Synne,
ll. 4772-3, we find:--

 'Yn harpe, yn thabour, and _symphangle_,
  Wurschepe God, yn trumpes and sautre.'

Godefroy gives the O. F. spellings _cifonie_, _siphonie_, _chifonie_,
_cinfonie_, _cymphonie_, &c.; all clearly derived from the Greek [Greek:
sumphônia]; see Luke, xv. 25. Cf. Squyre of Lowe Degre, 1070-7.

2007. _al-so mote I thee_, as I may thrive; or, as I hope to thrive; a
common expression. Cf. 'So mote y thee'; Sir Eglamour, ed. Halliwell, l.
430; Occleve, De Regimine Principum, st. 620. Chaucer also uses 'so thee
ik,' i. e. so thrive I, in the Reves Prologue (A. 3864) and elsewhere.

2012. _Abyen it ful soure_, very bitterly shalt thou pay for it. There is a
confusion between A. S. _súr_, sour, and A. S. _sár_, sore, in this and
similar phrases; both were used once, but now we should use _sorely_, not
_sourly_. In Layamon, l. 8158, we find 'þou salt it sore abugge,' thou
shalt sorely pay for it; on the other hand, we find in P. Plowman, B. ii.

 'It shal bisitte [gh]owre soules · ful _soure_ atte laste.'

So also in the C-text, though the A-text has _sore_. Note that in another
passage, P. Plowman, B. xviii. 401, the phrase is--'Thow shalt abye it
_bittre_.' For _abyen_, see the Glossary.

2015. _fully pryme._ See note to Nonne Prestes Tale, B. 4045. _Prime_
commonly means the period from 6 to 9 a.m. _Fully prime_ refers to the end
of that period, or 9 a.m.; and even _prime_ alone may be used with the same
explicit meaning, as in the Nonne Pres. Ta., B. 4387.

2019. _staf-slinge._ Tyrwhitt observes that Lydgate describes David as
armed only 'with a _staffe-slynge_, voyde of plate and mayle.' It certainly
means a kind of sling in which additional power was gained by fastening the
lithe part of it on to the end of a stiff stick. _Staff-slyngeres_ are
mentioned in the romance of Richard Coer de Lion, l. 4454, in Weber's
Metrical Romances, ii. 177. In Col. Yule's edition of Marco Polo, ii. 122,
is a detailed description of the artillery engines of the middle ages. They
can all be reduced to two classes; those [193] which, like the trebuchet
and mangonel, are enlarged staff-slings, and those which, like the arblast
and springold, are great cross-bows. Conversely, we might describe a
staff-sling as a hand-trebuchet.

2020. _child Thopas._ _Child_ is an appellation given to both knights and
squires, in the early romances, at an age when they had long passed the
period which we now call childhood. A good example is to be found in the
Erle of Tolous, ed. Ritson, iii. 123:--

 'He was a feyre chylde, and a bolde,
  _Twenty wyntur he was oolde_,
    In londe was none so free.'

Compare Romance of 'Horn Childe and Maiden Rimnild,' pr. in Ritson, iii.
282; the ballad of Childe Waters, &c. Byron, in his preface to Childe
Harold, says--'It is almost superfluous to mention that the appellation
"Childe," as "Childe Waters," "Childe Childers," &c., is used as more
consonant with the old structure of versification which I have adopted.' He
adopts, however, the late and artificial metre of Spenser.

2023. A palpable imitation. The first three lines of Sir Bevis of Hampton
(MS. Camb. Univ. Lib. Ff. ii. 38, leaf 94, back) are--

 'Lordynges, lystenyth, grete and smale,
  _Meryar then the nyghtyngale_
    I wylle yow synge.

In a long passage in Todd's Illustrations to Chaucer, pp. 284-292, it is
contended that _mery_ signifies sweet, pleasant, agreeable, without
relation to mirth. Chaucer describes the Frere as wanton and _merry_, Prol.
A. 208; he speaks of the _merry_ day, Kn. Ta. 641 (A. 1499); a _merry_
city, N. P. Ta. 251 (B. 4261); of Arcite being told by Mercury to be
_merry_, i. e. of good cheer, Kn. Ta. 528 (A. 1386); in the Manciple's Tale
(H. 138), the crow sings _merrily_, and makes a _sweet_ noise;
Chanticleer's voice was _merrier_ than the _merry_ organ, N. P. Ta. 31 (B.
4041); the 'erbe yve' is said to be _merry_, i. e. pleasant, agreeable, id.
146 (B. 4156); the Pardoner (Prol. A. 714) sings _merrily_ and loud. We
must remember, however, that the Host, being 'a _mery_ man,' began to speak
of '_mirthe_'; Prol. A. 757, 759. A very early example of the use of the
word occurs in the song attributed to Canute--'_Merie_ sungen the Muneches
binnen Ely,' &c. See the phrase '_mery_ men' in l. 2029.

2028. The phrase _to come to toune_ seems to mean no more than simply _to
return_. Cf. Specimens of E. Eng., ed. Morris and Skeat, p. 48--

 'Lenten ys _come_ wiþ loue _to toune_'--

which merely means that spring, with its thoughts of love, has _returned_.
See the note on that line.

2034. _for paramour_, for love; but the _par_, or else the _for_, is
redundant. _Iolite_, amusement; used ironically in the Kn. Ta. 949 (A.
1807). Sir Thopas is going to fight the giant for the love and amusement of
[194] one who shone full bright; i. e. a fair lady, of course. But Sir
Thopas, in dropping this mysterious hint to his merry men, refrains from
saying much about it, as he had not yet seen the Fairy Queen, and had only
the giant's word for her place of abode. The use of the past tense _shone_
is artful; it implies that he wished them to think that he _had_ seen his
lady-love; or else that her beauty was to be taken for granted. Observe,
too, that it is _Sir Thopas_, not _Chaucer_, who assigns to the giant his
_three_ heads.

2035. _Do come_, cause to come; go and call hither. Cf. House of Fame, l.

 'Of alle maner of _minstrales_,
  And _gestiours_, _that tellen tales_
  Bothe of weping and of _game_.'

Tyrwhitt's note on _gestours_ is--'The proper business of a _gestour_ was
to _recite tales_, or _gestes_; which was only _one_ of the branches of the
Minstrel's profession. _Minstrels_ and _gestours_ are mentioned together in
the following lines from William of Nassyngton's Translation of a religious
treatise by John of Waldby; MS. Reg. 17 C. viii. p. 2:--

  I warne you furst at the beginninge,
  That I will make no vain carpinge
  Of dedes of armys ne of amours,
  As dus _mynstrelles_ and _jestours_,
  That makys carpinge in many a place
  Of _Octoviane_ and _Isembrase_,
  And of many other _jestes_,
  And namely, whan they come to festes;
  Ne of the life of _Bevys of Hampton_,
  That was a knight of gret renoun,
  Ne of _Sir Gye of Warwyke_,
  All if it might sum men lyke, &c.

I cite these lines to shew the species of tales related by the ancient
Gestours, and how much they differed from what we now call _jests_.'

The word _geste_ here means a tale of the adventures of some hero, like
those in the _Chansons de geste_. Cf. note to l. 2123 below. Sometimes the
plural _gestes_ signifies passages of history. The famous collection called
the Gesta Romanorum contains narratives of very various kinds.

2038. _royales_, royal; some MSS. spell the word _reales_, but the meaning
is the same. In the romance of Ywain and Gawain (Ritson, vol. i.) a maiden
is described as reading 'a _real_ romance.' Tyrwhitt thinks that the term
originated with an Italian collection of romances relating to Charlemagne,
which began with the words--'Qui se comenza la hystoria el _Real di
Franza_,' &c.; edit. Mutinae, 1491, folio. It was reprinted in 1537, with a
title beginning--'_I reali di Franza_,' &c. He refers to Quadrío, t. vi. p.
530. The word _roial_ (in some MSS. _real_) [195] occurs again in l. 2043.
Kölbing remarks that the prose romance of Generides is called _a royal
historie_, though it has nothing to do with Charlemagne.

2043. No comma is required at the end of this line; the articles mentioned
in ll. 2044-6 all belong to _spicery_. Cf. additional note to Troilus, vol.
ii. p. 506.

2047. _dide_, did on, put on. The arming of Lybeaus Disconus is thus
described in Ritson's Met. Rom. ii. 10:--

 'They caste on hym a scherte of selk,
  A gypell as whyte as melk,
    In that semely sale;
  And syght [_for_ sith] an hawberk bryght,
  That rychely was adyght
    Wyth mayles thykke and smale.'

2048. _lake_, linen; see Glossary. 'De panno de lake'; York Wills, iii. 4
(anno 1395).

2050. _aketoun_, a short sleeveless tunic. Cf. Liber Albus, p. 376.

 'And Florentyn, with hys ax so broun,
    All thorgh he smoot
  Arm and mayle, and _akketoun_,
    Thorghout hyt bot [_bit_]';
                   Octouian, ed. Weber, iii. 205.

 'For plate, ne for _acketton_,
  For hauberk, ne for campeson';
         Richard Coer de Lion, ed. Weber, ii. 18.

The Glossary to the Percy Folio MS., ed. Hales and Furnivall,
has--'_Acton_, a wadded or quilted tunic worn under the
hauberk.--_Planché_, i. 108.' Thynne, in his Animadversions (Early Eng.
Text Soc.), p. 24, says--'_Haketon_ is a slevelesse jackett of plate for
the warre, couered withe anye other stuffe; at this day also called _a
jackett of plate_.'

It is certain that the plates were a later addition. It is the mod. F.
_hoqueton_, O. F. _auqueton_; and it is certain that the derivation is from
Arab. _al-qoton_ or _al-qutun_, lit. 'the cotton'; so that it was
originally made of quilted _cotton_. See _auqueton_ in Godefroy, _hoqueton_
in Devic's Supp. to Littré, and _Acton_ in the New E. Dict.

2051. _habergeoun_, coat of mail. See Prol. A. 76, and the note.

2052. _For percinge_, as a protection against the piercing. So in P.
Plowman, B. vi. 62, Piers puts on his cuffs, 'for colde of his nailles,'
i. e. as a protection against the cold. So too in the Rom. of the Rose, l.

2053. The hauberk is here put on as an upper coat of mail, of finer
workmanship and doubtless more flexible.

 'The _hauberk_ was al reed of rust,
  His platys thykke and swythe just';
                     Octouian, ed. Weber, iii. 200.

 'He was armed wonder weel,
  And al with plates off good steel,
  _And ther aboven, an hawberk_';
         Richard Coer de Lion, ed. Weber, ii. 222.

2054. _Jewes werk_, Jew's work. Tyrwhitt imagined that _Jew_ here means a
magician, but there is not the least foundation for the idea. Mr. Jephson
is equally at fault in connecting _Jew_ with _jewel_, since the latter word
is etymologically connected with _joy_. The phrase still remains
unexplained. I suspect it means no more than wrought with rich or expensive
work, such as Jews could best find the money for. It is notorious that they
were the chief capitalists, and they must often have had to find money for
paying armourers. Or, indeed, it may refer to damascened work; from the
position of Damascus.

2055. _plate._ Probably the hauberk had a breastplate on the front of it.
But on the subject of armour, I must refer the reader to Godwin's English
Archaeologist's Handbook, pp. 252-268; Planché's History of British
Costume, and Sir S. R. Meyrick's Observations on Body-armour, in the
Archaeologia, vol. xix. pp. 120-145.

2056. The _cote-armour_ was not for defence, but a mere surcoat on which
the knight's armorial bearings were usually depicted, in order to identify
him in the combat or 'debate.' Hence the modern _coat-of-arms_.

2059. _reed_, red. In the Romances, _gold_ is always called _red_, and
silver _white_. Hence it was not unusual to liken gold to blood, and this
explains why Shakespeare speaks of armour being _gilt_ with blood (King
John, ii. 1. 316), and makes Lady Macbeth talk of _gilding_ the groom's
faces with blood (Macbeth, ii. 2. 56). See also Coriol. v. 1. 63, 64; and
the expression 'blood bitokeneth gold'; Cant. Tales, D. 581.

2060. Cf. Libeaus Desconus, ed. Kaluza, 1657-8:--

 'His scheld was asur fin,
  Thre bores heddes ther-inne.'

And see the editor's note, at p. 201.

2061. 'A carbuncle (Fr. _escarboucle_) was a common [armorial] bearing. See
Guillim's Heraldry, p. 109.'--Tyrwhitt.

2062. Sir Thopas is made to swear by ale and bread, in ridiculous imitation
of the vows made by the swan, the heron, the pheasant, or the peacock, on
solemn occasions.

2065. _Iambeux_, armour worn in front of the shins, above the mail-armour
that covered the legs; see Fairholt. He tells us that, in Roach Smith's
Catalogue of London Antiquities, p. 132, is figured a pair of cuirbouilly
jambeux, which are fastened by thongs. Spenser borrows the word, but spells
it _giambeux_, F. Q. ii. 6. 29.

_quirboilly_, i. e. _cuir bouilli_, leather soaked in hot water to soften
it that it might take any required shape, after which it was dried and
became exceedingly stiff and hard. In Matthew Paris (anno 1243) it is [197]
said of the Tartars--'De _coriis bullitis_ sibi arma leuia quidem, sed
tamen impenetrabilia coaptarunt.' In Marco Polo, ed. Yule, ii. 49, it is
said of the men of Carajan, that they wear armour of boiled leather (French
text, _armes cuiracés de cuir bouilli_). Froissart (v. iv. cap. 19) says
the Saracens covered their targes with '_cuir bouilli_ de Cappadoce, ou nul
fer ne peut prendre n'attacher, si le cuir n'est trop échaufé.' When Bruce
reviewed his troops on the morning of the battle of Bannockburn, he wore,
according to Barbour, 'ane hat of _qwyrbolle_' on his 'basnet,' and 'ane
hye croune' above that. Some remarks on _cuir bouilli_ will be found in
Cutts, Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages, p. 344.

2068. _rewel-boon_, probably whale-ivory, or ivory made of whales' teeth.
In the Turnament of Tottenham, as printed in Percy's reliques, we read that
Tyb had 'a garland on her hed ful of _rounde_ bonys,' where another copy
has (says Halliwell, s. v. _ruel_) the reading--'fulle of _ruelle_-bones.'
Halliwell adds--'In the romaunce of Rembrun, p. 458, the coping of a wall
is mentioned as made 'of fin _ruwal_, that schon swithe brighte.' And in
MS. Camb. Univ. Lib. Ff. v. 48, fol. 119, is the passage--

 'Hir sadill_e_ was of _reuylle-bone_,
    Semely was þ_a_t sight to se,
  Stifly sette w_i_t_h_ p_re_cious ston_e_,
    Compaste about w_i_t_h_ crapote [_toad-stone_].'

In Sir Degrevant, 1429, a roof is said to be--

       'buskyd above
  With besauntus ful bryghth,
  All of _ruel-bon_,' &c.

Quite near the beginning of the Vie de Seint Auban, ed. Atkinson, we have--

 'mes ne ert d'or adubbee, ne d'autre metal,
  de peres preciuses, de ivoire ne _roal_';

i. e. but it was not adorned with gold nor other metal, nor with precious
stones, nor ivory, nor _rewel_. Du Cange gives a Low Lat. form _rohanlum_,
and an O. Fr. _rochal_, but tells us that the MS. readings are _rohallum_
and _rohal_. The passage occurs in the Laws of Normandy about wreckage, and
should run--'dux sibi retinet ... ebur, _rohallum_, lapides pretiosas'; or,
in the French version, 'l'ivoire, et le _rohal_, et les pierres
precieuses.' Ducange explains the word by 'rock-crystal,' but this is a
pure guess, suggested by F. _roche_, a rock. It is clear that, when the
word is spelt _rochal_, the _ch_ denotes the same sound as the Ger. _ch_, a
guttural resembling _h_, and not the F. _ch_ at all. Collecting all the
spellings, we find them to be, in French, _rohal_, _rochal_, _roal_; and,
in English, _ruwal_, _rewel_, _ruel_, (_reuylle_, _ruelle_). The _h_ and
_w_ might arise from a Teutonic _hw_, so that the latter part of the word
was originally -_hwal_, i. e. whale; hence, perhaps, Godefroy explains F.
_rochal_ as 'ivoire de morse,' ivory of the walrus (A. S. _hors-hwæl_). The
[198] true origin seems rather to be some Norse form akin to Norweg.
_röyrkval_ (E. _rorqual_). Some whales, as the _cachalot_, have teeth that
afford a kind of ivory; and this is what seems to be alluded to. The
expression 'white as _whale-bone_,' i. e. white as whale-ivory, was once
common; see Weber's Met. Romances, iii. 350; and _whales-bone_ in Nares.
Most of this ivory was derived, however, from the tusk of the walrus or the
narwhal. Sir Thopas's saddle was ornamented with ivory.

2071. _cipress_, cypress-wood. In the Assembly of Foules, l. 179, we have--

 'The sailing firr, the _cipres_, deth to pleyne'--

i. e. the cypress suitable for lamenting a death. Vergil calls the cypress
'atra,' Æn. iii. 64, and 'feralis,' vi. 216; and as it is so frequently a
symbol of mourning, it may be said to _bode war_.

2078. In Sir Degrevant (ed. Halliwell, p. 191) we have just this

 'Here endyth the furst fit.
  Howe say ye? will ye any more of hit?'

2085. _love-drury_, courtship. All the six MSS. have this reading.
According to Wright, the Harl. MS. has 'Of ladys loue and drewery,' which
Tyrwhitt adopts; but it turns out that Wright's reading is _copied from
Tyrwhitt_; the MS. really has--'And of ladys loue drewery,' like the rest.

2088. The romance or lay of Horn appears in two forms in English. In King
Horn, ed. Lumby, Early Eng. Text Soc., 1866, printed also in Mätzner's
Altenglische Sprachproben, i. 207, the form of the poem is in short rimed
couplets. But Chaucer no doubt refers to the other form with the title
_Horn Childe_ and Maiden Rimnild, _in a metre similar to Sir Thopas_,
printed in Ritson's Metrical Romances, iii. 282. The Norman-French text was
printed by F. Michel for the Bannatyne Club, with the English versions, in
a volume entitled--Horn et Riemenhild; Recueil de ce qui reste des poëmes
relatifs à leurs aventures, &c. Paris, 1845. See Mr. Lumby's preface and
the remarks in Mätzner.

It is not quite clear why Chaucer should mention the romance of Sir Ypotis
here, as it has little in common with the rest. There are four MS. copies
of it in the British Museum, and three at Oxford. 'It professes to be a
tale of holy writ, and the work of St. John the Evangelist. The scene is
Rome. A child, named Ypotis, appears before the Emperor Adrian, saying that
he is come to teach men God's law; whereupon the Emperor proceeds to
interrogate him as to what is God's Law, and then of many other matters,
not in any captious spirit, but with the utmost reverence and faith....
There is a little tract in prose on the same legend from the press of
Wynkyn de Worde'; J. W. Hales, in Hazlitt's edition of Warton's Hist. of
Eng. Poetry, ii. 183. It was printed in 1881, from the Vernon MS. at
Oxford, in Horstmann's Altenglische Legenden, Neue Folge, pp. 341-8. It is
hard to believe that, by Ypotys, Chaucer meant (as some say) Ypomadoun.

The romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton (i. e. Southampton) was printed from
the Auchinleck MS. for the Maitland Club in 1838, 4to. Another copy is in
MS. Ff. 2. 38, in the Cambridge University Library. It has lately been
edited, from six MS. copies and an old printed text, by Prof. Kölbing, for
the Early Eng. Text Society. There is an allusion in it to the _Romans_,
meaning the French original. It appears in prose also, in various forms.
See Warton's Hist. of Eng. Poetry, ed. Hazlitt, ii. 142, where there is
also an account of Sir Guy, in several forms; but a still fuller account of
Sir Guy is given in the Percy Folio MS., ed. Hales and Furnivall, ii. 509.
This Folio MS. itself contains three poems on the latter subject, viz. Guy
and Amarant, Guy and Colbrande, and Guy and Phillis. 'Sir Guy of Warwick'
has been edited for the Early Eng. Text Society by Prof. Zupitza.

By _Libeux_ is meant Lybeaus Disconus, printed by Ritson in his Metrical
Romances, vol. ii. from the Cotton MS. Caligula A. 2. A later copy, with
the title Libius Disconius, is in the Percy Folio MS. ii. 404, where a good
account of the romance may be found. The best edition is that by Dr. Max
Kulaza, entitled Libeaus Desconus; Leipzig, 1890. The French original was
discovered in 1855, in a MS. belonging to the Duc d'Aumale. Its title is Li
Biaus Desconneus, which signifies The Fair Unknown.

_Pleyndamour_ evidently means _plein d'amour_, full of love, and we may
suspect that the original romance was in French; but there is now no trace
of any romance of that name, though a Sir Playne de Amours is mentioned in
Sir T. Malory's Morte Darthur, bk. ix. c. 7. Spenser probably borrowed
hence his _Sir Blandamour_, F. Q. iv. 1. 32.

2092. After examining carefully the rimes in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales,
Mr. Bradshaw finds that this is the _sole_ instance in which a word which
ought etymologically to end in -_yë_ is rimed with a word ending in -_y_
without a following final e. A reason for the exception is easily found;
for Chaucer has here adopted the swing of the ballad metre, and hence
ventures to deprive _chiualryë_ of its final _e_, and to call it
_chivalry'_ so that it may rime with _Gy_, after the manner of the
ballad-writers; cf. Squyre of Lowe Degre, 79, 80. So again _chivalryë_,
_druryë_ become _chivalry_, _drury_; ll. 2084, 2085. We even find _plas_
for _plac-e_, 1971; and _gras_ for _grac-e_, 2021.

2094. _glood_, glided. So in all the MSS. except E., which has the poor
reading _rood_, rode. For the expression in l. 2095, compare--

 'But whenne he was horsede on a stede,
  He sprange als any sparke one [_read_ of] glede';
                     Sir Isumbras, ed. Halliwell, p. 107.

 'Lybeaus was redy boun,
  And lepte out of the arsoun [_bow of the saddle_]
    As sperk thogh out of glede';
                     Lybeaus Disconus, in Ritson, ii. 27.

 'Then sir Lybius with ffierce hart,
  Out of his saddle swythe he start
    As sparcle doth out of fyer';
                   Percy Folio MS. ii. 440.

2106. The first few lines of the romance of Sir Perceval of Galles (ed.
Halliwell, p. 1) will at once explain Chaucer's allusion. It begins--

 'Lef, lythes to me
  Two wordes or thre
  Of one that was faire and fre
    And felle in his fighte;
  His right name was _Percyvelle_,
  He was fostered in the felle,
  _He dranke water of the welle_,
    And [gh]itt was he wyghte!'

Both Sir Thopas and Sir Perceval were water-drinkers, but it did not impair
their vigour.

In the same romance, p. 84, we find--

 'Of mete ne drynke he ne roghte,
    So fulle he was of care!
  Tille the nynte daye byfelle
  _That he come to a welle,_
  _Ther he was wonte for to duelle_
    _And drynk take hym thare_.'

These quotations set aside Mr. Jephson's interpretation, and solve
Tyrwhitt's difficulty. Tyrwhitt says that 'The Romance of Perceval le
Galois, or de Galis, was composed in octosyllable French verse by Chrestien
de Troyes, one of the oldest and best French romancers, before the year
1191; Fauchet, l. ii. c. x. It consisted of above 60,000 verses (Bibl. des
Rom. t. ii. p. 250) so that it would be some trouble to find the fact which
is, probably, here alluded to. The romance, under the same title, in French
prose, printed at Paris, 1530, fol., can be an abridgement, I suppose, of
the original poem.'

2107. _worthy under wede_, well-looking in his armour. The phrase is very
common. Tyrwhitt says it occurs repeatedly in the romance of Emare, and
refers to folios 70, 71 b, 73 a, and 74 b of the MS.; but the reader may
now find the romance in print; see Ritson's Metrical Romances, ii. pp. 214,
229, 235, 245. The phrase is used of ladies also, and must then mean of
handsome appearance when well-dressed. See Amis and Amiloun, ed. Weber, ii.
pp. 370, 375. Cf. l. 1979.

2108. The story is here broken off by the host's interruption. MSS. Pt. and
Hl. omit this line, and MSS. Cp. and Ln. omit ll. 2105-7 as well. [201]


2111. _of_, by. _lewednesse_, ignorance; here, foolish talk.

2112. _also_, &c.; as verily as (I hope) God will render my soul happy. See
Kn. Ta. A. 1863, 2234.

2113. _drasty_, filthy. Tyrwhitt and Bell print _drafty_, explained by full
of draff or refuse. But there is no such word; the adjective (were there
one) would take the form _draffy_. See _drestys_, i. e. dregs, lees of
wine, in the Prompt. Parv., and Way's note, which gives the spelling
_drastus_ (a plural form) as occurring in MS. Harl. 1002. The Lat. _feces_
is glossed by _drastys_ in Wright's Vocab., ed. Wülcker, p. 625, l. 16. And
the Lat. _feculentus_ is glossed by the A. S. _dræstig_ in the same, col.
238, l. 20.

2123. _in geste_, in the form of a regular story of adventure of some
well-known hero; cf. House of Fame, 1434, 1515. The _gestes_ generally
pretended to have some sort of historical foundation; from Low Lat.
_gesta_, doings. Sir Thopas was in this form, but the Host would not admit
it, and wanted to hear about some one who was more renowned. 'Tell us,' he
says, 'a tale like those in the _chansons de geste_, or at least something
in prose that is either pleasant or profitable.'

2131. 'Although it is sometimes told in different ways by different

2137. 'And all agree in their general meaning.' _sentence_, sense; see ll.
2142, 2151.

2148. Read it--_Tenforcë with_, &c.


For the sources of the Tale of Melibeus, see vol. iii. p. 426. It may
suffice to say here that Chaucer's Tale is translated from the French
version entitled _Le Livre de Mellibee et Prudence_, ascribed by M. Paul
Meyer to Jean de Meung. Of this text there are two MS. copies in the
British Museum, viz. MS. Reg. 19 C. vii. and MS. Reg. 19 C. xi, both of the
fifteenth century; the former is said by Mr. T. Wright to be the more
correct. It is also printed, as forming part of _Le Menagier de Paris_, the
author of which embodied it in his book, written about 1393; the title of
the printed book being--'Le Menagier de Paris; publié pour la première fois
par la Société des Bibliophiles François; a Paris M.D. CCC. XLVI'; (tome i.
p. 186); ed. J. Pichon. In the following notes, this is alluded to as _the
French text_.

This French version was, in its turn, translated from the _Liber
Consolationis et Consilii_ of Albertano of Brescia, excellently edited for
the Chaucer Society in 1873 by Thor Sundby, with the title 'Albertani
Brixiensis Liber Consolationis et Consilii.' This is alluded to, in the
following notes, as _the Latin text_. Thor Sundby's edition is most
helpful, as the editor has taken great pains to trace the sources of the
[202] very numerous quotations with which the Tale abounds; and I am thus
enabled to give the references in most cases. I warn the reader that
Albertano's quotations are frequently _inexact_.

Besides this, the Tale of Melibeus has been admirably edited, as a specimen
of English prose, in Mätzner's Altenglische Sprachproben, ii. 375, with
numerous notes, of which I here make considerable use. Owing to the great
care taken by Sundby and Mätzner, the task of explaining the difficulties
in this Tale has been made easy. The more important notes from Mätzner are
marked 'Mr.'

The first line or clause (numbered 2157) ends with the word 'Sophie,' as
shewn by the slanting stroke. The whole Tale is thus divided into clauses,
for the purpose of ready reference, precisely as in the Six-text edition; I
refer to these _clauses_ as if they were _lines_. The 'paragraphs' are the
same as in Tyrwhitt's edition.

2157. _Melibeus._ The meaning of the name is given below (note to l. 2600).

_Prudence._ 'It is from a passage of Cassiodorus, quoted by Albertano in
cap. vi., that he [Albertano] has taken the name of his heroine, if we may
call her so, and the general idea of her character:--"Superauit cuncta
infatigabilis et expedita _prudentia_"; Cass. Variarum lib. ii. epist.

_Sophie_, i. e. wisdom, [Greek: sophia]. Neither the Latin nor the French
text gives the daughter's name.

2159. _Inwith_, within; a common form in Chaucer; see note to B. 1794.
_Y-shette_, pl. of _y-shet_, shut; as in B. 560.

2160. _Thre_; Lat. text, _tres_; Fr. text, _trois_. Tyrwhitt has _foure_,
as in MSS. Cp. Ln.; yet in l. 2562, he prints 'thin enemies ben three,' and
in l. 2615, he again prints 'thy three enemies.' Again, in l. 2612, it is
explained that these three enemies signify, allegorically, the flesh, the
world, and the devil.

2164. _As ferforth_, as far; as in B. 19, 1099, &c. Mätzner also quotes
from Troilus, ii. 1106--'How ferforth be ye put in loves daunce.'

2165. Mätzner would read--'ever _the_ lenger the more'; but see E. 687, F.

2166. _Ovide_, Ovid. The passage referred to is--

 'Quis matrem, nisi mentis inops, in funere nati
    Flere uetet? non hoc illa monenda loco.
  Cum dederit lacrimas, animumque expleuerit aegrum,
    Ille dolor uerbis emoderandus erit.'
                                Remedia Amoris, 127-130.

2172. _Warisshe_, recover; Cp. Ln. Hl. _be warisshed_, be cured. Chaucer
uses this verb elsewhere both transitively and intransitively, so that
either reading will serve. For the transitive use, see below, ll. 2207,
2466, 2476, 2480; also F. 856, 1138, 1162; Book of Duch. 1104. For the
intransitive use, observe that, in F. 856, Cp. Pt. Ln. have--'then wolde
myn herte Al _waryssche_ of this bitter peynes [203] smerte'; and cf. Morte
Arthure, 2186--'I am wathely woundide, _waresche_ mon I neuer!'--M.

Lat. text--'Filia tua, dante Domino, bene liberabitur.'

2174. _Senek_, Seneca. 'Non affligitur sapiens liberorum amissione, non
amicorum; eodem animo enim fert illorum mortem quo suam expectat'; Epist.
74, § 29.

2177. _Lazarus_; see John, xi. 35.

2178. _Attempree_, moderate; Lat. text, 'temperatus fletus.' Hl.
_attemperel_, which Mätzner illustrates. Cf. D. 2053, where Hl. has
_attemperelly_; and E. 1679, where Hl. has _attemperely_. Cf. ll. 2570,
2728 below.

_Nothing defended_, not at all forbidden.

2179. See Rom. xii. 15.

2181. 'According to the doctrine that Seneca teaches us.' Cf. 'Non sicci
sint oculi, amisso amico, nec fluant; lacrimandum est, non plorandum';
Epist. 63, § 1.

2183. This is also, practically, from Seneca: 'Quem amabis extulisti,
quaere quem ames; satius est amicum reparare, quam flere'; Epist. 63, § 9.

2185. _Iesus Syrak_, Jesus the son of Sirach. 'Ecclesiasticus is the title
given in the Latin version to the book which is called in the Septuagint
The Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach'; Smith, Dict. of the Bible. Compare
the title 'A prayer of Jesus the son of Sirach' to Ecclus. ch. li. But the
present quotation is really from Prov. xvii. 22. It is the _next_
quotation, in l. 2186, that is from Ecclus. xxx. 25 (Vulgate), i. e. xxx.
23 in the English version. The mistake is due to misreading the original
Lat. text, which quotes the passages _in the reverse order_, as being from
'Jesus Sirac' and 'alibi.'

2187. From Prov. xxv. 20; but the clause is omitted in the modern Eng.
version, though Wycliffe has it. The Vulgate has:--'Sicut tinea uestimento,
et uermis ligno: ita tristitia uiri nocet cordi.' The words _in the shepes
flees_ (in the sheep's fleece) are added by Chaucer, apparently by way of
explanation. But the fact is that, according to Mätzner, the Fr. version
here has 'la tigne, ou lartuison, nuit a la robe,' where _artuison_ is the
Mod. F. _artison_, explained by Cotgrave as 'a kind of moth'; and I
strongly suspect that 'in the shepes flees' is due to this 'ou lartuison,'
which Chaucer may have misread as _en la toison_. It looks very like it. I
point other similar mistakes further on.

_Anoyeth_, harms; F. _nuit_, L. _nocet_. The use of _to_ here is well
illustrated by Mätzner, who compares Wycliffe's version of this very
passage; 'As a moghe to the cloth, and a werm to the tree, so sorewe of a
man _noyeth to_ the herte'; whereas Purvey's later version thrice omits the
_to_. In the Persones Tale, Group I. 847, _anoyeth_ occurs both with _to_
and without it.

2188. _Us oghte_, it would become us; _oghte_ is in the subjunctive mood.
Cf. _hem oughte_, it became them, in l. 2458; _thee oughte_, it became
thee, in l. 2603.--Mr. The pres. indic. form is _us oweth_. [204]

_Goodes temporels_; F. text, _biens temporels_. Chaucer uses the F. pl. in
_-es_ or _-s_ for the adjective in other places, and the adj. then usually
follows the sb. Cf. _lettres capitals_, capital letters, Astrolabe, i. 16.
8; _weyes espirituels_, spiritual ways, Pers. Tale, I. 79; _goodes
espirituels_, id. 312; _goodes temporeles_, id. 685; _thinges espirituels_,
id. 784.--Mr.

2190. See Job, i. 21. _Hath wold_, hath willed (it); see 2615.

2193. Quotations from Solomon and from Ecclesiasticus are frequently
confused, both throughout this Tale, and elsewhere. The reference is to
Ecclus. xxxii. 24, in the Vulgate (cf. A. V. xxxii. 19); here Wycliffe
has:--'Sone, withoute counseil no-thing do thou; and after thi deede thou
shalt not othynke' (i. e. _of-thinke_, repent).

_Thou shalt never repente_; here Hl. has--'the thar neuer rewe,' i. e. it
needeth never for thee to rue it.

2202. _With-holde_, retained. Cf. A. 511; Havelok, 2362.--Mr.

2204. _Parties_, &c.; Fr. text: _supporter partie_.--Mr.

2205. _Hool and sound_; a common phrase. Cf. Rob. of Glouc. pp. 163, 402,
ed. Hearne (ll. 3417, 8301, ed. Wright); King Horn, l. 1365 (in Morris's
Specimens of English); also l. 2300 below.--Mr.

2207. 'Heal, put a stop to, war by taking vengeance; a literal and very
happy translation from the French--_aussi doit on guerir guerre par
vengence_.'--Bell. Tyrwhitt omits the words _by vengeaunce_, and Lounsbury
(Studies in Chaucer, i. 320) defends him, arguing that 'the physicians are
represented as agreeing with the surgeons'; whereas Chaucer expressly says
that 'they seyden a fewe wordes more.' The words 'by vengeaunce' are in all
the seven MSS. and in the French original. Admittedly, they make nonsense,
but the nonsense is expressly laid bare and exposed afterwards, when it
appears that the physicians did _not really_ add this clause, but Melibeus
dreamt that they did (2465-2480). The fact is, however, that the words _par
vengence_ were wrongly interpolated in the French text. Chaucer _should_
have omitted them, but the evidence shews that he _did not_. I decline to
falsify the text in order to set the author right. We should then have to
set the French text right also!

2209. 'Made this matter much worse, and aggravated it.'

2210. _Outrely_, utterly, entirely, i. e. without reserve; Fr. text _tout
oultre_. Not from A. S. _[=u]tor_, outer, utter, but from F. _oultre_,
_outre_, moreover; of which one sense, in Godefroy, is 'excessivement.' See
E. 335, 639, 768, 953; C. 849; &c.

2216. Fr. text--'en telle maniere que tu soies bien pourveu d'espies et

2218. _To moeve_; Fr. text, _de mouvoir guerre_; cf. the Lat. phrase
_mouere bellum_.--Mr.

2220. The Lat. text has here _three_ phrases for Chaucer's 'common
proverb.' It has: 'non enim subito uel celeriter est iudicandum, "omnia
enim subita probantur incauta," et "in iudicando criminosa est celeritas,"
et "ad poenitendum properat qui cito iudicat."' Of these, the first is from
Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. c. 17; and the second and [205] third from
Publilius Syrus, Sententiae, 254 and 32 (ed. Friedrich, Berolini, 1880).
For _iudicando_, as in some MSS., Friedrich has the variant _vindicando_.
Cf. the Proverbs of Hending, l. 256: 'Ofte rap reweth,' haste often rues.
See note to 2244.

2221. _Men seyn_; this does not necessarily mean that Chaucer is referring
to a proverb. He is merely translating. The Lat. text has; 'quare _dici
consueuit_, Optimum iudicem existimem, qui cito intelligit et tarde
iudicat.' It also quotes two sentences (nos. 311 and 128) from Publilius
Syrus: 'Mora omnis odio est, sed facit sapientiam'; and--'Deliberare utilia
mora est tutissima.' Mätzner points out that there are two other sentences
(nos. 659 and 32) in Publilius, which come very near the expression in the
text, viz. 'Velox consilium sequitur poenitentia'; and--'Ad poenitendum
properat, qui cito iudicat.'

2223. See John, viii. 3-8. For _he wroot_, Hl. has 'he_m_ wrot,' which is
obviously wrong.

2227. _Made contenaunce_, made a sign, made a gesture. Among the senses of
F. _contenance_, Cotgrave gives: 'gesture, posture, behaviour, carriage.'

2228. Fr. text--'qui ne scevent que guerre se monte.'--Mr.

2229. 'The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water'; Prov.
xvii. 14.

2231. 'The chylde may rue that is vnborn'; Chevy Chase, l. 9.

2235. 'A tale out of season is as music in mourning'; Ecclus. xxii. 6.

2237. Not from 'Solomon,' but from 'Jesus, son of Sirach,' as before. The
Lat. text agrees with the Vulgate version of Ecclus. xxxii. 6: 'ubi auditus
non est, ne effundas sermonem'; the E. version (verse 4) is somewhat
different, viz. 'Pour not out words where there is a musician, and shew not
forth wisdom out of time.' Chaucer gives us the same saying again _in
verse_; see B. 3991.

2238. Lat. text: 'semper consilium tunc deest, quando maxime opus est';
from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 594. (_Read_ cum opus est maxime.)

2242. Cf. F. text--'Sire, dist elle, je vous prie que vous ne vous hastez,
et que vous pour tous dons me donnez espace.'--Wright.

2243. _Piers Alfonce_, Petrus Alfonsi. 'Peter Alfonsus, or Alfonsi, was a
converted Spanish Jew, who flourished in the twelfth century, and is well
known for his _Disciplina Clericalis_, a collection of stories and
moralisations in Latin prose, which was translated afterwards into French
verse, under the title of the _Chastoiement d'un pere a son fils_. It was a
book much in vogue among the preachers from the thirteenth to the fifteenth
century.'--Wright. Tyrwhitt has a long note here; he says that a copy of
this work is in MS. Bibl. Reg. 10 B. xii in the British Museum, and that
there is also a copy of another work by the same author, entitled _Dialogus
contra Judaeos_, in MS. Harl. 3861. He also remarks that the manner and
style of the _Disciplina Clericalis_ 'show many marks of an Eastern
original; and one of his stories _Of a trick put upon a thief_ is entirely
taken from the Calilah a Damnah, a celebrated collection of Oriental
apologues.' All the best fables of Alfonsus [206] were afterwards
incorporated (says Tyrwhitt) into the Gesta Romanorum. He was born at
Huesca, in Arragon, in 1062, and converted to Christianity in 1106.

The words here referred to are the following: 'Ne properes ulli reddere
mutuum boni uel mali, quia diutius expectabit te amicus, et diutius timebit
te inimicus'; Disc. Cler. xxv. 15; ed. F. W. V. Schmidt, Berlin, 1827,
4to., p. 71.

2244. _The proverbe_, &c.; not in either the Latin or the French texts. Cf.
the proverb of Hending--'ofte rap reweth,' often haste rues it. Heywood
has--'The more haste, the worse speed'; on which Ray notes--'Come s'ha
fretta non si fa mai niente che stia bene'; _Ital._ Qui trop se hâte en
cheminant, en beau chemin se fourvoye souvent; _Fr._ Qui nimis properè
minus prosperè; et nimium properans serius absoluit.

'Tarry a little, that we may make an end the sooner, was a saying of Sir
Amias Paulet. Presto e bene non si conviene; _Ital._' See 2325 below, and
observe that Chaucer has _the same form of words_ in Troil. i. 956.

2247. From Ecclesiastes, vii. 28. Cf. A. 3154.

2249. From Ecclus. xxv. 30 (Vulgate): 'Mulier, si primatum habeat,
contraria est uiro suo.' Not in the A. V.; cf. v. 22 of that version.

2250. From Ecclus. xxxiii. 20-22 (Vulgate); 19-21 (A. V.).

2251. After _noght be_, ed. 1550 adds--'if I shuld be cou_n_sayled by the';
but this is redundant. See next note.

2252-3. These clauses are omitted in the MSS. and black-letter editions,
but are absolutely necessary to the sense. The French text has--'car il est
escript: la jenglerie des femmes ne puet riens celer fors ce qu'elle ne
scet. Apres, le philosophe dit: en mauvais conseil les femmes vainquent les
hommes. Pour ces raisons, je ne doy point user de ton conseil.' It is easy
to turn this into Chaucerian English, by referring to ll. 2274, 2280 below,
where the missing passage is quoted with but slight alteration.

The former clause is quoted from Marcus Annaeus Seneca, father of Seneca
the philosopher, Controversiarum Lib. ii. 13. 12:--'Garrulitas mulierum id
solum nouit celare, quod nescit.' Cf. P. Plowman, B. v. 168; xix. 157; and
see the Wyf of Bathes Tale, D. 950. The second clause is from Publilius
Syrus, Sent. 324:--'Malo in consilio feminae uincunt uiros.'

2257. 'Non est turpe cum re mutare consilium'; Seneca, De Beneficiis, iv.
38, § 1.

_Maketh no lesing_, telleth no lie; compare the use of _lyer_ just above.

_Turneth his corage_, changes his mind. Mätzner quotes a similar phrase
from Halliwell's Dict., s. v. _Torne_:--

 'But thogh a man himself be good,
  And he _torne_ so _his mood_
  That he haunte fooles companye,
  It shal him torne to grete folie.'

MS. Lansdowne 793, fol. 68. [207]

2258. _Thar ye nat_, it needs not that ye; i. e. you are not obliged. _But
yow lyke_, unless you please (lit. unless it please you).

2259. _Ther_, where. _What that him lyketh_, whatever he likes.

2260. _Save your grace_, with the same sense as the commoner phrase 'save
your reverence.' The Lat. text has 'salua reuerentia tua'; which shews the
original form of the phrase.

_As seith the book._ Here 'the book' probably means no more than the Latin
text, which has 'nam qui omnes despicit, omnibus displicet'; without any

2261. _Senek._ Mätzner says this is not to be found in Seneca; in fact, the
Latin text refers us to 'Seneca, De Formula Honestae Vitae'; but Sundby has
found it in Martinus Dumiensis, Formula Honestae Vitae, cap. iii. This
shews that it was attributed to Seneca erroneously. Moreover, the original
is more fully expressed, and runs thus--'Nullius imprudentiam despicias;
rari sermonis ipse, sed loquentium patiens auditor; seuerus non saeuus,
hilares neque aspernans; sapientiae cupidus et docilis; quae scieris, sine
arrogantia postulanti imperties; quae nescieris, sine occultatione
ignorantiae tibi benigne postula impertiri.' Cf. Horace, Epist. vi. 67, 68.

2265. _Rather_, sooner. See Mark, xvi. 9. The weakness of this argument for
the _goodness_ of woman appears by comparison with P. Plowman, C. viii.
138: 'A synful Marye the seyh er seynt Marie thy moder,' i. e. Christ was
seen by St. Mary the sinner earlier than by St. Mary His mother, after His

2266-9. This reappears in verse in the March. Tale, E. 2277-2290.

2269. Alluding to Matt. xix. 17; Luke xviii. 19.

2273. _Or noon_, or not. So elsewhere; see B. 2407, F. 778, I. 962, 963,

2276. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xx. 297, on which my note is as follows. 'Perhaps
the original form of this commonly quoted proverb is this:--"Tria sunt enim
quae non sinunt hominem in domo permanere; fumus, stillicidium, et mala
uxor"; Innocens Papa, de Contemptu Mundi, i. 18. It is a mere compilation
from Prov. x. 26, xix. 13, and xxvii. 15. Chaucer refers to it in his Tale
of Melibeus, Prologue to Wife of Bathes Tale (D. 278), and Persones Tale
(I. 631); see also Kemble's Solomon and Saturn, pp. 43, 53, 63; Walter
Mapes, ed. Wright, p. 83.' Cf. Wright's Bibliographia Britannica,
Anglo-Norman Period, pp. 333, 334; Hazlitt's Proverbs, pp. 114, 339; Ida
von Düringsfeld, Sprichwörter, vol. i. sect. 303; Peter Cantor, ed. Migne,
col. 331; &c. A medieval proverbial line expresses the same thus:--

 'Sunt tria dampna domus, imber, mala femina, fumus.'

2277. From Prov. xxi. 9; cf. Prov. xxv. 24. See D. 775.

2286. The Lat. text has: 'uulgo dici consueuit, Consilium feminile nimis
carum aut nimis uile.' Cf. B. 4446, and the note. [208]

2288. The examples of Jacob, Judith, Abigail, and Esther are again quoted,
in the same order, in the March. Tale, E. 1362-74. See Gen. xxvii; Judith,
xi-xiii; 1 Sam. xxv. 14; Esther, vii.

2293. _Forme-fader_, first father. Here _forme_ represents the A. S.
_forma_, first, cognate with Goth. _fruma_, Lat. _primus_. Cf. 'Adam ure
_forme fader_'; O. E. Homilies, ed. Morris, ii. 101; so also in Hampole,
Pr. Cons. 483; Legends of the Holy Rood, ed. Morris, p. 62; Allit. Poems,
A. 639.

2294. _To been a man allone_, for a man to be alone; for this idiom, cf. I.
456, 469, 666, 849, 935.--Mr. See Gen. ii. 18.

2296. _Confusioun_; see B. 4354, and the note.

2297. Lat. text:--'quare per uersus dici consueuit:

  Quid melius auro? Iaspis. Quid iaspide? Sensus.
    Quid sensu? Mulier. Quid muliere? Nihil.'

Sundby quotes from Ebrardi Bituniensis Graecismus, cum comm. Vincentii
Metulini, fol. C. 1, back--

  Quid melius auro? Iaspis. Quid iaspide? Sensus.
    Quid sensu? Ratio. Quid ratione? Deus.

(A better reading is _Auro quid melius_.)

In MS. Harl. 3362, fol. 67, as printed in Reliquiae Antiquae, i. 91, we

  Vento quid leuius? fulgur. Quid fulgure? flamma.
    Flamma quid? mulier. Quid muliere? nichil.

And these lines are immediately followed by the second quotation above,
with the variations 'Auro quid melius,' 'Sensu quid,' and 'nichil' for

2303. From Prov. xvi. 24.

2306. For the use of _to_ with _biseken_, cf. 2940 below.--Mr.

2308. From Tobit, iv. 20 (Vulgate); iv. 19 (A. V.). _Dresse_, direct; Lat.
'ut uias tuas _dirigat_.'

2309. From James, i. 5. At this point the Fr. text is much shortened, pp.
20-30 of the Latin text being omitted.

2311. Lat. text (p. 33):--'a te atque consiliariis tuis remoueas illa tria,
quae maxime sunt consilio contraria, scilicet iram, uoluptatem siue
cupiditatem atque festinantiam.'

2315. Lat. text:--'iratus semper plus putat posse facere, quam possit.'

2317. The Lat. text shews that the quotation is not from Seneca's De Ira,
but from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 281:--'Iratus nil non criminis loquitur
loco.' Cf. D. 2005, I. 537.

2320. From 1 Tim. vi. 10. See C. 334, I. 739.

2325. Lat. 'Ad poenitendum properat, qui cito iudicat'; from Publil. Syrus,
Sent. 32. (_Read_ cito qui.) See l. 2244 above, and the note.

2331. From Ecclus. xix. 8, 9 (A. V.).

2333. Lat. text (p. 40):--'Et alius dixit: Vix existimes ab uno posse
celari secretum.' [209]

2334. _The book._ Lat. text:--'Consilium absconditum quasi in carcere tuo
est retrusum, reuelatum uero te in carcere suo tenet ligatum.' Compare
Petrus Alfonsi, Disciplina Clericalis, iv. 3. Cf. Ecclus. viii. 22
(Vulgate); viii. 19 (A. V.).

2337. Lat. text:--'Ait enim Seneca: Si tibi ipse non imperasti, ut taceres,
quomodo ab alio silentium quaeris?' This, however, is not from Seneca, but
from Martinus Dumiensis, De Moribus, Sent. 16. Sundby further quotes from
Plutarch (Opera, ed. Hutten. Tubingae, 1814, vol. xiv. p. 395):--[Greek:
Hoper an siôpasthai boulêi, mêdeni eipêis; ê pôs para tinos apaitêseis to
piston tês siôpês, ho mê paresches seautôi?]

2338. _Plyt_, plight, condition. It rimes with _appetyt_, E. 2336, and
_wyte_, G. 953. It occurs again in the Complaint of Anelida, 297, and Parl.
of Foules, 294; and in Troilus, ii. 712, 1738, iii. 1039. The modern
spelling is wrong, as it is quite a different word from the verb to
_plight_. See it discussed in my Etym. Dict., Errata and Addenda, p. 822.

2342. _Men seyn._ This does not appear to be a quotation, but a sort of
proverb. The Lat. text merely says:--'Et _haec est ratio_ quare magnates
atque potentes, si per se nesciunt, consilium bonum uix aut nunquam capere

2348. From Prov. xxvii. 9.

2349. From Ecclus. vi. 15:--'Amico fideli non est comparatio; et non est
digna ponderatio auri et argenti contra bonitatem fidei illius.' L. 2350 is
a sort of paraphrase of the latter clause.

2351. From Ecclus. vi. 14:--'Amicus fidelis, protectio fortis; qui autem
inuenit illum, inuenit thesaurum.' 'He [Socrates] was wonte to saie, that
there is no possession or treasure more precious then a true and an assured
good frende.'--N. Udall, tr. of Erasmus' Apophthegmes, Socrates, § 13.

2352. Cf. Prov. xxii. 17; Ecclus. ix. 14.

2354. Cf. Job xii. 12.

2355. From Cicero, De Senectute, vi. 17:--'Non uiribus aut uelocitatibus
aut celeritate corporum res magnae geruntur, sed consilio, auctoritate,
sententia; quibus non modo non orbari, sed etiam augeri senectus solet.'

2357. From Ecclus. vi. 6.

2361. From Prov. xi. 14; cf. xv. 22.

2363. From Ecclus. viii. 17.

2364. Lat. text:--'Scriptum est enim, Proprium est stultitiae aliena uitia
cernere, suorum autem obliuisci.' From Cicero, Disput. Tusc. iii. 30. 73.

2366. 'Sic habendum est, nullam in amicitia pestem esse maiorem quam
adulationem, blanditiam, assentationem'; Cicero, Laelius, xxvi. 97 [_or_

2367. Lat. text:--'In consiliis itaque et in aliis rebus non acerba uerba,
sed blanda timebis.' The last six words are from Martinus Dumiensis, De
Quatuor Virtutibus Cardinalibus, cap. iii. Cf. Prov. xxviii. 23. [210]

2368. From Prov. xxix. 5. The words in the next clause (2369) seem to be
merely another rendering of the same passage.

2370. 'Cauendum est, ne assentatoribus patefaciamus aures neue adulari nos
sinamus'; Cicero, De Officiis, i. 26.

2371. From Dionysius Cato, Distich. iii. 6:--'Sermones blandos blaesosque
cauere memento.'

2373. 'Cum inimico nemo in gratiam tuto [_al._ tute] redit'; Publilius
Syrus, Sent. 91.

2374. Lat. text:--'Quare Ysopus dixit:

  Ne confidatis secreta nec his detegatis,
  Cum quibus egistis pugnae discrimina tristis.'

2375. Not from Seneca, but from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 389:--'Nunquam ubi
diu fuit ignis deficit uapor'; but the MSS. differ in their readings.
'There is no fire without some smoke'; Heywood's Proverbs.

2376. From Ecclus. xii. 10.

2379. The passage alluded to is the following:--'Ne te associaueris cum
inimicis tuis, cum alios possis repperire socios; quae enim mala egeris
notabunt, quae uero bona fuerint deuitabunt [Lat. text, deuiabunt]'; cf.
Petrus Alfonsi, Disciplina Clericalis, iv. 4. The words 'they wol perverten
it' seem to be due to the reading _deuiabunt_, taken to mean 'they will
turn aside,' in a transitive sense.

2381. Lat. text (pp. 50, 51); 'ut quidam philosophus dixit, Nemo ei satis
fidus est, quem metuit.'

2382. Inexactly quoted from the Latin text, taken from Cicero, De Officiis,
ii. 7:--'Malus custos diuturnitatis est metus, contraque beniuolentia
fidelis uel ad perpetuitatem.... Nulla uis imperii tanta est, quae premente
metu possit esse diuturna.'

2384. From Prov. xxxi. 4, where the Vulgate has: 'Noli regibus, o Lamuel,
noli regibus dare uinum; quia nullum secretum est ubi regnat ebrietas.' Cf.
C. 561 (and note), 585, 587.

2386. _Cassidorie_, Cassiodorus, who wrote in the time of Theoderic the
Great, king of the Ostrogoths (A.D. 475-526). The quotation is from his
Variarum lib. x. epist. 18:--'quia laesionis instar est occulte consulere,
et aliud uelle monstrare.' In the Latin text, cap. xxiii, the heading of
the chapter is:--'De Vitando consilium illorum, qui secreto aliud
consulunt, et palam aliud se uelle ostendunt.' Chaucer's rendering is far
from being a happy one.

2387. Cf. Prov. xii. 5; but note that the Lat. text has:--'Malus homo a se
nunquam bonum consilium refert'; which resembles Publilius Syrus, Sent.
354:--'Malus bonum ad se nunquam consilium refert.'

2388. From Ps. i. 1.

2391. _Tullius._ The reference is to Cicero's De Officiis, ii. 5, as quoted
in the 'Latin text':--'quid in unaquaque re uerum sincerumque sit, quid
consentaneum cuique rei sit, quid consequens, ex quibus [211] quaeque
gignantur, quae cuiusque rei caussa sit.' This is expanded in the English,
down to l. 2400.

2405. For _distreyneth_, MS. Hl. has the corrupt reading _destroyeth_. The
reading is settled by the lines in Chaucer's Proverbs (see the Minor Poems,
vol. i. p. 407):--

 'Who-so mochel wol embrace
  Litel therof he shal _distreyne_.'

The Lat. text has: 'Qui nimis capit parum stringit'; the Fr. text has: 'Qui
trop embrasse, pou estraint.'

2406. _Catoun_, Dionysius Cato; Distich. iii. 15:--

 'Quod potes, id tentato; operis ne pondere pressus
  Succumbat labor, et frustra tentata relinquas.'

2408. The Lat. text has:--'Ait enim Petrus Alfunsus, Si dicere metuas unde
poeniteas, semper est melius _non_ quam _sic_.' From his Disciplina
Clericalis, vi. 12.

2411. _Defenden_, forbid, i. e. advise one not to do. This passage is
really a quotation from Cicero, De Officiis, i. 9:--'Bene praecipiunt qui
uetant quidquid agere, quod dubites aequum sit an iniquum.'

2413. The Lat. text has:--'Nunc superest uidere, quando consilium uel
promissum mutari possit uel debeat.' This shews that the reading
_counseil_, as in Hl., is correct.

2415. Lat. text:--'Quae de nouo emergunt, nouo indigent consilio, ut leges

2416. Lat. text:--'Inde et Seneca dixit, Consilium tuum si audierit hostis,
consilii dispositionem permutes.' But no such sentence has been discovered
in Seneca.

2419. Lat. text:--'Generaliter enim nouimus, Turpes stipulationes nullius
esse momenti, ut leges dicunt,' for which Sundby refers us to the Digesta,
xlv. 1. 26.

2421. 'Malum est consilium, quod mutari non potest': Publilius Syrus, Sent.

2431. _First and forward_; so in l. 2684. We now say 'first and foremost.'

2436. See above, ll. 2311-2325; vol. iv. p. 208.

2438. _Anientissed_, annulled, annihilated, done away with. In Rom. iv. 14,
where Wycliffe's earlier text has _anentyschid_, the later text has
_distried_. The Prompt. Parv. has: 'Anyyntyschyn, or enyntyschyn,
_Exinanio_.' From O. F. _anientiss_-, pres. pt. stem of _anientir_, to
bring to nothing, variant of _anienter_, a verb formed from prep. _a_, to,
and O. F. _nient_ (Ital. _niente_, mod. F. _néant_), nothing. The form
_nient_ answers to Lat. *_ne-entem_ or *_nec-entem_, from _ne_, _nec_, not,
and _entem_, acc. of _ens_, being. See the New E. Dict. Cf. _anyente_ in P.
Plowman, C. xx. 267, xxi. 389. _As yow oghte_, as it behoved you; Hl. _as
ye oughte_. Both phrases occur.

2439. _Talent_; Fr. text, 'ta voulonte'; i. e. your desire, wish.
'_Talent_, [212] ... will, desire, lust, appetite, an earnest humour unto';
Cotgrave. Cf. C. 540, and l. 2441 below.

