The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

Group 1

The General Prologue

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
     1
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
     2
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
     3
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
     4
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
     5
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
     6
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
     7
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
     8
And smale foweles maken melodye,
     9
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
     10
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
     11
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
     12
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
     13
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
     14
And specially from every shires ende
     15
Of engelond to caunterbury they wende,
     16
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
     17
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
     18
Bifil that in that seson on a day,
     19
In southwerk at the tabard as I lay
     20
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
     21
To caunterbury with ful devout corage,
     22
At nyght was come into that hostelrye
     23
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye,
     24
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
     25
In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
     26
That toward caunterbury wolden ryde.
     27
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
     28
And wel we weren esed atte beste.
     29
And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
     30
So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
     31
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
     32
And made forward erly for to ryse,
     33
To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.
     34
But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,
     35
Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
     36
Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
     37
To telle yow al the condicioun
     38
Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
     39
And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
     40
And eek in what array that they were inne;
     41
And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.
     42
A knyght ther was, and that a worthy man,
     43
That fro the tyme that he first bigan
     44
To riden out, he loved chivalrie,
     45
Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
     46
Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
     47
And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,
     48
As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,
     49
And evere honoured for his worthynesse.
     50
At Alisaundre he was whan it was wonne.
     51
Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
     52
Aboven alle nacions in pruce;
     53
In lettow hadde he reysed and in ruce,
     54
No cristen man so ofte of his degree.
     55
In gernade at the seege eek hadde he be
     56
Of algezir, and riden in belmarye.
     57
At lyeys was he and at satalye,
     58
Whan they were wonne; and in the grete see
     59
At many a noble armee hadde he be.
     60
At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
     61
And foughten for oure feith at tramyssene
     62
In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.
     63
This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also
     64
Somtyme with the lord of palatye
     65
Agayn another hethen in turkye. Page  18
     66
And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys;
     67
And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
     68
And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
     69
He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde
     70
In al his lyf unto no maner wight.
     71
He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
     72
But, for to tellen yow of his array,
     73
His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
     74
Of fustian he wered a gypon
     75
Al bismotered with his habergeon,
     76
For he was late ycome from his viage,
     77
And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.
     78
With hym ther was his sone, a yong squier,
     79
A lovyere and a lusty bacheler,
     80
With lokkes crulle as they were leyd in presse.
     81
Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.
     82
Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,
     83
And wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe.
     84
And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie
     85
In flaundres, in artoys, and pycardie,
     86
And born hym weel, as of so litel space,
     87
In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
     88
Embrouded was he, as it were a meede
     89
Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede.
     90
Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day;
     91
He was as fressh as is the month of may.
     92
Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde.
     93
Wel koude he sitte on hors and faire ryde.
     94
He koude songes make and wel endite,
     95
Juste and eek daunce, and weel purtreye and write.
     96
So hoote he lovede that by nyghtertale.
     97
He sleep namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale.
     98
Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable,
     99
And carf biforn his fader at the table.
     100
A yeman hadde he and servantz namo
     101
At that tyme, for hym liste ride so,
     102
And he was clad in cote and hood of grene.
     103
A sheef of pecok arwes, bright and kene,
     104
Under his belt he bar ful thriftily,
     105
(wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly:
     106
His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe)
     107
And in his hand he baar a myghty bowe.
     108
A not heed hadde he, with a broun visage.
     109
Of wodecraft wel koude he al the usage.
     110
Upon his arm he baar a gay bracer,
     111
And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,
     112
And on that oother syde a gay daggere
     113
Harneised wel and sharp as point of spere;
     114
A cristopher on his brest of silver sheene.
     115
An horn he bar, the bawdryk was of grene;
     116
A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.
     117
Ther was also a nonne, a prioresse,
     118
That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
     119
Hire gretteste ooth was but by seinte loy;
     120
And she was cleped madame eglentyne.
     121
Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,
     122
Entuned in hir nose ful semely,
     123
And frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
     124
After the scole of stratford atte bowe,
     125
For frenssh of parys was to hire unknowe.
     126
At mete wel ytaught was she with alle:
     127
She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
     128
Ne wette hir fyngres in hir sauce depe;
     129
Wel koude she carie a morsel and wel kepe
     130
That no drope ne fille upon hire brest.
     131
In curteisie was set ful muchel hir lest.
     132
Hir over-lippe wyped she so clene
     133
That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene
     134
Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.
     135
Ful semely after hir mete she raughte.
     136
And sikerly she was of greet desport,
     137
And ful plesaunt, and amyable of port,
     138
And peyned hire to countrefete cheere
     139
Of court, and to been estatlich of manere,
     140
And to ben holden digne of reverence.
     141
But, for to speken of hire conscience,
     142
She was so charitable and so pitous
     143
She wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous
     144
Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde.
     145
Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde
     146
With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed.
     147
But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed,
     148
Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte;
     149
And al was conscience and tendre herte.
     150
Ful semyly hir wympul pynched was,
     151
Hir nose tretys, hir eyen greye as glas,
     152
Hir mouth ful smal, and therto softe and reed;
     153
But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed;
     154
It was almoost a spanne brood, I trowe;
     155
For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe.
     156
Ful fetys was hir cloke, as I was war.
     157
Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar
     158
A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene,
     159
And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene,
     160
On which ther was first write a crowned a,
     161
And after amor vincit omnia.
     162
Another nonne with hire hadde she,
     163
That was hir chapeleyne, and preestes thre.
     164
A monk ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
     165
An outridere, that lovede venerie,
     166
A manly man, to been an abbot able.
     167
Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,
     168
And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere
     169
Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere
     170
And eek as loude as dooth the chapel belle. Page  19
     171
Ther as this lord was kepere of the celle,
     172
The reule of seint maure or of seint beneit,
     173
By cause that it was old and somdel streit
     174
This ilke monk leet olde thynges pace,
     175
And heeld after the newe world the space.
     176
He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,
     177
That seith that hunters ben nat hooly men,
     178
Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees,
     179
Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees, --
     180
This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre.
     181
But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre;
     182
And I seyde his opinion was good.
     183
What sholde he studie and make hymselven wood,
     184
Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure,
     185
Or swynken with his handes, and laboure,
     186
As austyn bit? how shal the world be served?
     187
Lat austyn have his swynk to hym reserved!
     188
Therfore he was a prikasour aright:
     189
Grehoundes he hadde as swift as fowel in flight;
     190
Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare
     191
Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
     192
I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
     193
With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;
     194
And, for to festne his hood under his chyn,
     195
He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pyn;
     196
A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
     197
His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,
     198
And eek his face, as he hadde been enoynt.
     199
He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt;
     200
His eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,
     201
That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
     202
His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
     203
Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat;
     204
He was nat pale as a forpyned goost.
     205
A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
     206
His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.
     207
A frere ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
     208
A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
     209
In alle the ordres foure is noon that kan
     210
So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage.
     211
He hadde maad ful many a mariage
     212
Of yonge wommen at his owene cost.
     213
Unto his ordre he was a noble post.
     214
Ful wel biloved and famulier was he
     215
With frankeleyns over al in his contree,
     216
And eek with worthy wommen of the toun;
     217
For he hadde power of confessioun,
     218
As seyde hymself, moore than a curat,
     219
For of his ordre he was licenciat.
     220
Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
     221
And plesaunt was his absolucioun:
     222
He was an esy man to yeve penaunce,
     223
Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
     224
For unto a povre ordre for to yive
     225
Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;
     226
For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
     227
He wiste that a man was repentaunt;
     228
For many a man so hard is of his herte,
     229
He may nat wepe, althogh hym soore smerte.
     230
Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres
     231
Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
     232
His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves
     233
And pynnes, for to yeven faire wyves.
     234
And certeinly he hadde a murye note:
     235
Wel koude he synge and pleyen on a rote;
     236
Of yeddynges he baar outrely the pris.
     237
His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys;
     238
Therto he strong was as a champioun.
     239
He knew the tavernes wel in every toun
     240
And everich hostiler and tappestere
     241
Bet than a lazar or a beggestere;
     242
For unto swich a worthy man as he
     243
Acorded nat, as by his facultee,
     244
To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
     245
It is nat honest, it may nat avaunce,
     246
For to deelen with no swich poraille,
     247
But al with riche and selleres of vitaille.
     248
And over al, ther as profit sholde arise,
     249
Curteis he was and lowely of servyse.
     250
Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
     251
He was the beste beggere in his hous;
     252
(and yaf a certeyne ferme for the graunt;
     252.1
Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his haunt;)
     252.2
For thogh a wydwe hadde noght a sho,
     253
So plesaunt was his in principio,
     254
Yet wolde he have a ferthyng, er he wente.