2444. This paragraph is omitted in MS. Hl.

2447. _Hochepot_; Hl. _hochepoche_, whence E. _hodgepodge_. From F.
_hochepot_, 'a hotch-pot, or gallimaufrey, a confused mingle-mangle of
divers things jumbled or put together'; Cotgrave. This again is from the M.
Du. _hutspot_, with the same sense; from _hutsen_, to shake, and _pot_. See
_Hotchpot_ in my Etym. Dict. _Ther been ye condescended_, and to that
opinion ye have submitted.

2449. _Reward_, regard; for _reward_ is merely an older spelling of
'regard.' So in Parl. of Foules, 426; Leg. of Good Women, 375, 399, 1622.

2454. Lat. text:--'Humanum enim est peccare, diabolicum uero perseuerare.'
Sundby refers us to St. Chrysostom, Adhortatio ad Theodorum lapsum, I. 14
(Opera, Paris, 1718, fol.; i. 26); where we find (in the Lat.
version):--'Nam peccare quidem, humanum est; at in peccatis perseuerare, id
non humanum est, sed omnino satanicum.' It is also quoted by Vincent of
Beauvais, Speculum Historiale, lib. xvii. c. 45.

2459. Lat. text:--'ad illorum officium spectat omnibus prodesse et nulli
nocere.' This (says Sundby) is quoted from the Decretals of Gregory IX.,
lib. i. tit. 37. cap. 3.

2467. Cf. Lat. text:--'scilicet, Contraria contrariis curantur.'

2473. Fr. text:--'Or veez, dist Prudence, comment un chascun croist
legierement ce qu'il veut et desire!'--Mr.

2479. _For good_, &c., 'namely, in the sense that good,' &c.

2482. See Rom. xii. 17; cf. 1 Thess. v. 15; 1 Cor. iv. 12. The Lat. text
quotes part of verses 17-21 of Rom. xii. But it is clear that Chaucer has
altered the wording, and was thinking of 1 Pet. iii. 9.

2485. After _wyse folk_, Cp. inserts 'and olde folk,' and Ln. 'and the olde
folke.' The Fr. text has: 'les advocas, les sages, et les anciens.' Ed.
1532 also inserts 'and olde folke'; and perhaps it should be inserted.

2487. _Warnestore_, to supply with defensive materials, to garrison,
protect; see 2521, 2523, 2525 below. 'And wel thei were _warnestured_ of
vitailes inow'; Will, of Palerne, 1121. We also find a sb. of the same
form. 'In eche stude hii sette ther strong _warnesture_ and god'; Rob. of
Glouc. 2075 (ed. Hearne, p. 94). 'The Sarazins kept it [a castle] that tym
for ther chefe _warnistour_'; Rob. of Brunne, tr. of Langtoft, ed. Hearne,
p. 180. 'I will remayn quhill this _warnstor_ be gane'; Wallace, bk. ix. l.
1200, where ed. 1648 has 'till all the stuffe be gone.' Correctly
_warnisture_; a derivative of O. F. _warnir_, _garnir_, to supply (E.
_garnish_). Godefroy gives O. F.'_garnesture_, _garnisture_, _garniture_,
_warnesture_, s. f. provisions, ressource; authentication; garnison,
forteresse'; with eight examples. Cf. E. _garrison_ (M. E. _garnison_),
_garment_ (M. E. _garnement_), and _garniture_. The last of these is, in
fact, nothing but the O. F. _warnisture_ in a more modern [213] form. Hence
we obtain the sense by consulting Cotgrave, who gives: '_Garniture_,
garniture, garnishment, furniture; provision, munition, store, necessary
implements.' It also appears that the word is properly a substantive, with
the spelling _warnisture_; it became _warnistore_ or _warnestore_ by
confusion with O. F. _estor_, a store; and, as the word _store_ was easily
made into a verb, it was easy to treat _warnestore_ in the same way. It is
a sb. in Rob. of Gloucester, as shewn above, but appears as a verb in Will.
of Palerne. MS. Hl. has _warmstore_ (with _m_ for _ni_); and the same error
is in the editions of Wright, Bell, and Morris. Ed. 1532 has _warnstore_.

2494. From Ps. cxxvii. 1 (cxxvi. 1, Vulgate).

2496. From Dionysius Cato, lib. iv. dist. 14:--'Auxilium a nobis petito, si
forte laboras; Nec quisquam melior medicus quam fidus amicus.'

2499. _Piers Alfonce_, Petrus Alfonsi, in his Disciplina Clericalis, xviii.
10:--'Ne aggrediaris uiam cum aliquo nisi prius eum cognoueris; si quisquam
ignotus tibi in uia associauerit, iterque tuum inuestigauerit, dic te uelle
longius ire quam disposueris; et si detulerit lanceam, uade ad dextram; si
ensem, ad sinistram.'

2505. The repetition of _that_ before _ye_, following the former _that_
before _for_, is due to a striving after greater clearness. It is not at
all uncommon, especially in cases where the two _thats_ are farther apart.
Cf. the use of _he_ and _him_ in l. 2508.

_Lete the keping_, neglect the protection; A. S. _l[=æ]tan_.

2507. 'Beatus homo qui semper est pauidus; qui uero mentis est durae,
corruet in malum'; Prov. xxviii. 14. Hence the quotation-mark follows

2509. _Counterwayte embusshements_, 'be on the watch against lyings in
ambush.' '_Contregaitier_, v. act. épier, guetter de son côté'; refl. se
garder, se mettre en garde'; Godefroy. Three examples are given of the
active use, and four of the reflexive use. _Espiaille_, companies of spies;
it occurs again in the sense of 'a set of spies' in D. 1323. Mätzner well
remarks that _espiaille_ does not mean 'spying' or 'watching,' as usually
explained, but is a _collective_ sb., like O. F. _rascaille_, _poraille_,
_pedaille_. Godefroy, in his O. F. Dict., makes the same mistake, though
his own example is against him. He has: '_Espiaille_, s. f. action d'épier:
Nous avons ja noveles par nos _espiailles_'; i. e. by means of our spies
(not of our spyings). This quotation is from an A. F. proclamation made in
London, July 26, 1347.

2510. _Senek_, Seneca; but, as before, the reference is really to the
Sentences of Publilius Syrus. Of these the Lat. text quotes no less than
four, viz. Nos. 542, 607, 380, and 116 (ed. Dietrich); as follows:--

 'Qui omnes insidias timet, in nullas incidet.'
 'Semper metuendo sapiens euitat malum.'
 'Non cito perit ruina, qui ruinam timet.'
 'Caret periculo, qui etiam [cum est] tutus cauet.'


2514. _Senek_; this again is from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 255:--'Inimicum,
quamuis humilem, docti est metuere.'

2515. The Lat. and Fr. texts both give the reference, correctly, to Ovid's
Remedia Amoris; see l. 421:--

 'Parva necat morsu spatiosum uipera taurum;
    A cane non magno saepe tenetur aper.'

Chaucer has here interpolated the reference to 'the thorn pricking the
king' between his translations of these two lines. The interpolation occurs
neither in the French nor in the Latin text.

_Wesele_, weasel. The origin of this queer mistake is easily perceived. The
Fr. text has: 'La petite _vivre_ occist le grant torel.' Here _vivre_
represents Lat. _uipera_, a viper (cf. E. _wivern_); but Ch. has construed
it as if it represented Lat. _uiuerra_, a ferret.

2518. _The book._ The quotation is from Seneca, Epist. 111. § 3:--'Quidam
fallere docuerunt, dum falli timent.' (_For_ Quidam _read_ Nam multi).
Tyrwhitt's text is here imperfect, and he says he has patched it up as he
best could; but the MSS. (except Cp. and Ln.) give a correct text.

2520. Lat. text:--'Cum irrisore consortium non habeas; loquelae eius
assiduitatem quasi toxica fugias.' From Albertano of Brescia, who here
quotes from his own work, De Arte Eloquendi, p. cviii.; according to

2521. _Warnestore_, protect; see note to 2487 above, and see 2523.

2523. _Swiche as han_, 'such as castles and other kinds of edifices have.'

_Artelleries_, missile weapons; cf. 1 Sam xx. 40, 1 Macc. vi. 51 (A. V.).
'Artillarie now a dayes is taken for ii. thinges: Gunnes and Bowes';
Ascham, Toxophilus, ed. Arber, p. 65. In Chaucer's time it referred to
bows, crossbows, and engines for casting stones. Cotgrave explains F.
_artillier_ as 'one that maketh both bowes and arrowes.'

2525-6. Owing to the repetition of the words _grete edifices_, one of the
early scribes (whom others followed) passed from one to the other, thus
omitting the words 'apperteneth som tyme to pryde and eek men make heighe
toures and grete edifices.' But MSS. Cp. and Ln. supply all but the last
three words 'and grete edifices,' and as we know that 'grete edifices' must
recur, they really supply all but the sole word 'and,' which the sense
absolutely requires. Curiously enough, these very MSS. omit the rest of
clause 2525, so that none of the MSS. are perfect, but the text is easily
pieced together. It is further verified by the Lat. text, which
has:--'Munitio turrium et aliorum altorum aedificiorum ad superbiam
plerumque pertinet ... praeterea turres cum magno labore et infinitis
expensis fiunt; et etiam cum factae fuerint, nihil ualent, nisi cum auxilio
prudentium et fidelium amicorum et cum magnis expensis defendantur.' The F.
text supplies the gap with--'appartiennent aucune fois a orgueil: apres on
fait les tours et les grans edifices.'--MS. Reg. 19 C. vii. leaf 133, back.
Hence there is no doubt as to the reading. [215]

All former editions are here defective, and supply the gap with the single
word _is_, which is found in ed. 1532.

2526. _With gret costages_, at great expense: Fr. text, 'a grans despens.'

_Stree_, straw; MS. Hl. has the spelling _straw_. We find the phrase again
in the Book of the Duch. 671; also 'ne roghte of hem a _stree_,' id. 887;
'acounted _nat a stree_,' id. 1237; 'ne counted _nat three strees_,' id.

2530. Lat. text:--'unum est inexpugnabile munimentum, amor ciuium.' Not
from Cicero; but from Seneca, De Clementia, i. 19. 5.

2534. 'In omnibus autem negotiis, prius quam aggrediare, adhibenda est
praeparatio diligens'; Cicero, De Officiis, i. 21.

2537. Lat. text:--'Longa praeparatio belli celerem uictoriam facit.' But
the source is unknown; it does not seem to be in Cicero. Mätzner quotes a
similar saying from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 125:--'Diu apparandum est
bellum, ut uincas celerius.'

2538. 'Munitio quippe tunc efficitur praeualida, si diuturna fuerit
excogitatione roborata'; Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. epist. 17.

2545. _Tullius._ This refers to what has already preceded in 2391-2400, the
passage referred to being one from Cicero's De Officiis, ii. 5, where we
are bidden to consider several points, viz. (1) 'quid in quaque re uerum
sincerumque sit; (2) quid consentaneum cuique rei sit; (3) quid consequens;
(4) ex quo quidque gignatur; (5) quae cuiusque rei caussa sit.' All these
five points are taken below in due order; viz. (1) in 2546; (2) in 2550;
(3) in 2577; (4) in 2580; and (5) in 2583.

2546. _Trouthe_; referring to _uerum_ in clause (1) in the last note.

2550. _Consentinge_; i. e. _consentaneum_ in clause (2) in note to 2545.
Cf. 2571. MS. Hl. has here the false reading _couetyng_, but in l. 2571 it
has _consentynge_.

2551. Lat. text:--'qui et quot et quales.' Thus _whiche_ means 'of what
sort.' The words _and whiche been they_, omitted in MS. E. only, are thus
seen to be necessary; cf. l. 2552, where the phrase is repeated.

2558. _Cosins germayns_; Lat. 'consanguineos germanos.' _Neigh kinrede_,
relations near of kin; cf. 'nis but a fer kinrede' in 2565.

2561. _Reward_, regard, care; as above, in 2449; (see the note).

2565. _Litel sib_, slightly related; _ny sib_, closely related. Cf. 'ne on
his mæges láfe þe swa _néah sib_ wære,' nor with the relict of his kinsman
who was so near of kin; Laws of King Cnut, § vii; in Thorpe's Ancient Laws,
i. 364.

2570. _As the lawe_; Sundby refers to Justinian's Codex, VIII. iv. 1.

2573. _That nay_; Fr. text--'que non.'

2577. _Consequent_; i. e. 'consequens' in clause (3), note to 2545.

2580. _Engendringe_; i. e. 'ex quo quidque gignatur' in clause (4), note to

2582. Mätzner says this is corrupt; but it is quite right, though obscure.
The sense is--'and, out of the taking of vengeance in return for that,
would arise another vengeance'; &c. _Engendre_ is here taken [216] in the
sense of 'be engendred' or 'breed'; see the New E. Dict. The Fr. text is
clearer: 'de la vengence _se engendrera_ autre vengence.'

2583. _Causes_; i. e. 'caussa' in clause (5), note to 2545.

2585. The Lat. text omits _Oriens_, which seems to be here used as
synonymous with _longinqua_. 'Caussa igitur iniuriae tibi illatae duplex
fuit _efficiens_, scilicet _remotissima_ et _proxima_.'

2588. 'Occasio uero illius caussae, quae dicitur _caussa accidentalis_,
fuit odium,' &c. So below, the Lat. text has _caussa materialis_, _caussa
formalis_, and _caussa finalis_.

2591. _It letted nat_, it tarried not; Lat. text, 'nec per eos remansit.'
This intransitive use of _letten_ is awkward and rare. It occurs again in
P. Plowman, C. ii. 204, xx. 76, 331.

2594. _Book of Decrees_; Sundby refers us to the Decretum Gratiani; P. ii,
Caussa 1, Qu. 1. c. 25:--'uix bono peraguntur exitu, quae malo sunt
inchoata principio.'

2596. _Thapostle_, the apostle Paul. The Lat. text refers expressly to the
First Epistle to the Corinthians, meaning 1 Cor. iv. 5; but Chaucer has
accommodated it to Rom. xi. 33.

2600. The Lat. text informs us that _Melibeus_ signifies _mel bibens_. For
similar curiosities of derivation, see note to G. 87. There was a town
called Meliboea ([Greek: Meliboia]) on the E. coast of Thessaly.

2605. From Ovid, Amor. i. 8. 104:--'Impia sub dulci melle uenena latent.'

2606. From Prov. xxv. 16.

2611. _The three enemys_, i. e. the flesh, the devil and the world. The
entrance of these into man through the five senses is the theme of numerous
homilies. See especially Sawles Warde, in O. Eng. Homilies, ed. Morris,
First Series, p. 245; and the Ayenbite of Inwyt, ed. Morris, p. 263.

2614. _Deedly sinnes_, the Seven Deadly Sins; see the Persones Tale. _Fyve
wittes_, five senses; cf. P. Plowman, C. ii. 15, xvi. 257.

2615. _Wold_, willed; pp. of _willen_. F. text--'a voulu.' See 2190 above;
Leg. of Good Women, 1209; Compl. of Venus, 11; P. Plowman, B. xv. 258;
Malory's Morte Arthure, bk. xviii. c. 15--'[he] myghte haue slayne vs and
he had _wold_'; and again, in c. 19--'I myght haue ben maryed and I had
_wolde_.' Gower has--'if that he had _wold_'; Conf. Amantis, ii. 9.

2618. _Falle_, befall, come to pass; F. text--'advenir.'

2620. _Were_, would be; F. text--'ce seroit moult grant dommage.'

2623-4. The missing portion is easily supplied. The French text (MS. Reg.
19 C. vii, leaf 136) has:--'Et a ce respont Dame Prudence, Certes, dist
elle, Ie t'octroye que de vengence vient molt de maulx et de biens; mais
vengence n'appartient pas a vn chascun, fors seulement aux iuges et a ceulx
qui ont la iuridicion sur les malfaitteurs.' Here 'mais vengence' should
rather be 'mais faire vengence,' as in MS. Reg. 19 C. xi. leaf 59, back,
and in the printed edition. It is [217] clear that the omission of this
passage is due to the repetition of _trespassours_ at the end of 2622 and

2627. Lat. text--'nam, ut ait Seneca, Bonis nocet, qui malis parcit.' This
corresponds to--'Bonis necesse est noceat, qui parcit malis';
Pseudo-Seneca, De Moribus, Sent. 114; see Publilius Syrus, ed. Dietrich, p.
90. The Fr. text has:--'Cellui nuit [_al._ nuist] aux bons, qui espargne
les mauvais.' Chaucer's translation is so entirely at fault, that I think
his MS. must have been corrupt; he has taken _nuist aux_ as _maistre_, and
then could make but little of _espargne_, which he makes to mean 'proveth,'
i. e. tests, tries the quality of; perhaps his MS. had turned _espargne_
(or _esparne_) into _esprouve_. MSS. Cp. Pt. Ln. turn it into _reproveth_;
this makes better sense, but contradicts the original still more.

2628. 'Quoniam excessus tunc sunt in formidine, cùm creduntur iudicibus
displicere'; Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. epist. 4.

2629. Lat. text:--'Et alibi dixit, Iudex, qui dubitat ulcisci, multos
improbos facit'; slightly altered from Publ. Syrus, Sent. 526:--'Qui
ulcisci dubitat, inprobos plures facit.'

2630. From Rom. xiii. 4. For _spere_, as in all the copies, Chaucer should
have written _swerd_. The Fr. text has _glaive_; Lat. _gladium_.

2632. _Ye shul retourne or have your recours to the Iuge_; explanatory of
the F. text--'tu recourras au iuge.'

2633. _As the lawe axeth and requyreth_; explanatory of the Fr.
text--'selon droit.' For this use of _axeth_ (= requires), cf. P. Plowman,
C. i. 21, ii. 34.

2635. _Many a strong pas_; Fr. text--'moult de fors pas.' MS. Hl.
has:--'many a strayt passage.'

2638. Not from Seneca, but (as in other places where Seneca is mentioned)
from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 320 (ed. Dietrich):--'Male geritur, quicquid
geritur fortunae fide.'

2640. Again from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 189 (ed. Dietrich):--'Fortuna
uitrea est; tum quum splendet frangitur.'

2642. _Seur_ (E. _sure_) and _siker_ are mere variants of the same word;
the former is O. F. _seur_, from Lat. acc. _sec[=u]rum_; the latter is from
Lat. _séc[)u]rus_, with a different accentuation and a shortening of the
second vowel. We also have a third form, viz. _secure_.

2645. Again from Publ. Syrus, Sent. 173:--'Fortuna nimium quem fouet,
stultum facit.'

2650. From Rom. xii. 19; cf. Deut. xxxii. 35, Ps. xciv. 1.

2653. From Publ. Syrus, Sent. 645:--'Veterem ferendo iniuriam inuites

2655. _Holden over lowe_, esteemed too low, too lightly.

2656. From Publ. Syrus, Sent. 487:--'Patiendo multa [_al._ inulta] eueniunt
[_al._ ueniunt] quae nequeas pati.' _Mowe suffre_, be able to endure. For
_mowe_, Wright wrongly prints _nowe_; MS. Hl. has _mowe_, correctly. [218]

2663. From Caecilii Balbi Sententiae, ed. Friedrich, 1870, no. 162:--'Qui
non corripit peccantem gnatum, peccare imperat.'

2664. 'And the judges and sovereign lords might, each in his own land, so
largely tolerate wicked men and evil-doers,' &c. Lat. text:--'si multa
maleficia patiuntur fieri.'

2667. _Let us now putte_, let us suppose; Fr. text--'posons.' A more usual
phrase is 'putte cas,' put the case; cf. note to 2681.

2668. _As now_, at present; see 2670.

2671. From Seneca, De Ira, ii. 34, § 1:--'Cum pare contendere, anceps est;
cum superiore, furiosum; cum inferiore, sordidum.'

2675. From Prov. xx. 3.

2678. From Publilius Syrus, Sent. 483:--'Potenti irasci sibi periclum est

2679. From Dion. Cato, Dist. iv. 39:--

 'Cede locum laesus Fortunae, cede potenti;
  Laedere qui potuit, aliquando prodesse ualebit.'

2681. _Yet sette I caas_, but I will suppose; Fr. text--'posons,' as in
2667 above.

2684. _First and foreward_; Fr. text--'premierement.' See note to 2431

2685. _The poete_; Fr. text, 'le poete.' Not in the Latin text, and the
source of the quotation is unknown. Cf. Luke, xxiii. 41.

2687. _Seint Gregorie._ Not in the Lat. text; source unknown.

2692. From 1 Pet. ii. 21.

2700. Referring to 2 Cor. iv. 17.

2702. From Prov. xix. 11, where the Vulgate has:--'Doctrina uiri per
patientiam noscitur.'

2703. From Prov. xiv. 29, where the Vulgate has:--'Qui patiens est multa
gubernatur prudentia.'

2704. From Prov. xv. 18.

2705. From Prov. xvi. 32.

2707. From James, i. 4:--'Patientia autem opus perfectum habet.'

2713. _Corage_, desire, inclination; cf. E. 1254.

2715. The Fr. text is fuller: 'et si ie fais un grant exces, car on dit que
exces n'est corrige que par exces, c'est a dire que oultrage ne se corrige
fors que par oultrage.'--Mr. Perhaps part of the clause has been
accidentally omitted, owing to repetition of 'exces.'

2718. 'Quid enim discrepat a peccante, qui se per excessum nititur
uindicare?'--Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. i. epist. 30.

2721. Lat. text:--'ait enim Seneca, Nunquam scelus scelere uindicandum.'
Not from Seneca; Sundby refers us to Martinus Dumiensis, De Moribus, S.

2723. _Withouten intervalle ... delay_; the Fr. text merely has 'sans
intervalle.' Chaucer explains the word _intervalle_.

2729. 'Qui impatiens est sustinebit damnum'; Prov. xix. 19.

2730. _Of that that_, in a matter that. [219]

2731. Lat. text (p. 95):--'Culpa est immiscere se rei ad se non
pertinenti.' Sundby refers us to the Digesta, l. xvii. 36.

2732. From Prov. xxvi. 17.

2733. _Outherwhyle_, sometimes, occasionally; cf. 2857. So in Ch. tr. of
Boethius, bk. iii. pr. 12. 119 (vol. ii. p. 89); P. Plowman, C. vi. 50,
vii. 160, xxii. 103, &c.

2740. From Ecclesiastes, x. 19:--'pecuniae oboediunt omnia.'

2741. All the copies have _power_; but, as Mätzner remarks, we should read
_poverte_; the Fr. text has _povrete_.

2743. _Richesses ben goode_; the Lat. text here quotes 1 Tim. iv. 4.

2744. 'Homo sine pecunia est quasi corpus sine anima' is written on a
fly-leaf of a MS.; see my Pref. to P. Plowman, C-text, p. xx.

2746. All the MSS. have _Pamphilles_ instead of _Pamphilus_. The allusion
is to Pamphilus Maurilianus, who wrote a poem, well-known in the fourteenth
century, entitled _Liber de Amore_, which is extant in MSS. (e.g. in MS.
Bodley 3703) and has been frequently printed. Tyrwhitt cites the lines here
alluded to from the Bodley MS.

 'Dummodo sit diues cuiusdam nata bubulci,
    Eligit e mille, quem libet, illa uirum.'

Sundby quotes the same (with _ipsa_ for _illa_) from the Paris edition of
1510, fol. a iiii, recto. Chaucer again refers to Pamphilus in F. 1110, on
which see the note.

2748. This quotation is not in the Latin text, and is certainly not from
Pamphilus; but closely follows Ovid's lines in his Tristia, i. 9. 5:--

 'Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos;
    Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris.'

See notes to B. 120 and B. 3436.

2751. Neither is this from Pamphilus, but from some author quoted by Petrus
Alfonsi, Discip. Cler. vi. 4, who says:--'ait quidam uersificator,
Clarificant [_al._ Glorificant] gazae priuatos nobilitate.'

2752. We know, from the Lat. text, that there is here an allusion to
Horace, Epist. i. 6. 37:--

 'Et genus et formam regina pecunia donat.'

2754. The Lat. text has _mater criminum_, and the Fr. text, _mere des
crimes_. It is clear that Chaucer has misread _ruines_ for _crimes_, or his
MS. was corrupt; and he has attempted an explanation by subjoining a gloss
of his own--'that is to seyn ... overthrowinge or fallinge doun.' The
reference is to Cassiodorus, Variarum lib. ix. epist. 13:--'Ut dum _mater
criminum_ necessitas tollitur, peccandi ambitus auferatur.'

2756. 'Est una de aduersitatibus huius saeculi grauioribus libero homini,
quod necessitate cogitur, ut sibi subueniat, requirere inimicum'; Petrus
Alfonsi, Disciplina Clericalis, iv. 4.

2758. Lat. text:--'O miserabilis mendicantis conditio! Nam, si petit,
pudore confunditur; et si non petit, egestate consumitur; sed ut [220]
mendicet necessitate compellitur'; Innocentius III (Papa), De Contemptu
Mundi, lib. i. c. 16. See note to B. 99, at p. 142.

2761. 'Melius est enim mori quam indigere'; Ecclus. xl. 29; cf. A. V.,
Ecclus. xl. 28. See note to B. 114, at p. 142.

2762. 'Melior est mors quam uita amara'; Ecclus. xxx. 17. The Fr. text
has:--'Mieulx vault la mort amere que telle vie'; where, as in Chaucer, the
adjective is shifted.

2765. _How ye shul have yow_, how you ought to behave yourself. In fact,
_behave_ is merely a compound of _be-_ and _have_.

2766. _Sokingly_, gradually. In the Prompt. Parv. we find 'Esyly, or
_sokyngly_, Sensim, paulatim.' And compare the following:--'Domitius
Corbulo vsed muche to saie, that a mannes enemies in battaill are to be
ouercomed (_sic_) with a carpenters squaring-axe, that is to saie,
_sokingly_, one pece after another. A common axe cutteth through at the
first choppe; a squaring-axe, by a little and a little, werketh the same
effecte.'--Udall, tr. of Erasmus' Apophthegmes, Julius Caesar, § 32.

2768. From Prov. xxviii. 20.

2769. From Prov. xiii. 11.

2773. Not in the Latin text.

2775. 'Detrahere igitur alteri aliquid, et hominem hominis incommodo suum
augere commodum, magis est contra naturam, quam mors, quam paupertas, quam
dolor, quam cetera, quae possunt aut corpori accidere aut rebus externis';
Cicero, De Officiis, iii. 5.

2779. 'For idleness teacheth much evil'; Ecclus. xxxiii. 27.

2780. From Prov. xxviii. 19; cf. xii. 11.

2783. Cf. Prov. xx. 4.

2784. From Dionysius Cato, Distich. i. 2:--

 'Plus uigila semper, nec somno deditus esto;
  Nam diuturna quies uitiis alimenta ministrat.'

2785. Quoted again in G. 6, 7; see note to G. 7.

2789. _Fool-large_, foolishly liberal; Fr. text, 'fol larges.' Cf. 2810.

2790. _Chincherye_, miserliness, parsimony; from the adj. _chinche_, which
occurs in 2793. _Chinche_, parsimonious, miserly, is the nasalised form of
_chiche_; see Havelok, 1763, 2941; and see _Chinch_ in the New E.
Dictionary. To the examples there given add:--'A Chinche, _tenax_:
Chinchery, _tenacitas_'; Catholicon Anglicum.

 'But such an other _chinche_ as he
  Men wisten nought in all the londe.'
                      Gower, Conf. Amant. ii. 288.

2792. From Dionysius Cato, Distich. iv. 16:--

 'Utere quaesitis opibus; fuge nomen auari;
  Quo tibi diuitias, si semper pauper abundas?'

2795. From Dionysius Cato, Distich. iii. 22:--

 'Utere quaesitis, sed ne uidearis abuti;
  Qui sua consumunt, quum deest, aliena sequuntur.'


2796. _Folily_, foolishly. We find M. E. _folliche_, both adj. and adv.,
and _follichely_, _folily_ as adv. It is spelt _folily_ in Wycliffe, Num.
xii. 11, and in the Troy-book, 573; also _folili_, Will. of Palerne, 4596;
_folyly_, Rom. of the Rose, 5942 (see the footnote).

2800. _Weeldinge_ (so in E., other MSS. _weldinge_), wielding, i. e. power.

2802. Not in the Latin text.

2807. Compare Prov. xxvii. 20.

2811. 'Quamobrem nec ita claudenda est res familiaris, ut eam benignitas
aperire non possit; nec ita reseranda, ut pateat omnibus'; Cicero, De
Officiis, ii. 15.

2818. See Prov. xv. 16; xvi. 8.

2820. _The prophete_, i. e. David; see Ps. xxxvii. 16.

2824. See 2 Cor. i. 12.

2825. 'Riches are good unto him that hath no sin'; Ecclus. xiii. 24.

2828. From Prov. xxii. 1.

2829. The reference seems to be to Prov. xxv. 10 in the Vulgate version
(not in the A. V.):--'Gratia et amicitia liberant; quas tibi serua, ne
exprobrabilis fias.'

2832. The reference is clearly to the following:--'Est enim indigni [_al._
digni] animi signum, famae diligere commodum'; Cassiodorus, Variarum lib.
i. epist. 4. This is quoted by Albertano (p. 120), with the reading
_ingenui_ for _indigni_; hence Chaucer's 'gentil.' Mätzner refers us to the
same, lib. v. epist. 12:--'quia pulchrum est commodum famae.'

2833. 'Duae res sunt conscientia et fama. Conscientia tibi, fama proximo
tuo'; Augustini Opera, ed. Caillou, Paris, 1842, tom. xxi. p. 347.--Mr.

2837. Fr. text:--'il est cruel et villain.'--Mr.

2841. Lat. text:--'nam dixit quidam philosophus, Nemo in guerra constitutus
satis diues esse potest. Quantumcunque enim sit homo diues, oportet illum,
si in guerra diu perseuerauerit, aut diuitias aut guerram perdere, aut
forte utrumque simul et personam.'--p. 102.

2843. See Ecclesiastes, v. 11.

2851. 'With the God of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great
multitude, or a small company: For the victory of battle standeth not in
the multitude of an host; but strength cometh from heaven.' 1 Macc. iii.
18, 19.

2854. The gap is easily detected and filled up by comparison with the Fr.
text, which Mätzner cites from Le Menagier de Paris, i. 226, thus:--'pour
ce ... que nul n'est certain s'il est digne que Dieu lui doint victoire _ne
plus que il est certain se il est digne de l'amour de Dieu_ ou non.' We
must also compare the text from Solomon, viz. Ecclesiastes, ix. 1, as it
stands in the Vulgate version.

2857. _Outher-whyle_, sometimes; see note to 2733.

2858. _The seconde book of Kinges_, i. e. Liber secundus Regum, now called
'the second book of Samuel.' The reference is to 2 Sam. xi. 25, [222] where
the Vulgate has: 'uarius enim euentus est belli; nunc hunc et nunc illum
consumit gladius.' The A. V. varies.

2860. _In as muchel_; Fr. text:--'tant comme il puet bonnement.' This
accounts for _goodly_, i. e. meetly, fitly, creditably. Cotgrave has:
'_Bonnement_, well, fitly, aptly, handsomely, conveniently, orderly, to the

2861. _Salomon_; rather Jesus son of Sirach. 'He that loveth danger shall
perish therein'; Ecclus. iii. 26.

2863. _The werre ... nothing_, 'war does not please you at all.'

2866. _Seint Iame_ is a curious error for _Senek_, Seneca. For the Fr. text
has:--'Seneque dit en ses escrips,' according to Mätzner; and MS. Reg. 19
C. xi (leaf 63, col. 2) has 'Seneques.' There has clearly been confusion
between _Seneques_ and _Seint iaques_. Hence the use of the pl. _epistles_
is correct. The reference is to Seneca, Epist. 94, § 46; but Seneca, after
all, is merely quoting Sallust:--'Nam concordia paruae res crescunt,
discordia maximae dilabuntur'; Sallust, Jugurtha, 10.

2870. From Matt. v. 9.

2872. _Brige_, strife, contention; F. _brigue_, Low Lat. _briga._
'_Brigue_, s. f. ... debate, contention, altercation, litigious wrangling
about any matter'; Cotgrave. See _Brigue_ in the New E. Dict.

2876. Here Hl. has _pryde_ and _despysing_ for _homlinesse_ and
_dispreysinge_, thus spoiling the sense. The allusion is to our common
saying--Familiarity breeds contempt.

2879. _Syen_, saw; Cm. seyen; Ln. sawe; Cp. saugh.

2881. Lat. text (p. 107):--'scriptum est enim, Semper ab aliis dissensio
incipiat, a te autem reconciliatio.' From Martinus Dumiensis, De Moribus,
Sent. 49.

2882. _The prophete_, i. e. David; Ps. xxxiv. 14.

2883. The words 'as muchel as in thee is' are an addition, due to the Fr.
text:--'tant comme tu pourras.'--Mr.

2884. The use of _to_ after _pursue_ is unusual; Mätzner compares _biseke
to_, in 2940 below and 2306 above.

2886. From Prov. xxviii. 14.

2891. Fr. text:--'Pour ce dit le philosophe, que les troubles ne sont pas
bien cler voyans.' Cf. the Fr. proverb:--'À l'oeil malade la lumière nuit,
an eie distempered cannot brook the light; sick thoughts cannot indure the
truth'; Cotgrave.

2895. From Prov. xxviii. 23.

2897. This quotation is merely an expansion of the former part of Eccles.
vii. 3, viz. 'sorrow is better than laughter'; the latter part of the same
verse appears in 2900, immediately below.

2901. _I shal not conne answere_, I shall not be able to answer; Fr.
text:--'ie ne sauroie respondre.'--Mr.

2909. From Prov. xvi. 7.

2915. Fr. text:--'ie met tout mon fait en vostre disposition.'--Mr. [223]

2925. Referring to Ps. xx. 4 (Vulgate)--'in benedictionibus dulcedinis'; A.
V.--'with the blessings of goodness,' Ps. xxi. 3.

2930. From Ecclus. vi. 5:--'Verbum dulce multiplicat amicos, et mitigat
inimicos.' The A. V. omits the latter clause, having only:--'Sweet language
will multiply friends.'

2931. Fr. text:--'nous mettons nostre fait en vostre bonne voulente.'--Mr.

2936. _Hise amendes_, i. e. amends to him. For _hise_ or _his_, Cp. Ln.
have _him_, which is a more usual construction. Cf. 'What shall be _thy
amends_ For thy neglect of truth?' Shak., Sonnet 101. 'If I have wronged
thee, seek _thy mends_ at the law'; Greene, Looking-Glass for London, ed.
Dyce, 1883, p. 122.

2940. _Biseke to_; so in 2306; see note to 2884.

2945. From Ecclus. xxxiii. 18, 19:--'Hear me, O ye great men of the people,
and hearken with your ears, ye rulers of the congregation: Give not thy son
and wife, thy brother and friend, power over thee while thou livest.'

2965. Not from Seneca, but from Martinus Dumiensis, De Moribus, S. 94
(Sundby). The Lat. text has:--'ubi est confessio, ibi est remissio.'

2967. Neither is this from Seneca, but from the same source as before. Lat.
text has:--'Proximum ad innocentiam locum tenet uerecundia peccati et

2973. Lat. text:--'Nihil enim tam naturale est, quam aliquid dissolui eo
genere, quo colligatum est.' From the Digesta, lib. xvii. 35.

2984. Lat. text:--'Semper audiui dici, Quod bene potes facere, noli
differre.' Fr. text:--'Le bien que tu peus faire au matin, n'attens pas le
soir ne l'endemain.'

2986. _Messages_, messengers; Cp. _messagers_; Hl. _messageres_. See B.
144, 333. In 2992, 2995, we have the form _messagers_.

2997. _Borwes_, sureties; as in P. Plowman, C. v. 85. In 3018 it seems to
mean 'pledges' rather than 'sureties.'

3028. _A coveitous name_, a reputation for covetousness.

3030. From 1 Tim. vi. 10. See C. 334.

3032. Lat. text (p. 120):--'Scriptum est enim, Mallem perdidisse quam
turpiter accepisse.' This is from Publilius Syrus, Sent. 479:--

 'Perdidisse ad assem mallem, quam accepisse turpiter.'

3036. Also from P. Syrus, Sent. 293:--

 'Laus noua nisi oritur, etiam uetus amittitur.'

3040. For 'it is writen,' the Fr. text has 'le droit dit.' This indicates
the source. The Lat. text has:--'priuilegium meretur amittere, qui concessa
sibi abutitur potestate.' This Sundby traces to the Decretalia Gregorii
IX., iii. 31. 18.

3042. _Which I trowe ... do_; Lat. 'quod non concedo.'

3045. _Ye moste ... curteisly_; Lat. 'remissius imperare oportet.' [224]

3047. Lat. text:--'Remissius imperanti melius paretur'; from Seneca, De
Clementia, i. 24. 1.

3049. 'Ait enim Seneca'; the Lat. text then quotes from Publilius Syrus,
Sent. 64:--'Bis uincit, qui se uincit in uictoria.'

3050. Lat. text:--'Nihil est laudabilius, nihil magno et praeclaro uiro
dignius, placabilitate atque clementia.' From Cicero, De Officiis, i. 25.

3054. _Of mercy_, i. e. on account of your mercy.

3056. 'Male uincit iam quem poenitet uictoriae'; Publilius Syrus, Sent.
366. Attributed to Seneca in the Latin text.

3059. From James, ii. 13.

3066. _Unconninge_, ignorance; cf. Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 131; Prick of
Conscience, l. 169.

3067. _Misborn_, borne amiss, misconducted. See Life of Beket, l. 1248.


3079. The tale of _Melibee_ (as told above) is about a certain Melibeus and
his wife Prudence, who had a daughter called Sophie. One day, while
Melibeus is absent, three of his enemies break into his house, beat his
wife, and wound his daughter. On returning, he takes counsel as to what
must be done. He is for planning a method of revenge, but his wife advises
him to forgive the injuries, and in the end her counsels prevail.

3082. _corpus Madrian_, body of Madrian: which has been interpreted in two
ways. Urry guessed it to refer to St. Materne, bishop of Treves, variously
commemorated on the 14th, 19th, or 25th of September, the days of his
translations being July 18 and October 23. Mr. Steevens suggested, in a
note printed in Tyrwhitt's Glossary, that the 'precious body' was that of
St. Mathurin, priest and confessor, commemorated on Nov. 1 or Nov. 9. The
latter is more likely, since in his story in the Golden Legende, edit.
1527, leaf 151 back, the expressions 'the precious body' and 'the holy
body' occur, and the story explains that his body would not stay in the
earth till it was carried back to France, where he had given directions
that it should be buried.

3083. 'Rather than have a barrel of ale, would I that my dear good wife had
heard this story.' Cf. _morsel breed_, B. 3624.

_lief_ is not a proper name, as has been suggested, I believe, by some one
ignorant of early English idiom. Cf. 'Dear my lord,' Jul. Caesar, ii. 1.
255; and other instances in Abbott's Shakesp. Grammar, sect. 13.

3101. 'Who is willing (_or_ who suffers himself) to be overborne by

3108. _neighëbor_, three syllables; _thannè_, two syllables.

3112. Observe the curious use of _seith_ for _misseith_.

3114. _Monk._ See him described in the Prologue, A. 165.

3116. _Rouchester._ The MSS. have _Rouchester_, (Hl. _Rowchestre_), [225]
shewing that _Lo_ stands alone in the first foot of the line. Tyrwhitt
changed _stant_ into _stondeth_, but all our seven MSS. have _stant_.

According to the arrangement of the tales in Tyrwhitt's edition, the
pilgrims reach Rochester _after_ coming to Sittingborne (mentioned in the
Wife of Bath's Prologue), though the latter is some eleven miles nearer
Canterbury. The present arrangement of the Groups remedies this. See note
to B. 1165, at p. 165.

3117. _Ryd forth_, ride forward, draw near us.

3119. _Wher_, whether. _dan_, for Dominus, a title of respect commonly used
in addressing monks. But Chaucer even uses it of Arcite, in the Knightes
Tale, and of Cupid, Ho. Fame, 137.

3120. The monk's name was _Piers_. See B. 3982, and the note.

3124. Cf. 'He was not pale as a for-pyned goost'; Prol. A. 205. Jean de
Meun says, in his Testament, l. 1073, that the friars have good pastures
(il ont bonnes pastures).

3127. _as to my doom_, in my judgment.

3130. Scan the line--Bút a góvernoúr wylý and wýs. The Petworth MS. inserts
'boþ' before 'wyly': but this requires the very unlikely accentuation
'govérnour' and an emphasis on a. The line would scan better if we might
insert _art_, or _lyk_, after _But_, but there is no authority for this.

3132. Read--_A wél-faríng persónë_, after which comes the pause, as marked
in E. and Hn.

3139. The monk's _semi-cope_, which seems to have been an ample one, is
mentioned in the Prologue, A. 262. In Jack Upland, § 4, a friar is asked
what is signified by his 'wide cope.'

3142. 'Shaven very high on his crown'; alluding to the tonsure.

3144. _the corn_, i. e. the chief part or share.

3145. _borel men_, lay-men. _Borel_ means 'rude, unlearned, ignorant,' and
seems to have arisen from a peculiar use of _borel_ or _burel_, sb., a
coarse cloth; so that its original sense, as an adj., was 'in coarse
clothing,' or 'rudely clad.' See _borrel_ and _burel_ in the New Eng.

_shrimpes_, diminutive or poor creatures.

3146. _wrecched impes_, poor grafts, weakly shoots. Cf. A. S. _impian_, to
graft, _imp_, a graft; borrowed from Low Lat. _impotus_, a graft, from Gk.
[Greek: emphutos], engrafted.

3152. _lussheburghes_, light coins. In P. Plowman, B. xv. 342, we are told
that 'in Lussheborwes is a lyther alay (bad alloy), and yet loketh he lyke
a sterlynge.' They were spurious coins imported into England from
Luxembourg, whence the name. See Liber Albus, ed. Riley, 1841, p. 495; and
Blount's Nomolexicon. Luxembourg is called _Lusscheburghe_ in the Allit.
Morte Arthure, l. 2388. The importation of this false money was frequently
forbidden, viz. in 1347, 1348, and 1351.

3157. _souneth into_, tends to, is consistent with; see Prol. A. 307, and
Sq. Ta., F. 517. The following extracts from Palsgrave's French Dictionary
are to the point. 'I sownde, I appartayne or belong, _Ie tens_. [226] Thys
thyng sowndeth to a good purpose, _Ceste chose tent a bonne fin_.' Also, 'I
sownde, as a tale or a report sowndeth to ones honesty or dyshonesty, _Ie
redonde_. I promise you that this matter sowndeth moche to your dishonoure,
_Ie vous promets que ceste matyere redonde fort a votre deshonneur_.'

3160. _Seint Edward._ There are two of the name, viz. Edward, king and
martyr, commemorated on March 16, 18, or 19, and the second King Edward,
best known as Edward the Confessor, commemorated on Jan. 5. In Piers the
Plowman, B. xv. 217, we have--

 'Edmonde and Edwarde · eyther were kynges,
  And seyntes ysette · tyl charite hem folwed.'

But Edward the Confessor is certainly meant; and there is a remarkable
story about him that he was 'warned of hys death certain dayes before hee
dyed, by a ring that was brought to him by certain pilgrims coming from
Hierusalem, which ring hee hadde secretly given to a poore man that askyd
hys charitie in the name of God and sainte Johan the Evangelist.' See Mr.
Wright's description of Ludlow Church, where are some remains of a stained
glass window representing this story, in the eastern wall of the chapel of
St. John. See also Chambers, Book of Days, i. 53, 54, where we read--'The
sculptures upon the frieze of the present shrine (in Westminster Abbey)
represent _fourteen scenes in the life_ of Edward the Confessor.... He was
canonized by Pope Alexander about a century after his death.... He was
esteemed the _patron-saint of England_ until superseded in the thirteenth
century by St. George.' These fourteen scenes are fully described in
Brayley's Hist. of Westminster Abbey, in an account which is chiefly taken
from a life of St. Edward written by Ailred of Rievaulx in 1163. Three
'Lives of Edward the Confessor' were edited, for the Master of the Rolls,
by Mr. Luard in 1858. See Morley's Eng. Writers, 1888, ii. 375.

3162. _celle_, cell. The monk calls it _his_ cell because he was 'the
keper' of it; Prol. 172.

3163. _Tragédie_; the final _ie_ might be slurred over before _is_, in
which case we might read _for to_ for _to_ (see footnote); but it is
needless. The definition of 'tragedy' here given is repeated from Chaucer's
own translation of Boethius, which contains the remark--'_Glose._ Tragedie
is to seyn, a ditee [_ditty_] of a prosperitee for a tyme, that endeth in
wrecchednesse'; bk. ii. pr. 2. 51. This remark is Chaucer's _own_, as the
word _Glose_ marks his addition to, or _gloss_ upon, his original. His
remark refers to a passage in Boethius immediately preceding, viz. 'Quid
_tragoediarum_ clamor aliud deflet, nisi indiscreto ictu fortunam felicia
regna uertentem?' De Consolatione Philosophiae, lib. ii. prosa 2. See also
the last stanza of 'Cresus' in the Monkes Tale (vol. i. p. 268).

3169. _exametron_, hexameter. Chaucer is speaking of Latin, not of English
verse; and refers to the common Latin hexameter used in heroic verse; he
would especially be thinking of the Thebaid of Statius, [227] the
Metamorphoseon Liber of Ovid, the Aeneid of Vergil, and Lucan's Pharsalia.
This we could easily have guessed, but Chaucer has himself told us what was
in his thoughts. For near the conclusion of his Troilus and Criseyde, which
he calls a _tragedie_, he says--

 'And kis the steppes wheras thou seest pace
  _Virgile_, _Ovyde_, Omer, _Lucan_, and _Stace_.'

Lucan is expressly cited in B. 401, 3909.

3170. _In prose._ For example, Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum and De Claris
Mulieribus contain 'tragedies' in Latin prose. Cf. ll. 3655, 3910.

3171. _in metre._ For example, the tragedies of Seneca are in various
metres, chiefly iambic. See also note to l. 3285.

3177. _After hir ages_, according to their periods; in chronological order.
The probable allusion is to Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum, which begins
with Adam and Nimrod, and keeps tolerably to the right order. For further
remarks on this, shewing how Chaucer altered the order of these Tragedies
in the course of revision, see vol. iii. p. 428.


For some account of this Tale, see vol. iii. p. 427.

3181. _Tragédie_; accented on the second syllable, and riming with
_remédie_; cf. B. 3163. Very near the end of Troilus and Criseyde, we find
Chaucer riming it with _comédie_. That poem he also calls a tragedie (v.

 'Go, litel book, go, litel myn _tragédie_,' &c.

3183. _fillen_, fell. _nas no_, for _ne was no_, a double negative. Cf. Ch.
tr. of Boethius--'the olde age of tyme passed, and eek of present tyme now,
is ful of ensaumples how that kinges ben chaunged in-to wrecchednesse out
of hir welefulnesse'; bk. iii. pr. 5. 3.

3186. The Harl. MS. has--'Ther may no man the cours of hir whiel holde,'
which Mr. Wright prefers. But the reading of the Six-text is well enough
here; for in the preceding line Chaucer is speaking of Fortune under the
image of a person fleeing away, to which he adds, that no one can _stay her
course_. Fortune is also sometimes represented as stationary, and holding
an ever-turning wheel, as in the Book of the Duchesse, 643; but that is
another picture.

3188. _Be war by_, take warning from.


3189. _Lucifer_, a Latin name signifying _light-bringer_, and properly
applied to the morning-star. In Isaiah xiv. 12 the Vulgate has--'Quomodo
cecidisti de caelo, _Lucifer_, qui mane oriebaris? corruisti in terram, qui
uulnerabas gentes?' &c. St. Jerome, Tertullian, St. Gregory, and [228]
other fathers, supposed this passage to apply to the fall of Satan. It
became a favourite topic for writers both in prose and verse, and the
allusions to it are innumerable. See note to Piers the Plowman, B. i. 105
(Clar. Press Series). Gower begins his eighth book of the Confessio Amantis
with the examples of Lucifer and Adam.

Sandras, in his Étude sur Chaucer, p. 248, quotes some French lines from a
'Volucraire,' which closely agree with this first stanza. But it is a
common theme.

3192. _sinne_, the sin of _pride_, as in all the accounts; probably from 1
Tim. iii. 6. Thus Gower, Conf. Amant. lib. i. (ed. Pauli, i. 153):--

 'For Lucifer, with them that felle,
  Bar _pride_ with him into helle.
  Ther was pride of to grete cost,
  Whan he for pride hath heven lost.'

3195. _artow_, art thou. _Sathanas_, Satan. The Hebrew _sâtân_ means simply
an _adversary_, as in 1 Sam. xxix. 4; 2 Sam. xix. 22; &c. A remarkable
application of it to the evil spirit is in Luke x. 18. Milton also
indentifies Lucifer with Satan; Par. Lost, vii. 131; x. 425; but they are
sometimes distinguished, and made the names of two different spirits. See,
for example, Piers Plowman, B. xviii. 270-283.

3196. Read _misérie_, after which follows the metrical pause.


3197. Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium begins with a chapter 'De
Adam et Eua.' It contains the passage--'Et ex agro, qui postea
_Damascenus_,... ductus in Paradisum deliciarum.' Lydgate, in his Fall of
Princes (fol. a 5), has--

 'Of slyme of the erthe, in _damascene_ the feelde,
  God made theym aboue eche creature.'

The notion of the creation of Adam in a field whereupon afterwards stood
Damascus, occurs in Peter Comestor's Historia Scholastica, where we find
(ed. 1526, fol. vii)--'Quasi quereret aliquis, Remansit homo in loco vbi
factus est, in agro scilicet damasceno? Non. Vbi ergo translatus est? In
paradisum.' See also Maundeville's Travels, cap. xv; Genesis and Exodus,
ed. Morris, l. 207; and note in Mätzner's Altenglische Sprachproben, ii.

3199. Cf. 'Formatus est homo ... de spurcissimo spermate'; Innocent III.,
De Miseria Conditionis Humanae, i. 1 (Köppel).

3200. So Boccaccio--'O caeca rerum cupiditas! Hii, _quibus rerum omnium_,
dante Deo, _erat imperium_,' &c. Cf. Gen. i. 29; ii. 16.


3205. The story of Sampson is also in Boccaccio, lib. i. c. 17 (not 19, as
Tyrwhitt says). But Chaucer seems mostly to have followed [229] the account
in Judges, xiii-xvi. The word _annunciat_, referring to the announcement of
Samson's birth by the angel (Judges xiii. 3), may have been suggested by
Boccaccio, whose account begins--'_Praenunciante_ per angelum Deo, ex Manue
Israhelita quodam et pulcherrima eius vxore Sanson progenitus est.'
_thangel_ in l. 3206=_the angel_.

3207. _consecrat_, consecrated. A good example of the use of the ending
_-at_; cf. _situate_ for _situated_.--M. Shakespeare has _consecrate_; Com.
of. Err. ii. 2. 134.

3208. _whyl he mighte see_, as long as he preserved his eyesight.

3210. _To speke of strengthe_, with regard to strength; _to speke of_ is a
kind of preposition.--M. Cf. Milton's Samson Agonistes, 126-150.

3211. _wyves_. Samson told the secret of his riddle to his wife, Judges
xiv. 17; and of his strength to Delilah, id. xvi. 17.

3215. _al to-rente_, completely rent in twain. The prefix _to-_ has two
powers in Old English. Sometimes it is the preposition _to_ in composition,
as in _towards_, or M. E. _to-flight_ (G. _zuflucht_), a refuge. But more
commonly it is a prefix signifying _in twain_, spelt _zer-_ in German, and
_dis-_ in Moeso-Gothic and Latin. Thus _to-rente_ = rent in twain;
_to-brast_ = burst in twain, &c. The intensive adverb _al_, utterly, was
used not merely (as is commonly supposed) before verbs beginning with
_to-_, but in other cases also. Thus, in William of Palerne, l. 872, we
find--'He was _al a-wondred_,' where _al_ precedes the intensive prefix
_a-_ = A. S. _of_. Again, in the same poem, l. 661, we have--'_al bi-weped_
for wo,' where _al_ now precedes the prefix _bi-_. In Barbour's Bruce, ed.
Skeat, x. 596, is the expression--

 'For, hapnyt ony to slyde or fall,
  He suld be soyne _to-fruschit al_.'

Where _al to-fruschit_ means utterly broken in pieces. Perhaps the clearest
example of the complete separability of _al_ from _to_ is seen in l. 3884
of William of Palerne;--

 '_Al to-tare_ his atir · þat he _to-tere_ mi[gh]t';

i. e. he entirely tore apart his attire, as much of it as he could tear
apart. But at a later period of English, when the prefix _to-_ was less
understood, a new and mistaken notion arose of regarding _al to_ as a
separable prefix, with the sense of _all to pieces_. I have observed no
instance of this use earlier than the reign of Henry VIII. Thus Surrey,
Sonnet 9, has '_al-to_ shaken' for shaken to pieces. Latimer has--'they
love and _al-to_ love (i. e. entirely love) him'; Serm. p. 289. For other
examples, see _Al-to_ in the Bible Word-book; and my notes in Notes and
Queries, 3 Ser. xii. 464, 535; also _All_, § C. 15, in the New E. Dict.

3220. Samson's wife was given to a friend; Judges, xiv. 20. She was
afterwards burnt by her own people; Judges, xv. 6.

3224. _on every tayl_; one brand being fastened to the tails of two foxes;
Judg. xv. 4.

3225. _cornes._ The Vulgate has _segetes_ and _fruges_; also _utneas_ for
[230] _vynes_, and _oliueta_ for _oliveres_. The plural form _cornes_ is
not uncommon in Early English. Cf. 'Quen thair _corns_ war in don,' i. e.
when their harvests were gathered in; Spec. of Eng. pt. ii. ed. Morris and
Skeat, p. 70, l. 39. And again, 'alle men-sleeris and brenneris of houses
and cornes [misprinted _corves_] ben cursed opynly in parische chirches';
Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 329.

3234. _wang-toth_, molar tooth. This expression is taken from the Vulgate,
which has--'Aperuit itaque Dominus _molarem dentem_ in maxilla asini';
where the A. V. has only--'an hollow place that was in the jaw'; Judg. xv.

3236. _Judicum_, i. e. Liber Judicum, the Book of Judges. Cf. note to B.
93, at p. 141.

3237. _Gazan_, a corruption of Gazam, the acc. case, in Judg. xvi. 1,
Vulgate version.

3244. _ne hadde been_, there would not have been. Since _hadde_ is here the
subjunctive mood, it is dissyllabic. Read--_worldë n' haddë_.

3245. _sicer_, from the Lat. _sicera_, Greek [Greek: sikera], strong drink,
is the word which we now spell _cider_; see Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, i.
363, note. It is used here because found in the Vulgate version of Judges
xiii. 7; 'caue ne uinum bibas, nec _siceram_.' I slightly amend the
spelling of the MSS., which have _ciser_, _siser_, _sythir_, _cyder_.
Wyclif has _sither_, _cyther_, _sidir_, _sydur_.

3249. _twenty winter_, twenty years; Judg. xvi. 31. The English used to
reckon formerly by _winters_ instead of _years_; as may be seen in a great
many passages in the A. S. Chronicle.

3253. _Dalida_; from Gk. [Greek: Dalida], in the Septuagint. The Vulgate
has _Dalila_; but Chaucer (or his scribes) naturally adopted a form which
seemed to have a nearer resemblance to an accusative case, such being, at
that time, the usual practice; cf. _Briseide_ (from _Briseida_), _Criseyde_
and _Anelida_. Lydgate also uses the form _Dalida_.

3259. _in this array_, in this (defenceless) condition.

3264. _querne_, hand-mill. The Vulgate has--'et clausum in carcere molere
fecerunt'; Judg. xvi. 21. But Boccaccio says--'ad _molas manuarias_
coegere.' The word occurs in the House of Fame, 1798; and in Wyclif's
Bible, Exod. xi. 5; Mat. xxiv. 41. In the Ayenbite of Inwyt, ed. Morris, p.
181, the story of Samson is alluded to, and it is said of him that he 'uil
[_fell_] into þe honden of his yuo [_foes_], þet him deden grinde _ate
querne_ ssamuolliche,' i. e. who made him grind at the mill shamefully (in
a shameful manner). Lydgate copies Chaucer rather closely, in his Fall of
Princes, fol. e 7:--

 'And of despite, after as I fynde,
  At their _quernes_ made hym for to grinde.'

3269. _Thende_, the end. _Caytif_ means (1) a captive, (2) a wretch. It is
therefore used here very justly.

3274. _two pilers_, better than the reading _the pilers_ of MS. E.; because
_two_ are expressly mentioned; Judg. xvi. 29. [231]

3282. So Boccaccio--'Sic aduersa credulitas, sic amantis pietas, sic
mulieris egit inclyta fides. Vt quem non poterant homines, non uincula, non
ferrum uincere, a mulieribus latrunculis uinceretur.' Lydgate has the

 'Beware by Sampson your counseyll well to kepe,
  Though [_misprinted_ That] Dalida compleyne, crye, and wepe';

and again:--

 'Suffre no nightworm within your counseyll crepe,
  Though Dalida compleyne, crye, and wepe.'