     255
His purchas was wel bettre than his rente.
     256
And rage he koude, as it were right a whelp.
     257
In love-dayes ther koude he muchel help,
     258
For ther he was nat lyk a cloysterer
     259
With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
     260
But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
     261
Of double worstede was his semycope,
     262
That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
     263
Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse,
     264
To make his englissh sweete upon his tonge;
     265
And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe,
     266
His eyen twynkled in his heed aryght,
     267
As doon the sterres in the frosty nyght.
     268
This worthy lymytour was cleped huberd.
     269
A marchant was ther with a forked berd,
     270
In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat;
     271
Upon his heed a flaundryssh bever hat,
     272
His bootes clasped faire and fetisly.
     273
His resons he spak ful solempnely,
     274
Sownynge alwey th' encrees of his wynnyng. Page  20
     275
He wolde the see were kept for any thyng
     276
Bitwixe middelburgh and orewelle.
     277
Wel koude he in eschaunge sheeldes selle.
     278
This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette:
     279
Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
     280
So estatly was he of his governaunce
     281
With his bargaynes and with his chevyssaunce.
     282
For sothe he was a worthy man with alle,
     283
But, sooth to seyn, I noot how men hym calle.
     284
A clerk ther was of oxenford also,
     285
That unto logyk hadde longe ygo.
     286
As leene was his hors as is a rake,
     287
And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
     288
But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.
     289
Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy;
     290
For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,
     291
Ne was so worldly for to have office.
     292
For hym was levere have at his beddes heed
     293
Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
     294
Of aristotle and his philosophie,
     295
Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.
     296
But al be that he was a philosophre,
     297
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
     298
But al that he myghte of his freendes hente,
     299
On bookes and on lernynge he it spente,
     300
And bisily gan for the soules preye
     301
Of hem that yaf hym wherwith to scoleye.
     302
Of studie took he moost cure and moost heede,
     303
Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,
     304
And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
     305
And short and quyk and ful of hy sentence;
     306
Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche,
     307
And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
     308
A sergeant of the lawe, war and wys,
     309
That often hadde been at the parvys,
     310
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
     311
Discreet he was and of greet reverence --
     312
He semed swich, his wordes weren so wise.
     313
Justice he was ful often in assise,
     314
By patente and by pleyn commissioun.
     315
For his science and for his heigh renoun,
     316
Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
     317
So greet a purchasour was nowher noon:
     318
Al was fee symple to hym in effect;
     319
His purchasyng myghte nat been infect.
     320
Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
     321
And yet he semed bisier than he was.
     322
In termes hadde he caas and doomes alle
     323
That from the tyme of kyng william were falle.
     324
Therto he koude endite, and make a thyng,
     325
Ther koude no wight pynche at his writyng;
     326
And every statut koude he pleyn by rote.
     327
He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote.
     328
Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale;
     329
Of his array telle I no lenger tale.
     330
A frankeleyn was in his compaignye.
     331
Whit was his berd as is the dayesye;
     332
Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
     333
Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;
     334
To lyven in delit was evere his wone,
     335
For he was epicurus owene sone,
     336
That heeld opinioun that pleyn delit
     337
Was verray felicitee parfit.
     338
An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;
     339
Seint julian he was in his contree.
     340
His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon;
     341
A bettre envyned man was nowher noon.
     342
Withoute bake mete was nevere his hous
     343
Of fissh and flessh, and that so plentevous,
     344
It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke,
     345
Of alle deyntees that men koude thynke.
     346
After the sondry sesons of the yeer,
     347
So chaunged he his mete and his soper.
     348
Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe,
     349
And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe.
     350
Wo was his cook but if his sauce were
     351
Poynaunt and sharp, and redy al his geere.
     352
His table dormant in his halle alway
     353
Stood redy covered al the longe day.
     354
At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;
     355
Ful ofte tyme he was knyght of the shire.
     356
An anlaas and a gipser al of silk
     357
Heeng at his girdel, whit as morne milk.
     358
A shirreve hadde he been, and a contour.
     359
Was nowher swich a worthy vavasour.
     360
An haberdasshere and a carpenter,
     361
A webbe, a dyere, and a tapycer, --
     362
And they were clothed alle in o lyveree
     363
Of a solempne and a greet fraternitee.
     364
Ful fressh and newe hir geere apiked was;
     365
Hir knyves were chaped noght with bras
     366
But al with silver; wroght ful clene and weel
     367
Hire girdles and hir pouches everydeel.
     368
Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys
     369
To sitten in a yeldehalle on a deys.
     370
Everich, for the wisdom that he kan,
     371
Was shaply for to been an alderman.
     372
For catel hadde they ynogh and rente,
     373
And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente;
     374
And elles certeyn were they to blame.
     375
It is ful fair to been ycleped madame,
     376
And goon to vigilies al bifore,
     377
And have a mantel roialliche ybore.
     378
A cook they hadde with hem for the nones
     379
To boille the chiknes with the marybones,
     380
And poudre-marchant tart and galyngale.
     381
Wel koude he knowe a draughte of londoun ale. Page  21
     382
He koude rooste, and sethe, and broille, and frye,
     383
Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
     384
But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,
     385
That on his shyne a mormal hadde he.
     386
For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.
     387
A shipman was ther, wonynge fer by weste;
     388
For aught I woot, he was of dertemouthe.
     389
He rood upon a rounce, as he kouthe,
     390
In a gowne of faldyng to the knee.
     391
A daggere hangynge on a laas hadde he
     392
Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun.
     393
The hoote somer hadde maad his hewe al broun;
     394
And certeinly he was a good felawe.
     395
Ful many a draughte of wyn had he ydrawe
     396
Fro burdeux-ward, whil that the chapmen sleep.
     397
Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
     398
If that he faught, and hadde the hyer hond,
     399
By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.
     400
But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
     401
His stremes, and his daungers hym bisides,
     402
His herberwe, and his moone, his lodemenage,
     403
Ther nas noon swich from hulle to cartage.
     404
Hardy he was and wys to undertake;
     405
With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.
     406
He knew alle the havenes, as they were,
     407
Fro gootlond to the cape of fynystere,
     408
And every cryke in britaigne and in spayne.
     409
His barge ycleped was the maudelayne.
     410
With us ther was a doctour of phisik;
     411
In al this world ne was the noon hym lik,
     412
To speke of phisik and of surgerye
     413
For he was grounded in astronomye.
     414
He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
     415
In houres by his magyk natureel.
     416
Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
     417
Of his ymages for his pacient.
     418
He knew the cause of everich maladye,
     419
Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,
     420
And where they engendred, and of what humour.
     421
He was a verray, parfit praktisour:
     422
The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,
     423
Anon he yaf the sike man his boote.
     424
Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
     425
To sende hym drogges and his letuaries,
     426
For ech of hem made oother for to wynne --
     427
Hir frendshipe nas nat newe to bigynne.
     428
Wel knew he the olde esculapius,
     429
And deyscorides, and eek rufus,
     430
Olde ypocras, haly, and galyen,
     431
Serapion, razis, and avycen,
     432
Averrois, damascien, and constantyn,
     433
Bernard, and gatesden, and gilbertyn.
     434
Of his diete mesurable was he,
     435
For it was of no superfluitee,
     436
But of greet norissyng and digestible.
     437
His studie was but litel on the bible.
     438
In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,
     439
Lyned with taffata and with sendal;
     440
And yet he was but esy of dispence;
     441
He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
     442
For gold in phisik is a cordial,
     443
Therefore he lovede gold in special.
     444
A good wif was ther of biside bathe,
     445
But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe.
     446
Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt,
     447
She passed hem of ypres and of gaunt.
     448
In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon
     449
That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon;
     450
And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she,
     451
That she was out of alle charitee.
     452
Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground;
     453
I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound
     454
That on a sonday weren upon hir heed.
     455
Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
     456
Ful streite yteyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe.
     457
Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.
     458
She was a worthy womman al hir lyve:
     459
Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,
     460
Withouten oother compaignye in youthe, --
     461
But therof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.
     462
And thries hadde she been at jerusalem;
     463
She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
     464
At rome she hadde been, and at boloigne,
     465
In galice at seint-jame, and at coloigne.
     466
She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.
     467
Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.
     468
Upon an amblere esily she sat,
     469
Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat
     470
As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;
     471
A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
     472
And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.
     473
In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe.
     474
Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,
     475
For she koude of that art the olde daunce.
     476
A good man was ther of religioun,
     477
And was a povre persoun of a toun,
     478
But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk.