3285. There is little about Hercules in Boccaccio; but Chaucer's favourite
author, Ovid, has his story in the Metamorphoses, book ix, and Heroides,
epist. 9. Tyrwhitt, however, has shewn that Chaucer more immediately copies
a passage in Boethius, de Cons. Phil. lib. iv. met. 7, which is as

 'Herculem duri celebrant labores;
  Ille Centauros domuit superbos;
  Abstulit saeuo spolium leoni;
  Fixit et certis uolucres sagittis;
  Poma cernenti rapuit draconi,
  Aureo laeuam grauior metallo;
  Cerberum traxit triplici catena.
  Victor immitem posuisse fertur
  Pabulum saeuis dominum quadrigis.
  Hydra combusto periit ueneno;
  Fronte turpatus Achelous amnis
  Ora demersit pudibunda ripis.
  Strauit Antaeum Libycis arenis,
  Cacus Euandri satiauit iras,
  Quosque pressurus foret altus orbis
  Setiger spumis humeros notauit.
  Ultimus caelum labor irreflexo
  Sustulit collo, pretiumque rursus
  Ultimi caelum meruit laboris.'

But it is still more interesting to see Chaucer's own version of this
passage, which is as follows (ed. Morris, p. 147; cf. vol. ii. p. 125):--

'Hercules is celebrable for his harde trauaile; he dawntede þe proude
Centauris, half hors, half man; and he rafte þe despoylynge fro þe cruel
lyoun; þat is to seyne, he slou[gh] þe lyoun and rafte hym hys skyn. He
smot þe birds þat hy[gh]ten arpijs in þe palude of lyrne wiþ certeyne
arwes. He rauyssede applis fro þe wakyng dragoun, & hys hand was þe more
heuy for þe goldene metal. He drou[gh] Cerberus þe hound of helle by his
treble cheyne; he, ouer-comer, as it is seid, haþ put an vnmeke lorde fodre
to his cruel hors; þis is to sein, þat [232] hercules slou[gh] diomedes and
made his hors to etyn hym. And he, hercules, slou[gh] Idra þe serpent &
brende þe venym; and achelaus þe flode, defoulede in his forhede, dreinte
his shamefast visage in his strondes; þis is to seyn, þat achelaus couþe
transfigure hymself into dyuerse lykenesse, & as he fau[gh]t wiþ ercules,
at þe laste he turnide hym in-to a bole [_bull_]; and hercules brak of oon
of hys hornes, & achelaus for shame hidde hym in hys ryuer. And he,
hercules, caste adoun Antheus þe geaunt in þe strondes of libye; & kacus
apaisede þe wraþþes of euander; þis is to sein, þat hercules slou[gh] þe
monstre kacus & apaisede wiþ þat deeþ þe wraþþe of euander. And þe
bristlede boor markede wiþ scomes [_scums_, _foam_] þe sholdres of
hercules, þe whiche sholdres þe heye cercle of heuene sholde þreste [_was
to rest upon_]. And þe laste of his labours was, þat he sustenede þe heuene
upon his nekke unbowed; & he deseruede eftsones þe heuene, to ben þe pris
of his laste trauayle.'

And in his House of Fame, book iii. (l. 1413), he mentions--

 'Alexander, and Hercules,
  That with a sherte his lyf lees.'

3288. Hercules' first labour was the slaying of the Nemean lion, whose skin
he often afterwards wore.

3289. _Centauros_; this is _the very form_ used by Boethius, else we might
have expected _Centaurus_ or _Centaures_. After the destruction of the
Erymanthian boar, Hercules slew Pholus the centaur; and (by accident)
Chiron. His slaughter of the centaur Nessus ultimately brought about his
own death; cf. l. 3318.

3290. _Arpies_, harpies. The sixth labour was the destruction of the
Stymphalian birds, who ate human flesh.

3291. The eleventh labour was the fetching of the golden apples, guarded by
the dragon Ladon, from the garden of the Hesperides.

3292. The twelfth labour was the bringing of Cerberus from the lower world.

3293. _Busirus._ Here Chaucer has confused two stories. One is, that
Busiris, a king of Egypt, used to sacrifice all foreigners who came to
Egypt, till the arrival of Hercules, who slew him. The other is 'the eighth
labour,' when Hercules killed Diomedes, a king in Thrace, who fed his mares
with human flesh, till Hercules slew him and gave his body to be eaten by
the mares, as Chaucer _himself_ says in his translation. The confusion was
easy, because the story of Busiris is mentioned elsewhere by Boethius, bk.
ii. pr. 6, in a passage which Chaucer thus translates (see vol. ii. p.
43):--'I have herd told of Busirides, þat was wont to sleen his gestes
[_guests_] þat herberweden [_lodged_] in his hous; and he was sleyn
him-self of Ercules þat was his gest.' Lydgate tells the story of Busiris

3295. _serpent_, i. e. the Lernean hydra, whom Chaucer, in the passage from
Boethius, calls 'Idra [_or_ Ydra] the serpent.'

3296. _Achelois_, seems to be used here as a genitive form from [233] a
nominative _Achelo_; in his translation of Boethius we find _Achelous_ and
_Achelaus_. The spelling of names by old authors is often vague. The line
means--he broke one of the two horns of Achelous. The river-god Achelous,
in his fight with Hercules, took the form of a bull, whereupon the hero
broke off one of his horns.

3297. The adventures with Cacus and Antaeus are well known.

3299. The fourth labour was the destruction of the Erymanthian boar.

3300. _longe_, for a long time; in the margin of MS. Camb. Univ. Lib. Dd.
4. 24, is written the gloss _diu_.

3307. The allusion is to the 'pillars' of Hercules. The expression 'both
ends of the world' refers to the extreme points of the continents of Europe
and Africa, _world_ standing here for _continent_. The story is that
Hercules erected two pillars, Calpe and Abyla, on the two sides of the
Strait of Gibraltar. The words 'seith Trophee' seem to refer to an author
named Trophaeus. In Lydgate's prologue to his Fall of Princes, st. 41, he
says of Chaucer that--

 'In youth he made a translacion
  Of a boke whiche called is _Trophe_
  In Lumbarde tonge, as men may rede and se;
  And in our vulgar, long er that he deyde,
  Gave it the name of Troylus and Creseyde.'

This seems to say that _Trophe_ was the Italian name of a Book (or
otherwise, the name of a book in Italian), whence Chaucer drew his story of
Troilus. But the notion must be due to some mistake, since that work was
taken from the 'Filostrato' of Boccaccio. The only trace of the name of
_Trophaeus_ as an author is in a marginal note--possibly Chaucer's
own--which appears in both the Ellesmere and Hengwrt MSS., viz. 'Ille vates
Chaldeorum Tropheus.' See, however, vol. ii. p. lv, where I shew that, in
_this_ passage at any rate, _Trophee_ really refers to Guido delle Colonne,
who treats of the deeds of Hercules in the first book of his Historia
Troiana, and makes particular mention of the famous columns (as to which
Ovid and Boethius are alike silent).

3311. _thise clerkes_, meaning probably Ovid and Boccaccio. See Ovid's
Heroides, epist. ix., entitled Deianira Herculi, and Metamorph. lib. ix.;
Boccaccio, De Casibus Virorum Illustrium, lib. i. cap. xviii., and De
Mulieribus Claris, cap. xxii. See also the Trachineae of Sophocles, which
Chaucer of course never read.

3315. _wered_, worn; so in A. 75, and B. 3320, _wered_ is the form of the
past tense. Instances of verbs with weak preterites in Chaucer, but strong
ones in modern English, are rare indeed; but there are several instances of
the contrary, e.g. _wep_, _slep_, _wesh_, _wex_, now _wept_, _slept_,
_washed_, _waxed_. _Wore_ is due to analogy with _bore_; cf. _could_ for

3317. Both Ovid and Boccaccio represent Deianira as ignorant of the fatal
effects which the shirt would produce. See Ovid, Metam. [234] ix. 133. Had
Chaucer written later, he might have included Gower among the clerks, as
the latter gives the story of Hercules and Deianira in his Conf. Amantis,
lib. ii. (ed. Pauli, i. 236), following Ovid. Thus he says--

 'With wepend eye and woful herte
  She tok out thilke vnhappy sherte,
  _As she that wende wel to do_.'

3326. For long upbraidings of Fortune, see The Boke of the Duchesse, 617;
Rom. Rose, 5407; Boethius, bk. i. met. 5; &c.


3335. _Nabugodonosor_; generally spelt _Nabuchodonosor_ in copies of the
Vulgate, of which this other spelling is a mere variation. Gower has the
same spelling as Chaucer, and relates the story near the end of book i. of
the Conf. Amantis (ed. Pauli, i. 136). Both no doubt took it directly from
Daniel i-iv.

3338. _The vessel_ is here an imitation of the French idiom; F. _vaisselle_
means _the plate_, as Mr. Jephson well observes. Cf. l. 3494.

3349. In the word _statue_ the second syllable is rapidly slurred over,
like that in _glorie_ in l. 3340. See the same effect in the Kn. Tale, ll.
117, 1097 (A. 975, 1955).

3356. _tweye_, two; a strange error for _three_, whose names are familiar;
viz. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.


3373. _Balthasar_; so spelt by Boccaccio, who relates the story very
briefly, De Cas. Virorum Illust., lib. ii. cap. 19. So also, by Peter
Comestor, in his Historia Scholastica; and by Gower, Conf. Amant., lib. v
(ed. Pauli, ii. 365). The Vulgate generally has _Baltassar_; Daniel, cap.

3379. _and ther he lay_; cf. l. 3275 above.

3384. The word _tho_ is supplied for the metre. The scribes have considered
_vesselles_ (_sic_) as a trisyllable; but see ll. 3391, 3416, 3418.

3388. _Of_, for. Cf. 'thank God _of_ al,' i. e. for all; in Chaucer's
Balade of Truth.--M. See note in vol. i. pp. 552-3.

3422. Tyrwhitt has _trusteth_, in the plural, but _thou_ is used
throughout. Elsewhere Chaucer also has '_on_ whom we _truste_,' Prol. A.
501; '_truste on_ fortune,' B. 3326; cf. 'syker _on_ to trosten,' P. Pl.
Crede, l. 350.

3427. _Dárius_, so accented. _degree_, rank, position.

3429-36. I have no doubt that this stanza was a later addition.

3436. _proverbe._ The allusion is, in the first place, to Boethius, de
Cons. Phil., bk. iii. pr. 5--'Sed quem felicitas amicum fecit, infortunium
[235] faciet inimicum'; which Chaucer translates--'Certes, swiche folk as
weleful fortune maketh freendes, contrarious fortune maketh hem enemys';
see vol. ii. p. 63. Cf. Prov. xix. 4--'Wealth maketh many friends; but the
poor is separated from his neighbour,' &c. So also--'If thou be brought
low, he [i. e. thy friend] will be against thee, and will hide himself from
thy face'; Ecclus. vi. 12. In Hazlitt's Collection of English Proverbs, p.
235, we find--

 'In time of prosperity, friends will be plenty;
  In time of adversity, not one among twenty.'

See also note to l. 120 above; and, not to multiply instances, note st. 19
of Goldsmith's Hermit:--

 'And what is friendship but a name,
    A charm that lulls to sleep;
  _A shade that follows wealth or fame_,
    And leaves the wretch to weep?'


3437. _Cenobia._ The story of Zenobia is told by Trebellius Pollio, who
flourished under Constantine, in cap. xxix. of his work entitled Triginta
Tyranni; but Chaucer no doubt followed later accounts, one of which was
clearly that given by Boccaccio in his De Mulieribus Claris, cap. xcviii.
Boccaccio relates her story again in his De Casibus Virorum, lib. viii. c.
6; in an edition of which, printed in 1544, I find references to the
biography of Aurelian by Flavius Vopiscus, to the history of Orosius, lib.
vii. cap. 23, and to Baptista Fulgosius, lib. iv. cap. 3. See, in
particular, chap. xi. of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
where the story of Zenobia is given at length. Palmyra is described by
Pliny, Nat. Hist. lib. v. cap. 21. Zenobia's ambition tempted her to
endeavour to make herself a Queen of the East, instead of remaining merely
Queen of Palmyra; but she was defeated by the Roman emperor Aurelian, A.D.
273, and carried to Rome, where she graced his triumph, A.D. 274. She
survived this reverse of fortune for some years.

_Palimerie._ Such is the spelling in the best MSS.; but MS. Hl. reads--'of
Palmire the queene.' It is remarkable that MS. Trin. Coll. Cam. R. 3. 19
has the reading--'Cenobia, of _Belmary_ quene,' which suggests confusion
with _Belmarie_, in the Prol. A. 57; but see the note to that line. It
occupied the site of the ancient Tadmor, or 'city of palmtrees,' in an
oasis of the Great Syrian desert. It has been in ruins since about A.D.

3441. In the second _ne in_, the _e_ is slurred over; cf. _nin_, Sq. Ta.,
F. 35.

3442. _Perse._ This (like l. 3438) is Chaucer's mistake. Boccaccio says
expressly that she was of the race of the Ptolemies of Egypt; but further
[236] on he remarks--'Sic cum _Persis_ et Armenis principibus, vt illos
urbanitate et facetia superaret.' This may account for the confusion.

3446. Boccaccio says (de Mul. Clar.)--'Dicunt autem hanc a pueritia sua
spretis omnino muliebribus _officiis_, cum iam corpusculum eduxisset in
robur, syluas & nemora incoluisse plurimum, & accinctam pharetra, ceruis
caprisque cursu atque sagittis fuisse infestam. Inde cum in acriores
deuenisset uires, ursus amplecti ausam, pardos, leonesque insequi, obuios
expectare, capere & occidere, ac in praedam trahere.' This accounts for the
word _office_, and may shew how closely Chaucer has followed his original.

3496. _lafte not_, forbore not; see A. 492.

3497. She was acquainted with Egyptian literature, and studied Greek under
the philosopher Longinus, author of a celebrated treatise on 'The Sublime.'

3502. _housbonde._ Her husband was Odenathus, or Odenatus, the ruler of
Palmyra, upon whom the emperor Gallienus had bestowed the title of
Augustus. He was murdered by some of his relations, and some have even
insinuated that Zenobia consented to the crime. Most scribes spell the name
_Onedake_, by metathesis for _Odenake_ (_Odenate_), like the spelling
_Adriane_ for _Ariadne_.

3507. _doon hem flee_, cause them (her and her husband) to flee.

3510. Sapor I. reigned over Persia A.D. 240-273. He defeated the emperor
Valerian, whom he kept in captivity for the rest of his life. After
conquering Syria and taking Caesarea, he was defeated by Odenatus and
Zenobia, who founded a new empire at Palmyra. See Gibbon, Decline, &c.,
chap. x.

3511. _proces_, succession of events. _fil_, fell, befell.

3512. _title_, pronounced nearly as _title_ in French, the _e_ being elided
before _had_.

3515. _Petrark._ Tyrwhitt suggests that perhaps Boccaccio's book had fallen
into Chaucer's hands under the name of Petrarch. We may, however, suppose
that Chaucer had read the account in a borrowed book, and did not certainly
know whether Petrarch or Boccaccio was the author. Instances of similar
mistakes are common enough in Early English. Modern readers are apt to
forget that, in the olden times, much information had to be carried in the
memory, and there was seldom much facility for verification or for a second
perusal of a story.

3519. _cruelly._ The Harl. MS. has the poor reading _trewely_, miswritten
for _crewely_.

3525. Claudius II., emperor of Rome, A.D. 268-270. He succeeded Gallienus,
as Chaucer says, and was succeeded by Aurelian.

3535. Boccaccio calls them _Heremianus_ and _Timolaus_, so that _Hermanno_
(as in the MSS.) should probably be _Heremanno_. Professor Robertson Smith
tells me that the right names are _Herennianus_ and _Timoleon_. The line
cannot well be scanned as it stands.

3550. _char_, chariot. Boccaccio describes this 'currum, quem sibi ex auro
gemmisque praeciocissimum Zenobia fabricari fecerat.' [237]

3556. _charged_, heavily laden. She was so laden with chains of massive
gold, and covered with pearls and gems, that she could scarcely support the
weight; so says Boccaccio. Gibbon says the same.

3562. _vitremyte._ I have no doubt this reading (as in Tyrwhitt) is
correct. All the six MSS. in the Six-text agree in it. The old printed
editions have _were autremyte_, a mere corruption of _were a u[i]tremyte_;
and the Harl. MS. has _wyntermyte_, which I take to be an attempt to make
sense of a part of the word, just as we have turned _écrevisse_ into
_cray-fish_. What the word means, is another question; it is perhaps the
greatest 'crux' in Chaucer. As the word occurs nowhere else, the solution I
offer is a mere guess. I suppose it to be a coined word, formed on the
Latin _vitream mitram_, expressing, literally, a glass head-dress, in
complete contrast to a strong helmet. My reasons for supposing this are as

(1) With regard to _mitra_. In Low-Latin, its commonest meaning is a
woman's head-dress. But it was especially and widely used as a term of
mockery, both in Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French. The _mitra_ was the
cap which criminals were made to wear as a sign of degradation; see
Carpenter's Supp. to Ducange, s. v. _Mitra_; Vocabulario degli Accad. della
Crusca, s. v. _Mitera_; and any large Spanish Dict. s. v. _Mitra_. Even
Cotgrave has--'_Mitré_, mitred; hooded with a _miter_, wearing a _miter_;
set on a pillory or scaffold, with a _miter_ of paper on his head.' The
chief difficulty in this derivation is the loss of the _r_, but Godefroy
has a quotation (s. v. _mite_, 2), which would suit the sense--'_mites_ de
toile costonnees, et par dessus ung grand chappel de fer ou de cuir

(2) With regard to _vitream_. This may refer to a proverb, probably rather
English than foreign, to which I have never yet seen a reference. But its
existence is clear. To give a man 'a glazen hood' meant, in Old English, to
mock, delude, cajole. It appears in Piers the Plowman, B. xx. 171, where a
story is told of a man who, fearing to die, consulted the physicians, and
gave them large sums of money, for which they gave him in return 'a glasen
houve,' i. e. a _hood of glass_, a thing that was no defence at all. Still
clearer is the allusion to the same proverb _in Chaucer_ himself, in a
passage explained by no previous editor, in Troil. and Cres. v. 469, where
Fortune is said to have an intention of deluding Troilus; or, as the poet

 'Fortune his _howve_ entended bet _to glase_,'

i. e. literally, Fortune intended _to glaze his hood_ still better for him,
i. e. to make a still greater fool of him. In the Aldine edition, _howue_
is printed _howen_ in this passage, but _howue_ occurs elsewhere; Tyrwhitt
has _hove_, a common variation of _howue_. If this note is unsatisfactory,
I may yet claim to have explained in it at least _one_ long-standing
difficulty; viz. this line in Troilus. Tyrwhitt long ago explained that, in
Chaucer, the phrases _to set a man's hood_, and _to set a man's cap_, have
a like meaning, viz. to delude him. Chaucer uses _verre_ for glass [238] in
another passage of a similar character, viz. in Troil. and Cres. ii. 867,
where we read--

 'And forthy, who that hath an hede of _verre_,
  Fro cast of stones war him in the werre.'

3564. _a distaf._ This is from Boccaccio's _other_ account, in the De
Casibus Virorum. 'Haec nuper imperatoribus admiranda, nunc uenit miseranda
plebeis. Haec nunc galeata concionari militibus assueta, nunc uelata
cogitur muliercularum audire fabellas. Haec nuper Orienti praesidens
sceptra gestabat, nunc Romae subiacens, colum, sicut ceterae, baiulat.'
Zenobia survived her disgrace for some years, living at Rome as a private
person on a small estate which was granted to her, and which, says
Trebellius Pollio, 'hodie _Zenobia_ dicitur.'


3565. See vol. iii. p. 429, for the _order_ in which the parts of the
Monk's Tale are arranged. I follow here the arrangement in the Harleian MS.
Peter, king of Castile, born in 1334, is generally known as Pedro the
Cruel. He reigned over Castile and Leon from 1350 to 1362, and his conduct
was marked by numerous acts of unprincipled atrocity. After a destructive
civil war, he fell into the hands of his brother, Don Enrique (Henry). A
personal struggle took place between the brothers, in the course of which
Enrique stabbed Pedro to the heart; March 23, 1369. See the ballad by Sir
Walter Scott, entitled the Death of Don Pedro, in Lockhart's Spanish
Ballads, commencing--

 'Henry and Don Pedro clasping
    Hold in straining arms each other;
  Tugging hard and closely grasping,
    Brother proves his strength with brother.'

It is remarkable that Pedro was very popular with his own party, despite
his crimes, and Chaucer takes his part because our Black Prince fought on
the side of Pedro against Enrique at the battle of Najera, April 3, 1367;
and because John of Gaunt married Constance, daughter of Pedro, about
Michaelmas, 1371.

3573. See the description of Du Gueschlin's arms as given below. The
'field' was argent, and the black eagle appears as if _caught_ by a rod
covered with birdlime, because the bend dexter across the shield seems to
restrain him from flying away. The first three lines of the stanza refer to
Bertrand Du Gueschlin, who 'brew,' i. e. contrived Pedro's murder, viz. by
luring him to Enrique's tent. But the last three lines refer to another
knight who, according to Chaucer, took a still more active part in the
matter, being a _worker_ in it. This second person was a certain Sir Oliver
Mauny, whose name Chaucer conceals under the synonym of _wicked nest_,
standing for O. Fr. _mau ni_, where [239] _mau_ is O. Fr. for _mal_, bad or
wicked, and _ni_ is O. Fr. for _nid_, Lat. _nidus_, a nest. Observe too,
that Chaucer uses the word _need_, not _deed_. There may be an excellent
reason for this; for, in the course of the struggle between the brothers,
Enrique was at first thrown, 'when (says Lockhart) one of Henry's
followers, seizing Don Pedro by the leg, turned him over, and his master,
thus at length gaining the upper hand, instantly stabbed the king to the
heart. Froissart calls this man the Vicomte de Roquebetyn, and others the
Bastard of Anisse.' I have no doubt that Chaucer means to tell us that the
helper in Enrique's _need_ was no other than Mauny. He goes on to say that
this Mauny was not like Charles the Great's Oliver, an honourable peer, but
an Oliver of Armorica, a man like Charles's Ganelon, the well-known
traitor, of whom Chaucer elsewhere says (Book of the Duchess, l. 1121)--

 'Or the false Genelon,
  He that purchased the treson
  Of Rowland and of Olivere.'

This passage has long been a puzzle, but was first cleared up in an
excellent letter by Mr. Furnivall in Notes and Queries, which I here
subjoin; I may give myself the credit, however, of identifying 'wicked
nest' with O. Fr. _mau ni_.

'The first two lines [of the stanza] describe the arms of Bertrand du
Guesclin, which were, a black double-headed eagle displayed on a silver
shield, with a red band across the whole, from left to right [in heraldic
language, a bend dexter, gules]--"the lymrod coloured as the glede" or live
coal--as may be seen in Anselme's _Histoire Généalogique de France_, and a
MS. _Généalogies de France_ in the British Museum. Next, if we turn to Mr.
D. F. Jamison's excellent _Life and Times of Bertrand du Guesclin_, we not
only find on its cover Bertrand's arms as above described, but also at vol.
ii. pp. 92-4, an account of the plot and murder to which Chaucer alludes,
and an identification of his traitorous or "Genylon" Oliver, with Sir
Oliver de Mauny of Brittany (or Armorica), Bertrand's cousin [or, according
to Froissart, cap. 245, his nephew].

'After the battle of Monteil, on March 14, 1369, Pedro was besieged in the
castle of Monteil near the borders of La Mancha, by his brother Enrique;
who was helped by Du Guesclin and many French knights. Finding escape
impossible, Pedro sent Men Rodriguez secretly to Du Guesclin with an offer
of many towns and 200,000 gold doubloons if he would desert Enrique and
reinstate Pedro. Du Guesclin refused the offer, and "the next day related
to his friends and kinsmen in the camp, and _especially to his cousin, Sir
Oliver de Mauny_, what had taken place." He asked them if he should tell
Enrique; they all said yes: so he told the king. Thereupon Enrique promised
Bertrand the same reward that Pedro had offered him, but asked him also to
assure Men Rodriguez of Pedro's safety if he would come to his (Du
Guesclin's) lodge. Relying on Bertrand's assurance, Pedro came to him on
[240] March 23; Enrique entered the lodge directly afterwards, and after a
struggle, stabbed Pedro, and seized his kingdom.

'We see then that Chaucer was justified in asserting that Du Guesclin and
Sir Oliver Mauny "brew this cursednesse"; and his assertion has some
historical importance; for as his patron and friend, John of Gaunt, married
one of Pedro's daughters [named Constance] as his second wife [Michaelmas,
1371], Chaucer almost certainly had the account of Pedro's death from his
daughter, or one of her attendants, and is thus a witness for the truth of
the narrative of the Spanish chronicler Ayala, given above, against the
French writers, Froissart, Cuvelier, &c., who make the Bégue de Villaines
the man who inveigled Pedro. This connexion of Chaucer with John of Gaunt
and his second wife must excuse the poet in our eyes for calling so bad a
king as Pedro the Cruel "worthy" and "the glorie of Spayne, whom Fortune
heeld so hy in magestee."

'In the Corpus MS. these knights are called in a side-note Bertheu_n_
Clayky_n_ (which was one of the many curious ways in which Du Guesclin's
name was spelt) and Olyu_er_ Mawny; in MS. Harl. 1758 they are called
Barthilmewe Claykeynne and Olyuer Mawyn; and in MS. Lansdowne 851 they are
called Betelmewe Claykyn and Oliuer Mawnye. Mauni or Mauny was a well-known
Armorican or Breton family. Chaucer's epithet of "Genilon" for Oliver de
Mauny is specially happy, because Genelon was the Breton knight who
betrayed to their death the great Roland and the flower of Charlemagne's
knights to the Moors at Roncesvalles. Charles's or Charlemagne's great
paladin, Oliver, is too well known to need more than a bare mention.'--F.
J. Furnivall, in Notes and Queries, 4th Series, viii. 449.


3581. In a note to Chaucer's Prologue, A. 51, Tyrwhitt says--'Alexandria in
Egypt was won, and immediately afterwards abandoned, in 1365, by Pierre de
Lusignan, king of Cyprus. The same Prince, soon after his accession to the
throne in 1352, had taken Satalie, the antient Attalia; and in another
expedition about 1367 he made himself master of the town of Layas in
Armenia. Compare 11 Mémoire sur les Ouvrages de Guillaume de Machaut, Acad.
des Ins. tom. xx. pp. 426, 432, 439; and Mémoire sur la Vie de Philippe de
Maizières, tom. xvii. p. 493.' He was assassinated in 1369. Cf. note to A.


3589. 'Bernabo Visconti, duke of Milan, was deposed by his nephew and
thrown into prison, where he died in 1385.'--Tyrwhitt. This date of Dec.
18, 1385 is that of the _latest circumstance_ incidentally referred to in
the Canterbury Tales. Chaucer had been sent to treat with Visconti [241] in
1378, so that he knew him personally. See Froissart, bk. ii. ch. 158; Engl.
Cyclopaedia, s. v. _Visconti_; Furnivall's Trial Forewords, p. 109. And see
vol. i. p. xxxii.


3597. 'Chaucer himself has referred us to Dante for the original of this
tragedy: see Inferno, canto xxxiii.'--Tyrwhitt. An account of Count Ugolino
is given in a note to Cary's Dante, from Villani, lib. vii. capp. 120-127.
This account is different from Dante's, and represents him as very
treacherous. He made himself master of Pisa in July 1288, but in the
following March was seized by the Pisans, who threw him, with his two sons,
and two of his grandsons, into a prison, where they perished of hunger in a
few days. Chaucer says _three sons_, the eldest being five years of age.
Dante says _four sons_.

3606. _Roger_; i. e. the Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini, who was
Ugolino's enemy.

3616. This line is imperfect at the caesura; accent _but_. Tyrwhitt
actually turns _herde_ into _hered_, to make it dissyllabic; but such an
'emendation' is not legitimate. The Harl. MS. has--'He herd it wel, but he
_saugh_ it nought'; where Mr. Jephson inserts _ne_ before _saugh_ without
any comment. Perhaps read--he [ne] spak.

                      'The hour drew near
  When they were wont to bring us food; the mind
  Of each misgave him through his dream, and I
  Heard, at its outlet underneath, lock'd up
  The horrible tower: whence, _uttering not a word_,
  I look'd upon the visage of my sons.
  I wept not: so all stone I felt within.
  They wept: and one, my little Anselm, cried,
 "Thou lookest so! Father, what ails thee?"' &c.
                                         Cary's Dante.

3621. Dante does not mention the ages; but he says that the son named Gaddo
died on the fourth day, and the other three on the fifth and sixth days.
Observe that Chaucer's tender lines, ll. 3623-8, are _his own_.

3624. _Morsel breed_, morsel of bread; cf. _barel ale_ for barrel of ale,
B. 3083.--M.

3636. 'I may lay the blame of all my woe upon thy false wheel.' Cf. B.

3640. _two_; there were now but two survivors, the youngest, according to
Chaucer, being dead.

                       'They, who thought
  I did it through desire of feeding, rose
  O' the sudden, and cried, "Father, we should grieve
  Far less, if thou wouldst eat of us: thou gavest
  These weeds of miserable flesh we wear,
  And do thou strip them off from us again."'
                                          Cary's Dante.


3651. _Dant_; i. e. Dante Alighieri, the great poet of Italy, born in 1265,
died Sept. 14, 1321. Chaucer mentions him again in his House of Fame, book
i., as the author of the Inferno, in the Prologue to the Legend of Good
Women, l. 360, and in the Wyf of Bathes Tale, D. 1126.


3655. _Swetonius_; this refers to the Lives of the Twelve Caesars by
Suetonius; but it would be a mistake to suppose that Chaucer has followed
his account very closely. Our poet seems to have had a habit of mentioning
authorities whom he did not _immediately_ follow, by which he seems to have
meant no more than that they were good authorities upon the subject. Here,
for instance, he merely means that we can find in Suetonius a good account
of Nero, which will give us all minor details. But in reality he draws the
story more immediately from other sources, especially from Boccaccio, De
Casibus Virorum, lib. vii. cap. 4, from the Roman de la Rose, and from
Boethius, de Cons. Philos. lib. ii. met. 6, and lib. iii. met. 4. The
English Romaunt of the Rose does not contain the passage about Nero, but it
is interesting to refer to Chaucer's translation of Boethius. Vincent of
Beauvais has an account of Nero, in his Speculum Historiale, lib. ix. capp.
1-7, in which he chiefly follows Suetonius. See also Orosius, lib. vii. 7,
and Eutropius, lib. vii.

3657. _South_; the MSS. have _North_, but it is fair to make the
correction, as Chaucer certainly knew the sense of _Septemtrioun_, and the
expression is merely borrowed from the Roman de la Rose, ed. Méon, l. 6271,
where we read,

 'Cis desloiaus, que ge ci di;
  Et d'Orient et de _Midi_,
  D'Occident, de Septentrion
  Tint il la juridicion.'

And, in his Boethius, after saying that Nero ruled from East to West, he
adds--'And eke þis Nero gouernede by Ceptre alle þe peoples þat ben vndir
þe colde sterres þat hy[gh]ten þe seuene triones; þis is to seyn, he
gouernede alle þe poeples þat ben vndir þe parties of þe norþe. And eke
Nero gouerned alle þe poeples þat þe violent wynde Nothus scorchiþ, and
bakiþ þe brennynge sandes by his drie hete; þat is to seyne, alle þe
poeples in þe _souþe_'; ed. Morris, p. 55 (cf. vol. ii. p. 45).

3663. From Suetonius; cf. Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 285.

3665. This is from Suetonius, who says--'Piscatus est rete aurato, purpura
coccoque funibus nexis'; cap. xxx. So also Orosius, vii. 7; Eutropius, vii.

3669. This passage follows Boethius, bk. ii. met. 6, very closely, as is
evident by comparing it with Chaucer's translation (see vol. ii. p. 44).
'He leet brenne the citee of Rome, and made sleen the senatoures. And he,
cruel, whylom slew his brother. And he was maked [243] moist with the blood
of his moder; that is to seyn, he leet sleen and slitten the body of his
moder, to seen wher he was conceived; and he loked on every halve upon her
colde dede body; ne no tere ne wette his face; but he was so hard-herted
that he mighte ben domesman, or Iuge, of hir dede beautee.... Allas, it is
a grevous fortune, as ofte as wikked swerd is ioigned to cruel venim; that
is to seyn, venimous crueltee to lordshippe.' Thus Chaucer himself explains
_domesman_ (l. 3680) by _Iuge_, i. e. judge. In the same line _ded-è_ is

3685. _a maister_; i. e. Seneca, mentioned below by name. In the year 65,
Nero, wishing to be rid of his old master, sent him an order to destroy
himself. Seneca opened a vein, but the blood would not flow freely;
whereupon, to expedite its flow, he entered into a warm bath, and thence
was taken into a vapour stove, where he was suffocated. 'Nero constreynede
Senek, his familier and his mayster, to chesen on what deeth he wolde
deyen'; Chaucer's Boethius, lib. iii. pr. 5. 34 (vol. ii. 63).

3692. 'It was long before tyranny or any other vice durst attack him';
literally, 'durst let dogs loose against him.' To _uncouple_ is to release
dogs from the leash that fastened them together; see P. Pl. B. pr. 206.

 'At the _uncoupling_ of his houndes.'
                        Book of the Duchesse, l. 377.

 'The laund on which they fought, th' appointed place
  In which th' _uncoupled_ hounds began the chace.'
                  Dryden; Palamon and Arcite, bk. ii. l. 845.

3720. 'Where he expected to find some who would aid him.' Suetonius
says--'ipse cum paucis hospitia singulorum adiit. Verum clausis omnium
foribus, respondente nullo, in cubiculum rediit,' &c.; cap. xlvii. He
afterwards escaped to the villa of his freedman Phaon, four miles from
Rome, where he at length gave himself a mortal wound in the extremity of
his despair. Cf. Rom. de la Rose, 6459-76.

3736. _girden of_, to strike off; cf. '_gurdeth_ of gyles hed,' P. Pl. B.
ii. 201. A _gird_ is also a sharp striking taunt or quip.--M.


3746. _Oloferne._ The story of Holofernes is to be found in the apocryphal
book of Judith.

3750. _For lesinge_, for fear of losing, lest men should lose.

3752. 'He had decreed to destroy all the gods of the land, that all nations
should worship Nabuchodonosor only,' &c.; Judith, iii. 8.

3756. _Eliachim._ Tyrwhitt remarks that the name of the high priest was
Joacim; Judith, iv. 6. But this is merely the form of the name in our
English version. The Vulgate version has the equivalent form _Eliachim_;
cf. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 4.

3761. _upright_, i. e. on his back, with his face upwards. See Knightes
Tale, l. 1150 (A. 2008), and the note to A. 4194. [244]


3765. Antiochus Epiphanes, King of Syria (B.C. 175-164). Paraphrased from 2
Maccabees, ix. 7, 28, 10, 8, 7, 3-7, 9-12, 28.


3821. There is a whole cycle of Alexander romances, in Latin, French, and
English, so that his story is common enough. There is a good life of him by
Plutarch, but in Chaucer's time the principal authority for an account of
him was Quintus Curtius. See Ten Brink, Hist. Eng. Lit., bk. ii. sect. 8.

3826. 'They were glad to send to him (to sue) for peace.'

3843. _write_, should write, pt. subj.; hence the change of vowel from
indic. _wroot_.--M. The _i_ is short.

3845. 'So Alexander reigned twelve years, and then died'; 1 Mac. i. 7.
_Machabee_, i. e. the first book of the Maccabees.

3850. Quintus Curtius says that Alexander was poisoned by Antipater; and
this account is adopted in the romances. Cf. Barbour's Bruce, i. 533.

3851. 'Fortune hath turned thy _six_ (the highest and most fortunate throw
at dice) into an _ace_ (the lowest).' Cf. note to B. 124.

3860. 'Which two (fortune and poison) I accuse of all this woe.'


3862. For _humble bed_ Tyrwhitt, Wright, and Bell print _humblehede_, as in
some MSS. But this word is an objectionable hybrid compound, and I think it
remains to be shewn that the word belongs to our language. In the Knightes
Tale, Chaucer has _humblesse_, and in the Persones Tale, _humilitee_. Until
better authority for _humblehede_ can be adduced, I am content with the
reading of the four best MSS., including the Harleian, which Wright
_silently alters_.

3863. _Julius._ For this story Chaucer refers us below to Lucan, Suetonius,
and Valerius; see note to l. 3909. There is also an interesting life of him
by Plutarch. Boccaccio mentions him but incidentally.

3866. _tributárie_; observe the rime with _aduersárie_. _Fortune_ in l.
3868 is a trisyllable; so also in l. 3876.

3870. 'Against Pompey, thy father-in-law.' Rather, 'son-in-law'; for Caesar
gave Pompey his daughter Julia in marriage.

3875. _puttest_; to be read as _putt'st_; and _thórient_ as in l. 3883.

3878. _Pompeius._ Boccaccio gives his life at length, as an example of
misfortune; De Casibus Virorum, lib. vi. cap. 9. He was killed Sept. 29,
B.C. 48, soon after the battle of Pharsalia in Thessaly (l. 3869).

3881. _him_, for himself; but in the next line it means 'to him.'--M.

3885. Chaucer refers to this triumph in the Man of Lawes Tale, B. 400; but
see the note. Cf. Shak. Henry V, v. prol. 28. [245]

3887. Chaucer is not alone in making Brutus and Cassius into _one_ person;
see note to l. 3892.

3891. _cast_, contrived, appointed; pp., after _hath_.

3892. _boydekins_, lit. bodkins, but with the signification of daggers. It
is meant to translate the Lat. _pugio_, a poniard. In Barbour's Bruce, i.
545, Caesar is said to have been slain with a weapon which in one edition
is called _punsoun_, in another a _botkin_, and in the Edinburgh MS. a
_pusoune_, perhaps an error for _punsoune_, since Halliwell's Dictionary
gives the form _punchion_. Hamlet uses _bodkin_ for a dagger; Act iii. sc.
1. l. 76. In the margin of Stowe's Chronicle, ed. 1614, it is said that
Caesar was slain with _bodkins_; Nares' Glossary. Nares also quotes--'The
chief woorker of this murder was _Brutus Cassius_, with 260 of the senate,
all having _bodkins_ in their sleeves'; Serp. of Division, prefixed to
Gorboduc, 1590.

3906. _lay on deying_, lay a-dying. In l. 3907, _deed_ = mortally wounded.

3909. _recomende_, commit. He means that he commits the full telling of the
story to Lucan, &c. In other words, he refers the reader to those authors.
Cf. Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 254, 274.

Lucan (born A.D. 39, died A.D. 65) was the author of the Pharsalia, an
incomplete poem in ten books, narrating the struggle between Pompey and
Caesar. There is an English translation of it by Rowe.

Suetonius Tranquillus (born about A.D. 70) wrote several works, the
principal of which is The Lives of the Twelve Caesars.

Valerius. There were two authors of this name, (1) Valerius Flaccus, author
of a poem on the Argonautic expedition, and (2) Valerius Maximus, author of
De Factis Dictisque Memorabilibus Libri ix. Mr. Jephson says that Valerius
Flaccus is meant here, I know not why. Surely the reference is to Valerius
Maximus, who at least tells some anecdotes of Caesar; lib. iv. c. 5; lib.
vii. cap. 6.

3911. _word and ende_, beginning and end; a substitution for the older
formula _ord and ende_. Tyrwhitt notes that the suggested emendation of
_ord_ for _word_ was proposed by Dr. Hickes, in his Anglo-Saxon Grammar, p.
70. Hickes would make the same emendation in Troil. and Cres. v. 1669;

 'And of this broche he tolde him _ord and ende_,'

where the editions have _word_. He also cites the expression _ord and ende_
from Cædmon; see Thorpe's edition, p. 225, l. 30. We also find _from orde
[=o]ð ende_ = from beginning to end, in the poem of Elene (Vercelli MS.),
ed. Grein, l. 590. _Orde and ende_ occurs also at a later period, in the
Ormulum, l. 6775; and still later, in Floriz and Blancheflur, l. 47, ed.
Lumby, in the phrase,

 '_Ord and ende_ he haþ him told
  Hu blauncheflur was þarinne isold.'

Tyrwhitt argues that the true spelling of the phrase had already become
[246] corrupted in Chaucer's time, and such seems to have been the fact, as
all the MSS. have _word_. See Zupitza's note to Guy of Warwick, l. 7927,
where more examples are given; and cf. my note to Troil. ii. 1495. _Ord and
ende_ explains our modern _odds and ends_; see Garnett's Essays, p. 37.
Moreover, it is not uncommon to find a _w_ prefixed to a word where it is
not required etymologically, especially before the vowel _o_. The examples
_wocks_, oaks, _won_, one, _wodur_, other, _wostus_, oast-house, _woth_,
oath, _wots_, oats, _wolde_, old, are all given in Halliwell's Prov.


3917. _Cresus_; king of Lydia, B.C. 560-546, defeated by Cyrus at Sardis.
Cyrus spared his life, and Croesus actually survived his benefactor.
Chaucer, however, brings him to an untimely end. The story of Croesus is in
Boccaccio, De Casibus Virorum, lib. iii. cap. 20. See also Herodotus, lib.
1; Plutarch's life of Solon, &c. But Boccaccio represents Croesus as
surviving his disgraces. Tyrwhitt says that the story seems to have been
taken from the Roman de la Rose, ll. 6312-6571 (ed. Méon); where the
English Romaunt of the Rose is defective. In Chaucer's translation of
Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 2, see vol. ii. p. 28, we find this sentence:
'Wistest thou not how Cresus, the king of Lydiens, of whiche king Cyrus was
ful sore agast a litel biforn, that this rewliche [_pitiable_] Cresus was
caught of [_by_] Cyrus, and lad to the fyr to ben brent; but that a rayn
descendede doun fro hevene, that rescowede him?' In the House of Fame, bk.
i. ll. 104-6, we have an allusion to the 'avision' [_vision_, dream] of

 'Cresus, that was king of Lyde,
  That high upon a gebet dyde.'

See also Nonne Pr. Ta. l. 318 (B. 4328). The tragic version of the fate of
Croesus is given by Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale, iii. 17; and
I give an extract, as it seems to be the account which is followed in the
Roman de la Rose. It must be premised that Vincent makes Croesus to have
been taken prisoner by Cyrus _three times_.

'Alii historiographi narrant, quod in secunda captione, iussit eum Cyrus
rogo superponi et assari, et subito tanta pluuia facta est, vt eius
immensitate ignis extingueretur, vnde occasionem repperit euadendi. Cumque
postea hoc sibi prospere euenisse gloriaretur, et opum copia nimium se
iactaret, dictum est ei a Solone quodam sapientissimo, non debere quemquam
in diuitiis et prosperitate gloriari. Eadem nocte uidit in somnis quod
Jupiter eum aqua perfunderet, et sol extergeret. Quod cum filiae suae mane
indicasset, illa (vt res se habebat) prudenter absoluit, dicens: quod cruci
esset affigendus et aqua perfundendus et sole siccandus. Quod ita demum
contigit, nam postea a Cyro crucifixus est.' Compare the few following
lines from the Roman de la Rose, with ll. 3917-22, 3934-8, 3941, and l.
3948:-- [247]

 'Qui refu roi de toute Lyde;
  Puis li mist-l'en où col la bride,
  Et fu por ardre au feu livrés,
  Quant par pluie fu délivrés,
  Qui le grant feu fist tout estraindre:...
  Jupiter, ce dist, le lavoit,
  Et Phebus la _toaille_ avoit,
  Et se penoit de l'essuier....
  Bien le dist _Phanie_ sa fille,
  Qui tant estoit saige et soutille,...
  L'arbre par le gibet vous glose,' &c.

3951. The passage here following is repeated from the Monkes Prologue, and
copied, as has been said, from Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 2. It is to be
particularly noted that the passage quoted from Boethius in the note to B.
3917 almost immediately precedes the passage quoted in the note to B. 3163.

3956. See note to B. 3972 below.


3957. _the knight._ See the description of him, Prol. A. 43.

3961. _for me_, for myself, for my part. Cp. the phrase 'as for me.'--M.

3970. 'By the bell of Saint Paul's church (in London).'

3972. The host alludes to the concluding lines of the Monkes Tale, l. 3956,
then repeats the words _no remedie_ from l. 3183, and cites the word
_biwaille_ from l. 3952. Compare all these passages.

3982. _Piers._ We must suppose that the host had by this time learnt the
monk's name. In B. 3120 above, he did not know it.

3984. 'Were it not for the ringing of your bells'; lit. were there not a
clinking of your bells (all the while). 'Anciently no person seems to have
been gallantly equipped on horseback, unless the horse's bridle or some
other part of the furniture was stuck full of small bells. Vincent of
Beauvais, who wrote about 1264, censures this piece of pride in the
knights-templars; Hist. Spec. lib. xxx. c. 85'; &c.--Warton, Hist. Eng.
Poetry (ed. Hazlitt), ii. 160; i. 264. See also note to Prol. A. 170.

3990. 'Ubi auditus non est, non effundas sermonem'; Ecclus. xxxii. 6.
(Vulgate); the A. V. is different. See above, B. 2237. The common proverb,
'Keep your breath to cool your broth,' nearly expresses what Chaucer here

3993. _substance_ is explained by Tyrwhitt to mean 'the material part of a
thing.' Chaucer's meaning seems not very different from Shakespeare's in
Love's La. Lost, v. 2. 871--

 'A jest's prosperity lies in the ear
  Of him that hears it; never in the tongue
  Of him that makes it.'


3995. 'For the propriety of this remark, see note to Prol. A. 166';

4000. _Sir_; 'The title of _Sir_ was usually given, by courtesy, to
priests, both secular and regular'; Tyrwhitt. Tyrwhitt also remarks that,
'in the principal modern languages, John, or its equivalent, is a name of
contempt or at least of slight. So the Italians use _Gianni_, from whence
_Zani_ [Eng. _zany_]; the Spaniards _Juan_, as _Bobo Juan_, a foolish John;
the French _Jean_, with various additions.' The reason (which Tyrwhitt
failed to see) is simply that _John_ is one of the commonest of common
names. For example, twenty-three popes took that name; and cf. our phrase
_John_ Bull, which answers to the French _Jean_ Crapaud, and the Russian
_Ivan_ Ivanovitch, 'the embodiment of the peculiarities of the Russian
people'; Wheeler's Noted Names of Fiction. Ivan Ivanovitch would be John
Johnson in English and Evan Evans in Welsh. Hence _sir John_ became the
usual contemptuous name for a priest; see abundant examples in the Index to
the Parker Society's publications.

4004. _serve_ has two syllables; hence _rek_, in the Harl. MS., is perhaps
better than _rekke_ of the other MSS. _A bene_, the value of a bean; in the
Milleres Tale _a kers_ (i. e. a blade of grass) occurs in a similar manner
(A. 3756); which has been corrupted into 'not caring a _curse_'!

4006. _Ye_, yea, is a mild form of assent; _yis_ is a stronger form,
generally followed, as here, by some form of asseveration. See note to B.
1900 above.

4008. _attamed_, commenced, begun. The Lat. _attaminare_ and Low Lat.
_intaminare_ are equivalent to _contaminare_, to contaminate, soil, spoil.
From Low Lat. _intaminare_ comes F. _entamer_, to cut into, attack, enter
upon, begin. From _attaminare_ comes the M. E. _attame_ or _atame_, with a
similar sense. The metaphor is taken from the notion of cutting into a
joint of meat or of broaching or opening a cask. This is well shewn by the
use of the word in P. Plowman, B. xvii. 68, where it is said of the Good
Samaritan in the parable that he 'breyde to his boteles, and bothe he
_atamede_,' i. e. he went hastily to his bottles, and broached or opened
them both. So here, the priest broached, opened, or began his tale.


We may compare Dryden's modernised version of this tale, entitled 'The Cock
and the Fox.' See further in vol. iii. pp. 431-3.

4011. _stape._ Lansd. MS. reads _stoupe_, as if it signified bent,
_stooped_; but _stoop_ is a _weak_ verb. _Stape_ or _stope_ is the past
participle of the strong verb _stapen_, to step, advance. _Stape in age_ =
advanced in years. Roger Ascham has almost the same phrase: 'And [Varro]
beyng depe _stept in age_, by negligence some wordes do scape and fall from
him in those bookes as be not worth the taking up,' &c.--The Schoolmaster,
ed. Mayor, p. 189; ed. Arber, p. 152. [249]

4018-9. _by housbondrye_, by economy; _fond hir-self_, 'found herself,'
provided for herself.

4022. _Ful sooty was hir bour, and eek hir halle._ The widow's house
consisted of only two apartments, designated by the terms bower and hall.
Whilst the widow and her 'daughters two' slept in the bower, Chanticleer
and his seven wives roosted on a perch in the hall, and the swine disposed
themselves on the floor. The smoke of the fire had to find its way through
the crevices of the roof. See Our English Home, pp. 139, 140. Cf. Virgil,
Ecl. vii. 50--'assidua postes fuligine nigri.' Also--

 'At his beds feete feeden his stalled teme,
  His swine beneath, his _pullen ore the beame_.'
          Hall's Satires, bk. v. sat. 1; v. 1. p. 56, ed. 1599.

4025. _No deyntee_ (Elles. &c.); _Noon deynteth_ (Harl.).

4029. _hertes suffisaunce_, a satisfied or contented mind, literally
heart's satisfaction. Cf. our phrase 'to your heart's content.'

4032. _wyn ... whyt nor reed._ The white wine was sometimes called 'the
wine of Osey' (Alsace); the red wine of Gascony, sometimes called
'Mountrose,' was deemed a liquor for a lord. See Our English Home, p. 83;
Piers Pl. prol. l. 228.

4035. _Seynd bacoun_, singed or broiled bacon. _an ey or tweye_, an egg or

4036. _deye._ The _daia_ (from the Icel. _deigja_) is mentioned in Domesday
among assistants in husbandry; and the term is again found in 2nd Stat. 25
Edward III (A.D. 1351). In Stat. 37 Edward III (A.D. 1363), the _deye_ is
mentioned among others of a certain rank, not having goods or chattels of
40s. value. The _deye_ was usually a female, whose duty was to make butter
and cheese, attend to the calves and poultry, and other odds and ends of
the farm. The _dairy_ (in some parts of England, as in Shropshire, called a
_dey_-house) was the department assigned to her. See Prompt. Parv., p. 116.

4039. In Caxton's translation of Reynard the Fox, the cock's name is
_Chantecleer_. In the original, it is _Canticleer_; from his clear voice in
singing. In the same, Reynard's second son is _Rosseel_; see l. 4524.

4041. _merier_, sweeter, pleasanter. In Todd's Illustrations of Chaucer, p.
284, there is a long passage illustrative of _mery_ in the sense of
'pleasant.' Cf. l. 4156. _orgon_ is put for _orgons_ or _organs_. It is
plain from _gon_ in the next line, that Chaucer meant to use this word as a
plural from the Lat. _organa_. _Organ_ was used until lately only in the
plural, like _bellows_, _gallows_, &c. 'Which is either sung or said or on
the _organs_ played.'--Becon's Acts of Christ, p. 534. It was sometimes
called _a pair of organs_. See note to P. Plowman, C. xxi. 7.

4044. Cf. Parl. of Foules, 350:--

 'The cok, that orloge is of thorpes lyte.'


_Orloge_ (of an abbey) occurs in Religious Pieces, ed. Perry, p. 56; and
see Stratmann.

4045. 'The cock knew _each_ ascension of the equinoctial, and crew at each;
that is, he crew every hour, as 15° of the equinoctial make an hour.
Chaucer adds [l. 4044] that he knew the hour better than the abbey-clock.
This tells us, clearly, that we are to reckon clock-hours, and not the
unequal hours of the solar or 'artificial' day. Hence the prime, mentioned
in l. 4387, was at a clock-hour, at 6, 7, 8, or 9, suppose. The day meant
is May 3, because the sun [l. 4384] had passed the 21st degree of Taurus
(see fig. 1 of Astrolabe).... The date, May 3, is playfully denoted by
saying [l. 4379] that March was complete, and also (since March began)
thirty-two days more had passed. The words "since March began" are
parenthetical; and we are, in fact, told that the whole of March, the whole
of April, and two days of May were done with. March was then considered the
first month in the year, though the year began with the 25th, not with the
1st; and Chaucer alludes to the idea that the Creation itself took place in
March. The day, then, was May 3, with the sun past 21 degrees of Taurus.
The hour must be had from the sun's altitude, rightly said (l. 4389) to be
_Fourty degrees and oon_. I use a globe, and find that the sun would attain
the altitude 41° nearly at 9 o'clock. It follows that prime in l. 4387
signifies the end of the first quarter of the day, reckoned from 6 A.M. to
6 P.M.'--Skeat's Astrolabe, (E.E.T.S.), p. lxi. This rough test, by means
of a globe, is perhaps sufficient; but Mr. Brae proved it to be right by
calculation. Taking the sun's altitude at 41½°, he 'had the satisfaction to
find a resulting hour, for prime, of 9 o'clock A.M. _almost to the
minute_.' It is interesting to find that Thynne explains this passage very
well in his Animadversions on Speght's Chaucer; ed. Furnivall, p. 62, note

The notion that the Creation took place on the 18th of March is alluded to
in the Hexameron of St. Basil (see the A. S. version, ed. Norman, p. 8,
note _j_), and in Ælfric's Homilies, ed. Thorpe, i. 100.

4047. Fifteen degrees of the equinoctial = an exact hour. See note to l.
4045 above. Skelton imitates this passage in his Phillyp Sparowe, l. 495.

4050. _And batailed._ Lansd. MS. reads _Enbateled_, indented like a
battlement, embattled. _Batailed_ has the same sense.

4051. _as the Ieet_, like the jet. Beads used for the repetition of prayers
were frequently formed of _jet_. See note to Prol. A. 159.

4060. _damoysele Pertelote._ Cf. our 'Dame Partlet.'

 'I'll be as faithful to thee
  As Chaunticleer to Madame Partelot.'
                  The Ancient Drama, iii. p. 158.

In Le Roman de Renart, the hen is called _Pinte_ or _Pintain_.

4064. _in hold_; in possession. Cf. 'He hath my heart _in holde_'; Greene's
George a Greene, ed. Dyce, p. 256. [251]

4065. _loken in every lith_, locked in every limb.

4069. _my lief is faren in londe_, my beloved is gone away. Probably the
refrain of a popular song of the time.

4079. _herte dere._ This expression corresponds to 'dear heart,' or 'deary
heart,' which still survives in some parts of the country.

4083. _take it nat agrief_ = _take it not in grief_, i. e. take it not
amiss, be not offended.

4084. _me mette_, I dreamed; literally _it dreamed to me_.

4086. _my swevene recche_ (or _rede_) _aright_, bring my dream to a good
issue; literally 'interpret my dream favourably.'

4090. _Was lyk._ The relative _that_ is often omitted by Chaucer before a
relative clause, as, again, in l. 4365.

4098. _Avoy_ (Elles.); _Away_ (Harl.). From O. F. _avoi_, interj. fie! It
occurs in Le Roman de la Rose, 7284, 16634.

4113. See the Chapter on Dreams in Brand's Pop. Antiquities.

4114. _fume_, the effects arising from gluttony and drunkenness. 'Anxious
black melancholy _fumes_.'--Burton's Anat. of Mel. p. 438, ed. 1845. 'All
vapours arising out of the stomach,' especially those caused by gluttony
and drunkenness. 'For when the head is heated it scorcheth the blood, and
from thence proceed melancholy _fumes_ that trouble the mind.'--Ibid. p.

4118. _rede colera_ ... red cholera caused by too much bile and _blood_
(sometimes called _red humour_). Burton speaks of a kind of melancholy of
which the signs are these--'the veins of their eyes red, as well as their
faces.' The following quotation explains the matter. 'Ther be foure
humours, Bloud, Fleame, Cholar, and Melancholy.... First, working heate
turneth what is colde and moyst into the kind of Fleme, and then what is
hot and moyst, into the kinde of Bloud; and then what is hot and drye into
the kinde of Cholera; and then what is colde and drye into the kinde of
Melancholia.... By meddling of other humours, Bloud chaungeth kinde and
colour: for by meddling of _Cholar_, it seemeth _red_, and by Melancholy it
seemeth _black_, and by Fleame it seemeth watrie, and fomie.'--Batman upon
Bartholomè, lib. iv. c. 6. So also--'in bloud it needeth that there be _red
Cholera_'; lib. iv. c. 10; &c.

The following explains the belief as to dreams caused by _cholera_. Men in
which red _Cholera_ is excesssive 'dreame of fire, and of lyghtening, and
of dreadful burning of the ayre'; Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. iv. c. 10.
Those in which _Melancholia_ is excessive dream 'dredfull darke dreames,
and very ill to see'; id. c. 11. And again: 'He that is Sanguine hath glad
and liking dreames, the melancholious dremeth of sorrow, the Cholarike, of
_firy_ things, and the Flematike, of Raine, Snow,' &c.; id. lib. vi. c. 27.

4123. _the humour of malencolye._ 'The name (melancholy) is imposed from
the matter, and disease denominated from the material cause, as Bruel
observes, [Greek: melancholia] _quasi_ [Greek: melainacholê], from black
choler.' Fracastorius, in his second book of Intellect, calls those
melancholy [252] 'whom abundance of that same depraved humour of black
choler hath so misaffected, that they become mad thence, and dote in most
things or in all, belonging to election, will, or other manifest operations
of the understanding.'--Burton's Anat. of Melancholy, p. 108, ed. 1805.

4128. 'That cause many a man in sleep to be very distressed.'

4130. _Catoun._ Dionysius Cato, de Moribus, l. ii. dist. 32: _somnia ne
cures_. 'I observe by the way, that this distich is quoted by John of
Salisbury, Polycrat. l. ii. c. 16, as a precept _viri sapientis_. In
another place, l. vii. c. 9, he introduces his quotation of the first verse
of dist. 20 (l. iii.) in this manner:--"_Ait vel Cato vel alius_, nam autor
incertus est."'--Tyrwhitt. Cf. note to G. 688.