     479
He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
     480
That cristes gospel trewely wolde preche;
     481
His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
     482
Benygne he was, and wonder diligent,
     483
And in adversitee ful pacient, Page  22
     484
And swich he was ypreved ofte sithes.
     485
Ful looth were hym to cursen for his tithes,
     486
But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
     487
Unto his povre parisshens aboute
     488
Of his offryng and eek of his substaunce.
     489
He koude in litel thyng have suffisaunce.
     490
Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,
     491
But he ne lefte nat, for reyn ne thonder,
     492
In siknesse nor in meschief to visite
     493
The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lite,
     494
Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
     495
This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,
     496
That first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte.
     497
Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte,
     498
And this figure he added eek therto,
     499
That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?
     500
For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
     501
No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
     502
And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
     503
A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
     504
Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,
     505
By his clennesse, how that his sheep sholde lyve.
     506
He sette nat his benefice to hyre
     507
And leet his sheep encombred in the myre
     508
And ran to londoun unto seinte poules
     509
To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,
     510
Or with a bretherhed to been withholde;
     511
But dwelte at hoom, and kepte wel his folde,
     512
So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie;
     513
He was a shepherde and noght a mercenarie.
     514
And though he hooly were and vertuous,
     515
He was to synful men nat despitous,
     516
Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
     517
But in his techyng discreet and benygne.
     518
To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
     519
By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
     520
But it were any persone obstinat,
     521
What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
     522
Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the nonys.
     523
A bettre preest I trowe that nowher noon ys.
     524
He waited after no pompe and reverence,
     525
Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
     526
But cristes loore and his apostles twelve
     527
He taughte, but first he folwed it hymselve.
     528
With hym ther was a plowman, was his brother,
     529
That hadde ylad of dong ful many a fother;
     530
A trewe swynkere and a good was he,
     531
Lyvynge in pees and parfit charitee.
     532
God loved he best with al his hoole herte
     533
At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte,
     534
And thanne his neighebor right as hymselve.
     535
He wolde thresshe, and therto dyke and delve,
     536
For cristes sake, for every povre wight,
     537
Withouten hire, if it lay in his myght.
     538
His tithes payde he ful faire and wel,
     539
Bothe of his propre swynk and his catel.
     540
In a tabard he rood upon a mere.
     541
Ther was also a reve, and a millere,
     542
A somnour, and a pardoner also,
     543
A maunciple, and myself -- ther were namo.
     544
The millere was a stout carl for the nones;
     545
Ful byg he was of brawn, and eek of bones.
     546
That proved wel, for over al ther he cam,
     547
At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram.
     548
He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre;
     549
Ther was no dore that he nolde heve of harre,
     550
Or breke it at a rennyng with his heed.
     551
His berd as any sowe or fox was reed,
     552
And therto brood, as though it were a spade.
     553
Upon the cop right of his nose he hade
     554
A werte, and theron stood a toft of herys,
     555
Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys;
     556
His nosethirles blake were and wyde.
     557
A swerd and bokeler bar he by his syde.
     558
His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys.
     559
He was a janglere and a goliardeys,
     560
And that was moost of synne and harlotries.
     561
Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries;
     562
And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.
     563
A whit cote and a blew hood wered he.
     564
A baggepipe wel koude he blowe and sowne,
     565
And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.
     566
A gentil maunciple was ther of a temple,
     567
Of which achatours myghte take exemple
     568
For to be wise in byynge of vitaille;
     569
For wheither that he payde or took by taille,
     570
Algate he wayted so in his achaat
     571
That he was ay biforn and in good staat.
     572
Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace
     573
That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace
     574
The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?
     575
Of maistres hadde he mo than thries ten,
     576
That weren of lawe expert and curious,
     577
Of which ther were a duszeyne in that hous
     578
Worthy to been stywardes of rente and lond
     579
Of any lord that is in engelond,
     580
To make hym lyve by his propre good
     581
In honour dettelees (but if he were wood),
     582
Or lyve as scarsly as hym list desire;
     583
And able for to helpen al a shire
     584
In any caas that myghte falle or happe;
     585
And yet this manciple sette hir aller cappe.
     586
The reve was a sclendre colerik man.
     587
His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
     588
His heer was by his erys ful round yshorn; Page  23
     589
His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn
     590
Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
     591
Ylyk a staf, ther was no calf ysene.
     592
Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
     593
Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
     594
Wel wiste he by the droghte and by the reyn
     595
The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn.