4131. _do no fors of_ = take no notice of, pay no heed to. Skelton, i. 118,
has 'makyth so lytyll fors,' i. e. cares so little for.

4153. 'Wormwood, _centaury_, pennyroyal, are likewise magnified and much
prescribed, especially in hypochondrian melancholy, daily to be used, sod
in whey. And because the spleen and blood are often misaffected in
melancholy, I may not omit endive, succory, dandelion, _fumitory_, &c.,
which cleanse the blood.'--Burton's Anat. of Mel. pp. 432, 433. See also p.
438, ed. 1845. '_Centauria_ abateth wombe-ache, and cleereth sight, and
vnstoppeth the splene and the reines'; Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. xvii.
c. 47. '_Fumus terre_ [fumitory] cleanseth and purgeth Melancholia, fleme,
and cholera'; id. lib. xvii. c. 69. 'Medicinal herbs were grown in every
garden, and were dried or made into decoctions, and kept for use'; Wright,
Domestic Manners, p. 279.

4154. _ellebor._ Two kinds of hellebore are mentioned by old writers;
'white hellebore, called sneezing powder, a strong purger upward' (Burton's
Anat. of Mel. pt. 2. § 4. m. 2. subsec. 1.), and '_black hellebore_, that
most renowned plant, and famous purger of melancholy.'--Ibid. subsec. 2.

4155. _catapuce_, caper-spurge, _Euphorbia Lathyris_. _gaytres_ (or
_gaytrys_) _beryis_, probably the berries of the buck-thorn, _Rhamnus
catharticus_; which (according to Rietz) is still called, in Swedish
dialects, the _getbärs-trä_ (goat-berries tree) or _getappel_ (goat-apple).
I take _gaytre_ to stand for _gayt-tre_, i. e. goat-tree; a Northern form,
from Icel. _geit_ (gen. _geitar_), a goat. The A. S. _g[=a]te-tr[=e]ow_,
goat-tree, is probably the same tree, though the prov. Eng. _gaiter-tree_,
_gatten-tree_, or _gatteridge-tree_ is usually applied to the _Cornus
sanguinea_ or cornel-tree, the fruits of which 'are sometimes mistaken for
those of the buck-thorn, but do not possess the active properties of that
plant'; Eng. Cyclop., s. v. _Cornus_. The context shews that the buck-thorn
is meant. Langham says of the buck-thorn, that 'the beries do purge
downwards mightily flegme and choller'; Garden of Health, 1633, p. 99 (New
E. Dict., s. v. _Buckthorn_). This is why Chanticleer was recommended to
eat them.

4156. _erbe yve_, herb ive or herb ivy, usually identified with the
ground-pine, _Ajuga chamæpitys_. _mery_, pleasant, used ironically; as the
leaves are extremely nauseous. [253]

4160. _graunt mercy_, great thanks; this in later authors is corrupted into
_grammercy_ or _gramercy_.

4166. _so mote I thee_, as I may thrive (or prosper). _Mote_ = A. S.
_m[=o]t-e_, first p. s. pr. subj.

4174. _Oon of the gretteste auctours._ 'Cicero, De Divin. l. i. c. 27,
relates this and the following story, but in a different order, and with so
many other differences, that one might be led to suspect that he was here
quoted at second-hand, if it were not usual with Chaucer, in these stories
of familiar life, to throw in a number of natural circumstances, not to be
found in his original authors.'--Tyrwhitt. Warton thinks that Chaucer took
it rather from Valerius Maximus, who has the same story; i. 7. He has,
however, overlooked the statement in l. 4254, which decides for Cicero. I
here quote the whole of the former story, as given by Valerius. 'Duo
familiares Arcades iter una facientes, Megaram venerunt; quorum alter ad
hospitem se contulit, alter in tabernam meritoriam devertit. Is, qui in
hospitio venit, vidit in somnis comitem suam orantem, ut sibi cauponis
insidiis circumvento subveniret: posse enim celeri ejus accursu se
imminenti periculo subtrahi. Quo viso excitatus, prosiluit, tabernamque, in
qua is diversabatur, petere conatus est. Pestifero deinde fato ejus
humanissimum propositum tanquam supervacuum damnavit, et lectum ac somnum
repetiit. Tunc idem ei saucius oblatus obsecravit, ut qui auxilium vitae
suae ferre neglexisset, neci saltem ultionem non negaret. Corpus enim suum
à caupone trucidatum, tum maxime plaustro ad portam ferri stercore
coöpertum. Tam constantibus familiaris precibus compulsus, protinus ad
portam cucurrit, et plaustrum, quod in quiete demonstratum erat,
comprehendit, cauponemque ad capitale supplicium perduxit.' Valerii Maximi,
lib. i. c. 7 (De Somniis). Cf. Cicero, De Divinatione, i. 27.

4194. _oxes_; written _oxe_ in Hl. Cp. Ln; where _oxe_ corresponds to the
older English gen. _oxan_, of an ox--_oxe_ standing for _oxen_ (as in
Oxenford, see note on l. 285 of Prologue). Thus _oxes_ and _oxe_ are

4200. _took of this no keep_, took no heed to this, paid no attention to

4211. _sooth to sayn_, to say (tell) the truth.

4232. _gapinge._ The phrase _gaping upright_ occurs elsewhere (see Knightes
Tale, A. 2008), and signifies lying flat on the back with the mouth open.
Cf. 'Dede he sate uprighte,' i. e. he lay on his back dead. The Sowdone of
Babyloyne, l. 530.

4235. _Harrow_, a cry of distress; a cry for help. 'Harrow! alas! I swelt
here as I go.'--The Ordinary; see vol. iii. p. 150, of the Ancient Drama.
See F. _haro_ in Godefroy and Littré; and note to A. 3286.

4237. _outsterte_ (Elles., &c.); _upsterte_ (Hn., Harl.)

4242. A common proverb. Skelton, ed. Dyce, i. 50, has 'I drede mordre wolde
come oute.'

4274. _And preyde him his viáge for to lette_, And prayed him to abandon
his journey. [254]

4275. _to abyde_, to stay where he was.

4279. _my thinges_, my business-matters.

4300. 'Kenelm succeeded his father Kenulph on the throne of the Mercians in
821 [Haydn, Book of Dates, says 819] at the age of seven years, and was
murdered by order of his aunt, Quenedreda. He was subsequently made a
saint, and his legend will be found in Capgrave, or in the Golden

St. Kenelm's day is Dec. 13. Alban Butler, in his Lives of the Saints,
says:--[Kenulph] 'dying in 819, left his son Kenelm, a child only seven
years old [see l. 4307] heir to his crown, under the tutelage of his sister
Quindride. This ambitious woman committed his person to the care of one
Ascobert, whom she had hired to make away with him. The wicked minister
decoyed the innocent child into an unfrequented wood, cut off his head, and
buried him under a thorn-tree. His corpse is said to have been discovered
by a heavenly ray of light which shone over the place, and by the following

  In Clent cow-pasture, under a thorn,
  Of head bereft, lies Kenelm, king born.'

Milton tells the story in his History of Britain, bk. iv. ed. 1695, p. 218,
and refers us to Matthew of Westminster. He adds that the 'inscription' was
inside a note, which was miraculously dropped by a dove on the altar at
Rome. Our great poet's verson of it is:--

 'Low in a Mead of Kine, under a thorn,
  Of Head bereft, li'th poor _Kenelm_ King-born.'

Clent is near the boundary between Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

Neither of these accounts mentions Kenelm's dream, but it is given in his
Life, as printed in Early Eng. Poems, ed. Furnivall (Phil. Soc. 1862), p.
51, and in Caxton's Golden Legend. St. Kenelm dreamt that he saw a noble
tree with waxlights upon it, and that he climbed to the top of it;
whereupon one of his best friends cut it down, and he was turned into a
little bird, and flew up to heaven. The little bird denoted his soul, and
the flight to heaven his death.

4307. _For traisoun_, i. e. for fear of treason.

4314. _Cipioun._ The Somnium Scipionis of Cicero, as annotated by
Macrobius, was a favourite work during the middle ages. See note to l. 31
of the Parl. of Foules.

4328. See the Monkes Tale, B. 3917, and the note, p. 246.

4331. _Lo heer Andromacha._ Andromache's dream is not to be found in Homer.
It is mentioned in chapter xxiv. of Dares Phrygius, the authority for the
history of the Trojan war most popular in the middle ages. See the
Troy-book, ed. Panton and Donaldson (E.E.T.S.), l. 8425; or Lydgate's Siege
of Troye, c. 27.

4341. _as for conclusioun_, in conclusion.

4344. _telle ... no store_, set no store by them; reckon them of no value;
count them as useless.

4346. _never a del_, never a whit, not in the slightest degree. [255]

4350. This line is repeated from the Compleynt of Mars, l. 61.

4353-6. 'By way of quiet retaliation for Partlet's sarcasm, he cites a
Latin proverbial saying, in l. 344, 'Mulier est hominis confusio,' which he
turns into a pretended compliment by the false translation in ll. 345,
346.'--Marsh. Tyrwhitt quotes it from Vincent of Beauvais, Spec. Hist. x.
71. Chaucer has already referred to this saying above; see p. 207, l. 2296.
'A woman, as saith the philosofre [i. e. Vincent], is the confusion of man,
insaciable, &c.'; Dialogue of Creatures, cap. cxxi. 'Est damnum dulce
mulier, confusio sponsi'; Adolphi Fabulae, x. 567; pr. in Leyser, Hist.
Poet. Med. Aevi, p. 2031. Cf. note to D. 1195.

4365. _lay_, for _that lay_. Chaucer omits the relative, as is frequently
done in Middle English poetry; see note to l. 4090.

4377. According to Beda, the creation took place at the vernal equinox; see
Morley, Eng. Writers, 1888, ii. 146. Cf. note to l. 4045.

4384. See note on l. 4045 above.

4395. Cf. Man of Lawes Tale, B. 421, and note. See Prov. xiv. 13.

4398. In the margin of MSS. E. and Hn. is written 'Petrus Comestor,' who is
probably here referred to.

4402. See the Squieres Tale, F. 287, and the note.

4405. _col-fox_; explained by Bailey as a 'coal-black fox'; and he seems to
have caught the right idea. _Col-_ here represents M. E. _col_, coal; and
the reference is to the _brant-fox_, which is explained in the New E. Dict.
as borrowed from the G. _brand-fuchs_, 'the German name of a variety of the
fox, chiefly distinguished by a greater admixture of black in its fur;
according to Grimm, it has black feet, ears, and tail.' Chaucer expressly
refers to the black-tipped tail and ears in l. 4094 above. Mr. Bradley
cites the G. _kohlfuchs_ and Du. _koolvos_, similarly formed; but the
ordinary dictionaries do not give these names. The old explanation of
_col-fox_ as meaning 'deceitful fox' is difficult to establish, and is now

4412. _undern_; see note to E. 260.

4417. _Scariot_, i. e. Judas Iscariot. _Genilon_; the traitor who caused
the defeat of Charlemagne, and the death of Roland; see Book of the
Duchesse, 1121, and the note in vol. i. p. 491.

4418. See Vergil, Æn. ii. 259.

4430. _bulte it to the bren_, sift the matter; cf. the phrase _to boult the
bran_. See the argument in Troilus, iv. 967; cf. Milton, P. L. ii. 560.

4432. _Boece_, i. e. Boethius. See note to Kn. Tale, A. 1163.

_Bradwardyn._ Thomas Bradwardine was Proctor in the University of Oxford in
the year 1325, and afterwards became Divinity Professor and Chancellor of
the University. His chief work is 'On the Cause of God' (_De Causâ Dei_).
See Morley's English Writers, iv. 61.

4446. _colde_, baneful, fatal. The proverb is Icelandic; 'köld eru opt
kvenna-ráð,' cold (fatal) are oft women's counsels; Icel. Dict. s. v.
_kaldr_. It occurs early, in The Proverbs of Alfred, ed. Morris, Text 1, l.
336:--'Cold red is quene red.' Cf. B. 2286, and the note. [256]

4450-6. Imitated from Le Roman de la Rose, 15397-437.

4461. _Phisiologus._ 'He alludes to a book in Latin metre, entitled
Physiologus de Naturis xii. Animalium, by one Theobaldus, whose age is not
known. The chapter _De Sirenis_ begins thus:--

  Sirenae sunt monstra maris resonantia magnis
  Vocibus, et modulis cantus formantia multis,
  Ad quas incaute veniunt saepissime nautae,
  Quae faciunt sompnum nimia dulcedine vocum.'--Tyrwhitt.

See The Bestiary, in Dr. Morris's Old English Miscellany, pp. 18, 207;
Philip de Thaun, Le Bestiaire, l. 664; Babees Book, pp. 233, 237; Mätzner's
Sprachproben, i. 55; Gower, C.A. i. 58; and cf. Rom. Rose, Eng. Version,
680 (in vol. i. p. 122).

4467. In Douglas's Virgil, prol. to Book xi. st. 15, we have--

 'Becum thow cowart, craudoun recryand,
  And by consent _cry cok_, thi deid is dycht';

i. e. if thou turn coward, (and) a recreant craven, and consent to cry
_cok_, thy death is imminent. In a note on this passage, Ruddiman
says--'_Cok_ is the sound which cocks utter when they are beaten.' But it
is probable that this is only a guess, and that Douglas is merely quoting
Chaucer. To cry _cok! cok!_ refers rather to the utterance of rapid cries
of alarm, as fowls cry when scared. Brand (Pop. Antiq., ed. Ellis, ii. 58)
copies Ruddiman's explanation of the above passage.

4484. Boethius wrote a treatise De Musica, quoted by Chaucer in the Hous of
Fame; see my note to l. 788 of that poem (vol. iii. p. 260).

4490. 'As I hope to retain the use of my two eyes.' So Havelok, l. 2545:--

 'So mote ich brouke mi Rith eie!'

And l. 1743:--'So mote ich brouke finger or to.'

And l. 311:--'So brouke i euere mi blake swire!'

_swire_ = neck. See also _Brouke_ in the Glossary to Gamelyn.

4502. _daun Burnel the Asse._ 'The story alluded to is in a poem of
Nigellus Wireker, entitled Burnellus seu Speculum Stultorum, written in the
time of Richard I. In the Chester Whitsun Playes, _Burnell_ is used as a
nickname for an ass. The original word was probably _brunell_, from its
_brown_ colour; as the _fox_ below is called _Russel_, from his _red_
colour.'--Tyrwhitt. The Latin story is printed in The Anglo-Latin Satirists
of the Twelfth Century, ed. T. Wright, i. 55; see also Wright's Biographia
Britannica Literaria, Anglo-Norman Period, p. 356. There is an amusing
translation of it in Lowland Scotch, printed as 'The Unicornis Tale' in
Small's edition of Laing's Select Remains of Scotch Poetry, ed. 1885, p.
285. It tells how a certain young Gundulfus broke a cock's leg by throwing
a stone at him. On the morning of the day when Gundulfus was to be ordained
and to receive a benefice, the cock took his revenge by not crowing till
much later [257] than usual; and so Gundulfus was too late for the
ceremony, and lost his benefice. Cf. Warton, Hist. E. P., ed. 1871, ii.
352; Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 338. As to the name _Russel_, see
note to l. 4039.

4516. See Rom. of the Rose (E. version), 1050. MS. E. alone reads
_courtes_; Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. have _court_; Ln. _courte_; Hl. _hous_.

4519. _Ecclesiaste_; not Ecclesiastes, but Ecclesiasticus, xii. 10, 11, 16.
Cf. Tale of Melibeus, B. 2368.

4525. Tyrwhitt cites the O. F. form _gargate_, i. e. (throat), from the
Roman de Rou. Several examples of it are given by Godefroy.

4537. _O Gaufred._ 'He alludes to a passage in the Nova Poetria of Geoffrey
de Vinsauf, published not long after the death of Richard I. In this work
the author has not only given instructions for composing in the different
styles of poetry, but also examples. His specimen of the plaintive style
begins thus:--

 'Neustria, sub clypeo regis defensa Ricardi,
  Indefensa modo, gestu testare dolorem;
  Exundent oculi lacrimas; exterminet ora
  Pallor; connodet digitos tortura; cruentet
  Interiora dolor, et verberet aethera clamor;
  Tota peris ex morte sua. Mors non fuit eius,
  Sed tua, non una, sed publica mortis origo.
  _O Veneris lacrimosa_ dies! O sydus amarum!
  Illa dies tua nox fuit, et Venus illa venenum.
  Illa dedit vulnus,' &c.

These lines are sufficient to show the object and the propriety of
Chaucer's ridicule. The whole poem is printed in Leyser's Hist. Poet. Med.
Ævi, pp. 862-978.'--Tyrwhitt. See a description of the poem, with numerous
quotations, in Wright's Biographia Britannica Literaria, Anglo-Norman
Period, p. 400; cf. Lounsbury, Studies, ii. 341.

4538. Richard I. died on April 6, 1199, on Tuesday; but he received his
wound on Friday, March 26.

4540. _Why ne hadde I_ = O that I had.

4547. _streite swerd_ = drawn (naked) sword. Cf. Aeneid, ii. 333, 334:--

       'Stat _ferri acies_ mucrone corusco
  _Stricta_, parata neci.'

4548. See Aeneid, ii. 550-553.

4553. _Hasdrubal_; not Hannibal's brother, but the King of Carthage when
the Romans burnt it, B.C. 146. Hasdrubal slew himself; and his wife and her
two sons burnt themselves in despair; see Orosius, iv. 13. 3, or Ælfred's
translation, ed. Sweet, p. 212. Lydgate has the story in his Fall of
Princes, bk. v. capp. 12 and 27.

4573. See note to Ho. Fame, 1277 (in vol. iii. p. 273). '_Colle_ furit';
Morley, Eng. Writers, 1889, iv. 179.

4584. Walsingham relates how, in 1381, Jakke Straw and his men killed many
Flemings 'cum clamore consueto.' He also speaks of the noise made by the
rebels as 'clamor horrendissimus.' See _Jakke_ in [258] Tyrwhitt's
Glossary. So also, in Riley's Memorials of London, p. 450, it is said, with
respect to the same event--'In the Vintry was a very great massacre of

4590. _houped._ See Piers Plowman, B. vi. 174; '_houped_ after Hunger, that
herde hym,' &c.

4616. Repeated in D. 1062.

4633. 'Mes retiengnent le grain et jettent hors la paille'; Test. de Jean
de Meun, 2168.

4635. _my Lord._ A side-note in MS. E. explains this to refer to the
Archbishop of Canterbury; doubtless William Courtenay, archbishop from 1381
to 1396. Cf. note to l. 4584, which shews that this Tale is later than
1381; and it was probably earlier than 1396. Note that _good men_ is
practically a compound, as in l. 4630. Hence read _good_, not _g[=o]d-e_.


4641. Repeated from B. 3135.

4643. _Thee wer-e nede_, there would be need for thee.

4649. _brasil_, a wood used for dyeing of a _bright red_ colour; hence the
allusion. It is mentioned as being used for dyeing leather in Riley's
Memorials of London, p. 364. '_Brazil-wood_; this name is now applied in
trade to the dye-wood imported from Pernambuco, which is derived from
certain species of _Cæsalpinia_ indigenous there. But it originally applied
to a dye-wood of the same genus which was imported from India, and which is
now known in trade as _Sappan_. The history of the word is very curious.
For when the name was applied to the newly discovered region in S. America,
probably, as Barros alleges, because it produced a dye-wood similar in
character to the _brazil_ of the East, the trade-name gradually became
appropriated to the S. American product, and was taken away from that of
the E. Indies. See some further remarks in Marco Polo, ed. Yule, 2nd ed.
ii. 368-370.

'This is alluded to also by Camo[e]s (Lusiad, x. 140). Burton's
translation has:--

 "But here, where earth spreads wider, ye shall claim
  Realms by the _ruddy dye-wood_ made renowned;
  These of the 'Sacred Cross' shall win the name,
  By your first navy shall that world be found."

'The medieval forms of _brazil_ were many; in Italian, it is generally
_verzi_, _verzino_, or the like.'--Yule, Hobson-Jobson, p. 86.

Again--'_Sappan_, the wood of _Cæsalpinia sappan_; the _baqqam_ of the
Arabs, and the Brazil-wood of medieval commerce. The tree appears to be
indigenous in Malabar, the Deccan, and the Malay peninsula.'--id. p. 600.
And in Yule's edition of Marco Polo, ii. 315, he tells us that 'it is
extensively used by native dyers, chiefly for common and cheap [259]
cloths, and for fine mats. The dye is precipitated dark-brown with iron,
and red with alum.'

Cf. Way's note on the word in the Prompt. Parv. p. 47.

Florio explains Ital. _verzino_ as 'brazell woode, or fernanbucke
[Pernambuco] to dye red withall.'

The etymology is disputed, but I think _brasil_ and Ital. _verzino_ are
alike due to the Pers. _wars_, saffron; cf. Arab. _war[=i]s_, dyed with
saffron or _wars_.

_greyn of Portingale._ _Greyn_, mod. E. _grain_, is the term applied to the
dye produced by the coccus insect, often termed, in commerce and the arts,
_kermes_; see Marsh, Lectures on the E. Language, Lect. III. The colour
thus produced was 'fast,' i. e. would not wash out; hence the phrase to
_engrain_, or to _dye in grain_, meaning to dye of a fast colour. Various
tones of red were thus produced, one of which was _crimson_, and another
_carmine_, both forms being derivatives of _kermes_. _Of Portingale_ means
'imported from Portugal.' In the Libell of English Policy, cap. ii. (l.
132), it is said that, among 'the commoditees of _Portingale_' are:--'oyl,
wyn, osey [Alsace wine], wex, and _graine_.'

4652. _to another_, to another of the pilgrims. This is so absurdly
indefinite that it can hardly be genuine. Ll. 4637-4649 are in Chaucer's
most characteristic manner, and are obviously genuine; but there, I
suspect, we must stop, viz. at the word _Portingale_. The next three lines
form a mere stop-gap, and are either spurious, or were jotted down
temporarily, to await the time of revision. The former is more probable.

This Epilogue is only found in three MSS.; (see footnote, p. 289). In Dd.,
Group G follows, beginning with the Second Nun's Tale. In the other two
MSS., Group H follows, i. e. the Manciple's Tale; nevertheless, MS. Addit.
absurdly puts _the Nunne_, in place of _another_. The net result is, that,
at this place, the gap is _complete_; with no hint as to what Tale should

It is worthy of note that this Epilogue is preserved in Thynne and the old
black-letter editions, in which it is followed immediately by the
Manciple's Prologue. This arrangement is obviously wrong, because that
Prologue is not introduced by the Host (as said in l. 4652).

In l. 4650, Thynne has _But_ for _Now_; and his last line runs--'Sayd to a
nother man, as ye shal here.' I adopt his reading of _to_ for _unto_ (as in
the MSS.).

       *       *       *       *       *




For remarks on the spurious Prologues to this Tale, see vol. iii. p. 434.
For further remarks on the Tale, see the same, p. 435, where its original
is printed in full.

1. The story is told by Livy, lib. iii.; and, of course, his narrative is
the source of all the rest. But Tyrwhitt well remarks, in a note to l.
12074 (i. e. C. 140):--'In the Discourse, &c., I forgot to mention the
Roman de la Rose as one of the sources of this tale; though, upon
examination, I find that our author has drawn more from thence, than from
either Gower or Livy.' It is absurd to argue, as in Bell's Chaucer, that
our poet must necessarily have known Livy 'in the original,' and then to
draw the conclusion that we must look to Livy only as the true source of
the Tale. For it is perfectly obvious that Tyrwhitt is right as regards the
Roman de la Rose; and the belief that Chaucer may have read the tale 'in
the original' does not alter _the fact_ that he trusted much more to the
French text. In this very first line, he is merely quoting Le Roman, ll.
5617, 8:--

 'Qui fu fille Virginius,
  _Si cum dist Titus Livius_.'

The story in the French text occupies 70 lines (5613-5682, ed. Méon); the
chief points of resemblance are noted below.

Gower has the same story, Conf. Amant. iii. 264-270; but I see no reason
why Chaucer should be considered as indebted to him. It is, however, clear
that, if Chaucer and Gower be here compared, the latter suffers
considerably by the comparison.

Gower gives the names of Icilius, to whom Virginia was betrothed, and of
Marcus Claudius. But Chaucer omits the name Marcus, and ignores the
existence of Icilius. The French text does the same.

11. This is the 'noble goddesse Nature' mentioned in the Parl. of Foules,
ll. 368, 379. Cf. note to l. 16.

14. _Pigmalion_, Pygmalion; alluding to Ovid, Met. x. 247, where it is said
of him:--

 'Interea niueum mira feliciter arte
  Sculpit ebur, formamque dedit, qua femina nasci
  Nulla potest; operisque sui concepit amorem.'


In the margin of E. Hn. is the note--'Quere in Methamorphosios'; which
supplies the reference; but cf. note to l. 16 below, shewing that Chaucer
also had in his mind Le Roman de la Rose, l. 16379. So also the author of
the Pearl, l. 750; see Morris, Allit. Poems.

16. In the margin of E. Hn. we find the note:--'Apelles fecit mirabile opus
in tumulo Darii; vide in Alexandri libro .1.º [Hn. _has_ .6.º]; de Zanze in
libro Tullii.' This note is doubtless the poet's own; see further, as to
Apelles, in the note to D. 498.

_Zanzis_, Zeuxis. The corruption of the name was easy, owing to the
confusion in MSS. between _n_ and _u_.[26] In the note above, we are
referred to Tullius, i. e. Cicero. Dr. Reid kindly tells me that Zeuxis is
mentioned, with Apelles, in Cicero's De Oratore, iii. § 26, and Brutus, §
70; also, with other artists, in Academia, ii. § 146; De Finibus, ii. §
115; and alone, in De Inventione, ii. § 52, where a long story is told of
him. Cf. note to Troil. iv. 414.

However, the fact is that Chaucer really derived his knowledge of Zeuxis
from Le Roman de la Rose (ed. Méon, l. 16387); for comparison with the
context of that line shews numerous points of resemblance to the present
passage in our author. Jean de Meun is there speaking of Nature, and of the
inability of artists to vie with her, which is precisely Chaucer's argument
here. The passage is too long for quotation, but I may cite such lines as

 'Ne _Pymalion_ entaillier' (l. 16379),

            'voire _Apelles_
  Que ge moult bon paintre appelles,
  Biautés de li james descrive
  Ne porroit,' &c. (l. 16381).

 '_Zeuxis_ neis par son biau paindre
  Ne porroit a tel forme ataindre,' &c. (l. 16387).

  Si cum _Tules_ le nous remembre
  Ou livre _de sa retorique_'; (l. 16398).

Here the reference is to the passage in De Oratore, iii. § 26.

 'Mes ci ne péust-il riens faire
  _Zeuxis_, tant séust bien portraire,
  Ne colorer sa portraiture,
  Tant est de grant biauté _Nature_.' (l. 16401).

A little further on, Nature is made to say (l. 16970):--

 'Cis Diex méismes, par sa grace,...
  Tant m'ennora, tant me tint chere,
  Qu'il m'establi sa chamberiere ...
  Por chamberiere! certes vaire,
  Por connestable, et por _vicaire_.'


20. See just above; and cf. Parl. of Foules, 379--'Nature, the _vicaire_ of
thalmighty lord.'

32-4. Cf. Le Rom. de la Rose, 16443-6.

35. From this line to l. 120, Chaucer has it all his own way. This fine
passage is not in Le Roman, nor in Gower.

37. I. e. she had golden hair; cf. Troil. iv. 736, v. 8.

49. Perhaps Chaucer found the wisdom of Pallas in Vergil, Aen. v. 704.--

 'Tum senior Nautes, unum Tritonia Pallas
  Quem docuit, multaque insignem reddidit arte.'

50. _fácound_, eloquence; cf. _facóunde_ in Parl. Foules, 558.

54. _Souninge in_, conducing to; see A. 307, B. 3157, and notes.

58. _Bacus_, Bacchus, i. e. wine; see next note.

59. _youthe_, youth; such is the reading in MSS. E. Hn., and edd. 1532 and
1561. MS. Cm. has lost a leaf; the rest have _thought_, which gives no
sense. It is clear that the reading _thought_ arose from misreading the _y_
of _youthe_ as _þ_ (_th_). How easily this may be done appears from
Wright's remark, that the Lansdowne MS. has _youthe_, whilst, in fact, it
has _þouht_.

Tyrwhitt objects to the reading _youthe_, and proposes _slouthe_, wholly
without authority. But _youthe_, meaning 'youthful vigour,' is right
enough; I see no objection to it at all. Rather, it is simply taken from
Ovid, Ars Amat. i. 243:--

 'Illic saepe _animos iuuenum_ rapuere puellae;
        _Et Venus in uinis, ignis in igne fuit_.'

Only a few lines above (l. 232), _Bacchus_ occurs, and there is a reference
to _wine_, throughout the context. Cf. the Romaunt of the Rose, l. 4925:--

 'For _Youthe_ set man in al folye ...
  In leccherye and in outrage.'

Cf. note to l. 65.

60. Alluding to a proverbial phrase, occurring in Horace, Sat. ii. 3. 321,
viz. 'oleum adde camino'; and elsewhere.

65. This probably refers to the same passage in Ovid as is mentioned in the
note to l. 59. For we there find (l. 229):--

 'Dant etiam positis aditum conuiuia mensis;
    Est aliquid, praeter uina, quod inde petas ...
  Vina parant animos, faciuntque caloribus aptos'; &c.

79. See A. 476, and the note. Chaucer is here thinking of the same passage
in Le Roman de la Rose. I quote a few lines (3930-46):--

 'Une vielle, que Diex honnisse!
  Avoit o li por li guetier,
  Qui ne fesoit autre mestier
  Fors espier tant solement
  Qu'il ne se maine folement....
  Bel-Acueil se taist et escoute
  Por la vielle que il redoute,
  Et n'est si hardis qu'il se moeve,
  Que la vielle en li n'aperçoeve
  Aucune fole contenance,
  Qu'el scet toute la vielle dance.'

See the English version in vol. i. p. 205, ll. 4285-4300.

82. See the footnote for another reading. The line there given may also be
genuine. It is deficient in the first foot.

85. This is like our proverb:--'Set a thief to catch [_or_ take] a thief.'
An old poacher makes a good gamekeeper.

98. Cf. Prov. xiii. 24; P. Plowman, B. v. 41.

101. See a similar proverb in P. Plowman, C. x. 265, and my note on the
line. The Latin lines quoted in P. Plowman are from Alanus de Insulis,
Liber Parabolarum, cap. i. 31; they are printed in Leyser, Hist. Poet. Med.
Aevi, 1721, p. 1066, in the following form:--

 'Sub molli pastore capit lanam lupus, et grex
      Incustoditus dilaceratur eo.'

117. _The doctour_, i. e. the teacher; viz. St. Augustine. (There is here
no reference whatever to the 'Doctor' or 'Phisicien' who is supposed to
tell the tale.) In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. is written 'Augustinus'; and
the matter is put beyond doubt by a passage in the Persones Tale, l.
484:--'and, after the word of seint Augustin, it [Envye] is sorwe of other
mannes wele, and Ioye of othere mennes harm.' See note to l. 484.

The same idea is exactly reproduced in P. Plowman, B. v. 112, 113. Cf.
'Inuidus alterius macrescit rebus opimis'; Horace, Epist. i. 2. 57.

135. From Le Roman, l. 5620-3; see vol. iii. p. 436.

140. _cherl_, dependant. It is remarkable that, throughout the story, MSS.
E. Hn. and Cm. have _cherl_, but the rest have _clerk_. In ll. 140, 142,
153, 164, the Camb. MS. is deficient; but it at once gives the reading
_cherl_ in l. 191, and subsequently.

Either reading might serve; in Le Roman, l. 5614, the dependant is called
'son serjant'; and in l. 5623, he is called 'Li _ribaus_,' i. e. the
ribald, which Chaucer Englishes by _cherl_. But when we come to C. 289, the
MSS. gives us the choice of 'fals _cherl_' and 'cursed _theef_'; very few
have _clerk_ (like MS. Sloane 1685). Cf. vol. iii. p. 437.

153, 154. The 'churl's' name was Marcus Claudius, and the 'judge' was
'Appius Claudius.' Chaucer simply follows Jean de Meun, who calls the judge
_Apius_; and speaks of the churl as '_Claudius_ li chalangieres' in l.
5675. [264]

165. Cf. Le Roman, l. 5623-7; see vol. iii. p. 436.

168-9. From Le Roman, 5636-8, as above.

174. The first foot is defective; read--Thou | shalt have | al, &c. _al
right_, complete justice. MS. Cm. has _alle_.

184. Cf. Le Roman, l. 5628-33.

203. From Le Roman, 5648-54.

207-253. The whole of this fine passage appears to be original. There is no
hint of it in Le Roman de la Rose, except as regards l. 225, where Le Roman
(l. 5659) has:--'Car il par amors, sans haïne.' We may compare the farewell
speech of Virginius to his daughter in Webster's play of Appius and
Virginia, Act iv. sc. 1.

240. _Iepte_, Jephtha; in the Vulgate, _Jephte_. See Judges, xi. 37, 38.
MSS. E. Hn. have in the margin--'fuit illo tempore Jephte Galaandes'
[_error for_ Galaadites]. This reference by Virginia to the book of Judges
is rather startling; but such things are common enough in old authors,
especially in our dramatists.

255. Here Chaucer returns to Le Roman, 5660-82. The rendering is pretty
close down to l. 276.

280. _Agryse of_, shudder at; 'nor in what kind of way the worm of
conscience may shudder because of (the man's) wicked life'; cf. 'of pitee
gan agryse,' B. 614. When _agryse_ is used with _of_, it is commonly
passive, not intransitive; see examples in Mätzner and in the New E.
Dictionary. Cf. _been afered_, i. e. be scared, in l. 284.

'Vermis conscientiae tripliciter lacerabit'; Innocent III., De Contemptu
Mundi, l. iii. c. 2.

286. Cf. Pers. Tale, I. 93:--'repentant folk, that stinte for to sinne, and
forlete [give up] sinne er that sinne forlete hem.'


In the Six-text Edition, pref. col. 58, Dr. Furnivall calls attention to
the curious variations in this passage, in the MSS., especially in ll.
289-292, and in 297-300; as well as in ll. 487, 488 in the Pardoneres Tale.
I note these variations below, in their due places.

287. _wood_, mad, frantic, furious; esp. applied to the transient madness
of anger. See Kn. Tale, A. 1301, 1329, 1578; also Mids. Nt. Dr. ii. 1. 192.
Cf. G. _wüthend_, raging.

288. _Harrow!_ also spelt _haro_; a cry of astonishment; see A. 3286, 3825,
B. 4235, &c. '_Haro_, the ancient Norman hue and cry; the exclamation of a
person to procure assistance when his person or property was in danger. To
cry out _haro_ on any one, to denounce his evil doings'; Halliwell. Spenser
has it, F. Q. ii. 6. 43; see _Harrow_ in Nares, and the note above, to A.

On the oaths used by the Host, see note to l. 651 below.

289. _fals cherl_ is the reading in E. Hn., and is evidently right; see
[265] note to l. 140 above. It is supported by several MSS., among which
are Harl. 7335, Addit. 25718, Addit. 5140, Sloane 1686, Barlow 20, Hatton
1, Camb. Univ. Lib. Dd. 4. 24 and Mm. 2. 5, and Trin. Coll. Cam. R. 3. 3. A
few have _fals clerk_, viz. Sloane 1685, Arch. Seld. B. 14, Rawl. Poet.
149, Bodley 414. Harl. 7333 has _a fals thef, Acursid Iustise_; out of
which numerous MSS. have developed the reading _a cursed theef, a fals
Iustice_, which rolls the two Claudii into one. It is clearly wrong, but
appears in good MSS., viz. in Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. See vol. iii. pp. 437-8, and
the note to l. 291 below.

290. _shamful._ MSS. Ln. Hl. turn this into _schendful_, i. e. ignominious,
which does not at all alter the sense. It is a matter of small moment, but
I may note that of the twenty-five MSS. examined by Dr. Furnivall, only the
two above-named MSS. adopt this variation.

291, 292. Here MSS. Cp. Ln. Hl., as noted in the footnote, have two totally
different lines; and this curious variation divides the MSS. (at least in
the present passage) into two sets. In the _first_ of these we find E. Hn.
Harl. 7335, Addit. 25718, Addit. 5140, Sloane 1685 and 1686, Barlow 20,
Arch. Seld. B. 14, Rawl. Poet. 149, Hatton 1, Bodley 414, Camb. Dd. 4. 24,
and Mm. 2. 5, Trin. Coll. Cam. R. 3. 3. In the _second_ set we find Cp. Ln.
Hl., Harl. 1758, Royal 18. C. 2, Laud 739, Camb. Ii. 3. 26, Royal 17. D.
15, and Harl. 7333.

There is no doubt as to the correct reading; for the 'false cherl' and
'false justice' were two different persons, and it was only because they
had been inadvertently rolled into one (see note to l. 289) that it became
possible to speak of '_his_ body,' '_his_ bones,' and '_him_.' Hence the
lines are rightly given in the text which I have adopted.

There is a slight difficulty, however, in the rime, which should be noted.
We see that the _t_ in _advocats_ was silent, and that the word was
pronounced (ad·vokaa·s), riming with _allas_ (alaa·s), where the raised dot
denotes the accent. That this was so, is indicated by the following
spellings:--Pt. _aduocas_, and so also in Harl. 7335, Addit. 5140, Bodl.
414; Rawl. Poet. 149 has _advocas_; whilst Sloane 1685, Sloane 1686, and
Camb. Mm. 2. 5 have _aduocase_, and Barlow 20, _advocase_. MS. Trin. Coll.
R. 3. 3 has _aduocasse_. The testimony of ten MSS. may suffice; but it is
worth noting that the F. pl. _aduocas_ occurs in Le Roman de la Rose, 5107.

293. 'Alas! she (Virginia) bought her beauty too dear'; she paid too high a
price; it cost her her life.

297-300. These four lines are genuine; but several MSS., including E. Hn.
Pt., omit the former pair (297-8), whilst several others omit the latter
pair. Ed. 1532 contains both pairs, but alters l. 299.

299. _bothe yiftes_, both (kinds of) gifts; i. e. gifts of fortune, such as
wealth, and of nature, such as beauty. Compare Dr. Johnson's poem on the
Vanity of Human Wishes, imitated from the tenth satire of Juvenal.

303. _is no fors_, it is no matter. _It_ must be supplied, for the sense.
[266] Sometimes Chaucer omits _it is_, and simply writes _no fors_, as in
E. 1092, 2430. We also find _I do no fors_, I care not, D. 1234; and _They
yeve no fors_, they care not, Romaunt of the Rose, 4826. Palsgrave has--'I
gyue no force, I care nat for a thing, _Il ne men chault_.'

306. _Ypocras_ is the usual spelling, in English MSS., of _Hippocrates_;
see Prologue A. 431. So also in the Book of the Duchess, 571, 572:--

 'Ne hele me may physicien,
  Noght Ypocras, ne Galien.'

In the present passage it does not signify the physician himself, but a
beverage named after him. 'It was composed of wine, with spices and sugar,
strained through a cloth. It is said to have taken its name from
_Hippocrates' sleeve_, the term apothecaries gave to a strainer';
Halliwell's Dict. s. v. _Hippocras_. In the same work, s. v. _Ipocras_, are
several receipts for making it, the simplest being one copied from Arnold's
Chronicle:--'Take a quart of red wyne, an ounce of synamon, and half an
unce of gynger; a quarter of an ounce of greynes, and long peper, and halfe
a pounde of sugar; and brose all this, and than put them in a bage of
wullen clothe, made therefore, with the wyne; and lete it hange over a
vessel, tyll the wyne be rune thorowe.' Halliwell adds that--'Ipocras seems
to have been a great favourite with our ancestors, being served up at every
entertainment, public or private. It generally made a part of the last
course, and was taken immediately after dinner, with wafers or some other
light biscuits'; &c. See Pegge's Form of Cury, p. 161; Babees Book, ed.
Furnivall, pp. 125-128, 267, 378; Skelton, ed. Dyce, ii. 285; and Nares's
Glossary, s. v. _Hippocras_.

_Galianes._ In like manner this word (hitherto unexplained as far as I am
aware) must signify drinks named after Galen, whose name is spelt _Galien_
(in Latin, _Galienus_) not only in Chaucer, but in other authors. See the
quotation above from the Book of the Duchess. Speght guessed the word to
mean 'Galen's works.'

310. _lyk a prelat_, like a dignitary of the church, like a bishop or
abbot. Mr. Jephson, in Bell's edition, suggests that the Doctor was in holy
orders, and that this is why we are told in the Prologue, l. 438, that 'his
studie was but litel on the bible.' I see no reason for this guess, which
is quite unsupported. Chaucer does not say he _is_ a prelate, but that he
is _like_ one; because he had been highly educated, as a member of a
'learned profession' should be.

_Ronyan_ is here of three syllables and rimes with _man_; in l. 320 it is
of two syllables, and rimes with _anon_. It looks as if the Host and
Pardoner were not very clear about the saint's name, only knowing him to
swear by. In Pilkington's Works (Parker Society), we find a mention of 'St.
Tronian's fast,' p. 80; and again, of 'St. Rinian's fast,' p. 551, in a
passage which is a repetition of the former. The forms _Ronyan_ and
_Rinian_ are evidently corruptions of _Ronan_, a saint whose [267] name is
well known to readers of 'St. Ronan's Well.' Of St. Ronan scarcely anything
is known. The fullest account that can easily be found is the following:--

'Ronan, B. and C. Feb. 7.--Beyond the mere mention of his commemoration as
S. Ronan, bishop at Kilmaronen, in Levenax, in the body of the Breviary of
Aberdeen, there is nothing said about this saint.... Camerarius (p. 86)
makes this Ronanus the same as he who is mentioned by Beda (Hist. Ecc. lib.
iii. c. 25). This Ronan died in A. D. 778. The Ulster annals give at [A.
D.] 737 (736)--"Mors Ronain Abbatis Cinngaraid." Ængus places this saint at
the 9th of February,' &c.; Kalendars of Scottish Saints, by Bp. A. P.
Forbes, 1872, p. 441. Kilmaronen is Kilmaronock, in the county and parish
of Dumbarton. There are traces of St. Ronan in about seven place-names in
Scotland, according to the same authority. Under the date of Feb. 7
(February vol. ii. 3 B), the Acta Sanctorum has a few lines about St.
Ronan, who, according to some, flourished under King Malduin, A. D.
664-684; or, according to others, about 603. The notice concludes with the
remark--'Maiorem lucem desideramus.' Beda says that 'Ronan, a Scot by
nation, but instructed in ecclesiastical truth either in France or Italy,'
was mixed up in the controversy which arose about the keeping of Easter,
and was 'a most zealous defender of the true Easter.' This controversy took
place about A. D. 652, which does not agree with the date above.

311. Tyrwhitt thinks that Shakespeare remembered this expression of
Chaucer, when he describes the Host of the Garter as frequently repeating
the phrase 'said I well': Merry Wives of Windsor, i. 3. 11; ii. 1. 226; ii.
3. 93, 99.

_in terme_, in learned terms; cf. Prol. A. 323.

312. _erme_, to grieve. For the explanation of unusual _words_, the
Glossary should, in general, be consulted; the Notes are intended, for the
most part, to explain only phrases and allusions, and to give illustrations
of the _use_ of words. Such illustrations are, moreover, often omitted when
they can easily be found by consulting such a work as Stratmann's Old
English Dictionary. In the present case, for example, Stratmann gives
twelve instances of the use of _earm_ or _arm_ as an adjective, meaning
wretched; four examples of _ermlic_, miserable; seven of _earming_, a
miserable creature; and five of _earmthe_, misery. These twenty-eight
additional examples shew that the word was formerly well understood. We may
further note that a later instance of _ermen_ or _erme_, to grieve, occurs
in Caxton's translation of Reynard the Fox, A. D. 1481; see Arber's
reprint, p. 48, l. 5: 'Thenne departed he fro the kynge so heuyly that many
of them _ermed_,' i. e. then departed he from the king so sorrowfully that
many of them mourned, or were greatly grieved.

313. _cardiacle_, pain about the heart, spasm of the heart; more correctly,
_cardiake_, as the _l_ is excrescent. See _Cardiacle_ and _Cardiac_ in the
New E. Dictionary. In Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. vii. c. 32, [268] we
have a description of 'Heart-quaking and the disease Cardiacle.' We thus
learn that 'there is a double manner of Cardiacle,' called 'Diaforetica'
and 'Tremens.' Of the latter, 'sometime _melancholy is the cause_'; and the
remedies are various 'confortatives.' This is why the host wanted some
'triacle' or some ale, or something to cheer him up.

314. The Host's form of oath is amusingly ignorant; he is confusing the two
oaths 'by corpus Domini' and 'by Christes bones,' and evidently regards
_corpus_ as a genitive case. Tyrwhitt alters the phrase to 'By corpus
domini,' which wholly spoils the humour of it.

_triacle_, a restorative remedy; see Man of Lawes Tale, B. 479.

315. _moyste_, new. The word retains the sense of the Lat. _musteus_ and
_mustus_. In Group H. 60, we find _moysty ale_ spoken of as differing from
_old ale_. But the most peculiar use of the word is in the Prologue, A.
457, where the Wyf of Bath's shoes are described as being _moyste and

_corny_, strong of the corn or malt; cf. l. 456. Skelton calls it 'newe ale
in cornys'; Magnificence, 782; or 'in cornes,' Elynour Rummyng, 378.
Baret's Alvearie, s. v. _Ale_, has: 'new ale in cornes, ceruisia cum
recrementis.' It would seem that ale was thought the better for having
dregs of malt in it.

318. _bel amy_, good friend; a common form of address in old French. We
also find _biaus douz amis_, sweet good friend; as in--

 'Charlot, Charlot, _biaus doux amis_';
    Rutebuef; La Disputoison de Charlot et du Barbier, l. 57.

_Belamy_ occurs in an Early Eng. Life of St. Cecilia, MS. Ashmole 43, l.
161; and six other examples are given in the New Eng. Dictionary. Similar
forms are _beau filtz_, dear son, Piers Plowman, B. vii. 162; _beau pere_,
good father; _beau sire_, good sir. Cf. _beldame_.

321. _ale-stake_, inn-sign. Speght interprets this by 'may-pole.' He was
probably thinking of the _ale-pole_, such as was sometimes set up before an
inn as a sign; see the picture of one in Larwood and Hotten's History of
Signboards, Plate II. But the _ale-stakes_ of the fourteenth century were
differently placed; instead of being perpendicular, they projected
horizontally from the inn, just like the bar which supports a painted sign
at the present day. At the end of the ale-stake a large garland was
commonly suspended, as mentioned by Chaucer himself (Prol. 667), or
sometimes a bunch of ivy, box, or evergreen, called a 'bush'; whence the
proverb 'good wine needs no _bush_,' i. e. nothing to indicate where it is
sold; see Hist. Signboards, pp. 2, 4, 6, 233. The clearest information
about ale-stakes is obtained from a notice of them in the Liber Albus, ed.
Riley, where an ordinance of the time of Richard II. is printed, the
translation of which runs as follows: 'Also, it was ordained that whereas
the _ale-stakes_, projecting in front of the taverns in Chepe and elsewhere
in the said city, extend too far over the king's highways, to the impeding
of riders and others, and, by reason of their excessive weight, to the
great deterioration of the houses to which they [269] are fixed,... it was
ordained,... that no one in future should have a stake _bearing either his
sign or leaves_ [i. e. a bush] extending or lying over the king's highway,
_of greater length than 7 feet at most_,' &c. And, at p. 292 of the same
work, note 2, Mr. Riley rightly defines an _ale-stake_ to be 'the pole
projecting from the house, and supporting a bunch of leaves.'

The word _ale-stake_ occurs in Chatterton's poem of Ælla, stanza 30, where
it is used in a manner which shews that the supposed 'Rowley' did not know
what it was like. See my note on this; Essay on the Rowley Poems, p. xix;
and cf. note to A. 667.

322. _of a cake_; we should now say, a bit of bread; the modern sense of
'cake' is a little misleading. The old cakes were mostly made of dough,
whence the proverb 'my cake is dough,' i. e. is not properly baked; Taming
of the Shrew, v. 1. 145. Shakespeare also speaks of 'cakes and ale,' Tw.
Nt. ii. 3. 124. The picture of the 'Simnel Cakes' in Chambers' Book of
Days, i. 336, illustrates Chaucer's use of the word in the Prologue, l.

324. The Pardoner was so ready to tell some 'mirth or japes' that the more
decent folks in the company try to repress him. It is a curious comment on
the popular estimate of his character. He has, moreover, to refresh
himself, and to think awhile before he can recollect 'some honest (i. e.
decent) thing.'

327, 328. The Harleian MS. has--

 'But in the cuppe wil I me bethinke
  Upon some honest tale, whil I drinke.'


Title. The Latin text is copied from l. 334 below; it appears in the
Ellesmere and Hengwrt MSS. The A. V. has--'the love of money is the root of
all evil'; 1 Tim. vi. 10. It is well worth notice that the novel by
Morlinus, quoted in vol. iii. p. 442, as a source of the Pardoner's Tale,
contains the expression--'radice malorum cupiditate affecti.'

336. _bulles_, bulls from the pope, whom he here calls his 'liege lord';
see Prol. A. 687, and Piers the Plowman, B. Prol. 69. See also Wyclif's
Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 308.

_alle and somme_, one and all. Cf. Clerkes Tale, E. 941, and the note.

337. _patente_; defined by Webster as 'an official document, conferring a
right or privilege on some person or party'; &c. It was so called because
'patent' or open to public inspection. 'When indulgences came to be sold,
the pope made them part of his ordinary revenue; and, according to the
usual way in those, and even in much later times, of farming the revenue,
he let them out usually to the Dominican friars'; Massingberd, Hist. Eng.
Reformation, p. 126.

345. 'To colour my devotion with.' For _saffron_, MS. Harl. reads _savore_.
Tyrwhitt rightly prefers the reading _saffron_, as 'more [270] expressive,
and less likely to have been a gloss.' And he adds--'Saffron was used to
give colour as well as flavour.' For example, in the Babees Book, ed.
Furnivall, p. 275, we read of 'capons that ben coloured with saffron.' And
in Winter's Tale, iv. 3. 48, the Clown says--'I must have saffron to colour
the warden-pies.' Cf. Sir Thopas, B. 1920. As to the position of _with_,
cf. Sq. Ta., F. 471, 641.

346. According to Tyrwhitt, this line is, in some MSS. (including Camb. Dd.
4. 24. and Addit. 5140), replaced by three, viz.--

 'In euery village and in euery toun,
  This is my terme, and shal, and euer was,
  _Radix malorum est cupiditas_.'

Here _terme_ is an error for _teme_, a variant of _theme_; so that the last
two lines merely repeat ll. 333-4.

347. _cristal stones_, evidently hollow pieces of crystal in which relics
were kept; so in the Prologue, A. 700, we have--

 'And in a _glas_ he hadde pigges bones.'

348. _cloutes_, rags, bits of cloth. 'The origin of the veneration for
relics may be traced to Acts, xix. 12. Hence _clouts_, or _cloths_, are
among the Pardoner's stock'; note in Bell's edition.

349. _Reliks._ In the Prologue, we read that he had the Virgin Mary's veil
and a piece of the sail of St. Peter's ship. Below, we have mention of the
shoulder-bone of a holy Jew's sheep, and of a miraculous mitten. See
Heywood's impudent plagiarism from this passage in his description of a
Pardoner, as printed in the note to l. 701 of Dr. Morris's edition of
Chaucer's Prologue. See also a curious list of relics in Chambers' Book of
Days, i. 587; and compare the humorous descriptions of the pardoner and his
wares in Sir David Lyndesay's Satyre of the Three Estates, ll. 2037-2121.
Chaucer probably here took several hints from Boccaccio's Decamerone, Day
6, Nov. 10, wherein Frate Cipolla produces many very remarkable relics to
the public gaze. See also the list of relics in Political, Religious, and
Love Poems, ed. Furnivall (E. E. T. S.), pp. xxxii, 126-9.

350. _latoun._ The word _latten_ is still in use in Devon and the North of
England for plate tin, but as Halliwell remarks, that is not the sense of
_latoun_ in our older writers. It was a kind of mixed metal, somewhat
resembling brass both in its nature and colour, but still more like
pinchbeck. It was used for helmets (Rime of Sir Thopas, B. 2067), lavers
(P. Pl. Crede, 196), spoons (Nares), sepulchral memorials (Way in Prompt.
Parv.), and other articles. Todd, in his Illustrations of Chaucer, p. 350,
remarks that the escutcheons on the tomb of the Black Prince are of _laton_
over-gilt, in accordance with the Prince's instructions; see Nichols's
Royal Wills, p. 67. He adds--'In our old Church Inventories a _cross of
laton_ frequently occurs.' See Prol. A. 699, and the note. I here copy the
description of this metal given in Batman upon Bartholomè; lib. xvi. c. 5.
'_Of Laton._ [271] Laton is called _Auricalcum_, and hath that name, for,
though it be brasse or copper, yet it shineth as gold without, as _Isidore_
saith; for brasse is _calco_ in Greeke. Also _laton_ is hard as brasse or
copper; for by medling of copper, of tinne, and of auripigment [orpiment]
and with other mettal, it is brought in the fire to the colour of gold, as
_Isidore_ saith. Also it hath colour and likenesse of gold, but not the

351. The expression 'holy Jew' is remarkable, as the usual feeling in the
middle ages was to regard all Jews with abhorrence. It is suggested, in a
note to Bell's edition, that it 'must be understood of some Jew before the
Incarnation.' Perhaps the Pardoner wished it to be understood that the
sheep was once the property of Jacob; this would help to give force to l.
365. Cp. Gen. xxx.

The best comment on the virtues of a sheep's shoulder-bone is afforded by a
passage in the Persones Tale (De Ira), I. 602, where we find--'Sweringe
sodeynly withoute avysement is eek a sinne. But lat us go now to thilke
horrible swering of adiuracioun and coniuracioun, as doon thise false
enchauntours or nigromanciens in bacins ful of water, or in a bright swerd,
in a cercle, or in a fyr, or in a _shulder-boon of a sheep_'; &c. Cf. also
a curious passage in Trevisa's tr. of Higden's Polychronicon, lib. i. cap.
60, which shews that it was known among the Flemings who had settled in the
west of Wales. He tells us that, by help of a bone of a wether's right
shoulder, from which the flesh had been boiled (not roasted) away, they
could tell what was being done in far countries, 'tokens of pees and of
werre, the staat of the reeme, sleynge of men, and spousebreche.' Selden,
in his notes to song 5 of Drayton's Polyolbion, gives a curious instance of
such divination, taken from Giraldus, Itin. i. cap. 11; and a writer in the
Retrospective Review, Feb. 1854, p. 109, says it is 'similar to one
described by Wm. de Rubruquis as practised among the Tartars.' And see
_spade-bone_ in Nares. Cf. Notes and Queries, 1 S. ii. 20.

In Part I. of the Records of the Folk-lore Society is an article by Mr.
Thoms on the subject of divination by means of the shoulder-bone of a
sheep. He shews that it was still practised in the Scottish Highlands down
to the beginning of the present century, and that it is known in Greece. He
further cites some passages concerning it from some scarce books; and ends
by saying--'let me refer any reader desirous of knowing more of this
wide-spread form of divination to Sir H. Ellis's edition of Brand's Popular
Antiquities, iii. 179, ed. 1842, and to much curious information respecting
_Spatulamancia_, as it is called by Hartlieb, and an analogous species of
divination _ex anserino sterno_, to Grimm's Deutsche Mythologie, 2nd ed. p.

355. The sense is--'which any snake has bitten or stung.' The reference is
to the poisonous effects of the bite of an adder or venomous snake. The
word _worm_ is used by Shakespeare to describe the asp whose bite was fatal
to Cleopatra; and it is sometimes used to describe a dragon of the largest
size. In Icelandic, the term 'miðgarðsormr,' [272] lit. worm of the
middle-earth, signifies a great sea-serpent encompassing the entire world.

363. _Fastinge._ This word is spelt with a final _e_ in all seven MSS.; and
as it is emphatic and followed by a slight pause, perhaps the final _e_
should be pronounced. Cp. A. S. _fæstende_, the older form of the present
participle. Otherwise, the first foot consists of but one syllable.

366. For _heleth_, MS. Hl. has _kelith_, i. e. cooleth.

379. The final _e_ in _sinne_ must not be elided; it is preserved by the
caesura. Besides, _e_ is only elided before _h_ in the case of certain

387. _assoile_, absolve. In Michelet's Life of Luther, tr. by W. Hazlitt,
chap. ii, there is a very similar passage concerning Tetzel, the Dominican
friar, whose shameless sale of indulgences roused Luther to his famous
denunciations of the practice. Tetzel 'went about from town to town, with
great display, pomp, and expense, hawking the commodity [i. e. the
indulgences] in the churches, in the public streets, in taverns and
ale-houses. He paid over to his employers as little as possible, pocketing
the balance, as was subsequently proved against him. The faith of the
buyers diminishing, it became necessary to exaggerate to the fullest extent
the merit of the specific.... The intrepid Tetzel stretched his rhetoric to
the very uttermost bounds of amplification. Daringly piling one lie upon
another, he set forth, in reckless display, the long list of evils which
this panacea could cure. He did not content himself with enumerating known
sins; he set his foul imagination to work, and invented crimes, infamous
atrocities, strange, unheard of, unthought of; and when he saw his auditors
stand aghast at each horrible suggestion, he would calmly repeat the burden
of his song:--Well, all this is expiated the moment your money chinks in
the pope's chest.' This was in the year 1517.