     596
His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
     597
His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye
     598
Was hoolly in this reves governynge,
     599
And by his covenant yaf the rekenynge,
     600
Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age.
     601
Ther koude no man brynge hym in arrerage.
     602
Ther nas baillif, ne hierde, nor oother hyne,
     603
That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
     604
They were adrad of hym as of the deeth.
     605
His wonyng was ful faire upon an heeth;
     606
With grene trees yshadwed was his place.
     607
He koude bettre than his lord purchace.
     608
Ful riche he was astored pryvely:
     609
His lord wel koude he plesen subtilly,
     610
To yeve and lene hym of his owene good,
     611
And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
     612
In youthe he hadde lerned a good myster;
     613
He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
     614
This reve sat upon a ful good stot,
     615
That was al pomely grey and highte scot.
     616
A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
     617
And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.
     618
Of northfolk was this reve of which I telle,
     619
Biside a toun men clepen baldeswelle.
     620
Tukked he was as is a frere aboute,
     621
And evere he rood the hyndreste of oure route.
     622
A somonour was ther with us in that place,
     623
That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,
     624
For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe.
     625
As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe,
     626
With scalled browes blake and piled berd.
     627
Of his visage children were aferd.
     628
Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, ne brymstoon,
     629
Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon;
     630
Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,
     631
That hym myghte helpen of his whelkes white,
     632
Nor of the knobbes sittynge on his chekes.
     633
Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,
     634
And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood;
     635
Thanne wolde he speke and crie as he were wood.
     636
And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
     637
Thanne wolde he speke no word but latyn.
     638
A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,
     639
That he had lerned out of som decree --
     640
No wonder is, he herde it al the day;
     641
And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay
     642
Kan clepen watte as wel as kan the pope.
     643
But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope,
     644
Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie;
     645
Ay questio quid iuris wolde he crie.
     646
He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;
     647
A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde.
     648
He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn
     649
A good felawe to have his concubyn
     650
A twelf month, and excuse hym atte fulle;
     651
Ful prively a fynch eek koude he pulle.
     652
And if he foond owher a good felawe,
     653
He wolde techen him to have noon awe
     654
In swich caas of the ercedekenes curs,
     655
But if a mannes soule were in his purs;
     656
For in his purs he sholde ypunysshed be.
     657
Purs is the ercedekenes helle, seyde he.
     658
But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;
     659
Of cursyng oghte ech gilty man him drede,
     660
For curs wol slee right as assoillyng savith,
     661
And also war hym of a significavit.
     662
In daunger hadde he at his owene gise
     663
The yonge girles of the diocise,
     664
And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
     665
A gerland hadde he set upon his heed
     666
As greet as it were for an ale-stake.
     667
A bokeleer hadde he maad hym of a cake.
     668
With hym ther rood a gentil pardoner
     669
Of rouncivale, his freend and his compeer,
     670
That streight was comen fro the court of rome.
     671
Ful loude he soong com hider, love, to me!
     672
This somonour bar to hym a stif burdoun;
     673
Was nevere trompe of half so greet a soun.
     674
This pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,
     675
But smothe it heeng as dooth a strike of flex;
     676
By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
     677
And therwith he his shuldres overspradde;
     678
But thynne it lay, by colpons oon and oon.
     679
But hood, for jolitee, wered he noon,
     680
For it was trussed up in his walet.
     681
Hym thoughte he rood al of the newe jet;
     682
Dischevelee, save his cappe, he rood al bare.
     683
Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare.
     684
A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
     685
His walet lay biforn hym in his lappe,
     686
Bretful of pardoun, comen from rome al hoot.
     687
A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot.
     688
No berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have;
     689
As smothe it was as it were late shave.
     690
I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare.
     691
But of his craft, fro berwyk into ware,
     692
Ne was ther swich another pardoner
     693
For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
     694
Which that he seyde was oure lady veyl: Page  24
     695
He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl
     696
That seint peter hadde, whan that he wente
     697
Upon the see, til jhesu crist hym hente.
     698
He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
     699
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
     700
But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
     701
A povre person dwellynge upon lond,
     702
Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye
     703
Than that the person gat in monthes tweye;
     704
And thus, with feyned flaterye and japes,
     705
He made the person and the peple his apes.
     706
But trewely to tellen atte laste,
     707
He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste.