390. _An hundred mark._ A mark was worth about 13s. 4d., and 100 marks
about £66 13s. 4d. In order to make allowance for the difference in the
value of money in that age, we must at least multiply by ten; or we may say
in round numbers, that the Pardoner made at least £700 a year. We may
contrast this with Chaucer's own pension of 20 marks, granted him in 1367,
and afterwards increased till, in the very last year of his life, he
received in all, according to Sir Harris Nicolas, as much as £61 13s. 4d.
Even then his income did not quite attain to the 100 marks which the
Pardoner gained so easily.

397. _dowve_, a pigeon; lit. a dove. See a similar line in the Milleres
Tale, A. 3258.

402. _namely_, especially, in particular; cf. Kn. Ta. 410 (A. 1068).

406. _blakeberied._ The line means--'Though their souls go
a-blackberrying'; i. e. wander wherever they like. This is a well-known
_crux_, which all the editors have given up as unintelligible. I have been
so fortunate as to obtain the complete solution of it, which was printed in
Notes and Queries, 4 S. x. 222, xii. 45, and again in my preface to the
C-text of Piers the Plowman, p. lxxxvii. The simple explanation is that, by
a grammatical construction which was [273] probably due (as will be shewn)
to an error, the verb _go_ could be combined with what was _apparently_ a
past participle, in such a manner as to give the participle the force of a
verbal substantive. In other words, instead of saying 'he goes a-hunting,'
our forefathers sometimes said 'he goes a-hunted.' The examples of this use
are at least seven. The clearest is in Piers Plowman, C. ix. 138, where we
read of 'folk that gon a-begged,' i. e. folk that go a-begging. In Chaucer,
we not only have 'goon a-begged,' Frank. Tale, F. 1580, and the instance in
the present passage, but yet a third example in the Wyf of Bath's Tale,
Group D. 354, where we have 'goon a-caterwawed,' with the sense of 'to go
a-caterwauling'; and it is a fortunate circumstance that in two of these
cases the idiomatic forms occur at the end of a line, so that the rime has
preserved them from being tampered with. Gower (Conf. Amant. bk. i. ed.
Chalmers, pp. 32, 33, or ed. Pauli, i. 110) speaks of a king of Hungary
riding out 'in the month of May,' adding--

 'This king with noble purueiance
  Hath for him-selfe his chare [_car_] arayed,
  Wherein he wolde ryde _amayed_,' &c.

that is, wherein he wished to ride _a-Maying_. Again (in bk. v, ed.
Chalmers, p. 124, col. 2, or ed. Pauli, ii. 132) we read of a drunken
priest losing his way:--

 'This prest was dronke, and _goth a-strayed_';

i. e. he goes a-straying, or goes astray.

The explanation of this construction I take to be this; the _-ed_ was not
really a sign of the past participle, but a corruption of the ending _-eth_
(A. S._-að_) which is sometimes found at the end of a verbal substantive.
Hence it is that, in the passage from Piers Plowman above quoted, one of
the best and earliest MSS. actually reads 'folk that gon a-beggeth.' And
again, in another passage (P. Pl., C. ix. 246) is the phrase 'gon
abrybeth,' or, in some MSS., 'gon abrybed,' i. e. go a-bribing or go
a-thieving, since Mid. Eng. _briben_ often means to rob. This form is
clearly an imitation of the form _a-hunteth_ in the old phrase _gon
a-hunteth_ or _riden an honteth_, used by Robert of Gloucester (Specimens
of English, ed. Morris and Skeat, p. 14, l. 387):--

 'As he _rod an honteth_, and par-auntre [h]is hors spurnde.'

Now this _honteth_ is the dat. case of a substantive, viz. of the A. S.
_huntað_ or _huntoð_. This substantive would easily be mistaken for a part
of a verb, and, particularly, for the past participle of a verb; just as
many people at this day are quite unable to distinguish between the true
verbal substantive and the present participle in _-ing_. This mistake once
established, the ending _-ed_ would be freely used after the verbs _go_ or
_ride_. In D. 1778, we even find _go walked_, without a.

The result is that the present phrase, hitherto so puzzling, is a mere
variation of 'gon a blake-berying,' i. e. 'go a-gathering blackberries,' a
humorous expression for 'wander wherever they please.' A not very [274]
dissimilar expression occurs in the proverbial saying--'his wits are gone

The Pardoner says, in effect, 'I promise them full absolution; however,
when they die and are buried, it matters little to me in what direction
their souls go.'

407. Tyrwhitt aptly adduces a parallel passage from the Romaunt of the
Rose, l. 5763 (or l. 5129 in the French)--

 'For oft good predicacioun
  Cometh of evel entencioun.'

'Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife'; Phil. i. 15.

413. In Piers Plowman (B-text), v. 87, it is said of Envy that--

 'Eche a worde that he warpe · was of an addres tonge.'

Cf. Rom. iii. 13; Ps. cxl. 3.

440. _for I teche_, because I teach, by my teaching.

441. _Wilful pouerte_ signifies voluntary poverty. This is well illustrated
by the following lines concerning Christ in Piers Plowman, B. xx. 48, 49:--

 'Syth he that wroughte al the worlde · was _wilfullich_ nedy,
  Ne neuer non so nedy · ne pouerer deyde.'

Several examples occur in Richardson's Dictionary in which _wilfully_ has
the sense of _willingly_ or _voluntarily_. Thus--'If they _wylfully_ would
renounce the sayd place and put them in his grace, he wolde vtterlye pardon
theyr trespace'; Fabyan's Chronicle, c. 114. It even means _gladly_; thus
in Wyclif's Bible, Acts xxi. 17, we find, 'britherin resseyuyden vs
_wilfulli_.' Speaking of palmers, Speght says--'The _pilgrim_ travelled at
his own charge, the _palmer_ professed wilful poverty.'

The word _wilful_ still means _willing_ in Warwickshire; see Eng. Dialect
Soc. Gloss. C. 6.

445. The context seems to imply that some of the apostles made baskets. So
in Piers Plowman, B. xv. 285, we read of St. Paul--

 'Poule, after his prechyng · _panyers_ he made.'

Yet in Acts xviii. 3 we only read that he wrought as a tent-maker. However,
it was St. Paul who set the example of labouring with his hands; and, in
imitation of him, we find an early example of basket-making by St.
Arsenius, 'who, before he turned hermit, had been the tutor of the emperors
Arcadius and Honorius,' and who is represented in a fresco in the Campo
Santo at Pisa, by Pietro Laurati, as 'weaving baskets of palm-leaves';
whilst beside him another hermit is cutting wooden spoons, and another is
fishing. See Mrs. Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art, 3rd ed. ii. 757.

Note that _baskettes_ is trisyllabic, as in Palladius on Husbandry, bk.
xii. l. 307.

448. The best description of the house-to-house system of begging, as
adopted by the mendicant friars, is near the beginning of the [275]
Sompnour's Tale, D. 1738. They went in pairs to the farm-houses, begging a
bushel of wheat, or malt, or rye, or a piece of cheese or brawn, or bacon
or beef, or even a piece of an old blanket. Nothing seems to have come
amiss to them.

450. See Prologue, A. 255; and cf. the description of the poor widow at the
beginning of the Nonne Prestes Tale, B. 4011.


For some account of the source of this Tale, see vol. iii. p. 439. The
account which I here quote as the 'Italian' text is that contained in
Novella lxxxii of the Libro di Novelle.

Observe also the quotations from Pope Innocent given in vol. iii. pp. 444,
445. To which may be added, that Chaucer here frequently quotes from his
Persones Tale, which must have been written previously. Compare ll. 475,
482, 504, 529, 558, 590, 631-650, with I. 591, 836, 819, 820, 822, 793,

463. In laying the scene in Flanders, Chaucer probably followed an original
which is now lost. Andrew Borde, in his amusing Introduction of Knowledge,
ch. viii, says:--'Flaunders is a plentyfull countre of fyshe & fleshe &
wyld fowle. Ther shal a man be clenly serued at his table, & well ordred
and vsed for meate & drynke & lodgyng. The countre is playn, & somwhat
sandy. The people be gentyl, but the men be great drynkers; and many of the
women be vertuous and wel dysposyd.' He describes the Fleming as saying--

 'I am a Fleming, what for all that,
  Although I wyll be dronken other whyles as a rat?
 "Buttermouth Flemyng" men doth me call,' &c.

464. _haunteden_, followed after; cf. note to l. 547. The same expression
occurs in The Tale of Beryn, a spurious (but not ill-told) addition to the
Canterbury Tales:--

 '_Foly, I haunted it ever_, ther myght no man me let'; l. 2319.

473. _grisly_, terrible, enough to make one shudder. It is exactly the
right word. The mention of these oaths reminds us of the admission of my
Uncle Toby in Sterne's Tristram Shandy, ch. xi, that 'our armies swore
terribly _in Flanders_.'

474. _to-tere_, tear in pieces, dismember. Cf. _to-rente_ in B. 3215; see
note on p. 229. Chaucer elsewhere says--'For Cristes sake ne swereth nat so
sinfully, in _dismembringe_ of Crist, by soule, herte, bones, and body; for
certes it semeth, that ye thinke that the cursede Iewes ne dismembred nat
ynough the preciouse persone of Crist, but ye dismembre him more'; Persones
Tale (_De Ira_), I. 591. And see ll. 629-659 below.

'And than Seint Johan seid--"These [who are thus tormented in [276] hell]
ben thei that sweren bi Goddes membris, as bi his nayles and other his
membris, and thei thus dismembrid God in horrible swerynge bi his limmes"';
Vision of Wm. Staunton (A. D. 1409), quoted in Wright's St. Patrick's
Purgatory, p. 146. In the Plowman's Tale (Chaucer, ed. 1561, fol. xci) we

 'And Cristes membres al to-tere
  On roode as he were newe yrent.'

Barclay, in his Ship of Fools (ed. Jamieson, i. 97), says--

 'Some sweryth armes, naylys, herte, and body,
  Terynge our Lord worse than the Jowes hym arayed.'

And again (ii. 130) he complains of swearers who crucify Christ afresh,
swearing by 'his holy membres,' by his 'blode,' by 'his face, his herte, or
by his croune of thorne,' &c. See also the Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 64;
Political, &c., Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 193; Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew,
pp. 60, 278, 499. Todd, in his Illustrations of Chaucer, p. 264, quotes
(from an old MS.) the old second commandment in the following form:--

 'II. Thi goddes name and b[e]autte
    Thou shalt not take for wel nor wo;
  Dismembre hym not that on rode-tre
    For the was mad boyth blak and blo.'

477. _tombesteres_, female dancers. 'Sir Perdicas, whom that kinge
Alysandre made to been his heire in Grece, was of no ki_n_ges blod; his
dame [_mother_] was a to_m_bystere'; Testament of Love, Book ii. ed. 1561,
fol. ccxcvi b.

_Tombestere_ is the feminine form; the A. S. spelling would be _tumbestre_;
the masc. form is the A. S. _tumbere_, which is glossed by _saltator_,
i. e. a dancer; the verb is _tumbian_, to dance, used of Herodias' daughter
in the A. S. version of Mark, vi. 22. The medieval idea of _tumbling_ was,
that the lady stood on her hands with her heels in the air; see Strutt,
Sports, &c. bk. iii. c. 5.

On the feminine termination _-ster_ (formerly _-estre_, or _-stre_) see the
remarks in Marsh's Lectures on the English Language, printed in (the
so-called) Smith's Student's Manual of the English Language, ed. 1862, pp.
207, 208, with an additional note at p. 217. Marsh's remarks are, in this
case, less clear than usual. He shews that the termination was not always
used as a feminine, and that, in fact, its force was early lost. It is,
however, merely a question of chronology. That the termination was
_originally_ feminine in Anglo-Saxon, is sufficiently proved by the A. S.
version of the Gospels. There we find the word _witega_ frequently used in
the sense of _prophet_; but, in one instance, where it is necessary to
express the _feminine_, we find this accomplished by the use of this very
termination. 'And anna waes _witegystre_ (another MS. _witegestre_)'; i. e.
and Anna was a _prophetess_, Luke, ii. 36. Similar instances might easily
be multiplied; see Dr. Morris's Hist. Outlines of Eng. Accidence, pp. 89,
90. Thus, _wasshestren_ (pl.) is used as the [277] translation of
_lotrices_; Old Eng. Homilies, ed. Morris, ii. 57. But it is also true
that, in the fourteenth century, the feminine force of this termination was
becoming very weak, so that, whilst in P. Plowman, B. v. 306, we find
'Beton the _brewestere_' applied to a female brewer, we cannot thence
certainly conclude that 'brewestere' was always feminine at that period. On
the other hand, we may point to one word, _spinster_, which has remained
feminine to this very day.

Dr. Morris remarks that _tombestere_ is a hybrid word; in which I believe
that he has been misled by the spelling. It is a pure native word, from the
A. S. _tumbian_, but the scribes have turned it from _tumbestere_ into
_tombestere_, by confusion with the French _tomber_. Yet even the Fr.
_tomber_ was once spelt _tumber_ (Burguy, Roquefort), being, in fact, a
word of Germanic origin. An acrobat can still be called a _tumbler_: we
find 'rope-dancers and _tumblers_' in Locke, Conduct of the Understanding,
§ 4. Indeed, the Cambridge MS. has here the true spelling _tumbesteris_,
whilst the Corpus, Petworth, and Lansdowne MSS. have the variations
_tomblisteres_ and _tomblesters_. The A. S. masc. form _tumbere_ occurs in
Ælfric's Vocabulary.

As to the _source_ of the suffix _-ster_, it is really a compound suffix,
due to composition of the Aryan suffixes _-es_ and _-ter-_; cf. Lat.
_mag-is-ter_, _min-is-ter_, _poet-as-ter_. The feminine use is peculiar to
Anglo-Saxon and to some other Teutonic languages.

478. _fruytesteres_, female sellers of fruit; see note to last line.

479. _wafereres_, sellers of confectionery, confectioners. The feminine
form _wafrestre_ occurs in Piers Plowman, v. 641. From Beaumont and
Fletcher we learn that 'wafer-women' were often employed in amorous
embassies, as stated in Nares' Glossary, q. v.

483. _holy writ._ In the margin of the MSS. E. Hn. Cp. Pt. and Hl. is the
note--'Nolite inebriari vino, in quo est luxuria,' quoted from the Vulgate
version of Eph. v. 18. See vol. iii. p. 444.

487. Cp. Ln. have here two additional spurious lines. Cp. reads--

 'So drunke he was, he nyste what he wrought,
  _And therfore sore repente him oughte_.
  Heroudes, who-so wole the stories seche,
  _Ther may ye lerne and by ensample teche_.'

Of the second line, Dr. Furnivall remarks--'Besides being a line of only 4
measures, it is foolish--how could Lot in the grave repent him? Both lines
[those in italics] interrupt the flow of the story, and weaken the
instances brought forward.' He adds--'None of our best MSS. have these
spurious lines.'

They evidently arose from the stupidity of some scribe, who did not
understand that _soghte_ is here the pt. t. subj., meaning 'were to seek.'
He therefore 'corrected' Chaucer's grammar by writing _wol_ for _wel_ and
_seche_ for _soghte_; and he then had to make up two more lines to hide the

488. 'Herod, (as may be seen by any one) who would consult the [278]
"stories" carefully.' The Harleian MS. has the inferior reading _story_;
but the reference is particular, not vague. Peter Comestor (died A. D.
1198) was the author of an Historia Scholastica, on which account he was
called 'the maister of stories,' or 'clerk of the stories,' as explained in
my note to Piers Plowman, B. vii. 73. The use of the plural is due to the
fact that the whole Historia Scholastica, which is a sort of epitome of the
Bible, with notes and additions, is divided into sections, each of which is
_also_ called 'Historia.' The account of Herod occurs, of course, in the
section entitled Historia Evangelica, cap. lxxii; De decollatione ioannis.
Cf. Matt. xiv; Mark vi. And see vol. iii. p. 444.

492. _Senek_, Seneca. The reference appears to be, as pointed out by
Tyrwhitt, to Seneca's Letters; Epist. lxxxiii: 'Extende in plures dies
illum ebrii habitum: numquid de furore dubitabis? nunc quoque non est
minor, sed brevior.'

496. 'Except that madness, when it has come upon a man of evil nature,
lasts longer than does a fit of drunkenness.' See _Shrew_ in Trench, Select

499. 'First cause of our misfortune'; alluding to the Fall of Adam. See l.

501. _boght us agayn_, redeemed us; a translation of the Latin _redemit_.
Hence we find Christ called, in Middle English, the _A[gh]enbyer_. 'See now
how dere he [Christ] boughte man, that he made after his owne ymage, and
how dere he _a[gh]enboght_ us, for the grete love that he hadde to us'; Sir
J. Maundeville, Prologue to his Voiage (Specimens of Eng. 1298-1393, p.
165). See l. 766 below.

504. Cf. Pers. Tale, I. 819.

505. Here, in the margin of MS. E. Hn. Cp. Pt. Hl., is a quotation from
'Hieronymus contra Jovinianum' (i. e. from St. Jerome): 'Quamdiu ieiunauit
Adam, in Paradiso fuit; comedit et eiectus est; eiectus, statim duxit
uxorem.' See Hieron. contra Jov. lib. ii. c. 15; ed. Migne, ii. 305.

510. _defended_, forbidden. Even Milton has it; see P. Lost, xi. 86. See
also l. 590 below.

512. 'O gluttony! it would much behove us to complain of thee!' See vol.
iii. pp. 444, 445. The quotation 'Noli auidus' (iii. 445) is from the close
of Ecclus. xxxvii.

517. Here Chaucer is thinking of a passage in Jerome, which also occurs in
John of Salisbury's Policraticus, lib. viii. c. 6. In such cases, Chaucer
consulted Jerome himself, rather than his copyist, as might be shewn. I
therefore quote from the former.

'Propter breuem gulae uoluptatem, terrae lustrantur et maria: et ut mulsum
uinum preciosusque cibus fauces nostras transeat, totius uitae opera
desudamus.'--Hieronymus, contra Iouinianum, lib. ii.; in Epist. Hieron.
Basil. 1524, t. ii. p. 76.

At the same time, he had an eye to the passage in Pope Innocent, quoted in
vol. iii. p. 445. 'The shorte throte' answers to 'Tam breuis est,' &c.

522. In the margin of MSS. E. and Hn. is written the quotation--'Esca
ventri, et venter escis. Deus autem et hunc et illam destruet.' For
_illam_, the usual reading of the Vulgate is _has_; see 1 Cor. vi. 13.

526. _whyte and rede_, white wine and red wine; see note to Piers Plowman,
B. prol. 228, and the note to B. 4032 above, p. 249.

527. Again from Jerome (see note to l. 517). 'Qualis [est] ista refectio
post ieiunium, cum pridianis epulis distendimur, et _guttur_ nostrum
meditatorium efficitur _latrinarum_.'--Hieron. c. Iouin. lib. ii.; in
Epist. Hieron. Basil. 1524, t. ii. p. 78.

529. In the margin of MSS. E. and Hn. is written--'Ad Philipenses, capitulo
tertio.' See Phil. iii. 18. Cf. Pers. Tale, I. 820.

534. See the quotation in vol. iii. p. 445.

537. 'How great toil and expense (it is) to provide for thee!' Chaucer is
here addressing man's appetite for delicacies. Cf. _fond_, Non. Pr. Tale,
B. 4019.

538. See the quotation in vol. iii. p. 445.

There is a somewhat similar passage in John of Salisbury, as follows:--

'Multiplicantur fercula, cibi alii aliis farciuntur, condiuntur haec illis,
et in iniuriam naturae, innatum relinquere, et alienum coguntur afferre
saporem. Conficiuntur et salsamenta.... Coquorum solicitudo fervet arte
multiplici,' &c.--Joh. Salisburiensis, Policraticus, lib. viii. c. 6.

539. There is here an allusion to the famous disputes in scholastic
philosophy between the Realists and Nominalists. To attempt any explanation
of their language is to become lost in subtleties of distinction. It would
seem however that the Realists maintained that everything possesses a
_substance_, which is inherent in itself, and distinct from the _accidents_
or outward phenomena which the thing presents. According to them, the form,
smell, taste, colour, of anything are merely _accidents_, and might be
changed without affecting the _substance_ itself. See the excellent article
on _Substance_ in the Engl. Cyclopaedia; also that on _Nominalists_. Cf.
Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 526.

According to Chaucer, then, or rather, according to Pope Innocent III., (of
all people), the cooks who toil to satisfy man's appetite change the nature
of the things cooked so effectually as to confound _substance_ with
_accident_. Translated into plain language, it means that those who partook
of the meats so prepared, could not, by means of their taste and smell,
form any precise idea as to what they were eating. The art is not lost. Cf.
Troil. iv. 1505.

547. _haunteth_, practises, indulges in; cf. l. 464. In the margin of MSS.
E. and Hn. is written--'Qui autem in deliciis est, viuens mortuus est.'
This is a quotation from the Vulgate version of 1 Tim. v. 6, but with _Qui_
for _quae_, and _mortuus_ for _mortua_.

549. In the margin of MSS. E. and Hn. is written--'Luxuriosa res vinum, et
contumeliosa ebrietas.' The Vulgate version of Prov. xx. 1 [280] agrees
with this nearly, but has _tumultuosa_ for _contumeliosa_. This is of
course the text to which Chaucer refers. And see note to the parallel
passage at B. 771-7. The variant _contumeliosa_ occurs in the text as
quoted by St. Jerome, Contra Jovinianum, lib. ii. 10 (Köppel).

554. He means that the drunkard's stertorous breathing seems to repeat the
sound of the word _Sampsoún_. The word was probably chosen for the sake of
its nasal sounds, to imitate a sort of grunt. Perhaps we should here
pronounce the _m_ and _n_ as in French, but with exaggerated emphasis. So
also in l. 572.

555. See note to the Monkes Tale, B. 3245. In Judges, xiii. 4, 7, the
command to drink no wine is addressed, not to Samson, but to his mother. Of
Samson himself it is said that he was 'a Nazarite,' which implies the same
thing; see Numbers, vi. 3, 5.

558. _sepulture_, burial; see Pers. Tale, I. 822.

561. In Chaucer's Tale of Melibeus (B. 2383) we find--'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'; and see B. 776. The allusion is to Prov. xxxi. 4: 'Noli
regibus, O Lamuel, noli regibus dare uinum; quia nullum secretum est ubi
regnat ebrietas.' This last clause is quite different from that in our own
version; which furnishes, perhaps, a reason why the allusion here intended
has not been perceived by previous editors.

563. _namely_, especially. Tyrwhitt's note is as follows: 'According to the
geographers, Lepe was not far from Cadiz. This wine, of whatever sort it
may have been, was probably much stronger than the Gascon wines, usually
drunk in England. La Rochelle and Bordeaux (l. 571), the two chief ports of
Gascony, were both, in Chaucer's time, part of the English dominions.

'Spanish wines might also be more alluring upon account of their great
rarity. Among the Orders of the Royal Household, in 1604, is the following
(MS. Harl. 293, fol. 162): "And whereas, in tymes past, Spanish wines,
called Sacke, were little or noe whit used in our courte, and that in later
years, though not of ordinary allowance, it was thought convenient that
noblemen ... might have a boule or glas, &c. We understanding that it is
now used as common drinke ... reduce the allowance to xii. gallons a day
for the court,"' &c. Several regulations to be observed by London vintners
are mentioned in the Liber Albus, ed. Riley, pp. 614-618. Amongst them
is--'Item, that white wine of Gascoigne, of la Rochele, of Spain, or other
place, shall not be put in cellars with Rhenish wines.' See also note to l.

564. _To selle_, for sale; the true gerund, of which _to_ is, in
Anglo-Saxon, the sign. So also 'this house _to let_' is the correct old
idiom, needing no such alteration as some would make. Cf. Morris, Hist.
Outlines of Eng. Accidence, sect. 290, subsect. 4. Fish Street leads out of
Lower Thames Street, close to the North end of London Bridge. The Harleian
MS. alone reads _Fleet Street_, which is certainly wrong. [281] Considering
that Thames Street is especially mentioned as a street for vintners (Liber
Albus, p. 614), and that Chaucer's own father was a Thames Street vintner,
there can be little doubt about this matter. The poet is here speaking from
his own knowledge; a consideration which gives the present passage a
peculiar interest. _Chepe_ is Cheapside.

565. This is a fine touch. The poet here tells us that some of this strong
Spanish wine used to find its way mysteriously into other wines; not (he
ironically suggests) because the vintners ever mixed their wines, but
because the vines of Spain notoriously grew so close to those of Gascony
that it was not possible to keep them apart! _Crepeth subtilly_ = finds its
way mysteriously. Observe the humour in the word _growing_, which expresses
that the mixture of wines must be due to the proximity of the vines
producing them in the vineyards, not to any accidental proximity of the
casks containing them in the vintners' cellars. In fact, the different
kinds of wine were to be kept in different cellars, as the Regulations in
the Liber Albus (pp. 615-618) shew. 'Item, that no Taverner shall put
Rhenish wine and White wine in a cellar together.' 'Item, that new wines
shall not be put in cellars with old wines.' 'Item, that White wine of
Gascoigne, of la Rochele, of Spain, or other place shall not be put in
cellars with Rhenish wines.' 'Item, that white wine shall not be sold for
Rhenish wine.' 'Item, that no one shall expose for sale wines counterfeit
or mixed, made by himself or by another, under pain of being set upon the
pillory.' But pillories have vanished, and all such laws are obsolete.

570. 'He is in Spain'; i. e. he is, as it were, transported thither. He
imagines he has never left Cheapside, yet is far from knowing where he is,
as we should say.

571. 'Not at Rochelle,' where the wines are weak.

579. 'The death of Attila took place in 453. The commonly received account
is that given by Jornandes, that he died by the bursting of a blood-vessel
on the night of his marriage with a beautiful maiden, whom he added to his
many other wives; some, with a natural suspicion, impute it to the hand of
his bride. Priscus observes, that no one ever subdued so many countries in
so short a time.... Jornandes, De Rebus Geticis, and Priscus, Excerpta de
Legationibus, furnish the best existing materials for the history of
Attila. For modern compilations, see Buat, Histoire des Peuples de
l'Europe; De Guignes, Hist. des Huns; and Gibbon, capp. xxxiv and xxxv';
English Cyclopaedia. And see Amédée Thierry, Histoire d'Attila.

Mr. Jephson (in Bell's Chaucer) quotes the account of Attila's death given
by Paulus Diaconus, Gest. Rom. lib. xv: 'Qui reuersus ad proprias sedes,
supra plures quas habebat uxores, valde decoram, indicto nomine, sibi in
matrimonium iunxit. Ob cuius nuptias profusa conuiuia exercens, dum tantum
uini quantum nunquam antea insimul bibisset, cum supinus quiesceret,
eruptione sanguinis, qui ei de naribus solitus erat effluere, suffocatus et
extinctus est.'

The older account in Jornandes, De Rebus Geticis, § 82, is of more [282]
interest. 'Qui [Attila], ut Priscus historicus refert, extinctionis suae
tempore puellam, Ildico nomine, decoram valde, sibi in matrimonium post
innumerabiles uxores, vt mos est gentis illius, socians: eiusque in nuptiis
magna hilaritate resolutus, vino somnoque grauatus, resupinus iacebat;
redundansque sanguis, qui ei solitè de naribus effluebat, dum consuetis
meatibus impeditur, itinere ferali faucibus illapsus eum extinxit.'

585. _Lamuel_, i. e. King Lemuel, mentioned in Prov. xxxi. 1, q. v.; not to
be confused, says Chaucer, with Samuel. The allusion is to Prov. xxxi. 4,
5; and not (as Mr. Wright suggests) to Prov. xxiii. In fact, in the margin
of MSS. E. and Hn. is written 'Noli uinum dare,' words found in Prov. xxxi.
4. See note to l. 561.

590. Compare Pers. Tale, I. 793.

591. _Hasard_, gambling. In the margin of MSS. E. and Hn. is
written--'Policratici libro primo; Mendaciorum et periuriarum mater est
Alea.' This shews that the line is a quotation from lib. i. [cap. 5] of the
Polycraticus of John of Salisbury, bishop of Chartres, who died in 1180.
See some account of this work in Prof. Morley's Eng. Writers, iii. 180. 'In
the first book, John treats of temptations and duties and of vanities, such
as hunting, _dice_, music, mimes and minstrelsy, magic and soothsaying,
prognostication by dreams and astrology.' See also the account of gaming,
considered as a branch of Avarice in the Ayenbyte of Inwyt, ed. Morris, pp.
45, 46.

595. Cf. 'Nonne satis improbata est cuiusque artis exercitatio, qua quanto
quisque doctior, tanto nequior? Aleator quidem omnis hic est.'--Joh.
Sarisb. Polycrat. i. 5.

603. _Stilbon._ It should rather be _Chilon_. Tyrwhitt remarks--'John of
Salisbury, from whom our author probably took this story and the following,
calls him _Chilon_; Polycrat. lib. i. c. 5. "Chilon Lacedaemonius,
iungendae societatis causa missus Corinthum, duces et seniores populi
ludentes inuenit in alea. Infecto itaque negotio reuersus est [dicens se
nolle gloriam Spartanorum, quorum uirtus constructo Byzantio clarescebat,
hac maculare infamia, ut dicerentur cum aleatoribus contraxisse
societatem]." Accordingly, in ver. 12539 [l. 605], MS. C. 1 [i. e. MS.
Camb. Univ. Lib. Dd. 4. 24] reads very rightly _Lacedomye_ instead of
_Calidone_, the common reading [of the old editions]. Our author has used
before _Lacedomie_ for _Lacedaemon_, v. 11692 [Frank. Tale, F. 1380].'

In the Petw. MS., the name _Stilbon_ is explained as meaning _Mercurius_.
So, in Liddell and Scott's Gk. Lexicon, we have '[Greek: stilbôn, -ontos,
ho] _the planet Mercury_, Arist. Mund. 2. 9; cf. Cic. Nat. D. 2. 20.' The
original sense of the word was 'shining,' from the verb [Greek: stilbein],
to glitter.

Chaucer has given the wrong name. He was familiar with the name _Stilbon_
(for Mercury), as it occurs (1) in the Epistola Valerii ad Rufinum, c. 27;
(2) in the work of Martianus referred to in E. 1732; and (3) in the
Anticlaudian, Distinctio quarta, c. 6. Cf. D. 671; E. 1732; Ho. Fame, 986;
Notes and Queries, 8th S. iv. 175. [283]

608. The first foot has but one syllable, viz. _Pley_. _atte_, for _at
the_. Tyrwhitt oddly remarks here, that '_atte_ has frequently been
corrupted into _at the_,' viz. in the old editions. Of course _atte_ is
rather, etymologically, a corruption of _at the_; Tyrwhitt probably means
that the editors might as well have let the form _atte_ stand. If so, he is
quite right; for, though etymologically a corruption, it was a recognised
form in the fourteenth century.

621. This story immediately follows the one quoted from John of Salisbury
in the note to l. 603. After 'societatem,' he proceeds:--'Regi quoque
Demetrio, in opprobrium puerilis leuitatis, tali aurei a rege Parthorum
dati sunt.' What Demetrius this was, we are not told; perhaps it may have
been Demetrius Nicator, king of Syria, who was defeated and taken prisoner
by the Parthians 138 B. C., and detained in captivity by them for ten
years. This, however, is but a guess. Compare the story told of our own
king, in Shakespeare's Henry V, Act i. sc. 2.

628. _To dryve the day awey_, to pass the time. The same phrase occurs in
Piers Plowman, B. prol. 224, where it is said of the labourers who tilled
the soil that they 'dryuen forth the longe day with _Dieu vous saue, Dame
emme_,' i. e. amuse themselves with singing idle songs.

633. In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. and Pt. is the quotation 'Nolite omnino
iurare,' with a reference (in Hn. only) to Matt. v. The Vulgate version of
Matt. v. 34 is--'Ego autem dico uobis, non iurare omnino, neque per caelum,
quia thronus Dei est.'

635. In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. Pt. is written--'Ieremie quarto Iurabis
in veritate, in Iudicio, et Iusticia'; see Jer. iv. 2.

There are several points of resemblance between the present passage and one
in the Persones Tale (_De Ira_), I. 588-594, part of which has been already
quoted in the note to l. 474. So also Wyclif: '[gh]it no man schulde swere,
nouther for life ne dethe, no but with these thre condiciones, that is, in
treuthe, in dome, and in rightwisenes, as God sais by the prophet Ieremye';
Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 483. Hence one of the 'olde bokes' mentioned in l.
630 is the Treatise by Frère Lorens from which the Persones Tale is largely

639. _the firste table_, i. e. the commandments that teach us our duty
towards God; those in the second table teach us our duty to our neighbour.

641. _seconde heste_, second commandment. Formerly, the first two
commandments were considered as one; the third commandment was therefore
the second, as here. The tenth commandment was divided into two parts, to
make up the number. See Wyclif's treatise on 'The ten Comaundements';
Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 82. Thus Wyclif says--'The secounde maner
maundement of God perteyneth to the Sone. Thow schalt not take the name of
thi Lord God in veyn, neþþer in word, neiþer in lyvynge.' So also in
Hampole's Prose Treatises, ed. Perry, p. 10; Religious Pieces in Prose and
Verse, ed. Perry (E. E. T. S.), pp. 5, 25. See note to l. 474; and cf.
Pers. Tale, I. 588. [284]

643. _rather_, sooner; because this commandment precedes those which relate
to murder, &c.

646. 'They that understand his commandments know this,' &c.

649. Wyclif says--'For it is written in Ecclesiasticus, the thre and twenti
chapitre, there he seith this: A man much sweringe schal be fulfilled with
wickidnesse, and veniaunce schal not go away fro his hous'; Works, iii. 84.
Chaucer here quotes the same text; see Ecclus. xxiii. 11. And he quotes it
once more, in I. 593.

651. So Wyclif, iii. 483--'hit is not leeful to swere by creaturis, ne by
Goddys bonys, sydus, naylus, ne armus, or by ony membre of Cristis body, as
þe moste dele of men usen.'

Tyrwhitt says--'_his nayles_, i. e. with which he was nailed to the cross.
Sir J. Maundeville, c. vii--"And thereby in the walle is the place where
the 4 Nayles of our Lord weren hidd; for he had 2 in his hondes, and 2 in
his feet: and one of theise the Emperoure of Constantynoble made a brydille
to his hors, to bere him in bataylle; and thorgh vertue thereof he overcame
his enemies," &c. He had said before, c. ii., that "on of the nayles that
Crist was naylled with on the cross" was "at Constantynoble; and on in
France, in the kinges chapelle."'

Mr. Wright adds, what is doubtless true, that these nails 'were objects of
superstition in the middle ages.' Nevertheless, I am by no means satisfied
that these comments are to the point. I strongly suspect that swearers did
not stop to think, nor were they at all particular as to the sense in which
the words might be used. Here, for example, _nails_ are mentioned between
_heart_ and _blood_; in the quotation from Wyclif which begins this note,
we find mention of 'bones, sides, nails, and arms,' followed by 'any member
of Christ's body.' Still more express is the phrase used by William
Staunton (see note to l. 474 above) that 'God's members' include 'his
nails.' On the other hand, in Lewis's Life of Pecock, p. 155 [or p. 107,
ed. 1820], is a citation from a MS. to the effect that, in the year 1420,
many men died in England 'emittendo sanguinem per iuncturas et per
secessum, scilicet in illis partibus corporis per quas horribiliter iurare
consueuerunt, scilicet, per oculos Christi, per faciem Christi, per latera
Christi, per sanguinem Christi, per cor Christi preciosum, per _clauos_
Christi in suis manibus et pedibus.' See _'Snails_ in Nares' Glossary. A
long essay might be written upon the oaths found in our old authors, but
the subject is, I think, a most repulsive one.

652. Here Tyrwhitt notes--'The Abbey of Hailes, in Glocestershire, was
founded by Richard, king of the Romans, brother to Henry III. This precious
relick, which was afterwards called "the blood of Hailes," was brought out
of Germany by the son of Richard, Edmund, who bestowed a third part of it
upon his father's Abbey of Hailes, and some time after gave the other two
parts to an Abbey of his own foundation at Ashrug near
Berkhamsted.--Hollinshed, vol. ii. p. 275.' The Legend says that the holy
blood was obtained by Titus from Joseph of Arimathea. Titus put it in the
temple of Peace, in Rome. [285] Thence Charlemagne took half of it to
Germany, where Edmund found it, as said above. The Legend is printed in
Horstmann's Altenglische Legenden, p. 275. 'A vial was shewn at Hales in
Glocestershire, as containing a portion of our blessed Saviour's blood,
which suffered itself to be seen by no person in a state of mortal sin, but
became visible when the penitent, by his offerings, had obtained
forgiveness. It was now discovered that this was performed by keeping
blood, which was renewed every week, in a vial, one side of which was thick
and opaque, the other transparent, and turning it by a secret hand as the
case required. A trick of the same kind, more skilfully executed, is still
annually performed at Naples.'--Southey, Book of the Church, ch. xii. He
refers to Fuller, b. vi. Hist. of Abbeys, p. 323; Burnet, i. 323, ed. 1681.
See also the word _Hales_ in the Index to the works published by the Parker
Society; Pilgrimages to Walsingham and Canterbury (by Erasmus), ed. J. G.
Nichols, 2nd ed. 1875, p. 88; Dodsley's Old Plays, ed. Hazlitt, i. 339,
where a long account is given, with a reference to Hearne's ed. of
Benedictus Abbas, ii. 751; and Skelton's Garland of Laurel, l. 1461, on
which see Dyce's note.

653. 'My chance is seven; yours is five and three.' This is an allusion to
the particular game called _hazard_, not to a mere comparison of throws to
see which is highest. A certain throw (here _seven_) is called the caster's
_chance_. This can only be understood by an acquaintance with the rules of
the game. See the article _Hazard_ in Supplement to Eng. Cyclopaedia, or in
Hoyle's Games. See the note to B. 124; and see the Monkes Tale, B. 3851.
Compare--'Not unlyke the use of foule gamesters, who having lost the maine
by [i. e. according to] true iudgement, thinke to face it out with a false
oath'; Lyly's Euphues and his England, ed. Arber, p. 289.

656. In the Towneley Mysteries, p. 241, when the soldiers dice for Christ's
garments, one says--

 'I was falsly begyled withe thise _byched bones_,
        Ther cursyd thay be.'

The readings are:--E. Cp. _bicched_; Ln. _becched_; Hl. _bicched_; Hn. Cm.
_bicche_; Pt. and old edd. _thilk_, _thilke_ (wrongly). Besides which,
Tyrwhitt cites _bichet_, MS. Harl. 7335; _becched_, Camb. Univ. Lib. Dd. 4.
24; and, from other MSS., _bicched_, _bicchid_, _bitched_, _bicche_. The
general consensus of the MSS. and the quotation from the Towneley Mysteries
establish the reading given in the text beyond all doubt. Yet Tyrwhitt
reads _bicchel_, for which he adduces no authority beyond the following.
'_Bickel_, as explained by Kilian, is _talus_, ovillus et lusorius; and
_bickelen_, talis ludere. See also Had. Junii Nomencl. n. 213. Our dice
indeed are the ancient _tesserae_ ([Greek: kuboi]) not _tali_ ([Greek:
astragaloi]); but, both being games of hazard, the implements of one might
be easily attributed to the other. It should seem from Junius, loc. cit.,
that the Germans had preserved the custom of playing with the natural
bones, [286] as they have different names for a game with _tali ovilli_,
and another with _tali bubuli_.'

I find in the Tauchnitz Dutch Dictionary--'_Bikkel_, cockal. _Bikkelen_, to
play at cockals.' Here _cockal_ is the old name for a game with four
hucklebones (Halliwell), and is further made to mean the hucklebone itself.
But there is nothing to connect _bicched_ with Du. _bickel_, and the sense
is very different. From the article on _Bicched_ in the New Eng. Dict., it
appears that the sense is 'cursed, execrable,' and is an epithet applied to
other things besides dice. It is evidently an opprobrious word, and seems
to be derived from the sb. _bitch_, opprobriously used. There is even a
quotation in which the verb _bitch_ means to bungle or spoil a business. We
may explain it by 'cursed bones.'

662. _pryme_, about nine o'clock; see notes to A. 3906, B. 2015. Here it
means the canonical hour for prayer so called, to announce which bells were

664. A hand-bell was carried before a corpse at a funeral by the sexton.
See Rock, Church of Our Fathers, ii. 471; Grindal's Works, p. 136; Myre's
Instructions for Parish Priests, l. 1964.

666. _That oon of them_, the one of them; the old phrase for 'one of them.'
_knave_, boy.

667. _Go bet_, lit. go better, i. e. go quicker; a term of encouragement to
dogs in the chase. So in the Legend of Good Women, 1213 (Dido, l. 290), we

 'The herd of hertes founden is anoon,
  With "hey! _go bet_! prik thou! lat goon, lat goon!"'

In Skelton's Elynour Rummyng, l. 332, we have--'And bad Elynour _go bet_.'
Halliwell says--'_Go bet_, an old hunting cry, often introduced in a more
general sense. See Songs and Carols, xv; Shak. Soc. Pap. i. 58; Chaucer,
C. T. 12601 [the present passage]; Dido, 288 [290]; Tyrwhitt's notes, p.
278; Ritson's Anc. Pop. Poetry, p. 46. The phrase is mentioned by [Juliana]
Berners in the Boke of St. Alban's, and seems nearly equivalent to _go
along_.' It is strange that no editor has perceived the _exact_ sense of
this very simple phrase. Cf. 'Keep _bet_ our good,' i. e. take better care
of my property; Shipmannes Tale, B. 1622.

679. _this pestilence_, during this plague. Alluding to the Great Plagues
that took place in the reign of Edward III. There were four such, viz. in
1348-9, 1361-2, 1369, and 1375-6. As Chaucer probably had the story from an
Italian source, the allusion must be to the first and worst of these, the
effects of which spread nearly all over Europe, and which was severely felt
at Florence, as we learn from the description left by Boccaccio. See my
note to Piers Plowman, B. v. 13.

684. _my dame_, my mother; as in H. 317; Piers Plowman, B. v. 37.

695. _avow_, vow; to _make avow_ is the old phrase for _to vow_. Tyrwhitt
alters it to _a vow_, quite unnecessarily; and the same alteration has been
made by editors in other books, owing to want of familiarity [287] with old
MSS. It is true that the form _vow_ does occur, as, e. g. in P. Plowm. B.
prol. 71; but it is no less certain that _avow_ occurs also, and was the
older form; since we have _oon auow_ (B. 334), and the phrase 'I make myn
_avou_,' P. Plowman, A. v. 218; where no editorial sophistication can evade
giving the right spelling. Equally clear is the spelling in the Prompt.
Parv.--'_Avowe_, Votum. _Awowyn_, or _to make awowe_, Voveo.' And Mr. Way
says--'_Auowe_, veu; Palsgrave. This word occurs in R. de Brunne, Wiclif,
and Chaucer. The phrase "performed his auowe" occurs in the Legenda Aurea,
fol. 47.' Those who are familiar with MSS. know that a prefixed _a_ is
often written apart from the word; thus the word now spelt _accord_ is
often written 'a corde'; and so on. Hence, even when the word is really
_one_ word, it is still often written 'a uow,' and is naturally printed _a
vow_ in two words, where no such result was intended. Tyrwhitt himself
prints _min avow_ in the Knightes Tale, A. 2237, and again _this avow_ in
the same, A. 2414; where no error is possible. See more on this word in my
note to l. 1 of Chevy Chase, in Spec. of Eng. 1394-1579. I have there said
that the form _vow_ does not occur in early writers; I should rather have
said, it is by no means the _usual_ form.

698. _brother_, i. e. sworn friend; see Kn. Tale, A. 1131, 1147. In l. 704,
_yboren brother_ means brother by birth.

709. _to-rente_, tare in pieces, dismembered. See note to l. 474 above.

713. This 'old man' answers to the _romito_ or hermit of the Italian text.
Note _an old_ (indefinite), as compared with _this oldë_ (definite) in l.

715. Tyrwhitt, in his Glossary, remarks--'_God you see!_ 7751 [D. 2169];
_God him see!_ 4576 [B. 156]. May God keep you, or him, in his sight! In
Troilus, ii. 85, it is fuller[27]:--_God you save and see!_' Gower
has--'And than I bidde, _God hir see!_' Conf. Amant. bk. iv. (ed. Chalmers,
p. 116, col. 2, or ed. Pauli, ii. 96). In Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, ed.
Stallybrass, i. 21, we find a similar phrase in O. H. German:--'daz si got
iemer schouwe'; Iwain, l. 794. Cf. 'now loke the owre lorde!' P. Plowman,
B. i. 207. See also l. 766 below.

727. This is a great improvement upon the Italian Tale, which represents
the hermit as _fleeing_ from death. 'Fratelli miei, io fuggo la morte, che
mi vien dietro cacciando mi.'

Professor Kittredge, of Harvard University, informs me that ll. 727-733 are
imitated from the first Elegy of Maximian, of which ll. 1-4, 223-8 are as

 'Almula cur cessas finem properare senectus?
    Cur et in hoc fesso corpore tarda sedes?
  Solue, precor, miseram tali de carcere uitam;
    Mors est iam requies, uiuere poena mihi....
  Hinc est quod baculo incumbens ruitura senectus
    Assiduo pigram uerbere pulsat humum.
  Et numerosa mouens certo uestigia passu
    Talia rugato creditur ore loqui:
 "Suscipe me, genetrix, nati miserere laborum,
    Membra uelis gremio fessa fouere tuo."'

Cf. Calderon, Les Tres Justicias en Una; Act ii. sc. 1.

731. _leve moder_, dear mother Earth; see 'genetrix' above.

734. _cheste._ Mr. Jephson (in Bell's edition) is puzzled here. He takes
_cheste_ to mean a coffin, which is certainly the sense in the Clerk's
Prologue, E. 29. The simple solution is that _cheste_ refers here, not to a
coffin, but to the box for holding clothes which, in olden times, almost
invariably stood in every bedroom, at the foot of the bed. 'At the foot of
the bed there was usually an iron-bound hutch or locker, which served both
as a seat, and as a repository for the apparel and wealth of the owner,
who, sleeping with his sword by his side, was prepared to protect it
against the midnight thief'; Our English Home, p. 101. It was also called a
coffer, a hutch, or an ark. The old man is ready, in fact, to exchange his
chest, containing all his worldly gear, for a single hair-cloth, to be used
as his shroud.

743. In the margin of MSS. E. Hn. and Pt. is the quotation 'Coram canuto
capite consurge,' from Levit. xix. 32. Hence we must understand _Agayns_,
in l. 743, to mean _before_, or _in presence of_. Cf. B. 3702.

748. _God be with you_ is said, with probability, to have been the original
of our modern unmeaning _Good bye!_ _go or ryde_, a general phrase for
locomotion; _go_ here means _walk_. Cp. 'ryde or go,' Kn. Tale, A. 1351.
Cf. note to l. 866.

771. The readings are:--E. Hn. Cm. _an .viij._; Ln. _a .vij._; Cp. Pt. Hl.
_a seuen_. The word _eighte_ is dissyllabic; cf. A. S. _eahta_, Lat.
_octo_. _Wel ny an eighte busshels_ = very nearly the quantity of eight
bushels. The mention of _florins_ is quite in keeping with the Italian
character of the poem. Those coins were so named because originally coined
at Florence, the first coinage being in 1252; note in Cary's Dante,
Inferno, c. xxx. The expression 'floreyn of florence' occurs in The Book of
Quintessence, ed. Furnivall, p. 6. The value of an English florin was 6s.
8d.; see note to Piers Plowman, B. ii. 143. There is an excellent note on
_florins_ in Thynne's Animadversions on Speght's Chaucer, ed. Furnivall, p.

781. In allusion to the old proverb--'Lightly come, lightly go.' Cotgrave,
s. v. _Fleute_, gives the corresponding French proverb thus:--'Ce qui est
venu par la fleute s'en retourne avec le tabourin; that the pipe hath
gathered, the tabour scattereth; goods ill gotten are commonly ill spent.'
In German--'wie gewonnen, so zerronnen.'

782. _wende_, would have weened, would have supposed. It is the past tense

790. _doon us honge_, lit. cause (men) to hang us; we should now say, cause
us to be hanged. 'The Anglo-Saxons nominally punished theft with death, if
above 12d. value; but the criminal could redeem [289] his life by a ransom.
In the 9th of Henry I. this power of redemption was taken away, 1108. The
punishment of theft was very severe in England, till mitigated by Peel's
Acts, 9 and 10 Geo. IV. 1829.'--Haydn, s. v. _Theft_.

793. To _draw cuts_ is to draw lots; see Prologue, 835, 838, 845. A number
of straws were held by one of the company; the rest drew one apiece, and
whoever drew the longest (or the shortest) was the one on whom the lot
fell. The fatal straw was the _cut_; cf. Welsh _cwtws_, a lot. In France,
the lot fell on him who drew the longest straw; so that their phrase
was--'tirer la longue paille.'

797. So in the Italian story--'rechi del pane e del vino,' let him fetch
bread and wine.

806-894. Here Chaucer follows the general sense of the Italian story rather
closely, but with certain amplifications.

807. _That oon_, the one; _that other_, the other (vulgarly, _the tother_).

819. _conseil_, a secret; as in P. Plowman, B. v. 168. We still say--'to
keep one's own counsel.'

838. _rolleth_, revolves; cf. D. 2217, Troil. v. 1313.

844. So the Italian story--'Il Demonio ... mise in cuore a costui,' &c.;
the devil put it in his heart; see vol. iii. p. 441.

848. _leve_, leave. 'That he had leave to bring him to sorrow.'

851-878. Of this graphic description there is no trace in the Italian story
as we now have it. Cf. Rom. and Juliet, v. 1.

860. _al-so_, as. The sense is--as (I hope) God may save my soul. That our
modern _as_ is for _als_, which is short for _also_, from the A. S.
_eall-swá_, is now well known. This fact was doubted by Mr. Singer, but Sir
F. Madden, in his Reply to Mr. Singer's remarks upon Havelok the Dane,
accumulated such a mass of evidence upon the subject as to set the question
at rest for ever. It follows that _as_ and _also_ are doublets, or various
spellings of the same word.

865. _sterve_, die; A. S. _steorfan_. The cognate German _sterben_ retains
the old general sense. See l. 888 below.

866. _goon a paas_, walk at an ordinary foot-pace; so also, _a litel more
than paas_, a little faster than at a foot-pace, Prol. 825. Cotgrave
has--'Aller le pas, to pace, or go at a foot-pace; to walk fair and softly,
or faire and leisurely.' _nat but_, no more than only; cf. North of England
_nobbut_. The time meant would be about twenty minutes at most.

888. In the Italian story--'amendue caddero morti,' both of them fell dead;
see vol. iii. p. 442.

889. _Avicen_, Avicenna; mentioned in the Prologue, l. 432. Avicenna, or
Ibn-Sina, a celebrated Arabian philosopher and physician, born near Bokhara
A.D. 980, died A.D. 1037. His chief work was a treatise on medicine known
as the Canon ('Kitâb al-Kânûn fi'l-Tibb,' that is, 'Book of the Canon in
Medicine'). This book, alluded to in the next line, is divided into books
and sections; and the Arabic word for 'section' is in the Latin version
denoted by _fen_, from the Arabic _fann_, a part of any science. Chaucer's
expression is not quite [290] correct; he seems to have taken _canon_ in
its usual sense of rule, whereas it is really the title of the whole work.
It is much as if one were to speak of Dante's work in the terms--'such as
Dante never wrote in any Divina Commedia nor in any canto.' Lib. iv. Fen 1
of Avicenna's Canon treats 'De Venenis.'

895. Against this line is written, in MS. E. only, the word 'Auctor'; to
shew that the paragraph contained in ll. 895-903 is a reflection by the

897. The final _e_ in _glutonye_ is preserved by the caesural pause; but
the scansion of the line is more easily seen by supposing it suppressed.
Hence in order to scan the line, suppress the final _e_ in _glutonye_, lay
the accent on the second _u_ in _luxúrie_, and slur over the final _-ie_ in
that word. Thus--

  O glút | oný' | luxú | r_ie_ and hás | ardrýë ||

904. _good' men_ is the common phrase of address to hearers in old
homilies, answering to the modern 'dear brethren.' The Pardoner, having
told his tale (after which Chaucer himself has thrown in a moral
reflection), proceeds to improve his opportunity by addressing the audience
in his usual professional style; see l. 915.

907. _noble_, a coin worth 6s. 8d., first coined by Edward III. about 1339.
See note to P. Plowman, B. iii. 45.

908. So in P. Plowman, B. prol. 75, it is said of the Pardoner that he
'raughte with his ragman [bull] _rynges and broches_.'

910. _Cometh_ is to be pronounced _Com'th_, as in Prol. 839; so also in l.
925 below.

920. _male_, bag; see Prol. 694. Cf. E. _mail-bag_.

935. The first two syllables in _peravénture_ are to be very rapidly
pronounced; it is not uncommon to find the spelling _peraunter_, as in P.
Plowman, B. xi. 10.

937. _which a_, what sort of a, how great a, what a.

945. _Ye, for a grote_, yea, even for a groat, i. e. 4d.

946. _have_ I, may I have; an imprecation.

947. _so theech_, a colloquialism for _so thee ich_, as I may thrive, as I
hope to thrive. The Host proceeds to abuse the Pardoner.

951. This is a reference to the 'Invention of the Cross,' or finding of the
true cross by St. Helen, the mother of Constantine; commemorated on May 3.
See Chambers, Book of Days, i. 586; Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints.

962. _right ynough_, quite enough; _right_ is an adverb. Cf. l. 960.

       *       *       *       *       *




There is nothing whatever to connect this Prologue with any preceding Tale.
In MS. E. and most others, it follows the Man of Law's Tale, which cannot
be right, as that Tale must be followed by the Shipman's Prologue.
Curiously enough, that Prologue _does_ follow the Man of Law's Tale in the
Harleian MS., but the Wife of Bath's Tale is made to follow next, in place
of the Shipman's Tale.

In MS. Pt., and several others, the Wife's Prologue follows the Merchant's
Tale; such is the arrangement in edd. 1532 and 1561. This is possible, as
the Merchant's Tale ends a Fragment, and the Wife's Prologue begins one;
but it is easier to fit the lines at the end of the Merchant's Tale to the
Squire's Prologue. In the Royal MS. 18. C. 2, and in MSS. Laud 739 and
Barlow 20, there is an attempt to introduce the Wife's Prologue by some
spurious lines which are printed in vol. iii. p. 446. I just note that we
have a genuine Epilogue to the Merchant's Tale (see E. 2419-2440); which is
quite enough to put the above lines out of court.

MS. Ln. has a different arrangement. It gives eight spurious lines at the
end of the Squire's Tale, and then four more spurious lines to link them
with the Wife's Prologue; see vol. iii. p. 446.

In the Ellesmere MS. there are numerous quotations in the margin, as will
be noted in due course. In the Essays on Chaucer, pp. 293, the Rev. W. W.
Woollcombe has shewn that the passages which seem to be taken from John of
Salisbury are really taken from Jerome, whom John copied, verbally, at some
length. I may add, that I came independently to the same conclusion;
indeed, it becomes obvious, on investigation, that such was the case.
Chaucer's chief sources for this Prologue are: Jerome's Epistle against
Jovinian, and Le Roman de la Rose. I quote the former (frequently) from
Hieronymi Opus Epistolarum, edited by Erasmus, printed at Basle in 1524.

1. _auctoritee_, authoritative text, quotable statement of a good author.
'Though there were no written statement on the subject, my own experience
would enable me to speak of the evils of marriage.' Cf. the [292] character
of the Wife in the Prologue, A. 445-476. Lines 1-3 are imitated from Le
Rom. de la Rose, 13006-10.

6. So in A. 460, with _she hadde_ for _I have had_; see note to that line.

7. The alternative reading (in the footnote) does not agree with l. 6. MS.
E. is quite right here. Probably MS. Cm. would have given us the same
reading, but it is here mutilated.

11. In E., a sidenote has:--'In Cana Galilee'; from John, ii. 1.

12-13. In E., a sidenote has:--'Qui enim semel iuit ad nuptias, docuit
semel esse nubendum.' This is from Hieronymi lib. i. c. Jovinianum; Epist.
(ut supra), t. ii. p. 29. But the edition has _uenit_ for _iuit_, and
_semel docuit_.

14-22. This also is from Jerome, as above (p. 28):--'Siquidem et illa in
Euangelio Iohannis Samaritana, sextum se maritum habere dicens, arguitur a
domino, quod non sit uir eius. Vbi enim numerus maritorum est, ibi uir, qui
proprie unus est, esse desiit.' Cf. John, iv. 18.

23-25. In the margin of E. we find:--'Non est uxorum numerus diffinitus.'
About 15 lines after the last quotation, we find in Jerome:--'non esse
uxorum numerum definitum.' This is immediately preceded (in Jerome) by a
quotation from St. Paul (1 Cor. vii. 29), which is also quoted in the
margin of E.

28. In the margin of E.--'Crescite et multiplicamini'; Gen. i. 28. The text
was suggested by the fact that Jerome quotes it near the beginning of his
letter (p. 18). Soon after (p. 19), he quotes Matt. xix. 5, which Chaucer
quotes accordingly in l. 31.

33. _bigamye._ 'Bigamy, according to the canonists, consisted not only in
marrying two wives at a time, but in marrying two spinsters

_octogamye_, marriage of eight husbands. This queer word is due to Jerome,
and affords clear proof of Chaucer's indebtedness. 'Non damno _digamos_,
imò nec _trigamos_; et (si dici potest) _octogamos_'; p. 29. Cf. 'A
dodecagamic Potter,' in a note to 'And a polygamic Potter,' in Shelley's
Prologue to Peter Bell the Third.

35. _here_, hear; a gloss in E. has 'audi.' See 1 Kings, xi. 3.

44. Tyrwhitt says that, after this verse, some MSS. (as Camb. Dd. 4. 24,
Ii. 3. 26, and Egerton 2726) have the six lines following:--

 'Of whiche I have pyked out the beste
  Both of here nether purs and of here cheste.
  Diverse scoles maken parfyt clerkes,
  And diverse practyk in many sondry werkes
  Maken the werkman parfyt sekirly;
  Of five husbondes scoleryng am I.'

He adds--'if these lines are not Chaucer's, they are certainly more in his
manner than the generality of the imitations of him. Perhaps he wrote them,
and afterwards blotted them out. They come in but [293] awkwardly here, and
he has used the principal idea in another place:--

  For sondry scoles maken sotil clerkes;
  Womman of many scoles half a clerk is'; E. 1427.

I beg leave to endorse Tyrwhitt's opinion; the six lines are certainly
genuine, and I therefore repeat them, in a better spelling and form.

  Of whiche I have y-piked out the beste,
  Bothe of hir nether purs and of hir cheste.
  Diverse scoles maken parfit clerkes;
  Divers praktyk in many sondry werkes
  Maketh the werkman parfit sekirly;
  Of fyve housbondes scolering am I.

I know of no other example of _scoler-ing_, i. e. young scholar.

46. In the margin of E. is here written--'Si autem non continent, nubant';
from 1 Cor. vii. 9.

47. In the margin of E. is a quotation from Jerome, p. 28; but it is really
from the Vulgate, 1 Cor. vii. 39; viz.--'Quod si dormierit uir eius, libera
est; cui uult, nubat, tantum in Domino.' Cf. Rom. vii. 3.

51-52. Alluding to 1 Cor. vii. 28, and 1 Cor. vii. 9, here quoted in the
margin of E.

54. 'Primus Lamech sanguinarius et homicida, unam carnem in duas diuisit
uxores'; Jerome (as above), p. 29, l. 1; partly quoted here in the margin
of E. Cf. Gen. iv. 19-23. 'There runs through the whole of this doctrine
about bigamy a confusion between marrying twice and having two wives at
once.'--Bell. See the allusions to Lamech in F. 550, and Anelida, 150.

55-56. In the margin of E. is:--'Abraham trigamus: Iacob quadrigamus.'
Discussed by Jerome, p. 19, near the bottom.

61. 'Ecce, inquit [Iouinianus], Apostolus profitetur de uirginibus Domini
se non habere praeceptum; et qui cum autoritate de maritis et uxoribus
iusserat, non audet imperare quod Dominus non praecepit.... Frustra enim
iubetur, quod in arbitrio eius ponitur cui iussum est'; &c.--Jerome (as
above), p. 25.

65. See 1 Cor. vii. 25, here quoted in the margin of E.

69. 'Si uirginitatem Dominus imperasset, uidebatur nuptias condemnare, et
hominum auferre seminarium, unde et ipsa uirginitas nascitur'; Jerome, p.

75. Tyrwhitt aptly quotes from Lydgate's Falls of Princes, fol. xxvi:--

 'And oft it happeneth, he that hath best ron
  Doth not the _spere_ like his desert possede.'

We must conclude that a _dart_ or _spear_ was the prize given (in some
games) to the best runner. That _dart_ here means 'prize,' appears from
another proof altogether. For in the margin of E. we here find a quotation
from Jerome, p. 26, which runs in a fuller form, thus:--'Proponit [Greek:
agônothetês] _praemium_, inuitat ad cursum, tenet in manu [294]
uirginitatis _brauium_, ... et clamitat, ... qui potest capere, capiat.'
The word _brauium_, i. e. prize in a race, is borrowed from the Vulgate, 1
Cor. ix. 24, where the Greek has [Greek: brabeion]. 'Catch who so may,' in
l. 76, represents 'qui potest capere, capiat.' Hence _cacche_ here means

81. Alluding to 1 Cor. vii. 7, here quoted in E.

84. 'Haec autem dico secundum indulgentiam'; 1 Cor. vii. 6.

87. Alluding to 1 Cor. vii. 1, here quoted in E.

89. _tassemble_, for _to assemble_, to bring together.

Cf. 'qui ignem tetigerit, statim aduritur,' &c.--Jerome, p. 21.

91. Cf. 'Simulque considera, quod aliud donum uirginitatis sit, aliud
nuptiarum'; Jerome (as above), ii. 22.

96. _preferre_ is evidently a neuter verb here, meaning 'be preferable to.'

101. _tree_, wood; alluding to 2 Tim. ii. 20.

103. _a propre yifte_, a gift peculiar to him; see 1 Cor. vii. 7, here
quoted in E.

105. See Rev. xiv. 1-4, a line or two from which is here quoted in E.

110. _fore_, track, course, footsteps; glossed 'steppes' in MS. E. Some
MSS. have the inferior _lore_, shewing that the scribes understood the word
no better than the writer of the note in Bell's Chaucer, who says--'Harl.
MS. reads _fore_, which is probably a mere clerical error.' Wright,
however, correctly retains _fore_. It occurs again in D. 1935, q. v., where
Tyrwhitt again alters it to _lore_. Bradley gives ten examples of it, to
which I can add another, viz. 'he folowede the _fore_ of an oxe,' Trevisa,
ii. 343 (repeated from the example in i. 197, which Bradley cites). A. S.
_f[=o]r_, a course, way; from _faran_ (pt. t. _f[=o]r_), to go. Cf. Matt.
xix. 21, which is quoted in Cp. and Pt.

115. 'Et cur, inquies, creata sunt genitalia, et sic a conditore
sapientissimo fabricati sumus, &c. ... ipsa organa ... sexus differentiam
praedicant'; Jerome (as above), p. 42.

117. I give the reading of E., which seems much the best. For _wight_, Cm.
has _wyf_. Hn. _has_: And of so p_ar_fit wys a wight y-wroght; which is
also good. But Cp. Pt. Ln. _have_: And of so parfyt wise and why y-wrought.
Hl. _has_: And in what wise was a wight y-wrought. The last reading is the

128. _ther_, where, wherein. With l. 130, cf. 1 Cor. vii. 3, where the
Vulgate has 'Uxori uir debitum reddat.'

135. 'Nunquam ergo cessemus a libidine, ne frustra huiuscemodi membra
portemus'; Jerome, p. 42.

144. _hoten_, be called; A. S. _h[=a]tan_. The sense is--'Let virgins be as
bread made of selected wheaten flour; and let us wives be called
barley-bread; nevertheless Jesus refreshed many a man with barley-bread, as
St. Mark tells us.' Chaucer makes a slight mistake; it is St. John who
speaks of _barley_-loaves; see John vi. 9 (cf. Mark vi. 38). For _hoten_,
Tyrwhitt, Wright, Bell, and Morris, all give the mistaken reading _eten_,
which misses the whole point of the argument; but [295] Gilman has _hoten_.
There is no question as to what the Wife should _eat_, but only as to her
condition in life. It is the Wife herself who is compared to something

The comparison is from Jerome (as above), p. 21:--'Velut si quis definiat:
Bonum est _triticeo_ pane uesci, et edere _purissimam similam_. Tamen ne
quis compulsus fame stercus bubulum: concedo ei, ut uescatur et _hordeo_.'

147. Alluding to 1 Cor. vii. 20, here quoted in E.

151. _daungerous_, difficult of access; cf. l. 514.

155. In the margin of E.--'Qui uxorem habet, et _debitor_ dicitur, et esse
in praeputio, et _seruus_ uxoris,' &c. From Jerome (as above), p. 26.

156. Alluding to 1 Cor. vii. 28, here quoted in E.

158. Alluding to 1 Cor. vii. 4, here quoted in E.

161. Alluding to Eph. v. 25, here quoted in E.

167-168. _What_, why. _to-yere_, this year; cf. _to-day_. 'To-yere,
_horno_, _hornus_, _hornotinus_'; Catholicon Anglicum. The phrase is still
in use in some of our dialects.

170. _another tonne._ This expression is probably due to Le Roman de la
Rose, 6839:--

 'Jupiter en toute saison
  A sor le suel de sa maison,
  Ce dit Omers, deus plains tonneaus,' &c.

This again is from Homer's two urns, sources of good and evil (Iliad, xxiv.
527), as quoted by Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 2. See note in vol. ii. p. 428 (l.
53). It is suggested that the Pardoner has been used to a tun of ale, and
now he must expect to have a taste of something less pleasant. Cf. l. 177.

One of Gower's French Balades contains the lines:--

 'Deux tonealx ad [Cupide] dont il les gentz fait boire;
  L'un est assetz plus douls que n'est pyment,
  L'autre est amier plus que null arrement.'

180. The saying referred to is written in the margin of Dd., as Tyrwhitt
tells us. It runs:--'Qui per alios non corrigitur, alii per ipsum
corrigentur.' With regard to its being written in Ptolemy's Almagest,
Tyrwhitt quaintly remarks:--'I suspect that the Wife of Bath's copy of
Ptolemy was very different from any that I have been able to meet with.'
The same remark applies to her second quotation in l. 326 below. I have no
doubt that the Wife is simply copying, for convenience, these words in Le
Roman de la Rose, 7070:--

 'Car nous lisons de Tholomee
  Une parole moult honeste
  Au comencier de s'Almageste,' &c.

Jean de Meun then cites a passage of quite another kind, but the Wife of
Bath did not stick at such a trifle. The Almagest is mentioned again in the
same, l. 18772. [296]

As to the above saying, cf. Barbour's Bruce, i. 121, 2; and my notes to the
line at pp. 545 and 612 of the same. 'Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula
cautum'; cf. Rom. de la Rose, 8041; Robert of Brunne, Handlyng Synne, 8086.

183. _Almageste._ The celebrated astronomer, Claudius Ptolemaeus, who
flourished in the second century, wrote, as his chief work, the [Greek:
megalê suntaxis tês astronomias]. This work was also called, for brevity,
[Greek: megalê], and afterwards [Greek: megistê] (greatest); out of which,
by prefixing the Arab. article _al_, the Arabs made _Al-mejisti_, or

197. Here _wér-e_ is made dissyllabic. For _The three_, Hl. has _Tuo_;
which is clearly wrong.

199. In the margin of E. is written part of the last sentence in Part I. of
Jerome's treatise:--'hierophantas quoque Atheniensium usque hodie cicutae
sorbitione castrari; et postquam in pontificatum fuerint electi, uiros esse
desinere.' Probably quoted to emphasize the sense of _uiros_.

207-210. Imitated from Le Rom. de la Rose, 13478-82.

218. _Dunmowe_, in Essex, N. W. of Chelmsford. Tyrwhitt refers us to
Blount's Ancient Tenures, p. 162, and adds:--'This whimsical institution
was not peculiar to Dunmow; there was the same in Bretagne. "A l'Abbaie
Sainct Melaine, près Rennes, y a, plus de six cens ans sont, un costé de
lard encore tous frais et non corrumpu; et neantmoins voué et ordonné aux
premiers, qui par an et jour ensemble mariez ont vescut san debat,
grondement, et sans s'en repentir."--_Contes d'Eutrap_, t. ii. p. 161.' See
P. Plowman, C. xi. 276, and my long note on the subject.

220. _fawe_, fain; a variant form of _fain_, A. S. _fægen_, _fægn_. See
Havelok, 2160; Alisaunder, ed. Weber, 1956; &c.

221. Here occurs the first reference to the _Aureolus Liber de Nuptiis_,
written by a certain Theophrastus, who is mentioned below (l. 671), and in
E. 1310. Jerome gives a long extract from this work in his book against
Jovinian (so frequently cited above), and has thus preserved a portion of
it; and John of Salisbury transferred the whole extract bodily to his
Policraticus. It it clear that Chaucer used the work of Jerome rather than
that of John of Salisbury. The extract from Theophrastus occurs not far
from the end of the first book of the epistle against Jovinian; and near
the beginning of it occur the words--'de foro ueniens quid
attulisti?'--Jerome (as above), p. 51. This probably suggested the present
line, as it is a question put by a wife to her husband.

226. _and bere hem_, i. e. and wrongly accuse them, or make them believe.

227. Tyrwhitt quotes two corresponding lines from Le Roman de la Rose:--

 'Car plus hardiment que nulz homs
  Certainement jurent et mentent.'

He refers to l. 19013; but in Méon's edition, these are ll. 18336-7. [297]

229. Cf. Le Rom. de la Rose, 9949:--'Ce ne di-ge pas por les bonnes.'

231. _wys_, cunning. In MSS. E. and Hn. the caesural pause is marked after
_wyf_. The line, as it stands, is imperfect, and only to be scanned by
making the pause after _wyf_ occupy the space of a syllable. The reading
_wys-e_ gets over the difficulty, but is hardly what we should expect; it
is remarkable that E. Hn. and Cm. all read _wys_, without a final _e_; cf.
_wys_ in A. 68, 785, 851. The only justification of the form _wys-e_ would
be to consider it as feminine; and such seems to be the case in Gower,
Conf. Am., ed. Pauli, i. 156:--'His doughter _wis-e_ Petronel-le.' _if that
she can hir good_, if she knows what is to her advantage.

232. 'Will make him believe that the chough is mad.' In the New E. Dict.,
s. v. _Chough_, Dr. Murray shews that the various readings _cou_, _cowe_,
_kowe_, &c. tend to prove that _cow_ in this passage may well mean 'chough'
or 'jackdaw' rather than 'cow.' This solves the difficulty; for the
allusion is clearly to one of the commonest of medieval stories, told of
various talking birds, originally of a parrot.

Very briefly, the story runs thus. A jealous husband, leaving his wife,
sets his parrot to watch her. On his return, the bird reports her
misconduct. But the wife avers that the parrot lies, and tries to prove it
by an ingenious stratagem. The husband believes his frail wife's plot, and
promptly wrings the bird's neck for telling stories, under the impression
that it has gone mad.

I formerly explained this in The Academy, April 5, 1890, p. 239. In the no.
for April 19, p. 269, Mr. Clouston referred me to his paper on 'The
Tell-tale Bird' printed in the Chaucer Society's Originals and Analogues,
p. 439, with reference to the Manciple's Tale, which relates a similar
story. See the account of the Manciple's Tale in vol. iii. p. 501. It is
the story of the Husband and the Parrot, in the Arabian Nights'

This line of Chaucer's seems to have attracted attention, though there is
nothing to shew how it was understood. Thus, in Roy's _Rede me and be nott
Wrothe_, ed. Arber, p. 80, we find:--

 'Because they canne flatter and lye,
  Makynge beleve _the cowe is wode_.'

In Awdelay's Fraternyte of Vacabondes (E. E. T. S.), p. 14, we find: 'Gyle
Hather is he, that wyll stand by his Maister when he is at dinner, and byd
him beware that he eate no raw meate, because he would eate it himself.
This is a pickthanke knaue, that would make his Maister beleue that _the
Cowe is woode_.' Palsgrave, in his French Dictionary, p. 421, has:--'I am
borne in hande of a thyng; _On me faict a croyre_. He wolde beare me in
hande the kowe is woode; _il me veult fayre a croyre de blanc que ce soit
noyr_.' The spelling _coe_ for 'jackdaw' occurs in Skelton's Phyllyp
Sparowe, l. 468. See also Hoccleve's Works, ed. Furnivall, p. 217, where
'Magge, the good kowe' is [298] an obvious error for 'Magge the wode kowe,'
since 'Magge' is a name for a _mag_-pie. This I also explained in The
Academy, April 1, 1893, p. 285.

233. 'And she will take witness, of her own maid, of her (the maid's)
assent (to her truth).' This is part of the proof of the correctness of the
interpretation of the preceding line. For, in most of the versions of the
tale above referred to, the lady is aided and abetted by a maid who is in
her confidence.

235. Here Chaucer takes several hints from the book of Theophrastus as
quoted by Jerome; see note to l. 221. Thus (in Jerome, as above, p. 51) we
find:--'Deinde per noctes totas garrulae conquestiones:--Illa ornatior
procedit in publicum; haec honoratior ab omnibus: ego in conuentu feminarum
misella despicior. Cur aspiciebas uicinam? Quid cum ancillula loquebaris?'
It is continued at l. 243; cf. 'Non amicum habere possumus, non sodalem.'
Next, at l. 248; cf. 'Pauperem alere difficile est, diuitem ferre
tormentum.' Next, at l. 253; cf. 'Pulchra cito adamatur.... Difficile
custoditur quod plures amant.' Jean de Meun also quotes from Theophrastus
plentifully, mentioning him by name in Le Rom. de la Rose, l. 8599; see the
whole passage. '_Caynard_, obsolete, adapted from F. _cagnard_, sluggard
(according to Littré, from Ital. _cagna_, bitch, fem. of _cane_, dog). A
lazy fellow, a sluggard; a term of reproach. (1303) Rob. of Brunne,
Handlyng Synne, l. 8300: A _kaynarde_ ande an olde folte [misprinted
folle]. (About 1310) in Wright's Lyric Poems, xxxix. 110 (1842): This
croked _caynard_, sore he is a-dred.'--New Eng. Dict. (where the present
passage is also quoted).

246. See A. 1261, and the note. Wright here adds two more examples. He
says--'In the satirical poem of Doctor Double-ale, [in Hazlitt's Early Pop.
Poetry, iii. 308], we have the lines:--

  Then seke another house,
  This is not worth a louse;
  _As dronken as a mouse_.

Among the Letters relating to the Suppression of Monasteries (Camden Soc.),
p. 133, there is one from a monk of Pershore, who says that his brother
monks of that house "drynk an bowll after collacyon tell ten or xii. of the
clock, and cum to mattens _as dronck as mys_."'

248. See note to l. 235 above; so again, for l. 253, cf. Le Rom. de la
Rose, 8617-8638.

255. Cf. Ovid, Heroid. xvi. 288:--

 'Lis est cum forma magna pudicitiae.'

257. Probably Chaucer was thinking of a passage in Theophrastus, following
soon after that quoted in the note to l. 235. 'Alius forma, alius ingenio,
alius facetiis, alius liberalitate sollicitat.' But Theophrastus is
referring to the accomplishments of the wooers rather than of the women
wooed. Cf. Le Rom. de la Rose, ll. 8629-36--'S'ele est bele,' &c. [299]

263. Clearly from Le Rom. de la Rose, l. 8637--

 'Car tor de toutes pars assise
  Envis eschape d'estre prise.'

265. Immediately after, we have--

 'S'ele rest lede, el vuet à tous plaire;
  ... vuet tous ceus qui la voient.'

269. See in Hazlitt's Proverbs: 'Joan's as good as my lady in the dark.'

271. 'It is a hard matter to control a thing that no one would willingly
keep.' Simply translated from Theophrastus (see note to l. 235), who
has--'Molestum est possidere, quod nemo habere dignetur.'

272. _helde_, a variant form of _holde_, hold, keep; from A. S. _healdan_.
As Chaucer usually has _holde_ (see D. 1144), _helde_ is probably used for
the sake of the rime. Note that it is the _only_ example of a rime in
_-elde_ in the whole of the Canterbury Tales; indeed, the only other
example is in Troil. ii. 337-8. We find the same rime in King Horn, l.

 'Mi rengne thu schalt welde,
  And to spuse helde
  Reynild mi doghter.'

275. Again from Theophrastus (near the beginning):--'Non est ergo uxor
ducenda sapienti. Primum enim impediri studia philosophiae,' &c.

277. _welked_, withered; see C. 738, and Stratmann.

278. Chaucer quotes this, as from Solomon, in the Pers. Tale, I. 631, and
explains it there more fully; and again, in the Tale of Melibeus, B. 2276.
An Anglo-French poet named Herman wrote a poem 'on the three words, smoke,
rain, and woman, which, according to Solomon, drive a man from his house;
and it appears from the poem that it was composed at the suggestion of
Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, who died in 1147.'--T. Wright, Biographia
Brit. Literaria, Anglo-Norman Period, p. 333. See also my note to P.
Plowman, C. xx. 297, quoted in the note to B. 2276 above, at p. 207.

282. This again is from Theophrastus (see note to l. 235):--'Si iracunda,
si fatua, si deformis, si superba, si foetida; quodcunque uitii est, post
nuptias discimus.'

285. Immediately after the last quotation there follows:--'Equus, asinus,
bos, canis, et uilissima mancipia, uestes quoque et lebetes, sedile lignum,
calix et urceolus fictilis probantur prius, et sic emuntur: sola uxor non
ostenditur, ne ante displiceat, quàm ducatur.'

293. Next follows:--'Attendenda semper eius est facies, et pulchritudo
laudanda.... Vocanda "domina," celebrandus natalis eius, ... honoranda
nutrix eius, et gerula, seruus, patrimus, et alumnus,' &c. Cf. Le Rom. de
la Rose, 13914.

303-306. Next follows:--'et formosus assecla, et procurator calamistratus,
et in longam securamque libidinem exectus spado: sub quibus nominibus
adulteri delitescunt.'

Chaucer has merely taken the general idea, and given it a form peculiarly
adapted to his sketch. That he really _was_ thinking of this [300] passage
is clear from the fact that, in the margin of E., appears this note--'Et
procurator calamistratus.'

311. _of our dame_, of the mistress, i. e. of myself.

312. _Seint Iame_, St. James; see A. 466, and the note.

320. _Alis_, Alice; A. F. _Alice_, _Alys_, _Aleyse_; Lat. _Alicia_. Skelton
rimes _Ales_ with _tales_; Elinour Rummyng, 351-2.

322. _at our large_, free, at large; we now drop _our_. Cf. A. 1283.

325. See notes to ll. 180, 183. We need not search in Ptolemy for this

327. _who hath the world in honde_, i. e. who has abundant wealth. Cf. l.
330. The sense of the proverb is, that the wisest man is he who is
contented, who cares nothing that others are much richer than himself. Cf.
1 Tim. vi. 6, 8; and the proverb--'Content is all.' In the margin of E. is
written the Latin form of the saying:--'Inter omnes altior existit, qui non
curat in cuius manu sit mundus.'

333. _werne_, forbid, refuse. The idea is from Le Roman de la Rose, l.

 'Moult est fox qui tel chose esperne,
  C'est la chandele en la lanterne;
  Qui mil en i alumeroit,
  Ja mains de feu n'i troveroit.
  Chascun set la similitude,' &c.

It was quite a proverbial phrase, as the last line shews. It occurs, for
example, in Alexander and Dindimus, ed. Skeat, l. 233, and in the original
Latin text of the same. Duke Francesco Maria della Rovere used the device
of 'a lighted candle, by which others are lighted, with the motto _Non
degener addam_'; i. e. I will add without loss.--Mrs. Palliser, Historic
Devices, p. 263. Cicero (De Officiis, i. 16) quotes three lines from Ennius
containing the same idea.

342. From 1 Tim. ii. 9, here quoted in the margin of E.

350. _his_, its. The pronoun is here neuter, and is the same in all the
MSS. Tyrwhitt altered it to _hire_ (her), but needlessly. But in l. 352,
the sex of the cat is defined. As to the singed cat, 'that, as they say,
does not like to roam,' see The Exempla of Jacques de Vitry, ed. Crane,
(Folk Lore Soc.), 1890, pp. 219, 241.

354. _goon a-caterwawed_, go a-caterwauling. I explain the suffix _-ed_ as
put for _-eth_, A. S. _-að_, as in _on huntað_, a-hunting; where _-að_ is a
substantival suffix. I have given several examples of this curious
substitution in the note to C. 406, q. v. Cotgrave has: '_Aller à gars_, to
hunt after lads; (a wench) to go a caterwawling.' And see _Caterwaul_ in
the New Eng. Dict.

357. Clearly from Le Rom. de la Rose, 14583:--

 'Nus ne puet metre en fame garde,
  S'ele meisme ne se garde:
  Se c'iert _Argus_ qui la gardast,
  Qui de ses cent yex l'esgardast, ...
  N'i vaudroit sa garde mès riens:
  Fox est qui se garde tel mesriens.'

As to Argus, see Ovid, Met. i. 625.

362. Here Chaucer again quotes largely from Hieronymus c. Iouinianum, lib.
ii.; in Epist. (Basil. 1524), ii. 36, 37. Many of the passages are cited
from the Vulgate, but they are all found in this treatise of Jerome's,
which furnishes the real key. Jerome says:--'Per tria mouetur terra,
quartum autem non potest ferre; si seruus regnet, et stultus si saturetur
panibus, et _odiosa uxor_ (see l. 366) si habeat bonum uirum, et ancilla si
eiciat dominam suam. Ecce et hic inter malorum magnitudinem uxor ponitur';
p. 37. Really quoted from Prov. xxx. 21-23.

371. Again from Jerome, p. 37: 'Infernus, et amor mulieris, et terra quae
non satiatur aqua, et ignis non dicit "satis est."' Really from Prov. xxx.
16, where the A. V. has 'the grave' instead of 'hell.' Note that Jerome
here has _amor mulieris_, though the Vulgate has _os uuluae_. The passage
is quoted in E., with _dicent_ for _dicit_.

373. _wylde fyr_, wild fire; i. e. fiercely burning fire, probably with
reference to lighted naphtha or the like. Chaucer again uses the term in
the Pers. Tale, I. 445. Greek fire was of a like character. In the Romance
of Rich. Coer de Lion, l. 2627, we find:--

 'King Richard, oute of hys galye,
  Caste _wylde-fyr_ into the skye,
  And _fyr Gregeys_ into the see,
  And al on fyr wer[en] the[y] ...
  The see brent all off _fyr Gregeys_.'

Thus the Greek fire, at any rate, was not quenched by the sea. See La
Chimie an moyen âge, par M. Berthelot, p. 100.

376. From Jerome (p. 36):--'Sicut in ligno uermis, ita perdit uirum suum
uxor malefica.' Quoted in the margin of E., with _perdet_ for _perdit_. Cf.
'Sicut ... uermis ligno,' Prov. xxv. 20 (Vulgate); not in the A. V.

378. Jerome has (p. 39):--'Nemo enim melius scire potest quid sit uxor uel
mulier, illo qui passus est.' (Quoted in E.)

386. _byte and whyne_, i. e. both bite (when in a bad temper) and whine or
whinny as if wanting a caress (when in a good one). It is made clearer by
the parallel line in Anelida, l. 157, on which see my note in vol. i. p.

389. Cf. our proverb--'first come, first served.' Hazlitt quotes the
medieval Lat. proverb--'Ante molam primus qui venit, non molat imus.' And
Mr. Wright quotes the French proverb of the fifteenth century--'Qui premier
vient au moulin premier doit mouldre.' Cotgrave, s. v. _Mouldre_, has the
same; with _arrive_ for _vient_, and _le premier_ for _premier_.

392. _hir lyve_, i. e. during their (whole) life. With ll. 393-6, cf. Le
Rom. de la Rose, 14032-42. [302]

399. _colour_, pretext; as in Acts, xxvii. 30.

401. In the margin of Cp. and Ln. is the medieval line: 'Fallere, flere,
nere, dedit Deus in muliere.' Pt. has the same, with _statuit_ for _dedit_.

406. _grucching_, grumbling; mod. E. _grudge_. Hl. has _chidyng_.

407. Suggested by the complaint of a jealous man to his wife, in Le Roman
de la Rose, 9129:--

 'Car quant ge vous voil embracier
  Por besier et por solacier,' &c.

414. 'Everything has its price.'

415. This proverb has occurred before; see A. 4134. Lydgate quotes it in
st. 2 of a poem with the burden--'Lyk thyn audience, so utter thy langage';
see Polit., Relig., and Love Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 25, l. 15. John of
Salisbury says:--'Veteri celebratur prouerbio: quia uacuae manus temeraria
petitio est'; Policraticus, lib. v. c. 10.

418. Cf. l. 417. Bacon was considered as a common food for rustics. Cf.
'bacon-fed knaves'; 1 Hen. IV. ii. 2. 88. It is not worth while to discuss
the matter further.

430. _conclusioun_, purpose, aim, object.

432. _Wilkin_ was evidently, like _Malle_ or _Malkin_, a name for a pet
lamb or sheep; see B. 4021. In this line (if _mekely_ be trisyllabic, and
_lok'th_ monosyllabic), the word _our-e_ is dissyllabic, which is not
common in Chaucer.

433. _ba_, kiss; see note to A. 3709.

435. _spyced conscience_, scrupulous conscience; see note to A. 526.

446. _Peter_, by St. Peter; cf. Hous of Fame, 1034, 2000; also G. 665, and
the note; and B. 1404. _I shrewe you_, I beshrew you.

460. This story is from Valerius Maximus; Pliny tells it of one _Mecenius_.
In the margin of E., the reference is exactly given, viz. to 'Valerius,
lib. 6. cap. 3,' which is quite right. I quote the passage: 'Egnatii autem
Metelli longe minori de caussa; qui uxorem, quod vinum bibisset, fuste
percussam interemit. Idque factum non accusatore tantum, sed etiam
reprehensore caruit; unoquoque existimante, optimo illam exemplo violatae
sobrietatis poenas pependisse.'--Valerii Maximi lib. vi. c. 3. Cf. Pliny,
xiv. 13; Tertullian, Apologeticus, 6. Chaucer twice quotes again the _same_
chapter; see notes to ll. 642, 647.

464. _moste I thinke_, I must (needs) think. For _moste_, Cm. has _muste_,
Ln. _must_. So also _moste_ = must, in l. 478.

467. From Le Roman de la Rose, 13656:--

 'Car puis que fame est enyvree
  Il n'a point en li de deffense.'

Cf. Ovid, Art. Amat. iii. 765; &c.

469. Cf. Le Roman de la Rose, 13136:--

 'Par Diex! si me plest-il encores:
  Quant ge m'i sui bien porpensée,
  Moult me délite en ma pensée,
  Et me resbaudissent li membre,
  Quant de mon bon tens me remembre,
  Et de la jolivete vie
  Dont mes cuers a si grant envie.'

And again, just above, l. 13128:--

 'Més riens n'i vaut le regreter;
  Qui est alé, ne puet venir,' &c.

These lines form part of the speech of _La Vieille_, on whom the Wife of
Bath is certainly modelled; cf. note to A. 461.

483. _Ioce_, in Latin _Judocus_, a Breton saint, whose day is Dec. 13, and
who died in A. D. 669. Alban Butler says that his hermitage became a famous
monastery, which stood in the diocese of Amiens, and was called St.
Josse-sur-mer. This part of France became familiar to many Englishmen in
the course of the wars of Edward III. See, however, Le Testament de Jean de
Meung, 461-4, which I take to mean:--'When dame Katherine sees the proof of
_Sir Joce_, who cares not a prune for his wife's love, she is so fearful
that her own husband will do her a like harm, that she often makes for him
a staff of a similar bit of wood'; F. 'Si li refait sovent d'autel fust une
croce.' It is obvious that Chaucer has copied this in l. 484, and that he
here found his rime to _croce_.

484. 'I made a stick for him of the same wood'; i. e. I retaliated by
rousing his jealousy; compare the last note. _Croce_, a staff, O. F.
_croce_, F. _crosse_; see _Croche_ in the New E. Dictionary. Cf. Prompt.
Parv., p. 103, note 5; and my note to P. Plowm. C. xi. 92.

487. In Hazlitt's Proverbs is given--'To fry in his own grease,' from
Heywood; it is explained to mean 'to be very passionate,' but means rather
'to torment oneself.' He also quotes, from Heywood:--

 'She fryeth in hir owne grease, but as for my parte,
  If she be angry, beshrew her angry harte.'

See also Rich. Coer de Lion, 4409; Lydgate's Temple of Glas, ed. Schick,
pp. 14, 94.

492. The story is given by Jerome, in the treatise so often quoted above.
'Legimus quendam apud Romanos nobilem, cum eum amici arguerent quare uxorem
formosam et castam et diuitem repudiasset, protendisse pedem, et dixisse
eis: Et hic soccus quem cernitis, uidetur uobis nouus et elegans, sed nemo
scit praeter me ubi me premat.'--Hieron. c. Iouinianum, lib. i.: Epist. ii.
52 (Basil. 1524). John of Salisbury has the same story, almost in the same
words, but gives the name of the noble Roman, viz. P. Cn. Graecinus. See
his Policraticus, lib. v. c. 10. Chaucer alludes to it again below, in E.

495. She went thrice to Jerusalem; see A. 463.

496. 'Across the arch which usually divides the chancel from the nave in
English churches was stretched a _beam_, on which was placed a _rood_,
i. e. a figure of our Lord on the cross.'--Bell.

498. In the margin of E. is the note:--'Appelles fecit mirabile opus [304]
in tumulo Darij: vnde in Alexandro, libro sexto.' There is a similar
sidenote at C. 16; see note to that line. This tomb of Darius is due to
fiction. The description of it occurs (as said) in the sixth book of the
Alexandreid, a vast poem in Latin, by one Philippe Gualtier de Chatillon, a
native of Lille and a canon of Tournay, who flourished about A. D. 1200.
According to this poet, the tomb was the work of a Jewish artist named
Apelles. See Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 353-5, and G. Douglas, ed.
Small, i. 134.

503. There is a parallel passage in Le Rom. de la Rose, 14678-99.

514. _daungerous_, sparing, not free; cf. l. 151.

517. _Wayte_, observe, watch; 'observe what thing it is that we have a
difficulty in obtaining.'

521. 'With great demur (or caution) we set forth all we have to sell.'
_With daunger_ implies that the seller makes a great difficulty of selling
things, i. e. drives a hard bargain, and makes a great favour of it.
_Withoute daunger_ means without opposition, or without resistance; Gower,
C. A. v. ii. p. 40.

_Outen_, put out, set out or forth, is from A. S. _[=u]tian_, verb, a
derivative of _[=u]t_, out. Both here and in G. 834, Tyrwhitt needlessly
alters the reading to _uttren_, against all the MSS. The note in Bell's
Chaucer says--'Difficulty in making our market makes us bring out all our
ware for sale'; which is utterly remote from the true sense, and would be
the conduct of a reckless, not of a cautious woman. Compare the next two

522. 'A great throng of buyers makes ware dear (because there is then great
demand); and offering things too cheaply makes people think they are of
little value (because there is then too ready a supply).' Hence the wise
woman is careful not to be in too great a hurry to sell; and such is the
meaning of l. 521. It is further implied that, when she gets her expected
price, she does not hold out for a higher one.

552. From Le Rom. de la Rose, 9068, which again is from Ovid. 'Spectatum
ueniunt, ueniunt spectentur ut ipsae'; Art. Amat. i. 99.

553. 'How could I know where my favour was destined to be bestowed?'

555. From Le Rom. de la Rose, 13726:--

 'Sovent voise à la mestre eglise,
  Et face visitacions,
  A noces, à processions,
  A geus, à festes, à karoles,' &c.

556. _vigilies_, festivals held on the eves or vigils of saints' days. See
note to A. 377.

557. For _preching_, Cm. has _prechyngis_, and Hl. _prechings_; but all the
rest have _preching_, which I therefore retain. _To preching_ means 'to any
place where a sermon was being preached'; much as we say 'to church.' But
the sermons were often given in the open air. The Wife's object was to go
wherever there was a concourse of people, in order to shew her best
clothes. Women still go 'to church' for a like [305] reason. Wycliff speaks
strongly of the evil of pilgrimages; see his Works, ed. Matthew, p. 279;
ed. Arnold, i. 83.

558. 'The miracle-plays were favourite occasions for people to assemble in
great numbers.'--Wright. Wright refers to a tale among his Latin Stories,
p. 100. See the Sermon against Miracle-Plays, in Reliquiae Antiquae, ii.
42; reprinted in Mätzner's Sprachproben, ii. 224.

559. 'And wore upon (me) my gay scarlet gowns.' The use of _upon_ without a
case following it is curious; but see D. 1018, 1382 below.

The word _gyte_ occurs again in A. 3954, where Simkin's wife wears 'a
_gyte_ of reed,' i. e. a red gown. Nares shews that it is used thrice by
Gascoigne, and once by Fairfax. The sense of 'robe' will suit the passage
there quoted. Skelton has _gyte_ in Elynour, l. 68, where the sense of
'robe' or 'dress' is certain. It is clearly the same word as the Lowland
Scotch _gyde_, a dress, robe; see note to A. 3954 (p. 118). That the word
meant both 'veil' and 'gown' appears from the fact that Roquefort explains
the derived O. F. _wiart_ as a veil with which women cover their faces;
whilst Godefroy explains its variant form _guiart_ as a dress or vestment.

560. The sense is; 'the worms, moths, and mites never fretted them (i. e.
my dresses) one whit; I say it at my peril.' There is no difficulty, and
the reading is quite correct. Yet Tyrwhitt altered _peril_ to _paraille_,
which he explains by 'apparel,' and Wright actually explains _perel_, in
the Harl. MS., in the same way! Such an explanation turns the whole into
nonsense, as it could then only mean: 'the worms, &c. never devoured
_themselves_ (!) at all upon my apparel.' Tyrwhitt evidently took it to
mean 'never _fed_ themselves upon (i. e. with) my apparel'; but it is
impossible that _frete hem_ could ever be so interpreted. _Frete_ can only
mean 'devoured,' and it requires an accusative case; this accusative is
_hem_, which can only refer to the _gytes_ or 'gowns.' And this leaves no
other sense for _peril_ except precisely 'peril,' which is of course right.
_Upon my peril_ is clearly a phrase, with the same sense as 'at my peril.'
The phrase is no recondite one; cf. Rich. III. iv. i. 26, where we find 'on
my peril'; and again, 'upon his peril,' in Antony, v. 2. 143; Cymbeline, v.
4. 189.

566. _of my purveyance_, owing to my prudence, or prudent foresight; cf. l.
570. _Purveyance_, _providence_, and _prudence_ are mere variants; from
Lat. _prouidentia_.

572. From Le Rom. de la Rose, 13354:--

 'Moult a soris povre secors,
  Et fait en grant peril sa druge,
  Qui n'a c'ung partuis à refuge.
  Tout ainsinc est-il de la fame,' &c.

In Kemble's Solomon and Saturn, p. 57, several parallel proverbs are given;

 'Mus miser est antro qui tantum clauditur uno.'
 'Dolente la souris qui ne seit c'un pertuis.'

He refers us to Collins' Dict. of Span. Proverbs, p. 36; MS. Harl. [306]
3362, fol. 40; Grüter, Florilegium Ethico-politicum, p. 32; G. Herbert,
Jacula Prudentum, p. 67; MS. Proverbs, Corp. Chr. Cam. no. 450; MS. Harl.
1800, fol. 37 b. The proverb in Herbert is--'The mouse that hath but one
hole is quickly taken'; cf. Hazlitt's Proverbs, p. 380.

575. 'I made him believe'; see above. _enchanted_, bewitched, viz. with
philtres or love-potions; according to an old belief. See Othello, i. 2.
63-79. Cf. also Le Rom. de la Rose, 13895:--'Si croi que m'aves enchantee';
and the note to D. 747 (p. 311).

581. _Red_ occurs so frequently as an epithet of _gold_, that association
of gold with blood was easy enough. See note to B. 2059 (p. 196).

602. _a coltes tooth_, the tooth of a young colt. Cf. 'Young folks [are]
most apt to love ... the _colt's_ evil is common to all complexions';
Burton, Anat. of Mel. pt. 3. sec. 2. mem. 2. subsec. 1. 'Your _colt's
tooth_ is not cast yet'; Hen. VIII. i. 3. 48. And see A. 3888, E. 1847.

603. _Gat-tothed_; see note to A. 468.

604. 'I bore the impress of the seal of saint Venus.'

609, 610. _Venerien_, influenced by Venus; _Marcien_, influenced by Mars;
cf. ll. 611, 612.

613. _ascendent_, the sign in the ascendant (or just rising in the east) at
my birth. This sign was Taurus, which was also called 'the mansion of
Venus.' When Mars was seen in this sign when ascending, it shewed the
influence of Mars on Venus. Cf. the 'Compleint of Mars.'

In the margin of E. is a Latin note, referring us to 'Mansor Amphorison'
19'; followed by a quotation. The reference is to a treatise called
'Almansoris Propositiones,' which begins with the words:--'Aphorismorum
compendiolum, mi Rex, petiisti,' &c. Hence 'Amphorison' 19' is an error for
'Aphorismorum 19.' This treatise is printed in a small volume entitled
'Astrologia Aphoristica Ptolomaei, Hermetis, ... Almansoris, &c.; Ulmae,
1641.' In this edition, the section quoted (at p. 66) is not 19, but 14;
and runs thus:--'Cuicunque fuerint in ascendente infortunae, turpem notam
in facie patietur.' With 'infortunae,' we must supply 'planetae'; and the
object of this quotation is, clearly, to explain l. 619. Still more to the
point is a remark in sect. 74 of a treatise printed in the same volume,
entitled 'Cl. Ptolomaei Centum Dicta'; where we find--'Quicunque _Martem
ascendentem_ habet, omnino cicatricem in facie habebit.'

Immediately after the above, in the margin of E., is a second quotation,
with a reference in the words:--'Hec Hermes in libro fiducie; Amphoris^o.
24^o.' Here 'Amphoris_m_o' should be 'Aphorismo.' The quotation occurs in a
third treatise, printed in the same volume as the other two already
mentioned, with the title 'Hermetis centum Aphorismorum liber.' In this
printed edition, the section quoted is not the 24th, but the 25th; and runs
thus:--'In natiuitatibus mulierum, cum fuerit ascendens aliqua de domibus
Veneris, Marte existente in eis [vel e contrario][28], erit mulier
impudica. Idem erit, si Capricornum habuerit [307] in ascendente.' Here
'aliqua ... Veneris' means 'one of the mansions of Venus; her two mansions
being Taurus and Libra.' The former is expressly referred to in l. 613, and
is therefore intended.

In sect. 28 of the same treatise, we find:--'Cum fuerit interrogatio pro
muliere, simpliciter accipe significationem à Venere.' Hence Venus is the
planet that ruled over women.

'The woman that is born in this time [i. e. under Taurus] shall be
effectuall ... she shall have many husbands and many children; she shall be
in her best estate at xvi years, and she shall have a sign in the middest
of her body.'--Shepherdes Kalender, ed. 1656, sig. Q 5.

618. The phrase 'la chambre Venus' occurs in Le Rom. de la Rose, 13540.

621. _wis_, surely, certainly: 'for, may God so surely be my,' &c.

624. 'Ne vous chaut s'il est _cors_ ou _lons_'; Rom. de la Rose, 8554.

634. _on the list_, on the ear. Such is the sense of _lust_ in the Ancren
Riwle, p. 212, l. 7, where the editor mistakes it. In Sir Ferumbras, l.
1900, mention is made of a man striking another 'on the luste' with his
hand. The original sense of A. S. _hlyst_ is the sense of 'hearing'; but
the Icel. _hlust_ commonly means 'ear.' Cf. E. _listen_. For _on the list_,
Hl. Cm. and Tyrwhitt have _with his fist_; but Tyrwhitt, in his note on the
line, inclines to the reading here given, and quotes from Sir T. More's
poem entitled 'A Merry Jest of a Serjeant,' the lines:--

 'And with his fist
  _Upon the lyst_
    He gave hym such a blow.'

This juvenile poem is printed at length in the Preface to Todd's edition of
Johnson's Dictionary, ed. 1827, i. 64.

640. 'Although he had sworn _to the contrary_'; see a similar use of this
phrase in A. 1089; and the note at p. 65.

642. _Romayn gestes_, the 'Roman gests,' in the collection called Gesta
Romanorum, or stories of a like character. The reference, however, in this
case is to Valerius Maximus, lib. vi. c. 3, as is certified by the note in
the margin of E., viz. 'Valerius, lib. vi. fol. 19.' The passage is:
'Horridum C. quoque Sulpicii Galli maritale supercilium. Nam uxorem
dimisit, quod eam _capite aperto_ foris versatam cognouerat.'

647. This story is from the same chapter in Valerius. The passage is:
'Jungendus est his P. Sempronius Sophus, qui coniugem repudii nota affecit,
nihil aliud quam se ignorante _ludos_ ausam spectare.'

648. _someres game_, summer-game; called _somer-game_ in P. Plowman, B. v.
413; and, in later English, a _summering_; a rural sport at Midsummer. The
great day was on Midsummer eve, and the games consisted of athletic sports,
followed usually by bonfires. See Brand's Pop. Antiquities; Strutt, Sports
and Pastimes, bk. iv. c. 3. § 22; the description of the Cotswold Games in
Chambers, Book of Days, i. 714; the word _Summering_ in Nares' Glossary,
&c. They were not always respectably conducted. [308]

 'Daunces, karols, _somour-games_,
  Of manye swych come many shames.'
              Rob. of Brunne, Handl. Synne, l. 4684.

'As the common sorte of vnfaythfull women are wonte to goe forth vnto
weddynges and _may-games_'; Paraphr. of Erasmus, 1549; Tim. f. 8. Stubbes
is severe upon May-games and Whitsun-games; see his Anatomy of Abuses, ed.
Furnivall (Shak. Soc.), p. 149.

651. See Ecclus. xxv. 25:--'Give the water no passage; neither a wicked
woman liberty to gad abroad.' The Latin version is here quoted in the
margin of E.

655. This is clearly a quotation of some old saying, as shewn by the metre,
which here varies, and becomes irregular. There is a slightly different
version of it in Reliquiae Antiquae, i. 233:--

 'Who that byldeth his howse all of salos,
  And prikketh a blynde horsse over the falowes,
  And suffereth his wif to seke many halos,
  God sende hym the blisse of everlasting galos!'

The proverb implies that these three things are the signs of a foolish man.
_Salwes_ are osiers; the osier is commonly called _sally_ in Shropshire,
and the same name is given to all kinds of willows. It is not from the Lat.
_salix_ directly, but from the native A. S. _sealh_, which is merely
cognate with _salix_, not borrowed from it. The three foolish things to do
are; to build a house all of osiers, to spur a blind horse over a
fallow-field, and to allow a wife to go on a pilgrimage. To go on a
pilgrimage is here called 'to seek hallows,' i. e. saints, or saints'
shrines; and the expression was a common one; cf. A. 14. 'Gone to seke
hallows' occurs in Skelton, i. 426, l. 7, ed. Dyce; and the editor quotes
two more examples at p. 337 of vol. ii.

659. 'I do not care the value of a haw for his proverbs.' In l. 660, _nof_
stands for _ne of_; see footnote.

662. 'Si het quicunques l'en chastoie'; Rom. de la Rose, 10012.

669. This book was evidently a MS. containing several choice extracts from
various authors; see l. 681.

671. _Valerie._ This refers to a treatise which Mr. Wright attributes to
Walter Mapes, entitled Epistola Valerii ad Rufinum, and common in
manuscripts; the subject is, _De non ducenda uxore_. See Warton, Hist. E.
Poetry, 1840, ii. 188, _note_. 'As to the rest of the contents of this
volume, Hieronymus contra Jovinianum, and Tertullian de Pallio are
sufficiently known; and so are the letters of Eloisa and Abelard, the
Parables of Solomon, and Ovid's Art of Love. I know of no Trotula but one,
whose book Curandarum aegritudinum muliebrium, ante, in, et post partum, is
printed int. Medicos antiquos, Ven. 1547. What is meant by Crisippus, I
cannot guess.'--Tyrwhitt.

_Theofraste_, Theophrastus, i. e. the treatise mentioned above; see note to
l. 221. It is frequently quoted above; see notes to ll. 221, 235, 257, 271,
282, 285, 293, 303. He is called _Theofrates_ in Le Roman, l. 8599. [309]

676. _Tertulan_, Tertullian. I do not quite understand why Tyrwhitt (see
note to l. 671) singled out his treatise De Pallio, which is a treatise
recommending the wearing of the Greek _pallium_ in preference to the Roman
_toga_. Quite as much to the present purpose are his treatises De
Exhortatione Castitatis, dissuading a friend from marrying a second time;
and De Monogamia and De Pudicitia, much to the same purport.

677. _Crisippus_, Chrysippus. There were at least two of this name: (1) the
Stoic philosopher, born B.C. 280, died 207, praised by Cicero (Academics)
and Horace. Also (2) the physician of Cnidos, in the time of Alexander the
Great, frequently mentioned by Pliny. It is highly probable that neither
the Wife of Bath nor Chaucer knew much about him. The poet certainly caught
the name from Jerome's treatise against Jovinian, near the end of bk. i.;
Epist. i. 52. We there find:--'Ridicule _Chrysippus_ ducendam uxorem
sapienti praecipit, ne Iouem Gamelium et Genethlium uiolet.'

_Helowys_, Heloise, niece of Fulbert, a canon in the cathedral of Paris,
was secretly married to the celebrated Abelard, a proficient in scholastic
learning. She afterwards became a nun in the convent of Argenteuil, of
which she was, in course of time, elected the prioress. Thence she removed,
with her nuns, to the oratory of the Paraclete, near Troyes, where the last
twenty years of her life were spent. She died in 1164, and was buried in
Abelard's tomb. I have no doubt at all that Chaucer derived his knowledge
of her from the short sketch of her life given in Le Roman de la Rose, ll.
8799-8870, where the title of 'abbess' (F. _abéesse_) is conferred upon
her. Only a few lines above, we find the name of _Valerius_, who (it is
there said, at l. 8727) declared that a modest woman was rarer than a
phoenix; and again, at l. 8759, we find: 'Si cum Valerius raconte'; and, at
l. 8767:--

 'Valerius qui se doloit
  De ce que Rufin se voloit
  Marier,' &c.

This identifies Valerius as being the very one, whose name Walter Mapes
assumed; as is explained above (note to l. 671).

As to _Trotula_, I may here observe, in addition to what is said in the
note to l. 671, that Warton mentions a MS. in Merton College, with the
title 'Trottula Mulier Salerniterna de passionibus mulierum'; another copy
(which I have seen) is in the Camb. Univ. Library. He adds--'there is also
extant, "Trottula, seu potius Erotis medici muliebrium liber"; Basil. 1586;
4to.' See Warton, Hist. E. Poet. 1840, ii. 188, _note_.

692. _peintede_, depicted; alluding to the fable in Æsop, where a sculptor
represented a man conquering a lion. The lion's criticism was to the effect
that he had heard of cases in which the lion conquered the man. So
likewise, the Wife's view of clerks differed widely from the clerk's view
of wives. In the margin of E. is the note--'Quis pinxit leonem?' The fable
is amongst the 'Fables of Æsop' as [310] printed by Caxton, lib. iv. fab.
15; see Jacobs' edition, i. 251. In his note upon the sources of this
fable, Mr. Jacobs refers us to--'Romulus, iv. 15. Man and Lion (statue). I.
Lôqman, 7; Sophos, 58. II. Plutarch, Apophth., Laced. 69; Scol. Eurip.,
Kor., 103; Aphth. 38; Phaedrus, App. Burm., p. 20; Gabr., i. (not in
Babrius); Avian, 24. III. Ademar, 52; Marie, 69; Berach., 56; Wright, ii.
28. IV. Kirch., i. 80; Lafontaine, iii. 10; Rob., Oest. V. Spectator, no.
11; L. 100, J. 84; Croxall, 30 (Lion and Statue).'

It is well put by Steele, in The Spectator, no. 11: 'Your quotations put me
in mind of the Fable of the Lion and the Man. The Man, walking with that
noble Animal, shewed him, in the Ostentation of Human Superiority, a Sign
of a Man killing a Lion. Upon which the Lion said very justly, We Lions are
none of us Painters, else we could shew you a hundred Men killed by Lions,
for one Lion killed by a Man.' Observe that here, as in Chaucer, the
reference is to a painting, not to sculpture.

696. _all the mark of Adam_, all beings made like Adam, i. e. all males.
This idiomatic expression is cleared up by reference to F. 880, where
_merk_ means 'image' or 'likeness'; see that passage.

697. The _children of Mercurie_ are the _clerks_, and those of _Venus_ are
the _women_; see ll. 693, 694. See below.

699, 700. Here the reference is to astrology. The whole matter is explained
in a side-note in E., which is copied from § 2 of Almansoris Astrologi
Propositiones (see note to l. 613 above), and requires some correction. It
should run as follows:--'Vniuscuiusque planetarum septem exaltacio in illo
loco esse dicitur, in quo substantialiter patitur ab alio contrarium,
veluti Sol in Ariete, qui Saturni casus est. Sol enim habet claritatem,
Saturnus tenebrositatem.... Et sic Mercurius in Virgine, qui casus est
Veneris. Alter [scilicet Mercurius] namque significat scientiam et
philosophiam. Altera vero causat alacritates et quicquid est saporiferum
corpori.' I take this to mean, that the sign which is called the
'exaltation' of one planet (in which it exhibits its greatest influence) is
also the 'dejection' of another which is there weakest. Thus the sign Virgo
was the 'exaltation' of Mercury; but it was also the 'dejection' of Venus,
whose 'exaltation' was in Pisces. For the dejection of every planet occurs
in the sign opposite to that in which is its exaltation; and Virgo and
Pisces are opposite. The word _casus_ is here used in the astrological
sense of 'dejection.' It further follows that Pisces was the 'depression'
of Mercury, which Chaucer expresses by the term _desolat_. The note also
tells us that the planet Mercury implies 'science and philosophy'; whilst
Venus implies 'lively joys and whatever is agreeable to the body.'

Venus is again alluded to as being in her exaltation in Pisces, in F. 273.
Gower refers to Virgo as being the exaltation of Mercury; Conf. Amant. iii.

715. _Eva_, Eve. The spelling _Eva_ is frequently contrasted with that of
_Ave_, the salutation of Gabriel to Mary. Tyrwhitt says:--'Most [311] of
the following instances are mentioned in the Epistola Valerii ad Rufinum de
non ducenda uxore. See also Rom. de la Rose, 9140, 9615, et suiv.' In
Méon's edition of Le Rom. de la Rose, Deianira is mentioned in l. 9235, and
Samson in l. 9243; I do not quite make out Tyrwhitt's numbering of the

721. Cf. the Monkes Tale, B. 3205, 3256.

725. Cf. the Monkes Tale, B. 3285, 3310.

727. From Jerome against Jovin., lib. i. (near the end); Epist. i. 52.
'Socrates Xantippen et Myron neptem Aristidis duas habebat uxores ...
Quodam autem tempore cum infinita conuicia ex superiori loco ingerenti
Xantippae restitisset, aqua perfusus immunda, nihil amplius respondit,
quàm, capite deterso: Sciebam (inquit) futurum, ut ista tonitrua hymber
sequeretur.' The story is thus told by Erasmus, as translated by Udall.
'Socrates, after that he had within dores forborne his wife Xantippe, a
greate while scoldyng, and at the last beyng wearie, had set him doune
without the strete doore, she beyng moche the more incensed, by reason of
her housbandes quietnesse and stilnesse, powred down a pisse-bolle upon him
out of a windore, and al beraied him. But upon soche persones as passed by,
laughing and hauing a good sport at it, Socrates also, for his part,
laughed again as fast as the best, saiyng: Naie, I thought verie well in my
minde, and did easily prophecie, that after so great a thonder would come a
raine.'--Udall, tr. of Erasmus' Apophthegmes, _Socrates_, § 59.

733. These instances are also from Jerome, some twenty lines further on
(same page). 'Quid referam Pasiphaën, Clytemnestram, et Eriphylam; quarum
prima deliciis diffluens, quippe regis uxor, tauri dicitur expetisse
concubitus: altera occidisse uirum ob amorem adulteri: tertia prodidisse
Amphiarãum, et saluti uiri monile aureum praetulisse.' This passage is
quoted, almost in the same words, in the margin of E. As to Eriphyle,
Chaucer shews that he possessed further information, as he mentions Thebes.
He consulted, in fact, the Thebaid of Statius, bk. iv, where we learn that
Eriphyle betrayed her husband Amphiaraus, for a golden necklace; he was
thus forced to accompany Polynices to the siege of Thebes, where he
perished by being swallowed up by an earthquake. Chaucer again calls him
_Amphiorax_ in Anelida, 57, and in Troilus, ii. 105, v. 1500. Cf. Lydgate's
Siege of Thebes, part 3.

747. Tyrwhitt says:--'In the Epistola Valerii, in MS. Reg. 12. D. iii. [in
the British Museum], the story is told thus: "_Luna_ virum suum interfecit
quem nimis odivit: _Lucilia_ suum quem nimis amavit. Illa sponte miscuit
aconita: haec decepta furorem propinavit pro amoris poculo." _Lima_ and
_Luna_ in many MSS. are only distinguishable by a small stroke over the
_i_, which may easily be overlooked where it is, and supposed where it is
not.' However, the right name is neither _Lima_ nor _Luna_, but _Liuia_
(Livia), which is easily confused with either of the other forms. Livia
poisoned her husband Drusus (son of Tiberius), at the instigation of
Sejanus, A. D. 23. See Ben Jonson's [312] Sejanus, Act ii. sc. 1. Lucia (or
rather Lucilia) was the wife of Lucretius the poet; see Tennyson's poem of
Lucretius (Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 369).