     708
Wel koude he rede a lessoun or a storie,
     709
But alderbest he song an offertorie;
     710
For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
     711
He moste preche and wel affile his tonge
     712
To wynne silver, as he ful wel koude;
     713
Therefore he song the murierly and loude.
     714
Now have I toold you soothly, in a clause,
     715
Th' estaat, th' array, the nombre, and eek the cause
     716
Why that assembled was this compaignye
     717
In southwerk at this gentil hostelrye
     718
That highte the tabard, faste by the belle.
     719
But now is tyme to yow for to telle
     720
How that we baren us that ilke nyght,
     721
Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
     722
And after wol I telle of our viage
     723
And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage.
     724
But first I pray yow, of youre curteisye,
     725
That ye n' arette it nat my vileynye,
     726
Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere,
     727
To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
     728
Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely.
     729
For this ye knowen al so wel as I,
     730
Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
     731
He moot reherce as ny as evere he kan
     732
Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
     733
Al speke he never so rudeliche and large,
     734
Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe,
     735
Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe.
     736
He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother;
     737
He moot as wel seye o word as another.
     738
Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
     739
And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
     740
Eek plato seith, whoso that kan hym rede,
     741
The wordes moote be cosyn to the dede.
     742
Also I prey yow to foryeve it me,
     743
Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
     744
Heere in this tale, as that they sholde stonde.
     745
My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.
     746
Greet chiere made oure hoost us everichon,
     747
And to the soper sette he us anon.
     748
He served us with vitaille at the beste;
     749
Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste.
     750
A semely man oure hooste was withalle
     751
For to han been a marchal in an halle.
     752
A large man he was with eyen stepe --
     753
A fairer burgeys is ther noon in chepe --
     754
Boold of his speche, and wys, and wel ytaught,
     755
And of manhod hym lakkede right naught.
     756
Eek therto he was right a myrie man,
     757
And after soper pleyen he bigan,
     758
And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
     759
Whan that we hadde maad oure rekenynges,
     760
And seyde thus: now, lordynges, trewely,
     761
Ye been to me right welcome, hertely;
     762
For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
     763
I saugh nat this yeer so myrie a compaignye
     764
Atones in this herberwe as is now.
     765
Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how.
     766
And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght,
     767
To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.
     768
Ye goon to caunterbury -- God yow speede,
     769
The blisful martir quite yow youre meede!
     770
And wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye,
     771
Ye shapen yow to talen and to pleye;
     772
For trewely, confort ne myrthe is noon
     773
To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon;
     774
And therfore wol I maken yow disport,
     775
As I seyde erst, and doon yow som confort.
     776
And if yow liketh alle by oon assent
     777
For to stonden at my juggement,
     778
And for to werken as I shal yow seye,
     779
To-morwe, whan ye riden by the weye,
     780
Now, by my fader soule that is deed,
     781
But ye be myrie, I wol yeve yow myn heed!
     782
Hoold up youre hondes, withouten moore speche.
     783
Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche.
     784
Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,
     785
And graunted hym withouten moore avys,
     786
And bad him seye his voirdit as hym leste.
     787
Lordynges, quod he, now herkneth for the beste;
     788
But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn.
     789
This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
     790
That ech of yow, to shorte with oure weye,
     791
In this viage shal telle tales tweye
     792
To caunterbury-ward, I mene it so,
     793
And homward he shal tellen othere two,
     794
Of aventures that whilom han bifalle.
     795
And which of yow that bereth hym best of alle,
     796
That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas
     797
Tales of best sentence and moost solaas,
     798
Shal have a soper at oure aller cost
     799
Heere in this place, sittynge by this post, Page  25
     800
Whan that we come agayn fro caunterbury.
     801
And for to make yow the moore mury,
     802
I wol myselven goodly with yow ryde,
     803
Right at myn owene cost, and be youre gyde,
     804
And whoso wole my juggement withseye
     805
Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
     806
And if ye vouche sauf that it be so,
     807
Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
     808
And I wol erly shape me therfore.
     809
This thyng was graunted, and oure othes swore
     810
With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
     811
That he wolde vouche sauf for to do so,
     812
And that he wolde been oure governour,
     813
And oure tales juge and reportour,
     814
And sette a soper at a certeyn pris,
     815
And we wol reuled been at his devys
     816
In heigh and lough; and thus by oon assent
     817
We been acorded to his juggement.