757. This is a stock story, told of various people. Tyrwhitt says that it
occurs in the Epistola Valerii, of one _Pavorinus_, and that the story
begins:--'Pavorinus flens ait Arrio.' Lounsbury (Studies in Chaucer, ii.
369) referring to the same story, gives the name as Pacuvius. It is, in
fact, one of the stories in the Gesta Romanorum (tale 33), where it is
ascribed to Valerius. (By Valerius is, of course, meant the Epistola
Valerii of Walter Mapes, where it duly appears, as Tyrwhitt notes, and may
be found in MS. Reg. 12. D. iii; as is observed by Sir F. Madden, in a note
to Warton's Hist. E. Poet., ed. Hazlitt, 1871, i. 250. It does _not_ refer
to Valerius Maximus, as I have ascertained.)

In the Gesta, it is told of Paletinus, who lamented to his friend Arrius
that a certain tree in his garden was fatal, for three of his wives had,
successively, hung themselves upon it. Arrius at once begged to have some
slips of it; and Paletinus 'found this remarkable tree the most productive
part of his estate.'

The story is really from Cicero, De Oratore, lib. ii. 69; 278. 'Salsa sunt
etiam, quae habent suspicionem ridiculi absconditam; quo in genere est
illud Siculi, cum familiaris quidam quereretur, quod diceret, uxorem suam
suspendisse se de ficu. _Amabo te_, inquit, _da mihi ex ista arbore, quos
seram, surculos_.'

Thus the original story only mentions _one_ wife. This is just how stories

A similar story is ascribed to Diogenes. 'When he [Diogenes] had on a time
espied women hanging upon an olive-tree, and there strangled to death with
the halters: Would God (said he) that the other trees had like fruite
hanging on them!'--Udall, tr. of Erasmus' Apophthegmes, Diogenes, § 124.

766. The horrible story of 'the Widow of Ephesus' is of this character, but
not _quite_ so bad, as her husband died naturally. See Wright's
introduction to his edition of The Seven Sages, p. lxvi; and the text of
the same, pp. 84-9. It occurs in John of Salisbury, Policraticus, viii. 11.
And see Exempla of Jacques de Vitry, ed. Crane, 1890, p. 228; Clouston's
Pop. Tales, i. 29.

769. Alluding, doubtless, to Jael and Sisera; see note to A. 2007.

775. 'I had rather dwell with a lion and a dragon, than to keep house with
a wicked woman'; Ecclus. xxv. 16. Cf. Prov. xxi. 19.

778. From Prov. xxi. 9; and ll. 780, 781 seem to have been suggested by the
following verse (xxi. 10).

782. This is from Jerome, near the end of bk. i. of his treatise against
Jovinian (p. 52):--'Scribit Herodotus, quod mulier cum ueste deponat et
uerecundiam.' This again is from Herodotus, bk. i. c. 8, where it is told
as a saying of Gyges:--[Greek: hama de kithôni ekduomenôi, sunekduetai kai
tên aidô gunê]. [313]

784. From Prov. xi. 22.

799. _breyde_, started, woke up. The A. S. verb _bregdan_ is properly a
strong verb, with the pt. t. _brægd_; so that the true form of the pt. t.
in M. E. is _breyd_, without a final e. But it was turned into a weak verb,
with the pt. t. _breyd-e_ (as here), by confusion with such verbs as
_seyd-e_, _deyd-e_, _leyd-e_, and the like. It is remarkable that our
author is inconsistent in the use of the form for the pt. t. In his earlier
poems, he has the older form _abrayd_, riming with _sayd_ (pp.), Book of
the Duch. 192; or _abreyd_, riming with _seyd_ (pp.), Ho. of Fame, 110. But
in the Cant. Tales, we find only the weak form _breyd-e_, riming with
_seyd-e_, _preyd-e_, and _deyd-e_, B. 3728; with _seyd-e_, _leyd-e_, B.
837; and with _seyd-e_, A. 4285, F. 1027. Also _abreyd-e_, riming with
_seyd-e_, _deyd-e_, A. 4190, E. 1061.

816. This is _one_ of the ways in which our MSS. have perished.

824. Cf. 'from Hulle to Cartage'; A. 404; and see C. 722.

844. _now elles_, now otherwise; i. e. and so you may; I defy you.

847. _Sidingborne_, Sittingbourne, about forty miles from London, and
beyond Rochester, which is mentioned in the Monk's Prologue, B. 3116.


For a discussion of the source of this Tale, see vol. iii. p. 447.

A very similar story occurs in Gower's Confessio Amantis, bk. i. (p. 89,
Pauli's edition), where the hero of the story is named Florent, and is said
to have been a grandson of the Roman Emperor Claudius.

It also occurs in the Book of Ballymote, an Irish MS. of the fourteenth
century. The Irish text was printed, together with a translation by Dr.
Whitley Stokes, in The Academy, Apr. 23, 1892, p. 399. Dr. Stokes claims
for the Tale a Celtic origin. See also The Academy, Apr. 30, 1892.

Chaucer's Tale has been modernised by Dryden. This later version contains
many spirited lines, but lacks the grace of the original. It is interesting
as a commentary, and is worth comparison.

This Tale has been well edited, with notes, in Mätzner's Altenglische
Sprachproben, i. 338.

857. The author of the spurious Pilgrim's Tale, which, it is said, William
Thynne wished to insert in his edition of Chaucer, has plagiarised from the
opening lines of the Wife of Bath's Tale in the coolest manner. I quote
some of his lines, for comparison, from Thynne's Animadversions, &c., ed.
Furnivall, Appendix I., p. 79, ll. 85-98:--

 'The cronikis old from kynge Arthur
  He could rehers, and of his founder
  Tell full many a whorthy story.
  Wher this man walked, there was no farey
  Ner other spiritis, for his blessynges
  And munbling of his holy thinges
  Did vanquyche them from euery buch and tre:
  There is no nother incubus but he;
  For Chaucer sathe, in the sted of the quen elfe,
 "Ther walketh now the limitour himself."
  For whan that the incubus dyd fle,
  Yt was to bringe .vii. worse than he;
  And that is the cause there beyn now no fareys
  In hallis, bowris, kechyns, ner deyris.'

For a general discussion of the legends about King Arthur, see the essay in
vol. i. (p. 401) of the Percy Folio MS., ed. Hales and Furnivall. In
Malory's Morte Arthure we have an example of a fairy in Arthur's sister,
Morgan le Fay, who was 'put to scole in a nonnery; and ther she lerned so
moche that she was a grete clerke of nygromancye'; bk. i. cap. 2.

860. _elf-queen_, Proserpine, according to Chaucer; see E. 2229; also B.
754, 1978, and the notes.

861. Hence the 'fairy-rings,' as Dryden tells us:--

 'And where the jolly troop had led the round,
  The grass unbidden rose, and mark'd the ground.'

On the subject of Fairies, see Keightley's Fairy Mythology, and similar
works. Tyrwhitt notes that few old authors tell us so much about them as
Gervase of Tilbury.

866. _limitours_, limiters; see A. 209, and the note; D. 1711; P. Plowman,
B. v. 138, C. xxiii. 346; Massingberd, Eng. Reformation, p. 110.

868. The number of mendicant friars in England, during the latter half of
the fourteenth century, was indeed large. In Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold,
iii. 400, we read that 'now ben mony thousand of freris in Englond'; and,
at p. 511, that they were, 'as who seith, withoute noumbre.' In P. Plowman,
C. xxiii. 269, Conscience accuses the friars of waxing 'oute of numbre,'
and reminds them that 'Hevene haveth evene numbre, and helle is withoute

869. The occurrence here of _three consecutive lines_ (869-871) in which
the first foot is deficient, consisting only of a single accented syllable,
is worth notice. The way in which Tyrwhitt 'amends' these lines is most
surprising. He inserts _and_ five times, and his first line defies
scansion, though I suppose he made _hall's_ a monosyllable, and _kichen-es_
trisyllabic, whereas it plainly has but two syllables. Here is his result.

 'Blissing halles, chambres, kichenes, _and_ boures,
  Citees _and_ burghes, castles highe _and_ toures,
  Thropes _and_ bernes, shepenes, _and_ dairies,
  This maketh that ther ben no faeries.'

Note that he actually seems to have read _dairies_ and _faeries_ as [315]
riming _dissyllabic_ words! In which case the last of these four lines
would have but _four_ accents! But the rime merely concerns the two _final_
syllables of those quadrisyllabic words. The riming of the two _former_
syllables is unessential, and for the purpose of rime, accidental and

MS. Pt. admits _and_ before _boures_; and MS. Hl. admits _and_ before
_toures_ and _dairies_ (which does not alter the character of the lines).
With these exceptions, all the seven MSS. omit all the five _and's_
inserted by Tyrwhitt; and, in fact, they are all of them superfluous.

For the benefit of those who are but little acquainted with this
peculiarity of Middle English metre, I cite _four consecutive lines_ of a
similar character from Lydgate's Siege of Thebes, ll. 1239-1242:--

 'Drogh | the brydyl from his horses hede,
  Let | hym goon, and took no maner hede,
  Thorgh | the gardyn that enclosed was,
  Hym | to pasture on the grene gras.'

There are plenty more of the same kind in the same poem; e. g. 1068, 1081,
1082, 1089, 1103, 1107, 1116, 1120, 1122, 1123, 1140, 1141, 1151, &c., &c.,
all printed in Specimens of English from 1394-1579, ed. Skeat, pp. 28-34.
For similar lines in Hoccleve, see the same, p. 16, st. 604, l. 6; st. 605,
l. 2; p. 20, st. 622, l. 2; p. 21, st. 624, l. 4.

871. _Thropes_ = _thorpes_, villages; see E. 199.

_shipnes_, stables, or cow-houses; see A. 2000. '_Shippen_, _Shuppen_, a
cow-house'; E. D. S. Gloss. B. 1. '_Shippen_, an ox-house'; id. B. 6.
'_Shuppen_, a cow-house'; id. B. 7; '_Shippen_, a cow-house'; id. B. 15.

875. _undermeles_, for _undern-meles_, undern-times. For the time of
_undern_, see note to E. 260. _Meel_ (pl. _meles_) is the A. S. _m[=æ]l_, a
time. The time referred to, _in this particular instance_, seems to be the
middle of the afternoon; or simply 'afternoons,' as opposed to 'mornings.'
For this sense, cf. 'Undermele, _Postmeridies_,' in the Prompt. Parv.
Nares, s. v. _under-meal_, gives other instances; but he fails to realise
the changeable sense of the word; and is quite wrong in saying (s. v.
_undertime_) that the last-named word is unconnected with _undern_. He also
wrongly dissociates _undern_ from _arndern_ and _orndern_.

876. 'All religious persons were bound, if possible, to recite the divine
office ... at the proper hour, in the choir; but secular priests, not
living in common, and friars, being by their rule obliged to walk about
within their limitation, to beg their maintenance, were allowed to say it
privately,... as they walked.'--Bell. Cf. B. 1281.

880. _incubus._ Milton (P. R. ii. 152) speaks of Belial as being, after
Asmodai, 'the fleshliest incubus.' Mr. Jerram's note on the line says:
'Some of the ejected angels were believed not to have fallen into hell, but
to have remained in the middle of the region of air (P. R. ii. 117), where
in various shapes they tempt men to sin. It was said that they hoped to
counteract the effects of Christ's coming by engendering with some virgin a
semi-demon, who should be a power of evil. In this way Merlin, and even
Luther, were reported to have been [316] begotten.' See the Romance of
Merlin, ed. Wheatley, ch. i. pp. 9, 10; and the poem of Merlin in the Percy
Folio MS.

881. Tyrwhitt and others adopt the reading _no dishonour_, as in the old
black-letter editions; and MS. Cm. has the reading _non_. At first sight,
this looks right, but a little reflection will incline us rather to adopt
the reading of nearly all the MSS., as given in the present text. For to
say that the friar was an incubus, and yet did women no dishonour, is
contradictory. The meaning is, possibly, that the friar brought upon women
dishonour, and nothing more; whereas the incubus never failed to cause
conception. Lounsbury (Studies in Chaucer, i. 257) adopts the reading here
given, but interprets it thus:--'The dishonour of a woman is, in the eyes
of the Wife of Bath, to be reckoned not as a crime, but as a peccadillo.'
(See the whole passage.) The subject will hardly bear further discussion;
but it is impossible to ignore the repeated charges of immorality brought
against the friars by Wyclif and others. Wyclif says--'thei slen wommen
that withstonden hem in this synne'; Works, ed. Matthew, p. 6.

884. _fro river_, i. e. he was returning from hawking at the river-side.
See B. 1927, and the note.

887. _maugree hir heed_, lit. 'in spite of her head,' i. e. in spite of all
she could do, without her consent. Cf. A. 1169, 2618; also I. 974, where we
find:--'if the womman, _maugree hir heed_, hath been afforced.' Mätzner
remarks that, in some cases, we find a part of the head referred to,
instead of the whole head. Hence the expressions: _maugre his nose_, Rob.
of Gloucester, 2090 (p. 94, ed. Hearne); _maugree thyne yen_, Ch. C. T., D.
315; _maugree hir eyen two_, id., A. 1796; _maugree my chekes_, Allit.
Poems, ed. Morris, C. 54; _m. here chekis_, P. Plowman, B. iv. 50; &c.

909. _lere_, learn; as in B. 181, 630, C. 325, 578, &c. But the right sense
is 'teach.' See l. 921.

_twelf-month_, &c. 'There seems to have been some mysterious importance
attached to this particular time of grace,' &c.--Bell. I think not. The
solution is simply, that it takes an extra day to make the date agree. If
we fix any date, as Nov. 21, 1890, the space of a year afterwards only
brings us to Nov. 20, 1891; if we want to keep to the _same day_ of the
month, we must make the space include 'a year and a day.' This is what any
one would naturally do; and that is all. Cf. A. 1850, and the note. '_Year
and Day_, is a time that determines a right in many cases;... So is the
_Year and Day_ given in case of Appeal, in case of Descent after Entry or
Claim,' &c.; Cowell, Intrepreter of Words and Terms. See l. 916 below; and
cf. _Eight days_, i. e. a week, in the New Eng. Dictionary.

922. _cost_, coast, i. e. region; as in 1 Sam. v. 6; Matt. viii. 34, &c.

924. The scansion is--Two cré-a-túr-es áccordínge in-fére.

925. Cf. Gower, Conf. Amant. i. 92:--

 'To som woman it is plesaunce
  That to another is grevaunce'; &c.


929-30. Cf. Rom. de la Rose, 9977-94. For _y-plesed_, Tyrwhitt and Wright
read _y-preised_, contrary to the seven best MSS.; which gives an imperfect
rime. _preysed_ rimes with _reysed_ (D. 706).

940. _galle_, sore place. '_Galle_, soore yn man or beeste'; Prompt. Parv.
'Let the _galled_ jade wince'; Hamlet, iii. 2. 253.

_clawe_ means 'to scratch'; and to _clawe upon the galle_ is to scratch or
rub a sore. This may be taken in two ways; hence the difficulty about the
reading in l. 941, where E. Cm. have _kike_, i. e. kick, whilst Hn. Hl.
have _like_, and Cp. Pt. Ln. have _loke or he seith us soth_. The last of
these three variations gives no sense, and is certainly wrong; but either
of the other readings will serve. I take them in order.

(1) _kike_, kick. Here the sense is:--'if any one scratch us on a sore
place (and so hurt us), we shall kick, because he tells us the truth (too
plainly).' This goes well with the context, as it answers to the _repreve
us of our vyce_ in l. 937.

(2) _like_, like (it), be pleased. Here the sense is:--'if any one stroke
us on a sore place (and so soothe the itching), we shall be pleased,
because he tells us the truth (or what we think to be the truth).' But I
feel inclined to reject this reading, because it gives so forced a sense to
the words--_for he seith us sooth_. There is, however, no difficulty about
the use of _claw_ in the sense of 'to rub lightly, so as to soothe
irritation'; for which see examples in the New English Dictionary. It is
particularly used in the phrase _to claw_ one's _back_, i. e. to soothe,
flatter; but the word _galle_ suggests a place where friction would rather
hurt than soothe.

I leave it to the reader to settle this nice question.

949. _rake-stele_, the handle of a rake. The word _stele_ is still in use
provincially. '_Stale_, any stick, or handle, such as the stick of a mop or
a fork'; _South Warwickshire_; E. D. S. Gl. C. 6. '_Stale_ [stae·ul], s.
handle; as, _mop-stale_, _pick-stale_, _broom-stale_'; Elworthy's West
Somerset Words. And see _Steal_ in Ray's Glossary; _Stele_ in Nares;
_Steale_ in Halliwell; &c. Cf. A. 3785; P. Plowman, C. xxii. 279. Golding
translates Ovid's _hastile_ (Metam. vii. 676) by 'Iaueling-_steale_.' The
_e_ is 'open'; cf. A. S. _stela_; hence the rime with _hele_ (A. S.
_helan_) is perfect.

950. 'Car fame ne puet riens celer'; Rom. de la Rose, 19420. See also the
same, 16549-70.

952. _Ovyde_; see Metamorph. xi. 174-193. But Chaucer seems to have
purposely altered the story, since Ovid attributes the betrayal of the
secret to Midas' _barber_, not his _wife_; and again, Ovid says that the
barber dug a hole, and whispered it into the pit. Chaucer's version is an
improved one. Cf. Troil. iii. 1389.

961. Cf. Rom. de la Rose, 16724-32.

968. Dryden is plainer, and less polite:--'But she must burst or blab.' Cf.
Rom. de la Rose, 16568-9.

972. _bitore_, bittern; _bumbleth_, makes a bellowing noise, which is also
expressed by _bumping_ or _booming_. Note that MS. Cm. has [318] _bumbith_.
Owing to the loud booming note of the male bittern, it is called in A. S.
_r[=a]re-dumle_ or _r[=a]re-dumbla_, from _r[=a]rian_, to roar; see
Wright's Glossaries. In provincial English, it is called a _butter-bump_,
or a _bumble_; or, from its frequenting moist places, a _bog-bumper_, a
_bog-drum_, or a _bull o' the bog_; see Swainson's Provincial Names of
British Birds, E. D. S., p. 146. It was formerly thought that the cry was
produced by the bird plunging its bill into mud and then blowing, as in the
present passage; others thought that it put its bill into a reed, a view
taken by Dryden, as he here has the line:--'And, as a bittern _bumps within
a reed_.' Sir T. Browne, in his Vulgar Errors, bk. iii. c. 27, controverts
these notions, and attributes the note to the conformation of the bird's
organs of voice. 'The same contradiction of the common notion is given,
from personal experience, by the Rev. S. Fovargue, in his New Catalogue of
Vulgar Errors, pp. 19-21'; note to Sir T. Browne, ed. S. Wilkin. The same
editor further refers us to papers by Dr. Latham and Mr. Yarrell in the
Linnaean Transactions, vols. iv, xv, and xvi. See Prof. Newton's Dict. of

981. There is not much 'remnant' of the tale; Ovid adds that some reeds
grew out of the pit, which, when breathed upon by the South wind, uttered
the words which had been buried.

992. This reminds us of Chaucer's own vision of Alcestis and her nineteen
attendant ladies in the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women.

997. Cf. Gower, Conf. Amantis, i. 93:--

 'In a forest, there under a tree
  He sigh where sat a creature,
  A lothly womannish figure,
  That, for to speke of flesshe and boon,
  So foul yet sigh he never noon.'

Also, in the Marriage of Sir Gawaine, st. 15:--

 'And, as he rode over a more,
    Hee see a lady where she sate
  Betwixt an oake and a greene hollen [holly];
    She was cladd in red scarlett....
  Her nose was crooked and turnd outward,
    Her mouth stood foule a-wry;
  A worse formed lady than shee was
    Neuer man saw with his eye.'

1004. _can_, know; but the form is singular, to agree with _folk_. Cf. the
proverb--'older and wiser'--in Hazlitt's Collection; and see A. 2448.

1018. _wereth on_, wears upon (her), has on; cf. l. 559 above.

_calle_, caul; a close-fitting netted cap or head-dress, often richly
ornamented; see Fairholt, Costume in England, s. v. _Caul_.

1021. _pistell_, (1) an epistle, as in E. 1154; hence (2), a short lesson,
as here. [319]

1024. _holde his day_, kept his time, come back at the specified time.
_hight_, promised.

1028. 'Queen Guenever is here represented sitting as judge in a Court of
Love, similar to those in fashion in later ages.... Fontenelle (in the
third volume of his works, Paris, 1742) has given a description of one of
the fantastic suits tried in these courts.... The best source of
information on these strange follies is a book entitled _Erotica, seu
Amatoria, Andreæ Capellarii Regis_, &c., written about A.D. 1170, and
published at Dorpmund in 1610.'--Bell.

1038. Cf. Gower, Conf. Amantis, i. 96:--

 'That alle women levest wolde
  Be soverein of mannes love,' &c.

So also in the Marriage of Sir Gawaine, st. 28:--

  --'a woman will have her will,
  And this is all her cheef desire.'

1069. The scansion is--'Shold' ev'r | so foul | e dis | pará | ged be.'

1074. It is curious to note how Chaucer seems to have felt that
romance-writers were constrained to describe feasts, a duty which he
usually evades. Cf. A. 2197, B. 419, 1120, E. 1710, F. 278. In fact, the
original business of the minstrel was to praise his lord's bounty,
especially on grand occasions.

1081. So in Gower's Conf. Amantis, i. 100:--

 'But as _an oule_ fleeth by nighte
  Out of all other briddes sighte,
  Right so this knight, on daies brode,' &c.

This line, for a wonder, is unaltered by Dryden in his paraphrase.

1085. _walweth_, rolls from side to side, turns about restlessly; cf. Leg.
Good Wom. 1166; Troil. i. 699; Rom. Rose, 2562.

1088. _Fareth_, pronounced as _Far'th_; cf. _tak'th_ in 1072.

1090. _dangerous_, distant, unapproachable; see D. 151.

1109. _Gentilesse._ See my notes (in vol. i. 431, 553) on R. R. 2190, and
Gentilesse. Compare Boethius, bk. iii. pr. 6 and met. 6; Roman de la Rose,
ed. Méon, 6603-6616, and 18807-19096; and see B. 2831.

1114. Cf. _privee n'apert_ in l. 1136; 'in private and in public.'

1117. _wol we_, desires that we; see 1130 below.

1121. Cf. Balade of Gentilesse, ll. 16, 17.

1128. Cf. Dante, _Purgat._ vii. 121:--

 'Rade volte risurge per li rami
  L'umana probitate: e questo vuole
  Quei che la dâ, perchè da lui si chiami.'

Cary's translation is:--

 'Rarely into the branches of the tree
  Doth human worth mount up: and so ordains
  He who bestows it, that as His free gift
  It may be called.'

[320] Marsh notes that similar sentiments occur in the Canzone prefixed to
the fourth Trattato in Dante's Convito.

1135. The general sense is--'if gentle conduct were naturally implanted in
a particular family, none of that family could ever behave badly.' Cf. ll.
1150, 1151.

 'Were virtue by descent, a noble name
  Could never villanise his father's fame.'
                            Dryden's paraphrase.

1140. Chaucer's tr. of Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 7. 43, mentions 'the
mountaigne that highte _Caucasus_.' This is probably where he got the name
from. Cf. Shakespeare's 'frosty _Caucasus_'; Rich. II. i. 3. 295. The whole
passage is imitated from another place in Boethius, where Chaucer's
translation has:--'Certes, yif that honour of poeple were a natural yift to
dignitees, it ne mighte never cesen ... to don his office, right as fyr in
every contree ne stinteth nat to eschaufen and to ben hoot'; bk. iii. pr.
4. 44-8. In l. 1139, Dryden merely alters _in_ to _to_.

1142. _lye_, i. e. blaze. 'Hevene _y-leyed_ wose syth,' whoever sees heaven
in a blaze; Relig. Antiq. i. 266. The sb. _lye_, a flame, occurs in P. Pl.
C. xx. 172. Cf. A. S. _l[=y]g_, _l[=i]g_, flame.

1146-56. Much altered and expanded in Dryden.

1158. Cf. Rom. of the Rose, 2181:--

 'For vilany makith vilayn;
  And by his dedis a cherl is seyn.'

1165. 'Incunabula Tulli Hostilii agreste tugurium cepit: ejusdem
adolescentia in pecore pascendo fuit occupata: validior aetas imperium
Romanum rexit, et duplicavit: senectus excellentissimis ornamentis decorata
in altissimo majestatis fastigio fulsit.'--Valerius Maximus, lib. iii. c. 4
(De Humili Loco Natis). Cf. Livy, i. 22; Dionysius Halicarnasseus, iii;
Ælian, xiv. 36.

1168. _Senek_, Seneca. _Boece_, Boethius; see note to 1109.

1184. Ll. 1183-1190 are imitated from the following; 'Honesta, inquit
[Epicurus], res est laeta paupertas. Illa uero non est paupertas, si laeta
est. Cui enim cum paupertate bene conuenit, diues est. Non qui parum habet,
sed qui plus cupit, pauper est.'--Seneca, Epist. ii. § 4. This passage is
quoted by John of Salisbury, Policraticus, l. vii. c. 13.

_Othere clerkes_ also includes Epicurus, whose sentiments Seneca here
expresses; see Diogenes Laertius, x. 11. MS. E. here quotes the words
'honesta res est laeta paupertas' in the margin, and refers to 'Seneca, in
epistola.' It also has:--'Pauper est qui eget, eo quod non habet; sed qui
non habet, nec appetit habere, ille diues est; de quo intelligitur id
Apocalypsis tertio [Rev. iii. 17]--dicis quia diues sum.' With l. 1187 cf.
Rom. de la Rose, 18766:--'Et convoitise fait povrece.'

1191. All the editions adopt the reading _is sinne_, as in all the MSS.
except E. and Cm. (the two best); see footnote, p. 354. But surely this is
nonsense, and exactly contradicts l. 1183.

1192. In the margin of MS. E. are quoted two lines from Juvenal, [321] Sat.
x. 21,22:--'Cantabit uacuus coram latrone uiator; Et nocte ad lumen
trepidabit arundinis umbram.' The latter of these lines should come first,
and the usual readings are _motae_ (not _nocte_), _lunam_, and
_trepidabis_. However, it is only the other (and favourite) line that is
here alluded to. The same line is quoted in Piers Plowman, B. xiv. 305; and
is alluded to in Chaucer's tr. of Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 5. 129-130. In
Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, ii. 364, is the remark:--'For _it is said
comounli_, that a wey-goer, whan he is voide, singith sure bi the theef.'

1195. In the margin of E. is written:--'Secundus philosophus: Paupertas est
odibile bonum, sanitatis mater, curarum remocio, sapientie reparatrix,
possessio sine calumpnia.' This is the very passage quoted, even more
fully, in Piers Plowman, B. xiv. 275 (C. xvii. 117). Tyrwhitt's note
is--'In this commendation of Poverty, our author seems plainly to have had
in view the following passage of a fabulous conference between the emperor
Adrian and Secundus the philosopher, reported by Vincent of Beauvais,
Speculum Historiale, lib. x. cap. 71. "Quid est paupertas? Odibile bonum,
sanitatis mater, remotio curarum, sapientie repertrix, negotium sine damno,
possessio absque calumnia, sine sollicitudine felicitas." What Vincent has
there published seems to have been extracted from a larger collection of
_Gnomae_ under the name of Secundus, which are still extant in Greek and
Latin. See Fabricius, Bib. Gr., l. vi. c. x, and MS. Harl. 399.' Thus l.
1195 is a translation of _Paupertas est odibile bonum_, so that the
proposal by Dr. Morris (Aldine edition of Chaucer, vol. i. p. vi) to adopt
the reading _hatel_ from MSS. Cp. Pt. Ln. instead of _hateful_, is founded
on a mistake. The expression is contradictory, but it is so intentionally.
'Poverty is a gift which its possessors hate' is, of course, the meaning.
Dryden well explains it:--

 'Want is a bitter and a hateful good,
  Because its virtues are not understood.'

1196. This translates 'remotio curarum.'

1197. This translates 'sapientie reparatrix,' not 'repertrix.'

1199. _elenge_, miserable, hard to bear. _Elenge_ is also spelt _alenge_,
_alinge_, _alange_; see _Alange_ in the New English Dictionary, though the
proper form is rather _alenge_. It is a derivative of the intensive A. S.
prefix _[=æ]_ and _lenge_, a secondary form of _lang_, long; so that A. S.
_[=æ]lenge_ meant protracted, tedious, wearisome, as in Alfred's tr. of
Boethius, xxxix. 4. But it was confused with the M. E. _elend_, strange,
foreign, and so acquired the sense of 'strange' as well as 'trying' or
'miserable.' See _Elynge_ in the Gl. to P. Plowman, and the note to P. Pl.
C. i. 204; also Mätzner's note to the Land of Cokayne, l. 15.

1200. This line translates 'possessio absque calumnia.' The E. _challenge_
is, in fact, derived from _calumnia_, through Old French.

1202. Understand _him_: 'maketh (him) know his God and himself'; see
Dryden's paraphrase. Against this line, in the margin of MS. E., [322] is
written:--'Unde et Crates ille Thebanus, proiecto in mari non paruo auri
pondere, Abite (inquit) pessime male cupiditates! Ego uos mergam, ne ipse
mergar a uobis.' Probably Chaucer once intended to introduce this story
into the text. It relates, apparently, to Crates of Thebes, the Cynic
philosopher, who flourished about B. C. 320.

1203. _spectacle_, i. e. an optic glass, a kind of telescope. In the modern
sense, the word was used in the plural, as at present. From Lydgate's
London Lickpenny, st. 7, we learn that 'spectacles to reede' was, in his
time, one of the cries of London. Cf. _prospectyves_, i. e. perspective
glasses, in F. 234. Chaucer is here thinking of a passage in Le Roman de la
Rose, where the E. version (l. 5551) has:--

 'For infortune makith anoon
  To knowe thy freendis fro thy foon.'

This, again, is from Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 8. 22-33. Compare Chaucer's poem
on Fortune, ll. 9, 32, 34, and my notes upon these lines; vol. i. pp. 383,

1208. See note to l. 1276 below; and cf. D. 1.

1210. Compare C. 743, and the note.

1215. For _also_, Tyrwhitt reads _also so_, against all authority, as he
admits. The text is right as it stands. _Eld-e_ is dissyllabic, the final
_e_ being preserved by the cæsura; and _also_ means no more than 'so.' I
suspect this is quoted from some French proverb. Dryden alters 'filth' to

1224. _repair_, great resort, viz. of visitors.

1234. 'I care not which of the two it shall be.' Cf. Gower, Conf. Amantis,
i. 103:--

 'Chese for us bothe, I you praie,
  And what as ever that ye saie,
  Right as ye wolle, so wol I.
  My lord, she saide, grauntmercy.
  For of this word that ye now sain,
  That ye have made me soverein,
  My destinè is overpassed'; &c.

1260. _toverbyde_, to over-bide, to outlive. Tyrwhitt substitutes _to
overlive_, from the black-letter editions. _Gra-ce_ is dissyllabic.

1261. _shorte_, shorten; see D. 365.


1276. _auctoritees_; a direct reference to l. 1208 above. This goes far to
show that the Friar's Tale was written immediately after the Wife's Tale.
The Friar says, quite truly, that the Wife's Tale contains passages not
unlike 'school-matter,' or disquisitions in the schools. Such a passage is
that in ll. 1109-1212. Tyrwhitt shews that _auctoritas_ was the usual word
applied to a text of scripture; Bell adds, that it was applied, as now, to
_any_ authority for a statement. We might very well translate _auctoritees_
by 'quotations.' [323]

1284. _mandements_, 'citations, or summonses, addressed to those accused of
breaches of the canons, to appear and answer in the archdeacon's court';
Bell. Hence the name _somnour_, i. e. a server of summonses.

1285. _tounes ende_ (whence the name _Townsend_); we should now say, 'at
the entry to every town'; cf. l. 1537. The Somnour was often opposed with
violence, and was a very unpopular character.

1294. The limiters had to cultivate the art of flattery, because they lived
by begging from house to house.

*** After this line all the MSS. (except Hl.) wrongly insert lines 1307,
1308 (on p. 359). Perhaps the poet himself introduced these lines here at
first, and afterwards perceived how much better they came in after l. 1306.
It is not an important matter.

1296. MS. Hl. has:--'Our host answerd and sayd the sompnour this'; which
cannot be right.


With respect to the source of this Tale, see vol. iii. p. 450.

1300. _erchedeken._ As to the duties of the archdeacon, here described,
compare A. 655, 658. He enforced discipline by threats of excommunication,
and inflicted fines for various offences. Compare Wyclif's Works, ed.
Arnold, iii. 166.

1305. I. e. he punished church-reeves if they did ill, and all cases in
which wills or contracts had been wantonly violated. 'Lakke of sacraments'
refers, chiefly, to the neglect of the precept to communicate at Easter;
also to neglect of baptism, and, possibly, of matrimony, as that was also a
'sacrament' in the church of our fathers.

1307-8. These two lines occur here in MS. Hl. only; see note to 1294 above.

1309. Usury was prohibited by the Canon Law; cf. P. Plowman, C. vii. 239.

1314. 'No fine could save the accused from punishment.'

1315. 'The neglect to pay tithes and Easter offerings came under the
archdeacon's jurisdiction, as the bishop's diocesan officer. The friar does
not scruple to make an invidious use of this subject at the expense of the
parochial clergy, because, being obliged by his rule to gain his livelihood
by begging, he had no interest in tithes.'--Bell.

1317. Alluding to the shape of the bishop's crosier. In P. Plowman, C. xi.
92, the crosier is described as having a hook at one end, by which he draws
men back to a good life, and a spike at the other, which he uses against
hardened offenders. On the crosier, see Rock, Church of Our Fathers, ii.
181. The bishop dealt with such offenders as were contumacious to the

1321. For the character of a Somnour, see A. 623.

1323. _espiaille_, set of spies; see note to B. 2509, p. 213. [324]

1324. _taughte_, informed; the final _e_ is _not_ elided.

1327. _wood were_, should be, were to be as mad as a hare. See 'As mad as a
March hare' in Hazlitt's Proverbs.

1329. The mendicant orders were subject only to their own general or
superior, not to the bishops. In the piece called Jack Upland (§ 11), Jack
asks the friars--'Why be ye not vnder your bishops visitations, and
leegemen to our king?'--British Poets, ed. Chalmers, 1810; i. 567.

1331. _terme_, i. e. during the term.

1332. _Peter_, by saint Peter. 'The summoner's repartee is founded upon the
law by which houses of ill-fame were exempted from ecclesiastical
interference, and licensed.'--Bell. '_Stewes_, are those places which were
permitted in England to women of professed incontinency.... But king Henry
VIII., about the year 1546, prohibited them for ever.'--Cowel's
Interpreter. Cock Lane, Smithfield, contained such houses; see my notes to
P. Plowman, C. vii. 366, 367.

1343. _approwours_, agents, men who looked after his profits. From the O.
Fr. _approuer_, _apprower_, to cause to profit, to enrich; from the O. Fr.
sb. _prou_, profit, whence also E. _prowess_. Miswritten as _approver_ in
the seventeenth century, though distinct from _approve_ (from _approbare_).
See the New Eng. Dictionary. Tyrwhitt has the spelling _approvers_.

1347. _Cristes curs_, i. e. excommunication.

1349. _atte nale_, put for _atten ale_, lit. at the ale, where _ale_ is put
for 'ale-house.' _Atten_ is for A. S. _æt tham_, where _tham_ is the dat.
neut. of the def. article. The expression is common; as in 'fouhten _atten
ale_,' fought at the ale-house, P. Plowman, C. i. 43; 'with ydel tales
_atte nale_,' id. C. viii. 19. 'Thou hast not so much charity in thee as to
goe to the Ale with a Christian'; Two Gent. of Verona, ii. v. 61. So also
_atte noke_, for _atten oke_, at the oak; see note to P. Pl. C. vii. 207.

1350. See John, xii. 6; and cf. the Legend of Judas Iscariot, printed (from
MS. Harl. 2277) in Early Eng. Poems, ed. Furnivall, 1862; p. 107.

1352. _duetee_ (Cp. _dewete_) is trisyllabic; see l. 1391. It is a coined
word, having no Latin equivalent. The spelling _duete_ occurs, in
Anglo-French, in the Liber Albus, p. 211, l. 23.

1356. _Sir Robert_; the title of _Sir_ was usually given to one of the
secular clergy; cf. note to B. 4000, p. 248.

1364. _hir_, her; so in E. Hn., but other MSS. have _thee_. The reading
given is the better. The Somnour fined the man, but let the woman go; and
then said that he let her go out of friendship for the man. This is
intelligible; but the reading _thee_ gives no sense to the words _for thy

1365. 'You need not take any more trouble in this matter.'

1367. _bryberý-es_ (four syllables), i. e. modes of robbery. So in MSS. Hn.
Cm. Cp. MSS. Hl. Pt. Ln. have _bribours_, which will not scan, unless (as
in Hl.) we also read _Certeinly_, giving a line defective in the first
foot. Tyrwhitt inserts _many_ before _mo_, to fill up the line. [325]

1369. _dogge for the bowe_, a dog used to accompany an archer, to follow up
a stricken deer; see the next line. The docility of such a dog is alluded
to in E. 2014.

1373. 'And, because such acquaintance brought him in the chief part of all
his income.'

1377. _ribybe._ In l. 1573, she is called 'an old _rebekke_.' So in
Skelton's Elinour Rummyng, l. 492:--'There came an old _rybybe_.' And Ben
Jonson speaks of 'some good _ribibe_ ... you would hang now for a witch';
The Devil is an Ass, i. 1. 16. But probably Skelton and Ben Jonson merely
took the word from Chaucer. A _ribybe_ was, properly, a two-stringed
Moorish fiddle; see note to A. 3331. Gifford's note on the passage in Ben
Jonson, says:--'_Ribibe_, together with its synonym _rebeck_, is merely a
cant term for an old woman. A ribibe, the reader knows, is a rude kind of a
fiddle, and the allusion is, probably, to the inharmonious nature of its
sounds.' Halliwell suggests some (improbable) confusion between _vetula_
and _vitula_.

I suspect that this old joke, for such it clearly is, arose in a very
different way, viz. from a pun upon _rebekke_, a fiddle, and _Rebekke_, a
married woman, from the mention of _Rebecca_ in the marriage-service. For
Chaucer himself notices the latter in E. 1704, which see. Observe that the
form _rebekke_, as applied to the fiddle, is a corrupt one, though it is
found in other languages. See _rebebe_ in Godefroy's O. F. Dictionary, and
_rebec_ in Littré.

1378. _Cause_ and _wolde_ are dissyllabic; and _brybe_, to rob, is a verb.
But the editors ignore such elementary facts. The old editions insert _haue
a_ before _brybe_; and the modern editions insert _han a_; which, as Wright
observes, is not to be found in the MSS!

1381. See A. 103, 104, 108; and, for _courtepy_, A. 290.

1382. _hadde upon_, had on; cf. D. 559, 1018.

1384. 'Well overtaken, well met.' So in Partonope of Blois, 6390: 'Syr,
_wele atake_!' Cf. G. 556.

1394. _for the name_, because of the disgrace attaching to the very name.
The Friar is severe.

1405. _sworn-e_, a plural form; the word _sworn_ being here used
adjectivally. See note to A. 1132, p. 66.

1408. _venim_, spite. _wariangles_, shrikes. According to C. Swainson
(Provincial Names of British Birds), this is the Red-backed Shrike (_Lanius
collurio_), called in Yorkshire the Weirangle or Wariangle. Some make it
the Great Grey Shrike (_Lanius excubitor_). Thus Ray, in his Provincial
Words, ed. 1674, p. 83, gives _warringle_ as a name for the Great
Butcher-bird in the Peak of Derbyshire. 'This Bird,' says Willughby, 'in
the North of England is called _Wierangle_, a name, it seems, common to us
with the Germans, who (as Gesner witnesseth) about Strasburg, Frankfort,
and elsewhere, call it _Werkangel_ or _Warkangel_, perchance (saith he) as
it were _Wurchangel_, which literally rendered signifies "a suffocating
angel."' So also, the mod. G. name is _Würgengel_, as if from _würgen_ and
_Engel_. But this is a form [326] due to popular etymology, as will
presently appear. Cotgrave has '_Pie engrouée_, a Wariangle, or a small
Woodpecker'; but a wariangle is really a Shrike; indeed Cotgrave also has:
'_Arneat_, the ravenous birde called a Shrike, Nynmurder, Wariangle'; which
is correct. In the Wars of Alexander, ed. Skeat, l. 1706, the word
_wayryngle_ occurs as a term of abuse, signifying 'a little villain'; this
is probably the same word, and answers to a dimin. form of A. S. _wearg_
(Icel. _vargr_, O. H. G. _warg_, _warc_), a felon, with the suffix
_-incel_, as seen in A. S. _r[=a]p-incel_, a little rope, _h[=u]s-incel_, a
little house. Bradley cites, as parallel forms, the O. H. G. _warchengil_
(see below), and the M. L. G. _wargingel_, which are probably formed in a
similar way. The epithet 'little felon' or 'little murderer' agrees with
other names for the shrike, viz. 'butcher-bird,' 'murdering-bird,'
'nine-murder,' nine-killer,' so called because it impales beetles and small
birds on thorns, for the purpose of pulling them to pieces. This is why I
take _venim_ to mean 'spite' rather than 'poison' in this passage.

Schmeller, in his Bavarian Dict., ii. 999, says that the _Lanius excubitor_
is called, in O. H. G. glosses, _Warchengel_ (Graff, i. 349); also
_Wargengel_, _Würgengel_, and _Würger_.

1413. _north contree._ This is a sly joke, because, in the old Teutonic
mythology, hell was supposed to be in the _north_. Wright refers us, for
this belief, to his St. Patrick's Purgatory. See my note to P. Plowman, C.
ii. 111, about Lucifer's sitting _in the north_; cf. Isaiah, xiv. 13, 14;
Milton, P. L. v. 755-760; Myrour of our Lady, ed. Blunt, p. 189. In the
Icelandic Gylfaginning, we find--'niðr ok norðr liggr Helvegr,' i. e.
downwards and northwards lies the way to hell. Cf. l. 1448.

1428. _laborous_ is right; _offyc-e_ is trisyllabic.

1436. A proverbial expression; still in use in Lancashire and elsewhere;
see N. and Q., 7 S. x. 446, 498. Cf. 'a taker and a bribing [robbing]
feloe, and one for whom nothing was _to hotte nor to heauie_.' Udall, tr.
of Erasmus' Apophthegmes; Cicero, § 50.

 'Their loues they on the tenter-hookes did racke,
  Rost, boyl'd, bak'd, too too much white, claret, sacke,
  Nothing they thought _too heavy nor too hot_,
  Canne followed Canne, and pot succeeded pot.'
                 John Taylor; Pennilesse Pilgrimage.

Of course the sense is--'too hot to hold.' Tyrwhitt quotes a similar phrase
from Froissart, v. i. c. 229, 'ne laissoient riens a prendre, s'il n'estoit
_trop chaud_, trop froid, ou _trop pesant_.'

1439. 'Were it not for my extortion, I could not live.'

1451. 'What I can thus acquire is the substance of all my income.' See note
to A. 256; and _Feck_ in the New Eng. Dictionary.

1456. Read _ben'cite_; and observe the rime: _prey-e_, _sey ye_. Pronounce:
(prei·y[*e], sei·y[*e]), where ([*e]) represents the obscure vowel, or the
_a_ in _China_. [327]

1459. Such questions were eagerly discussed in the middle ages; see l.

1463. _make yow seme_, make it seem to you. Tyrwhitt has _wene_ (for
_seme_), which occurs in MS. Cp. only.

1467. _iogelour_, juggler; for their tricks, see F. 1143. Wright
says:--'The _jogelour_ (_joculator_) was originally the minstrel, and at an
earlier period was an important member of society. He always combined
mimicry and mountebank performances with poetry and music. In Chaucer's
time he had so far degenerated as to have become a mere mountebank, and as
it appears, to have merited the energetic epithet here applied to him.' Cf.
my note to P. Plowman, C. xvi. 207.

1472. Read _abl' is_. MS. Hl. has:--'As most abíl is our-e pray to take.'
Cf. F. _habile_, for which Cotgrave gives one meaning as 'apt unto anything
he undertakes.'

1476. _pryme_, 9 A.M., a late time with early risers. See note to B. 4045,
p. 250.

1483-91. Cf. Boeth. bk. iv. pr. 6. 62-71; Job, i. 12; ii. 6.

1502. I suspect this to be an allusion to a story similar to that entitled
'A Lay of St. Dunstan' in the Ingoldsby Legends.

1503. This probably alludes to some of the legends about the apostles.
Thus, in The Lives of Saints, ed. Horstmann, p. 36, l. 72, some fiends are
represented as doing the will of St. James the Greater; and in the same, p.
368, l. 50, a fiend says of St. Bartholomew:--'He mai do with us al that he
wole, for bi-neothe him we beoth.' Cf. Acts, xix. 15.

1508. 'The adoption of the bodies of the deceased by evil spirits in their
wanderings upon earth, was an important part of the medieval superstitions
of this country, and enters largely into a variety of legendary stories
found in the old chroniclers.'--Wright. Bell quotes from Hamlet, ii.
2:--'The spirit that I have seen May be the devil,' &c.

1509. _renably_, reasonably. The A. F. form of 'reasonable' was _resnable_
(as in the Life of Edw. the Confessor, l. 1602); and, by the law that _s_
became silent before _l_, _m_, and _n_ (as in _isle_, _blasmer_, _disner_,
E. _isle_, _blame_, _dine_), this became _renable_. See note to P. Plowman,
C. i. 176.

1510. _Phitonissa_; this is another spelling of _pythonissa_, which is the
word used, in the Vulgate version of 1 Chron. x. 13, with reference to the
witch of Endor. In 1 Sam. xxviii. 7, the phrase is _mulier pythonem
habens_. The witch of Endor is also called _phitonesse_ in Gower, Conf.
Amant. bk. iv, ed. Pauli, ii. 66; Barbour's Bruce, iv. 753; Skelton's
Philip Sparowe, l. 1345; Lydgate's Falls of Princes, bk. ii. leaf xl, ed.
Wayland; Gawain Douglas, prol. to the Æneid, ed. Small, ii. 10, l. 2; and
in Sir D. Lyndesay's Monarchè, bk. iv. l. 5842. And see Hous of Fame, 1261.
Cf. [Greek: pneuma Puthônos], Acts, xvi. 16.

1518. _in a chayer rede_, lecture about this matter as in a professorial
chair, lecture like a professor; cf. l. 1638. The fiend is satirical.

1519. Referring to Vergil's Æneid, bk. vi, and Dante's Inferno.

1528. This much resembles A. 1132, q.v. [328]

1541. _for which_, for which reason; _stood_, stood still, was stuck fast.

1543. In Brand's Popular Antiquities, ed. Ellis, ii. 15, '_Heit_ or _Heck_'
is mentioned as being 'a well-known interjection used by the country people
to their horses.' Brand adds that 'the name of _Brok_ is still, too, in
frequent use amongst farmers' draught oxen.' In the Towneley Mysteries, p.
9, is the exclamation '_hyte!_' The word for '_stop!_' was '_ho!_' like the
modern _whoa!_ This explains a line in Gascoigne's Dan Bartholmew of Bathe,
ed. Hazlitt, i. 136:--'His thought sayd _haight_, his sillie speache cryed
_ho_.' Bell notes that '_Hayt_ is still the word used by waggoners in
Norfolk, to make their horses go on'; and adds--'_Brok_ means a badger,
hence applied to a gray horse, _myne owene lyard boy_ (l. 1563). _Scot_ is
a common name for farm-horses in East-Anglia; as in A. 616.' In the
Towneley Mysteries, p. 9, names of oxen are _Malle_, _Stott_ (doubtless
miswritten for _Scott_), _Lemyng_, _Morelle_, and _White-horne_. The Craven
Glossary says _hyte_ is used to turn horses to the left; whilst the Ger.
_hott!_ or _hottot!_ is used to turn them to the right. In Shropshire,
_'ait_ or _'eet_, said to horses, means 'go from me'; see _Waggoners'
Words_ in Miss Jackson's Shropsh. Wordbook.

1548. MS. Hl. has--'her schal we _se play_.' Tyrwhitt has _pray_, which
gives a false rime, for it should be _prey-e_; see l. 1455, and the note to
l. 1456. The six MSS. all have _a pley_.

1559. _thakketh_ (pronounced _thakk'th_) _his hors_, pats, or strokes his
horses; to encourage them. From A. S. _þaccian_, to stroke (a horse),
Gregory's Pastoral Care, ed. Sweet, p. 303, l. 10. So also in A. 3304. (Not
to _thwack_, or _whack_.)

1560. I adopt the reading of MSS. E. and Hn. MSS. Cm. Pt. Ln. have:--'And
they bigunne to drawe and to stoupe,' which throws an awkward accent on the
former _to_. MS. Hl. has:--'And thay bygon to drawen and to stowpe.' But I
take _to-stoupe_ to be a compound verb, with the sense 'stoop forward';
though I can find no other example of its use. Being uncommon, it would
easily have been resolved into two words, and this would necessitate the
introduction of _to_ before _drawen_. _Bigonne_ usually takes _to_ after
it, but not always; cf. 'Iapen tho bigan,' B. 1883.

1563. _twight_, pulled, lit. 'twitched.' '_Liard_, a common appellative for
a horse, from its _grey_ colour, as _bayard_ was from _bay_ (see A. 4115).
See P. Plowman, C. xx. 64 [and my note on the same]. Bp. Douglas, in his
_Virgil_, usually puts _liart_ for _albus_, _incanus_, &c.'--T. Other names
of horses are, _Favel_ for a chestnut, _Dun_ for a dun horse, _Ferrand_ for
an iron-gray, and _Morel_, i. e. mulberry-coloured, for a roan.

1564. I give the reading of MSS. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln., and of the black-letter
editions. MS. Hl. has 'I pray god saue thy body and seint loy'; for which
Cm. has 'the body,' as if 'the' were the original reading, and 'body' a
supplied word. I take _se-ynt_ to be dissyllabic, as in A. 120, 509, 697,
D. 604. As to _seint Loy_, the patron-saint of goldsmiths, farriers,
smiths, and carters, see note to A. 120. [329]

1568. Cf. Rom. de la Rose, 10335-6: 'car ge fesoie Une chose, et autre

1570. _upon cariage_, by way of quitting my claim to this cart and team; a
satirical reflection on his failure to win anything by the previous
occurrence. _Cariage_ was a technical term for a service of carrying, or a
payment in lieu of it, due from a tenant to his landlord or feudal
superior; see the New Eng. Dictionary, s. v. _Carriage_, I. 4. The landlord
used to claim the use of the tenant's horses and carts for his own service,
without payment for the use of them; and the tenant could only get off by
paying _cariage_. This difficult use of the word is exemplified by two
other passages in Chaucer, one of which is in the Cant. Tales, I. 752; q.v.
The other is in his Boethius, bk. i. pr. 4, l. 50, where he says:--'The
poeple of the provinces ben harmed outher by privee ravynes, or by comune
tributes or _cariages_,' where the Lat. text has _uectigalibus_.

1573. _rebekke_, old woman; lit. Rebecca; see note to l. 1377 above.

1576. Twelve pence was a considerable sum in those days; being equivalent
to something like fifteen shillings of our present money.

1580. _winne thy cost_, earn your expenses.

1582. _viritrate_, a term of contempt for an old woman. Cf. 'thou olde
_trot_,' addressed to an old woman; Thersites, in Hazlitt's Old Plays, i.
415. Jamieson gives _trat_, an old woman; with three examples from G.
Douglas. Levins (1570) has: 'Tratte, _anus_.'

1591. _wisly_, certainly. _I ne may_, I cannot (come).

1593. _go_, walk; as usual, when used with _ryde_.

1595. _axe a libel_, apply to have a written declaration of the complaint
against me, i. e. a copy of the indictment.

1596. _procutour_, proctor, to appear on my behalf. Only MS. Hl. has the
full form _procuratour_; the rest have _procutour_ or _procatour_, as
suitable for the metre. These forms are interesting, as furnishing the
intermediate step between _procurator_ and _proctor_. So, in the Prompt.
Parv., we find 'proketowre, _Procurator_,' and 'prokecye, _Procuracia_';
whence, by loss of _e_, _proctor_ and _proxy_. _there_ is dissyllabic, as
in A. 3165, and frequently.

1613. _Seinte Anne_, saint Anna, whose day is July 26. In Luke, ii. 36, is
mentioned 'Anna the prophetess.' At the commencement of the apocryphal
gospel of Mary, we are told that the virgin's 'father's name was Joachim,
and her mother's Anna.' This is the saint Anna here alluded to. See B. 641;
G. 70; and Cursor Mundi, l. 10147. Hence it became a common practice to
give a girl the name of Mary Ann, which combined the name of the virgin
with that of her mother.

1617. _I payde_, and which I paid.

1618. _lixt_, liest; a common form; see P. Plowman, C. vii. 138 (B. v.
163); Plowman's Crede, 542.

1630. _stot_, properly a stallion (as in A. 615), or a bullock; also
applied, as in the Cleveland Glossary, to an old ox. Here it clearly means
'old cow,' as a term of abuse. [330]

1635. _by right_; because the old woman really meant it; cf. l. 1568.

1644. _leve_, grant. Tyrwhitt wrongly has _lene_, lend. The difference
between these two words, which are constantly confused (being written
_leue_, _lene_, often indistinguishably) is explained in my note to P.
Plowman, B. v. 263. _Leue_ (grant, permit) is usually followed by a
dependent clause; but _lene_ (lend, grant, give) by an accusative case.

1647. I supply _and_ to fill up the line. This _and_ appears in all the
modern editions, but _without authority, and without any notice that the
MSS. omit it_. Yet it neither appears in any one of our seven MSS. nor in
MSS. Dd., Ii., or Mm. Neither does it appear in the black-letter editions.
Indeed MS. E. marks the scansion thus: After the text of Crist | Poul | and
John; as if the word 'Poul' occupied a whole foot of the verse. And I can
readily believe that the line was meant to be so scanned.

1657. See Ps. x. 9. _sit_, short for _sitteth_.

1661. See 1 Cor. x. 13. _over_, above, beyond.

1662. For Christ as a 'knight,' see P. Plowman, C. xxi. 11; Ancren Riwle,
p. 390.

1663. For _Somnours_, several MSS. have _Somnour_. MS. Cm. is defective;
MS. Dd. supports the reading which I have given. It is immaterial, as
_thise Somnours_ includes the particular Somnour who was one of the party.


1676. The words of St. Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 4, have suggested numerous
accounts of revelations made to saints regarding heaven and hell. In Bede's
Eccl. History, bk. iii. c. 19, we are told how St. Furseus saw a vision of
hell; so also did St. Guthlac, as related in his life, cap. 5. A long
vision of purgatory is recounted in the Revelation to the Monk of Evesham,
ed. Arber; and another in the account of St. Patrick's Purgatory, in the
Lives of Saints, ed. Horstmann. Long descriptions of hell are common, as in
the Cursor Mundi, l. 23195, and Hampole's Pricke of Conscience, l. 6464.
But the particular story to which Chaucer here alludes is, probably, not
elsewhere extant.

1688. Possibly Chaucer was thinking of the wings of Lucifer, greater than
any sails, as described in Dante's Inferno, xxxiv. 48; whence also Milton
speaks of Satan's 'sail-broad vans,' P. L. ii. 927. A _carrik_ or _carrack_
is a large trading-ship, and we have here the earliest known example of the
use of the word in English; see _Carrack_ in the New Eng. Dictionary.

1690-1. Cf. Rom. of the Rose, 7577-8; in vol. i. p. 257.

1695. Line 2119 of the House of Fame is: 'Twenty thousand in a route'; here
we have the same line with the addition of _freres_. [331] Both lines are
cast in the same mould, both being deficient in the first foot. Thus the
scansion is: Twen | ty thou | sand, &c. In order to conceal this fact,
Tyrwhitt reads: '_A_ twenty thousand,' &c., against all authority; but
Wright, Bell, Morris, and Gilman all allow the line to stand as Chaucer
wrote it, and as it is here given. The black-letter editions do the same.
It is a very small matter that all the copies except E. have _on_ for _in_;
as the words are equivalent, I keep _in_ (as in E.), because _in_ is the
reading in the Hous of Fame.


For further remarks about this Tale, see vol. iii. p. 452.

It is principally directed against the Frere; see the description of him in
the Prologue, A. 208.

1710. Holderness is an extremely flat district; it lies at the S. E. angle
of Yorkshire, between Hull, Driffield, Bridlington and Spurn Point; see the
Holderness Glossary, E. D. S. 1877. We find that Chaucer makes no attempt
here, as in the Reeve's Tale, to imitate the Yorkshire dialect.

1712. _to preche._ The friars were popular preachers of the middle ages.
They were to live by begging, and were therefore often called the Mendicant
Orders; see l. 1912, and the notes to A. 208, 209. The friar of our story
was a _Carmelite_; see note to l. 2116.

1717. _trentals._ A _trental_ (from Low Lat. _trentale_, O. F. _trentel_)
was an office of thirty masses, to be said on so many consecutive days, for
the benefit of souls in purgatory. It also meant, as here, the sum paid for
the same to the priest or friar. See Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 299,
374; ed. Matthew (E. E. T. S.) pp. 211, 516; and the poem entitled St.
Gregory's Trental, in Religious, Political, and Love Poems, ed. Furnivall,
p. 83.

1722. _possessioners._ This term seems to have been applied (1) to the
regular orders of monks who possessed landed property, and (2) to the
beneficed clergy. I think there is here particular reference to the latter,
as indicated by the occurrence of _preest_ in l. 1727, _curat_ in 1816, and
_viker_ and _persone_ in l. 2008. The friars, on the contrary, were
supposed to have no endowments, but to subsist entirely upon alms; they
contrived, however, to evade this restriction, and in Pierce the Plowman's
Crede, there is a description of a Dominican convent built with
considerable splendour. I take the expression 'Thanked be god' in l. 1723
to be a parenthentical remark made by the Somnour who tells the story, as
it is hardly consistent with the views of the friars. As to the perpetual
jealousies between the friars and the possessioners, see P. Plowman, B. v.

1728. It was usual (as said in note to l. 1717) to sing the thirty masses
on thirty consecutive days, as Chaucer here remarks. But the friar says
they are better when 'hastily y-songe'; and it would appear [332] that the
friars used occasionally to sing all the thirty masses in one day, and so
save a soul from twenty-nine days of purgatory; cf. ll. 1729, 1732. In
English Gilds, ed. Toulmin Smith, p. 8, we have an example of this. The
wardens are there directed to summon the Minorite Friars to say the dirge,
'and _on the morwe_ to seie a _trent_ of masses atte same freres.'

In Jack Upland, § 13, we find: 'Why make ye [freres] men beleeue that your
golden trentall sung of you, to take therefore ten shillings, or at least
fiue shillings, woll bring souls out of hell, or out of purgatorie?'

1730. _oules._ The M. E. forms _oule_, _owel_, _owul_, as well as A. S.
_awul_, _awel_, are various spellings of E. _awl_, which see in the New
Eng. Dict. Hence _oules_ means _awls_ or piercing instruments. In the Life
of St. Katherine, l. 2178, the tormentors torture the saint with 'eawles of
irne,' i. e. iron awls. In Horstmann's South-English Legendary (E. E. T.
S.), St. Blase is tormented with 'oules kene,' which tore his flesh as when
men comb wool (p. 487, l. 84); hence he became the patron saint of
wool-combers. Similar tortures were applied by fiends in the medieval
descriptions of hell. See Ancren Riwle, p. 212; St. Brandan, ed. Wright,
pp. 22, 48.

 'There are the furies tossing damnèd souls
  On burning forks.'
                          Marlowe, Faustus, Act v. sc. 4.

1734. _qui cum patre._ 'This is part of the formula with which prayers and
sermons are still sometimes concluded in the Church of England.'--Bell. In
a sermon for Ascension Day, in Morris's O. E. Homilies, ii. 115, we have at
the end an allusion, in English, to Christ, after which follows:--'qui cum
patre et spiritu sancto uiuit et regnat per omnia secula seculorum.' Such
was the usual formula.

1740. The friars often begged in pairs; in this way, each was a check upon
the other as regarded the things thus obtained. In Jack Upland, § 23, we
find the friars are asked:--'What betokeneth that ye goe tweine and tweine
togither?' Langland tells us how he met two friars; see P. Plowman, C. xi.

1741. _tables_, writing tablets. In Horman's Vulgaria, leaf 81, we
read:--'Tables be made of leues of yuery, boxe, cyprus, and other stouffe,
daubed with waxe to wrytte on.' And again, in the same:--'Poyntellis of
yron, and poyntyllis of syluer, bras, boon, or stoone.' This is a survival
of the use of the Roman waxed tablet and _stilus_.

1743. Jack Upland (§ 20) asks the friar:--'Why writest thou hir names in
thy tables that yeueth thee mony?' The usual reason was, that the donors
might be prayed for; see l. 1745. Cf. l. 1752.

1745. _Ascaunces_, as if, as though, as if to promise. In G. 838, q.v., it
means 'you might suppose that,' or 'possibly.' In Troilus, i. 205, it means
'as if to say'; Boccaccio's Italian has _quasi dicesse_. It also occurs in
Troilus, i. 292; Lydgate, Fall of Princes, fol. 136 b (Tyrwhitt); [333]
Tale of Beryn, 1797; Palladius on Husbandry, vi. 39; Sidney's Arcadia, ed.
1622, p. 162; and in Gascoigne's Works, ed. Hazlitt, i. 113, where the
marginal note has 'as who should say.' See the New Eng. Dictionary, where
the etymology is said to be unknown.

I have since found that it is a hybrid compound. The first part of it is E.
_as_, used superflously and tautologically; the latter part of it is the
O. F. _quanses_, 'as if,' first given in a dictionary by Godefroy in 1889,
with six examples, and three other spellings, viz. _qanses_, _quainses_,
and _queinsi_. Godefroy refers us to Romania, xviii. 152, and to Foerster's
edition of _Cliges_, note to l. 4553. Kilian gives Mid. Du. '_quantsuys_,
quasi'; borrowed from O. French, without any prefix.

1746. Nothing came amiss to the friars. They begged for 'corn, monee,
chese,' &c.; see Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 304. And in Skelton's
Colin Clout, l. 842, we read of the friars:--

 'Some to gather chese;
  Loth they are to lese
  Eyther corne or malte;
  Somtyme meale and salte,
  Somtyme a bacon-flycke,' &c.

1747. _Goddes_ here translated the French expression _de Dieu_, meaning
'sent from God.' Tyrwhitt says that the true meaning of _de Dieu_ 'is
explained by M. de la Monnoye in a note upon the _Contes de D. B. Periers_,
t. ii. p. 107. _Belle serrure de Dieu_: Expression du petit peuple, qui
raporte pieusement tout à Dieu. Rien n'est plus commun dans la bouche des
bonnes vieilles, que ces espèces d'Hébraïsmes: _Il m'en conte un bel écu de
Dieu; Il ne me reste que ce pauvre enfant de Dieu. Donnez-moi une bénite
aumône de Dieu._ See _goddes halfpeny_ in l. 1749. (The explanation by
Speght, and in Cowel's Interpreter, s. v. _kichell_, seems to be, as
Tyrwhitt says, an invention.)

_kechil_, a little cake. The form _kechell_ occurs in the Ormulum, l. 8662;
answering to the early A. S. _coecil_, occurring as a gloss to _tortum_ in
the Epinal Glossary, 993; different from A. S. _c[=i]cel_ (for _c[=y]cel_),
given as _cicel_ in Bosworth's Dictionary. The cognate M. H. G. word is
_küechel[=i]n_ (Schade), O. H. G. _chuochel[=i]n_, double dimin. from O. H.
G. _kuocho_ (G. _Kuchen_), a cake; see _Kuchen_ in Kluge. The E. _cake_ is
a related word, but with a difference in vowel-gradation.

_trip_, 'a morsel.' 'Les _tripes_ d'un fagot, the smallest sticks in a
faggot'; Cotgrave.

1749. _masse-peny_, a penny for saying a mass. Jack Upland, § 19,
says:--'Freer, whan thou receiuest a peny for to say a masse, whether
sellest thou Gods body for that peny, or thy prayer, or els thy travell?'

1751. '_dagon_, a slip, or piece. It is found in Chaucer, Berners, and
Steevens' Supp. to Dugdale, ii. ap. 370, applied in each instance to a
blanket'; Halliwell. Cf. M. E. _dagge_, a strip of cloth.

1755. _hostes man_, servant to the guests at the convent. _Hoste_ seems
here to mean 'guest,' which is one of the meanings of O. F. _hoste_ (see
[334] Cotgrave). This sense is rare in M. E., but it occurs in the Romance
of Merlin, ed. Wheatley, iii. 684, last line but one. Because he 'bare the
bag,' this attendant on the friars was nicknamed Iscariot; cf. John, xii.
6. 'Thei leden with hem a Scarioth, stolen fro is eldris by thefte, to
robbe pore men bi beggynge'; Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 49.

1768. _the gode man_, the goodman, or master of the house. MS. Hl. has
_housbond-man_, and MSS. Cp. Ln. _bonde man_; all with the same sense.
_place_, house; cf. note to B. 1910; p. 184.

1770. _Deus hic_, God be here; 'the ordinary formula of benediction on
entering a house'; Wright.

1775. A fine realistic touch; the friar made himself quite at home.

1778. _go walked_, gone on a walk. For _go walked_, as in all the seven
MSS., Tyrwhitt substitutes _y-walked_, suppressing this characteristic
idiom. See note to C. 406; p. 272.

1792. _glose_, gloss, interpretation, as distinguished from the text.

1794. Cf. 2 Cor. iii. 6. In the margin of E., 'Litera occidit, &c.'

1804. Kissing was an ordinary form of salutation.

1810. It was usual, I believe, to use a form of deprecation of this sort in
reply to praise. The sense is--'but I am aware that I have defects, and may
God amend them.'

1816. _curats_, parish clergy; cf. note to l. 1722.

1820. Cf. 'thou shalt catch men'; Luke, v. 10; 'fishers of men,' Matt. iv.
19; Rom. Rose, (E. version), 7492.

1824. 'For (the sake of the) holy Trinity.' _Seint-e_ is feminine.

1825. _pissemyre_, ant. Cf. 'as angry as a wasp,' in Heywood's Proverbs.

1832. _Ie vous dy_, I tell you. A common phrase; see King Alisaunder, ed.
Weber, l. 79; Rom. of the Rose, 7408 (in vol. i. p. 254).

1834. _ire_ (Lat. _ira_) is one of the seven deadly sins; hence the friar's
sermon against it, in ll. 2005-2088.

1842. 'But I hope no animal is ever killed on my account.' A strong hint
that he always expected some special provision to be made for him.

1845. Cf. John, iv. 34; Job, xxiii. 12.

1853. _toun_, village; or, precincts of this farm-house.

1857. Visions of saints being carried to heaven are not uncommon. Bede
relates one, of Saint Earcongota; Eccl. Hist. bk. iii. c. 8.

1859. _fermerer_, the friar who had charge of the infirmary. Put for
_enfermerer_, from O. Fr. _enfermerier_ (Godefroy). So also _fermorie_, an
infirmary, in P. Pl. B. xiii. 108.

1862. _maken hir Iubilee_, keep their jubilee; i. e. having served fifty
years in the convent, they have obtained certain privileges, one of which
was to go about alone; see note to l. 1740. Tyrwhitt refers us to Ducange,
s. v. _Sempectæ_.

1864. _trikling_, so E. Hn.; Cm. _trynkelynge_ (probably by error); rest
_trilling_. Cf. B. 1864.

1866. 'Nothing but a thanksgiving would have been appropriate for [335] a
child dying in infancy, of whose translation to paradise the friar pretends
that he had seen a vision'; Bell.

1872. _burel_ (Pt. Hl. _borel_) _folk_, lay folk, the laity. 'The term
seems to have arisen from the material of their clothing, which was not
used by the clergy'; Wright. Cf. _borel_, in D. 356; _borel men_, i. e.
laymen, in B. 3145; and _borel clerkes_, lay clerks, learned laymen, in P.
Plowman, B. x. 286.

1877. See Luke, xvi. 19, 20.

1880. In the margin of E., 'Melius est animam saginare quam corpus.' Jean
de Meun, in his Testament, 346, says of misers: 'Amegrient leurs ames, plus
que leurs cors n'engressent.'

1881. See 1 Tim. vi. 8.

1885. See Exod. xxxiv. 28.

1890. See 1 Kings, xix. 8.

1894. See Levit. x. 9.

1906. _mendinants_, mendicant friars. Tyrwhitt has _mendiants_, but, in his
notes, admits that _mendinants_ is the right reading, as he found the word
to be 'constantly so spelled in the Stat. 12 Rich. II. capp. 7, 8, 9, 10.'
The same spelling occurs repeatedly in P. Plowman; see note to P. Pl. C.
xvi. 3. See _Mendiener_, to beg, in Godefroy's O. Fr. Dictionary.

1911. 'The thridde deceyt of thise ordris is that thei passen othere in
preyeris, bothe for tyme thei preyen and for multitude of hem'; Wyclif's
Works, ed. Matthew, p. 317.

1915-7. See note to C. 505; p. 278.

1923. See Matt. v. 3. _by freres_, (1922), concerning friars. Certainly,
there is no 'text' to this effect; but the friar trusted to find it _in a
maner glose_, in some kind of comment on the text.

1926. An allusion to _possessioners_; see note to l. 1722.

1929. _Iovinian._ I think this is the same Jovinian as is mentioned in D.
675; for Chaucer frequently quotes the treatise by Jerome against this
heretic. Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch. 30,
refers in a footnote to 'Jovinian, _the enemy of fasts and of celibacy_,
who was persecuted and insulted by the furious Jerome.' The other Jovinian
was a fabulous Roman emperor, who was awhile deposed, like Nebuchadnezzar,
for his pride and luxury, as related in the Gesta Romanorum, cap. 59 (or
chapter 23 in the English version).

_walkinge as a swan_, i. e. with slow and stately gait. Jerome (Contra
Iovin. i. 40) calls Jovinian 'iste formosus monachus, crassus, nitidus, et
_quasi sponsus_ semper _incedens_.'

1931. 'All as full of wine as a bottle in the buttery.'

1932. For _gret_, ed. 1550 has _lytle_; but, as Tyrwhitt remarks, the
expression is ironical.

1933. _Davit_ is put for _David_, for the rime. MSS. E. Hn. Ln. have
_Dauit_; Cm. _dauith_; Cp. Hl. _dauid_; Pt. _davyd_.

1934. _Lo but_ is the reading of MS. E. But the right reading is probably
_buf_, not _but_. The readings are; E. _but_; Hn. Cm. Ln. _buf_; [336] Cp.
_buff_; Pt. _boþ_ (wrongly); Hl. _boef_; ed. 1550, _bouffe_. This gives the
line in the following form:--

  Lo, 'buf!' they seye, '_cor meum eructavit!_'

Here the interjectional '_buf!_' is probably intended to represent the
sound of eructation. We find _baw!_ as an interjection of strong contempt
in P. Plowman, C. xiii. 74, xxii. 398.

Ps. xlv (xliv in the Vulgate) begins, in Latin, with the words _Cor meum
eructauit uerbum bonum_; and the Somnour here takes _eructauit_ in the most
literal sense.

1935. _fore_, path, course; such is certainly the right reading, as in D.
110, on which see the note.

1937. See James, i. 22.

1938. _at a sours_, at a soaring, in her rise, in her upward swoop. The
same word as _source_ of a river; from F. _source_, O. F. _sorse_, the fem.
pp. of the verb which arose from Lat. _surgere_. Most likely, this is the
origin of the later _souse_, v., in the sense 'to swoop downward'; see
Pope, Epilogue to Satires, Dial. ii. 15; Sh. K. John, v. 2. 150; Spenser,
F. Q. i. 5. 8. See my note on the House of Fame, l. 544. In the Book of St.
Alban's, fol. d 1, back, we find: 'Iff your hawke nym the fowle a-lofte, ye
shall say, she toke it _at the mount_ or _at the souce_'; where the _r_ is

1939. _their_, for _the eir_, the air; see footnote.

1943. _Seint Yve_; see the note to B. 1417 (p. 172), with which this line
entirely coincides.

1944. 'If thou wert not our brother, thou wouldst not fare well'; see l.

1947. _welden_, wield, have the full use of.

1963-5. These lines are quoted by the friar as (supposed) ejaculations by

1968. In the margin of MS. E., 'Omnis virtus unita fortior est seipsa
dispersa.' Compare the fable in Æsop about the difficulty of breaking a
bundle of sticks; and see Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 11. 37-40.

1973. See Luke, x. 7. In the margin of MS. E., 'Dignus est operarius
mercede, &c.'

1980. 'In the life of Thomas of India.' For this construction, see note to
F. 209. St. Thomas the apostle is often so called, because he is said to
have preached in India; and perhaps the tradition is true; see my note on
P. Plowman, C. xxii. 165, and especially the remarks in Marco Polo, ed.
Yule, ii. 292. Cf. note to E. 1230 (p. 353).

The mention of the 'building up of churches' refers to a well-known legend
of St. Thomas, who built churches with the money given to him by King
Gondoforus for the purpose of building a palace.

 'Churchene he arerde mani on, and preostes he sette there.'
                        Legends of Saints, ed. Horstmann, p. 381.

The story is prettily told in Mrs. Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art.

Cf. 'Seyn Tomas of Ynde'; Amis and Amiloun, 758, in Weber, Met. Rom. ii.
401. So also in The Assumption of our Lady, 775; in King Horn, ed. Lumby,
p. 96; Political and other Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 112, l. 19, p. 123, l.
278, p. 139, l. 735.

How intent the friars were on building fine churches and convents for their
own use, appears from Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, pp. 5, 14; Pierce the
Plowman's Crede, 191; Jack Upland, § 10, and § 33; Skelton's Colin Clout,
936; &c.

1986. 'As will be best for thee.' Tyrwhitt has _the_ for _thy_; but _thy_
is right. I find in the New E. Dict., s. v. _Best_, 8 b, a quotation from
Sir E. Sandys, Europae Speculum (1637), 247: 'I have also, to _my best_,
avoyded that rashnesse.' Cf. 'for your beste,' in B. 2427.

1989. 'Be not as a lion in thy house, nor frantick among thy servants';
Ecclus. iv. 30. In the margin of MS. E. is the Vulgate version (Ecclus. iv.
35):--'Noli esse sicut leo in domo tua, euertens domesticos tuos, et
opprimens subiectos tibi.'

1993. _hir_, her; so in all the MSS. but Pt., which has _yre_. Tyrwhitt has
wrongly taken _ire_ as the reading, and Wright and Bell follow him, without
giving any notice that MS. Hl. reads _hir_! But it makes all the
difference; _hir_ means 'thy wife'; cf. ll. 1994-2004, all of which lines
are robbed of their meaning by this insidious and uncalled-for alteration.
Even ed. 1550 and ed. 1561 have _her_.

It is easily seen how the error crept in, viz. from confusion with the
friar's sermon against _ire_; but that does not really begin till we come
to l. 2005.

As this passage has been so grossly misunderstood, I annex an outline of
the sense intended. 'Beware of thy wife; she is like the snake in the
grass; remember how many men have lost their lives through their wives. But
_your_ wife is a meek one; then why strive? No serpent is so venomous as a
provoked woman.' The fact is, that this passage is imitated from Le Roman
de la Rose, 16779, &c., where the author bids us beware of women, as being
like Vergil's 'snake in the grass.' See next note. With ll. 2001-3 cf. Rom.
de la Rose, 9832-6.

1995. Cf. 'latet anguis in herba'; Vergil, Ecl. iii. 95. See F. 512, 513.
But Chaucer took this at second-hand, viz. from Le Roman de la Rose, l.
16793; and combined it with another passage from the same, 9832-6, which,
in its turn, is copied from Ovid, Ars Amat. ii. 376:--'Nec breuis ignaro
uipera laesa pede Femina quam,' &c.

2002. _tret_, short for _tredeth_, treads. Cm. has _trat_. Cf. _hit_,
hideth, F. 512; _rit_, rideth, A. 974; &c.

2003. Cf. 'furens quid foemina possit'; Vergil, Æn. v. 6.

 'Nulla uis flammae tumidique uenti
  Tanta, nec teli metuenda torti
  Quanta cum coniux uiduata taedis
    Ardet et odit.'          Seneca, Medea; iii. 567.

2005. Here begins the sermon against _ire_. See the Persones Tale, [338] I.
533. _oon_, &c., 'one of the chief of the seven Deadly Sins'; all of which
are described in the Persones Tale; see I. 387.

After l. 2004, MS. Hl. has two spurious lines, for which see the footnote.
It is probable, however, that they are reminiscences of two _genuine_
lines; for they occur in Le Rom. de la Rose, 16536-8. There are two more
such after l. 2012, where the sense of _grate_ is not obvious.

2007. _himself_, i. e. the sinner. See Pers. Tale, I. 557.

2009. _homicyde_; see this, in full, in the Pers. Tale, I. 564-579.

2010. 'Ire comth of pryde'; I. 534.

2017. '_Potestat_, a chief magistrate'; Halliwell. '_Podestà_, a potestate,
a mayor'; Florio. See Malory, Morte Arth. bk. v. c. 8.

2018. _Senek_, Seneca. The story is given in Seneca's De Ira, i. 16,
beginning:--'Cn. Piso fuit memoria nostra, uir a multis uitiis integer, sed
prauus,' &c. It ends:--'Constituti sunt in eodem loco perituri tres, ob
unius innocentiam.' This Piso was a governor of Syria under Tiberius.
Precisely the same story is told, of the emperor Heraclius, in the Gesta
Romanorum, cap. cxl. Warton gravely describes it in the words--'The emperor
Eraclius reconciles (!) two knights.'

2030-1. Wright says these two lines are not in Tyrwhitt, but he is
mistaken. His note was meant to refer to the spurious lines (in MS. Hl.)
after l. 2037; the former of which is _repeated_ from l. 2030.

2043. 'This story is also in Seneca, De Ira, lib. iii. c. 14. It differs a
little from one in Herodotus, lib. iii.' [capp. 34, 35].--Tyrwhitt.
Seneca's story begins:--'Cambysen regem nimis deditum uino Praexaspes unus
ex carissimis monebat.'

2048. Here MS. Hl. inserts two more spurious lines, for the fourth time;
see the footnote.

2061. MSS. E. Hn. Cp. Ln. Dd. all insert _ful_, which is necessary to the
rhythm. MSS. Pt. Hl. omit it, and actually read _dronk-e_ (!), with an
impossible final e. Tyrwhitt has _dranke_, omitting _ful_, and even Wright,
Bell, and Morris have _dronk-e_, with the same omission. Owing to the
carelessness of scribes, who often added an idle final _e_, such forms as
_dranke_, _dronke_ are not very astonishing. But it would be very curious
to know _how these editors scanned this line_.

2075. _Placebo._ 'The allusion is to an anthem in the Romish church, from
Ps. cxvi. 9, which in the Vulgate [Ps. cxiv. 9] stands thus: _Placebo
Domino in regione uiuorum_. Hence the _complacent_ brother in the
_Marchant's Tale_ is called _Placebo_.'--Tyrwhitt. Being used in the office
for the dead, this anthem was familiar to every one; and 'to sing Placebo'
came to mean 'to be complaisant'; as in Bacon, Essay 20. See Pers. Tale, I.
617; and see my notes to P. Plowman, C. iv. 467 (B. iii. 307), B. xv. 122.

2079. This story is also from Seneca, De Ira, lib. iii. c. 21. Cf.
Herodotus, i. 189, 202; v. 52. In these authorities, the river is called
the _Gyndes_; and in Alfred's translation of Orosius, bk. ii. c. 4, it is
the _Gandes_. 'Sir John Maundeville (Travels, cap. 5) tells this story of
the Euphrates.'--Wright. [339]

2085. _he_, i. e. Solomon; see Prov. xxii. 24, 25.

2090. _as Iust as is a squire_, as exact (i. e. upright) as a square. He
means that he will deal out exact justice, and not condone the sick man's
anger without appointing him a penance for it. A _squire_ is a
measuring-square, or T-square, as explained in my Dictionary; it is used
for measuring right angles with exactitude. For the use of the word, see
Shak. L. L. L. v. 2. 474; Spenser, F. Q. ii. 1. 58; Minshew's Dict.;
Romaunt of the Rose, 7064; Floris and Blancheflur, ed. Lumby, 325. Cotgrave
gives: '_A l'esquierre_, justly, directly, evenly, straightly; by line and
levell, to a haire.' Godefroy, s. v. _esquarre_, refers us to the O. F.
translation of 1 Kings, v. 17; 'e que tuz fussent taillie _a esquire_.'
Lydgate has: 'By compas cast, and squared out by _squyers_'; Siege of
Troye, ed. 1555, fol. F 5, back, col. 1.

2095. 'Thei [the friars] cryen faste that thei haf more power in
confessioun then other curatis; for thei may schryve alle that comen to
hem, bot curatis may no ferther then her owne parischens'; Wyclif's Works,
ed. Arnold, iii. 374. Cf. Rom. Rose, 6390-8 (vol. i. 238).

2098. So in I. 1008: 'but-if it lyke to thee of thyn humilitee.'

2105. 'The pavements were made of encaustic tiles, and therefore must have
been rather expensive.'--Wright. See my note to Pierce the Ploughman's
Crede, l. 194; and Our English Home, p. 20.

2107. 'For the sake of Him who harried hell'; see note to A. 3512; p. 107.

2116. _Elie_, Elias, Elijah. _Elisee_, Eliseus, Elisha. There was great
strife among the four orders of friars as to the priority of their order.
The Carmelites, who took their name from mount Carmel (see 1 Kings, xviii.
19, 20), actually pretended that their order was founded by the prophet
Elijah when he retired to mount Carmel to escape the wrath of Ahab; and by
this unsurpassable fiction secured to themselves the credit of priority to
the rest. It is therefore clear that the friar of Chaucer's story was a
_Carmelite_, as _no other_ friar would have alluded to this story. See
Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 353; Pierce the Ploughman's Crede, 382.

2119. _for seinte charitee_; a common expression. It occurs in the Tale of
Gamelin, 513; with which Chaucer was familiar. Cf. B. 4510.

2126. _your brother._ This alludes to the _letters of fraternity_, which
friars were accustomed to grant, under the conventual seal, to such laymen
as had given them benefactions or were likely to leave them money in their
wills. The benefactors received in return a brotherly participation in such
spiritual benefits as the friars could confer. Thus, in Jack Upland, §§ 28,
29, we find:--'Why be ye [friars] so hardie to grant, by letters of
fraternitie, to men and women, that they shall haue part and merite of all
your good deeds, and ye weten neuer whether God be apayed with your deeds
because of your sin?... What betokeneth that yee haue ordeined that, whan
such one as ye haue made your brother or sister, and hath a letter of your
seale, that letter mought be brought in your holy chapter, and there be
rad, [340] or els yee will not pray for him?' See Wyclif's Works, ed.
Arnold, iii. 377, 420; ed. Matthew, p. 4. Such lay brethren were usually
dressed for burial in a friar's habit; see Milton, P. L. iii. 479; Rock,
Church of our Fathers, i. 487. A benefactor could even thus belong to _all_
the orders of friars at once; cf. P. Plowman, C. x. 343 (B. vii. 192). This
gives point to the question in l. 1955 above.

2156. _His meynee_, i. e. the menials of the sick man.

2159. His companion was in the nearest inn; see l. 1779.

2162. _court_, the house of the lord of the manor. 'The larger
country-houses consisted generally of an enclosed court, from which
circumstance this name was usually given to the manorial residence, and it
has been preserved to modern times, as a common term for gentlemen's
seats.'--Wright. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xxiii. 344. It was also called a
_place_; see note to B. 1910; p. 184.

2164. 'Of ech sich privat seete, by licence of the pope, ben maad, some
_chapeleyns of houshold_, summe chapeleyns of honour,' &c.; Wyclif's Works,
ed. Arnold, iii. 511. 'Frere, what charity is this, to be confessors of
lords and ladies,' &c.; Jack Upland, § 37. And see Wyclif's Works, ed.
Matthew, p. 333; P. Plowman, B. v. 136-142, xx. 341-345.

2185. _maister._ The hypocrite here declines to be called 'master,' though
he had allowed the good wife to call him so twice without reproof; see ll.
1800, 1836; and cf. l. 1781. At the same time, he declares that he had
gained the title of Master in the schools. As he was the prior or principal
of his convent (see ll. 2260, 2265, 2276) he may have been 'capped,' or
have received the degree of Master of Divinity. 'Also capped freris, that
ben calde maystres of dyvynite, have her chaumber and servise as lordis or
kynges.... And what cursidenesse in this ... to gete hym a cappe of
maysterdome, by preyer of lordis and grete giftis,' &c.; Wyclif's Works,
ed. Arnold, iii. 376. An LL.D. of Edinburgh is 'capped,' or has a doctor's
cap momentarily laid upon his head, when he receives his degree; as I know
by experience.

See also Pierce the Ploughman's Crede, ll. 498, 574.

2187. See Matt. xxiii. 7, 8.

2196. See Matt. v. 13.

2205. 'How does it seem to me?' Read _think'th_.

2209. 'I consider him to be in a kind of frenzy'; cf. 2240, 2292.

2219. _Shewe_ here means 'to propose' or 'propound.'

2235. See Chaucer's own explanation of the method of propagation of a
sound, in the Hous of Fame, 782-821. He seems to have taken it from
Boethius, De Musica, i. 14; see vol. iii. p. 260.

2238. _my cherl_, i. e. my serf; as being his dependant. It probably
implies vassalage.

2244. Cf. A. 100. Although the squire was not above winning 'a new gown,'
he was probably a young man of (future) equal rank with the lord of the
manor. In fact, his scornful boldness proves it. [341]

2247. _goune-cloth._ 'In the middle ages, the most common rewards, and even
those given by the feudal landholders to their dependants and retainers,
were articles of apparel, especially the gown or outward robe.... Money was
comparatively very scarce in the middle ages; and as the household
retainers were lodged and fed, clothing was almost the only article they

2259. 'The regular number of monks or friars in a convent had been fixed at
twelve, with [i. e. besides] their superior; in imitation, it is said, of
the number of twelve apostles and their divine master. The larger religious
houses were considered as consisting of a certain number of convents. Thus
Thorn, speaking of the abbot of St. Augustine's at Canterbury, says:--Anno
Domini m.c.xlvi, iste Hugo reparavit antiquum numerum monachorum istius
monasterii, et erant lx. monachi professi praeter abbatem, hoc est,
_quinque_ conuentus in universo.--_Decem Scriptores_, col. 1807.'--Wright.
That is, this house consisted of sixty-one members, the abbot and five
convents of twelve each. The smaller (single) convents were also called
_cells_, and the principal, the _prior_; see A. 172, and note that, in A.
167, the Monk is said, not to be an abbot, but to be _fit_ to be an abbot.
The expression '_his_ covent,' in l. 2261, shews that the friar confessor
was the prior or head of his cell.

2279. 'Yif a frere be a _maister_, or a riche frere in-mong hise bretheren,
he shal be loutid and worshipid more then Cristis lawe techith,' &c.;
Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 306.

2281. This implies that the squire, with the rest, had heard the friar
preach in church that morning, and had been greatly bored by the sermon.

2289. I supply the word _as_, which is plainly wanted. MS. Hl. supplies
_elles_, but I believe _as_ to be right. The way in which the second _as_
came to be dropped in this line, is very curious. It arose from
misunderstanding the spelling of Ptolemy.

The occurrence of an unpronounceable _P_ at the beginning of _Ptolomee_
made the scribes think something must be _omitted_. Hence several of them
introduced a stroke through the _p_, which stood as an abbreviation for
'ro,' and this turned it into _Protholomee_, which looked right, but made
the second _as_ superfluous. Thus MSS. Cp. Hl. both have 'p_ro_tholome,'
with the mark of abbreviation; in MSS. E. Hn. Dd. it is expanded into
'Protholomee' at length. We again find the scribes in the same difficulty
in D. 324. A still stranger spelling is _plotolomee_, for which see vol.
iii. p. 359, l. 18. Cf. the note on Ptolemy in the same volume, at p. 354.

       *       *       *       *       *




1. _clerk._ See the description of him, Prol. A. 285.

3. _were newe spoused_, who should be (i. e. is) newly wedded; see Rom. de
la Rose, (F. version), 1004; in vol. i. p. 136.

6. See Eccles. iii. 1; 'To every thing there is a season,' &c.

7. _as beth_, pray be. The word _as_, nearly equivalent to 'I pray,' is
sometimes used thus with the imperative mood. Since _as_ is short for
_al-so_, it means literally _even so_, _just so_. Cp. _as keep_, A. 2302;
_as sende_, A. 2317; _as doth_, F. 458; '_as beth_ not wroth with me,'
Troil. and Cress. v. 145; '_as_ go we seen,' i. e. pray let us go to see,
id. 523; see also A. 3777. See Mätzner, Engl. Gram. ii. 2. 505.

10. A French proverb. 'Ki en jeu entre jeu consente,' i. e. approves of; Le
Roux de Lincy, Proverbes Français, ii. 85.

18. _Heigh style_, lofty, learned, somewhat pedantic style; see l. 41.

22. _yerde_, control, governance; lit. yard, rod; so we say 'under the
rod.' Cf. B. 1287, and the note at p. 169.

27. _Padowe_, Padua, in the N. E. of Italy. Petrarch resided at Arqua, two
miles from Padua. He died July 18, 1374. See vol. iii. p. 454; vol. i. p.

33. _of poetrye_, with his poetry. _Of_ is similarly used in l. 34.

34. _Linian_; 'the canonist Giovanni di Lignano, once illustrious, now
forgotten, though several works of his remain. He was made Professor of
Canon Law at Bologna in 1363, and died at Bologna in 1383'; Morley's
English Writers, v. 339. Tyrwhitt first pointed out the person here alluded
to, and says--'there is some account of him in Panzirolus, de Cl. Leg.
Intrepret. l. iii. c. xxv:--Joannes, a Lignano, agri Mediolanensis vico,
oriundus, et ob id _Lignanus_ dictus,' &c. One of his works, entitled
Tractatus de Bello, is extant in MS. Reg. 13 B. ix [Brit. Mus.]. He
composed it at Bologna in the year 1360. He was not however a mere lawyer.
Chaucer speaks of him as excelling in _philosophy_, and so does his epitaph
in Panzirolus. The only specimen of his philosophy that I have met with is
in MS. Harl. 1006. It is an astrological work, entitled Conclusiones
Judicii composite per Domnum Johannem de Lyniano super coronacione Domni
Urbani [343] Pape VI. A.D. 1387,' &c. Lignano is here said to be near
Milan, and to have been the lawyer's birthplace. In l. 38, Chaucer speaks
of his death, showing that Chaucer wrote this prologue later than 1383.

43. _proheme_, proem, introduction. Petrarch's treatise (taken from
Boccaccio's Decamerone, Day x. Novel 10) is entitled 'De obedientia ac fide
uxoria Mythologia.' It is preceded by a letter to Boccaccio, but this is
not here alluded to. What Chaucer means is the first section of the tale
itself, which begins thus:--'Est ad Italiae latus occiduum Vesulus, ex
Apennini iugis mons unus altissimus.... Padi ortu nobilissimus, qui eius a
latere fonte lapsus exiguo orientem contra solem fertur, mirisque mox
tumidus incrementis.... Liguriam gurgite uiolentus intersecat; dehinc
Aemiliam, atque Flaminiam, Venetiamque discriminans ... in Adriaticum mare
descendit.' _Pemond_, Piedmont. _Saluces_, Saluzzo, S. of Turin. _Vesulus_,
Monte Viso. See the description of the route from Mont Dauphin to Saluzzo,
by the Col de Viso, in Murray's Guide to Switzerland and Piedmont. Cf.
Vergil, Aen. x. 708.

51. _To Emelward_, towards Aemilia. Tyrwhitt says--'One of the regions of
Italy was called Aemilia, from the _via Aemilia_, which crossed it from
Placentia [Piacenza] to Rimini. Placentia stood upon the Po. Pitiscus, Lex.
Ant. Rom. in v. _Via Aemilia_. Petrarch's description ... is a little
different.' See note above. _Ferrare_, Ferrara, on the Po, not far from its
mouth. _Venyse_, rather the Venetian territory than Venice itself.

54. 'It seems to me a thing irrelevant, excepting that he wishes to impart
his information.'

56. _this_, contraction for _this is_ (see footnote); common.


57. In many places this story is translated from Petrarch almost word for
word; and as Tyrwhitt remarks, it would be endless to cite illustrative
passages from the original Latin; see further in vol. iii. p. 453. The
first stanza is praised by Professor Lowell, in his Study Windows, p. 208,
where he says--'What a sweep of vision is here!' Chaucer is not quite so
close a translator here as usual; the passage in Petrarch being--'Inter
caetera ad radicem Vesuli, terra Salutiarum, uicis et castellis satis
frequens, Marchionum arbitrio nobilium quorundum regitur uirorum.'

82. _leet he slyde_, he allowed to pass unattended to, neglected. So we
find 'Let the world _slide_'; Induction to Taming of the Shrew, l. 5; and
'The state of vertue never _slides_'; The Sturdy Rock (in Percy's
Reliques). See March's Student's Manual of Eng. Lang. p. 125, where the
expression is noted as still current in America. Petrarch has--'alia pene
cuncta negligeret.' With ll. 83-140, cf. Shakesp. Sonnets, i-xvii. [344]

86. _flockmele_, in a flock or troop; Pet. has 'cateruatim.' 'Treuly theder
came _flockemele_ the multitude of tho blessyd sowlys':--Monk of Evesham,
ed. Arber, c. 55; p. 107. Palsgrave's French Dict. has--'Flockmeale, _par
troupeaux_'; fol. 440, back. Cf. E. _piece-meal_; we also find _wukemalum_,
week by week, Ormulum, 536; _lim-mele_, limb from limb, Layamon, 25618;
_hipyllmelum_, by heaps, Wycl. Bible, Wisdom xviii. 25: Koch, Eng. Gramm.
ii. 292.

99. 'Although I have no more to do with this matter than others have who
are here present.' Observe that the Marquis is addressed as _ye_, not
_thou_, the former being a title of respect.

103-105. These three lines are not in the original.

106. We should have expected to find here _us lyketh ye_, i. e. you are
pleasing to us; but we really have an instance of a double dative, so that
_us lyketh yow_ is equivalent to 'it pleases us with respect to you.' The
nominative case is _ye_, the dative and accusative _yow_ or _you_. _Yow
leste_, it may please you, in l. 111, is the usual idiom.

107. _and ever han doon_, and (both you and your doings) have ever brought
it about. Such is the usual force of _doon_; cf. ll. 253, 1098.

115. Cf. Barbour's Bruce, ed. Skeat, i. 266-8.--M.

118-119. Expanded from--'uolant enim dies rapidi.'

121. _still as stoon_; Latin text, 'tacita.' Cf. F. 171.

129. _we wol chese yow_, we will choose for you.

147. _Ther_, where. This line is Chaucer's own.

157. _Bountee_, goodness. _streen_, race, stock. Petrarch has--'Quicquid in
homine boni est, non ab alio quam a Deo est.'

168. _As_, as if. This line, in Petrarch, comes after l. 173. Lines 174,
175 are Chaucer's own.

172. _as ever_, &c., as ever I may thrive, as I hope to thrive.

190-196. Expanded from--'Et ipse nihilominus eam ipsam nuptiarum curam
domesticis suis imposuit, edixitque diem.'

197-203. Expanded from--'Fuit haud procul a palatio uillula paucorum atque
inopum incolarum.'

211-217. Sometimes Chaucer translates literally, and sometimes he merely
paraphrases, as here. Lines 215-217 are all his own.

220. _rype and sad corage_, a mature and staid disposition. Petrarch
has--'sed uirilis senilisque animus uirgineo latebat in pectore.'

223. _spinning_; i. e. she spun whilst keeping the sheep; see a picture of
St. Geneviève in Mrs. Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art. Line 224 is

227. _shredde and seeth_, sliced and sod (or boiled). Lat. 'domum rediens
oluscula et dapes fortunae congruas praeparabat, durumque cubiculum
sternebat,' &c.

229. _on lofte_, aloft. She kept up her father's life, i. e. sustained him.
His death is recorded in l. 1134.

234. For this line the Latin has only the word _transiens_.

237. _in sad wyse_, soberly; Lat. 'senili grauitate.' [345]

242. Here _the people_ means the common people; Lat. '_uulgi_ oculis.' In
the next line _he_ is emphatic, meaning that _his_ eyes were quicker to
perceive than _theirs_.

253. _hath don make_, hath caused to be made. Lat. 'Ipse interim et anulos
aureos et coronas et balteos conquirebat.' Chaucer inserts _asure_, the
colour of fidelity; see F. 644, and note. For _balteos_ he substitutes the
English phrase _broches and ringes_; cf. P. Plowm. B. prol. 75.

257. Scan--Bý | a maýd | e lýk | to hír | statúrë. ||

259. Here Chaucer apparently omits a sentence, namely:--'Uenerat expectatus
dies, et cum nullus sponsae rumor audiretur, admiratio omnium uehementer
excreuerat.' But he has, in fact, given us this above, in ll. 246-8.

260. _undern_ (lit. the intervening or middle period) has two meanings in
the Teutonic tongues; (1) mid-forenoon, i. e. originally 9 A. M.; and (2)
mid-afternoon, originally 3 P. M. In this passage it is clearly the former
that is meant; indeed in l. 981, where it occurs again, the original has
'proximae lucis _hora tertia_,' i. e. 9 A. M. In _this_ passage, the
original has _hora prandii_, meaning luncheon-time, which in Chaucer's time
would often be 9 A. M.; see note to B. 1396, at p. 171; and cf. Ælfric's
Homilies, ed. Thorpe, ii. 77. See note to Piers Pl. B. vi. 147; and see
_Undern_ in the Glossary.

But it may be noted here, that the sense of _undern_ is variable. Sometimes
it meant the period from 9 to 12, or the middle of that period, i. e. about
10.30 or 11. Sometimes, the period from 3 to 6 P. M., or the middle of it,
i. e. about 4.30 or 4. In modern E. dialects, it means about 4 P. M. See B.
4412, D. 875.

260-294. Expanded and improved from the following short passage: 'Hora iam
prandii aderat, iamque apparatu ingenti domus tota feruebat. Tum
Gualtherus, aduentanti ueluti sponsae obuiam profecturus, domo egreditur,
prosequente uirorum et matronarum nobilium caterua. Griseldis omnium quae
erga se pararentur ignara, peractis quae agenda domi erant, aquam e
longinquo fonte conuectans paternum limen intrabat: ut, expedita curis
aliis, ad uisendam domini sui sponsam cum puellis comitibus properaret.'

322. _governeth_, arrange, dispose of. Observe the use of the _plural_
imperative, as a mark of respect. When the marquis addresses Griseldis as
_ye_, it is a mark of extreme condescension on his part; the Latin text has
_tu_ and _te_.

337-343. Expanded from--'insolito tanti hospitis aduentu stupidam inuenere;
quam iis uerbis Gualtherus aggreditur.'

350. _yow avyse_, consider the matter; really a delicate way of expressing
refusal. Compare the legal formula _le roy s'avisera_ for expressing the
royal refusal to a proposed measure.

364. _For to be deed_, even if I were to be dead, were to die; Lat. 'et si
me mori iusseris, quod moleste feram.'

375-376. These characteristic lines are Chaucer's own. So are ll. 382, 383.

381. _corone_, nuptial garland; Lat. 'corona.' See Brand's Pop. Antiq. ed.
Ellis, ii. 123.

388. _snow-whyt_; Lat. 'niueo.' Perhaps Spenser took a hint from this; F.
Q. i. 1. 4. In the Leg. of Good Women, l. 1198, Chaucer calls a horse

393. Repeated, slightly altered, from l. 341.

409. _thewes_, mental qualities. So also in E. 1542; Gower, Conf. Amant.
lib. vii. sect. 1 (ed. Pauli, iii. 85); Spenser, F. Q. i. 9. 3; i. 10. 4;
ii. 1. 33, &c. 'The common signification of the word _thews_ in our old
writers, is manners, or qualities of mind and disposition.... By _thews_
Shakespeare means unquestionably brawn, nerves, muscular vigour (Jul. Caes.
i. 3; 2 Hen. IV, iii. 2; Hamlet, i. 3). And to this sense, and this only,
the word has now settled down; the other sense, which was formerly so
familiar in our literature, is quite gone out and forgotten. [With respect
to _theawe_ = sinew, in Layamon, l. 6361] Sir F. Madden remarks (iii.
471):--"This is the only instance in the poem of the word being applied to
bodily qualities, nor has any other passage of an earlier date than the
sixteenth century been found in which it is so used." It may be conjectured
that it had only been a provincial word in this sense, till Shakespeare
adopted it'; Craik's English of Shakespeare; note on Jul. Caesar, i. 3. 81.

412. _embrace_, hold fast; 'omnium animos nexu sibi magni amoris
_astrinxerat_.' Compare Tennyson's Lord of Burleigh with ll. 394-413.

413. Nearly identical with Troil. i. 1078.

421. _royally_; alluding to the royal virtues of Griseldis.

429. Not only the context, but the Latin text, justifies the reading
_homlinesse_. _Feet_ is fact, i. e. act. The Latin is--'Neque uero solers
sponsa muliebria tantum haec _domestica_, sed, ubi res posceret, publica
etiam obibat officia.' Lines 432-434 are Chaucer's own.

444. 'Although it would have been liefer to her to have borne a male
child'; i. e. she would rather, &c. The Latin has--'quamuis filium

449-462. Expanded from--'Cepit (ut fit) interim Gualtherum, cum iam
ablactata esset infantula (mirabilis quaedam quàm laudabilis, [_aliter_, an
mirabile quidem magis quam laudabile,] doctiores iudicent) cupiditas satis
expertam charae fidem coniugis experiendi altius [_aliter_, ulterius], et
iterum atque iterum retentandi.'

452. _tempte_, make trial of, prove; see ll. 1152, 1153 below. _sadnesse_,
constancy, equanimity.

483. Note Walter's use of the word _thee_ here, and of _thy_ twice in the
next stanza, instead of the usual _ye_. It is a slight, but significant
sign of insult, offered under pretence of reporting the opinion of others.
In l. 492 we have _your_ again.

504. _thing_, possession. Lat. 'de rebus tuis igitur fac ut libet.'

516. _a furlong wey or two_, the distance of one or two furlongs, a short
distance, a little. The line simply means--'a little after.' [347]

525. _stalked him_; marched himself in, as we should say. This use of _him_
is remarkable, but not uncommon.

533-539. Lat. 'Iussus sum hanc infantulam accipere, atque eam--Hîc sermone
abrupto, quasi crudele ministerium silentio exprimens, subticuit.' Compare
'Quos ego--'; Vergil, Aen. i. 135.

540-546. Lat. 'Suspecta uiri fama; suspecta facies; suspecta hora; suspecta
erat oratio; quibus etsi clare occisum iri dulcem filiam intelligeret, nec
lachrymulam tamen ullam, nec suspirium dedit.' Mr. Wright quotes this
otherwise, putting _dulce_ for _dulcem_, and stopping at _intelligeret_.

547-567. Chaucer expands the Latin, and transposes some of the matter.
Lines 561-563 precede ll. 547-560 in the original, which merely has--'in
nutrice quidem, nedum in matre durissimum; sed tranquilla fronte puellulam
accipiens aliquantulum respexit & simul exosculans benedixit, ac signum
sanctae crucis impressit, porrexitque satelliti.'

570. After _That_ in this line, we ought, in strict grammar, to have _ye
burie_ in the next line, instead of the imperative _burieth_. But the
phrase is idiomatic, and as all the seven best MSS. agree in this reading,
it is best to retain it. Tyrwhitt alters _That but_ to _But if_.

579. _Somwhat_, in some degree. But Petrarch says
differently--'_uehementer_ paterna animum pietas mouit.'

582-591. Lat. 'Iussit satelliti obuolutam pannis, cistae iniectam, ac
iumento impositam, quiete omni quanta posset diligentia Bononiam deferret
ad sororem suam, quae illic comiti de Panico nupta erat,' &c.

586. 'But, under penalty of having his head cut off'; lit. of cutting off
his head.

589. _Boloigne_, Bologna, E. by S. from Modena, and a long way from
Saluzzo. _Panik_ answers to the _de Panico_ in note to l. 582; Boccaccio
has _Panago_. I observe in the map the river _Panaro_ flowing between
Modena and Bologna; perhaps there is some connexion between the names.
Tyrwhitt has _Pavie_ (Pavia) in his text, but corrects it in the notes.

602. _in oon_, in one and the same state: _ever in oon_, always alike,
continually; so also in l. 677. Cf. Kn. Ta. 913 (A. 1771).

607. This must mean--'no accidental sign of any calamity.'

612. _A knave child_, a male child, boy; as in Barbour's Bruce, xiii. 693;
English Gilds, ed. T. Smith, p. 30.

615. _merië_; three syllables; cf. A. 1386, B. 4156. Ll. 621-623 are
Chaucer's own.

625. _sikly berth_, hardly bear, dislike. Lat. 'populum _aegre ferre_,' &c.

643. Lat. 'ne te inopinus et subitus dolor turbet.'

645-651. Expanded from--'Dixi (ait) et repeto, nihil possum seu uelle, seu
nolle, nisi quae tu; neque uero in ijs filiis quicquam habeo, praeter

663. _plesancë_, three syllables; _stabl'_, one syllable.

666. 'The pain of death is not to be compared to the pleasure of your [348]
love.' Lat. 'nec mors ipsa nostro fuerit par amori.' Cf. ll. 817, 1091.

687. _ever lenger_, &c., i. e. ever the longer (he thinks of it) the more
he wonders. In _the more_, the word _the_ is for A. S. _þý_.

700. _And he_; cf. _And ye_, l. 105.

701-707. Expanded from--'sed sunt qui, ubi semel inceperint, non desinant;
immo incumbant, haereantque proposito.'

704. _a stake_; cf. Macb. v. 7. 1; Jul. Caesar, iv. 1. 48.

714. _more penible_, more painstaking; Lat. 'obsequentior.'

719. 'She made it clear that no wife should of herself, on account of any
worldly anxiety, have any will, in practice, different from that of her

722. _sclaundre_, ill fame, ill report concerning Walter. See l. 730.

738. _message_, a messenger; Lat. '_nuncios_ Romam misit.' So in Old
English we find _prisoun_ or _prison_ for prisoner; Piers Pl. B. vii. 30.

772. _anon_, immediately. It was not uncommon in olden times for girls to
be married at twelve years of age. The Wife of Bath was first married at
that age; see D. 4.

797. Lat. 'magna omnis fortuna seruitus magna est; non mihi licet, quod
cuilibet liceret agricolae.'

850. _were_ agrees with the word _clothes_ following; cf. _it ben_, Piers
Plowm. B. vi. 56. She did not really bring her husband even the dower of
her old clothes, as they had been taken from her. Lines 851-861 are all
Chaucer's own, and shew his delicacy of touch.

866. Lat. 'neque omnino alia mihi dos fuit, quam fides et nuditas.'

871. Probably suggested by Job, i. 21. So l. 902 is from Job, iii. 3.

880-882. These lines are Chaucer's own; l. 880 is characteristic of him.
The phrase in l. 880 seems to have been proverbial. Cf. 'I walke as werme,
withoute wede'; Coventry Mysteries, p. 28. But Chaucer got it from Le Roman
de la Rose, 445; see his translation, l. 454; vol. i. p. 112.

888-889. The latter part of l. 888, and l. 889, are Chaucer's own.

903. _lyves_, alive; _a lyves creature_, a creature alive, a living being.
_Lyves_ is an adverb, formed like _nedes_, from the genitive case of the
substantive. There are other instances of its use.

 'Yif I late him _liues_ go'; Havelok, 509.

i. e. if I let him go away _alive_. And again _lyues_ = alive, in Piers Pl.
B. xix. 154. Nearly repeated from Troil. iv. 251-2.

910. After this line, Chaucer has omitted the circumstance of Janicola's
preserving his daughter's old clothing; 'tunicam eius hispidam, et attritam
senio, abditam paruae domus in parte seruauerat.' See l. 913.

911. _Agayns_, towards, so as to meet. _To go agayns_, in M. E., is _to go
to meet_. So also _to come agayns_, _to ride agayns_ (or _agayn_). See
_Agayn_ in Glossary to Spec. of Eng. (Morris and Skeat); and Barbour's
Bruce, xiv. 420. Ll. 915-917 are Chaucer's own. [349]

916. 'For the cloth was poor, and many days older now than on the day of
her marriage.'

932. 'Men speak of Job, and particularly of his humility.' Cf. Job, xl. 4,
xlii. 1-6.

934. _Namely of men_, especially of _men_, where _men_ is emphatic. The
whole of this stanza (932-938) is Chaucer's.

938. _but_, except, unless; _falle_, fallen, happened; _of-newe_, newly, an
adverbial expression. It means then, 'unless it has happened very lately.'
In other words, 'If there is an example of a man surpassing a woman in
humility, it must have happened very lately; for I have never heard of it.'

939. _Pars Sexta._ This indication of a new part comes in a fitting place,
and is taken from Tyrwhitt, who may have found it in a MS. But there is no
break here in the Latin original, nor in any of the MSS. of Chaucer which I
have consulted. _erl of Panik_; Lat. 'Panicius comes.'

940. _more and lesse_, greater or smaller; i. e. everybody. So also in the
Frank. Tale, 'riveres _more and lesse_'; F. 1054. So also _moche and lyte_,
great and small, Prol. 494; _moste and leste_, greatest and least, A. 2198.
Spenser has, F. Q. vi. 6. 12,--

 ''Gainst all, both bad and good, both most and least.'

941. _alle and some_, i. e. all and one, one and all. See Morris's Eng.
Accidence, sect. 218, p. 142.

960. _wommen_; some MSS. have _womman_, as in Tyrwhitt. But MS. E. is
right. Petrarch uses the word _foeminas_, not _foeminam_.

965. _yvel biseye_, ill provided; lit. ill beseen. The word _yvel_ is
pronounced here almost as a monosyllable (as it were _yv'l_), as is so
commonly the case with _ever_; indeed generally, words ending with _el_ and
_er_ are often thus clipped. A remarkable instance occurs in the Milleres
Tale (A. 3715), where we not only have a similar ending, but the word
_ever_ in the same line--

 'That trewë love was ever so yvel biset.'

See also _yvel apayed_ in line 1052 below. The converse to _yvel biseye_,
is _richely biseye_, richly provided or adorned, in l. 984 below.

981. Lat. 'Proximae lucis hora tertia comes superuenerat'; see note to l.

995-1008. These two stanzas are Chaucer's own, and are so good that they
must have been a later addition; Prof. Ten Brink suggests the date 1387
(Eng. Lit. ii. 123, Eng. version). In MS. E. the word _Auctor_ is inserted
in the margin, and l. 995 begins with a large capital letter. At the
beginning of l. 1009 is a paragraph-mark, shewing where the translation
begins again. _unsad_, unsettled. Cf. Shakesp. Cor. i. 1. 186, Jul. Caesar,
i. 1. 55; Scott, Lady of the Lake, v. 30.

999. 'Ever full of tittle-tattle, which would be dear enough at a
halfpenny.' See n. to l. 1200. _Iane_, a small coin of Genoa (Janua); see
Rime of Sir Thopas, B. 1925. The first stanza (995-1001) is supposed [350]
to be uttered by the sober and discreet part of the population; see l.

1031. _lyketh thee_, pleases thee. The marquis addresses her as _thou_,
because all suppose her to be a menial.

1039. _mo_, lit. more; but also used in the sense of _others_, or, as here,
_another_. The modern phrase would be, 'as you did _somebody else_.' The
extreme delicacy of the hint is admirable. This use of _mo_ is common in
Chaucer; see the Glossary. So also, in Specimens of English, ed. Morris and
Skeat, we have, at p. 47, l. 51--

 'Y sike for vnsete;
  Ant mourne ase men doþ _mo_';

i. e. I sigh for unrest, and mourn as _other_ men do. And on the next page,
p. 48, l. 22, we have

 'Mody meneþ so doþ _mo_,
  Ichot ycham on of þo';

i. e. 'The moody moan as _others_ do; I wot I am one of them.' In l. 240 of
How the Good Wife taught her Daughter, pr. with Barbour's Bruce, ed. Skeat,
we find--'And slanderit folk vald euir haue _ma_,' i. e. would ever have
_others like themselves_. Somewhat similar is the expression _oþer mo_,
where we should now say _others as well_; Piers Plowman, C. v. 10, xxii.
54. A somewhat similar use of _mo_ occurs in Tudor English. 'It fortuned
Diogenes to ... make one among the _moo_ at a dyner.'--Udall, tr. of
Erasmus' Apophthegmes (1564), bk. i. § 91. So also:--'that he also, emong
the _mo_ [i. e. the rest] might haue his pleasure'; id. bk. ii. § 13.
Tyrwhitt's suggestion that Chaucer has licentiously turned _me_ into _mo_
for the mere sake of getting a rime, in which he has hitherto been followed
by nearly every editor, is only to be repudiated. It may well have been
with the very purpose of guarding against this error that, in the Ellesmere
and Hengwrt MSS., the original Latin text is here quoted in the
margin--'unum bona fide te precor ac moneo: ne hanc illis aculeis agites,
quibus _alteram_ agitasti.' Chaucer, who throughout surpasses his original
in delicacy of treatment, did not permit himself to be outdone here; and
Boccaccio also has the word _altra_. The use of _me_ would have been a
_direct_ charge of unkindness, spoiling the whole story. See l. 1045 and l.

1049. _gan his herte dresse_, addressed his heart, i. e. prepared it,
schooled it. The M. E. _dresse_ is our modern _direct_; both being from
Lat. _dirigere_.

1053. Here we may once more note the use of the word _thy_, the more so as
it is used with a quite different tone. We sometimes find it used, as here,
_between equals_, as a term of _endearment_; it is, accordingly, very
significant. See l. 1056.

1066. _that other_, the other, the boy.

1071. _non_, any, either. The use of it is due to the preceding _nat_.

1079. Professor Morley, in his English Writers, v. 342, aptly remarks
here--'And when Chaucer has told all, and dwelt with an [351] exquisite
pathos of natural emotion all his own upon the patient mother's piteous and
tender kissing of her recovered children--for there is nothing in
Boccaccio, and but half a sentence in Petrarch, answering to these four
beautiful stanzas (1079-1106)--he rounds all, as Petrarch had done, with
simple sense, which gives religious meaning to the tale, then closes with a
lighter strain of satire which protects Griselda herself from the mocker.'

1098. 'Hath caused you (to be) kept.' For the same idiom, see Kn. Tale, A.
1913; Man of Law's Tale, B. 171, and the note. Cf. 'Wher I have beforn
ordeyned and _do mad_ [caused to be made] my tombe.' Royal Wills, ed.
Nichols, p. 278.

1133. _His wyves fader_, i. e. Janicola. This circumstance should have been
mentioned _before_ l. 11