     818
And therupon the wyn was fet anon;
     819
We dronken, and to reste wente echon,
     820
Withouten any lenger taryynge.
     821
Amorwe, whan that day bigan to sprynge,
     822
Up roos oure hoost, and was oure aller cok,
     823
And gradrede us togidre alle in a flok,
     824
And forth we riden a litel moore than paas
     825
Unto the wateryng of seint thomas;
     826
And there oure hoost bigan his hors areste
     827
And seyde, lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste.
     828
Ye woot youre foreward, and I it yow recorde.
     829
If even-song and morwe-song accorde,
     830
Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale.
     831
As evere mote I drynke wyn or ale,
     832
Whoso be rebel to my juggement
     833
Shal paye for al that by the wey is spent.
     834
Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twynne;
     835
He which that hath the shorteste shal bigynne.
     836
Sire knyght, quod he, my mayster and my lord,
     837
Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord.
     838
Cometh neer, quod he, my lady prioresse.
     839
And ye, sire clerk, lat be youre shamefastnesse,
     840
Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man!
     841
Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
     842
And shortly for to tellen as it was,
     843
Were it by aventure, or sort, or cas,
     844
The sothe is this, the cut fil to the knyght,
     845
Of which ful blithe and glad was every wyght,
     846
And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,
     847
By foreward and by composicioun,
     848
As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
     849
And whan this goode man saugh that it was so,
     850
As he that wys was and obedient
     851
To kepe his foreward by his free assent,
     852
He seyde, syn I shal bigynne the game,
     853
What, welcome be the cut, a goddes name!
     854
Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye.
     855
And with that word we ryden forth oure weye,
     856
And he bigan with right a myrie cheere
     857
His tale anon, and seyde as ye may heere.
     858

The Knight's Tale

Part I

Whilom, as olde stories tellen us,
     859
Ther was a duc that highte theseus;
     860
Of atthenes he was lord and governour,
     861
And in his tyme swich a conquerour,
     862
That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.
     863
Ful many a riche contree hadde he wonne;
     864
What with his wysdom and his chivalrie,
     865
He conquered al the regne of femenye,
     866
That whilom was ycleped scithia,
     867
And weddede the queene ypolita,
     868
And broghte hire hoom with hym in his contree
     869
With muchel glorie and greet solempnytee,
     870
And eek hir yonge suster emelye.
     871
And thus with victorie and with melodye
     872
Lete I this noble duc to atthenes ryde,
     873
And al his hoost in armes hym bisyde.
     874
And certes, if it nere to long to heere,
     875
I wolde have toold yow fully the manere
     876
How wonnen was the regne of femenye
     877
By theseus and by his chivalrye;
     878
And of the grete bataille for the nones
     879
Bitwixen atthenes and amazones; Page  26
     880
And how asseged was ypolita,
     881
The faire, hardy queene of scithia;
     882
And of the feste that was at hir weddynge,
     883
And of the tempest at hir hoom-comynge;
     884
But al that thyng I moot as now forbere.
     885
I have, God woot, a large feeld to ere,
     886
And wayke been the oxen in my plough.
     887
The remenant of the tale is long ynough.
     888
I wol nat letten eek noon of this route;
     889
Lat every felawe telle his tale aboute,
     890
And lat se now who shal the soper wynne;
     891
And ther I lefte, I wol ayeyn bigynne.
     892
This duc, of whom I make mencioun,
     893
Whan he was come almoost unto the toun,
     894
In al his wele and in his mooste pride,
     895
He was war, as he caste his eye aside,
     896
Where that ther kneled in the heighe weye
     897
A compaignye of ladyes, tweye and tweye,
     898
Ech after oother, clad in clothes blake;
     899
But swich a cry and swich a wo they make
     900
That in this world nys creature lyvynge
     901
That herde swich another waymentynge;
     902
And of this cry they nolde nevere stenten
     903
Til they the reynes of his brydel henten.
     904
What fold been ye, that at myn homcomynge
     905
Perturben so my feste with criynge?
     906
Quod theseus. Have ye so greet envye
     907
Of myn honour, that thus compleyne and crye?
     908
Or who hath yow mysboden or offended?
     909
And telleth me if it may been amended,
     910
And why that ye been clothed thus in blak.
     911
The eldeste lady of hem alle spak,
     912
Whan she hadde swowned with a deedly cheere,
     913
That it was routhe for to seen and heere.
     914
She seyde: lord, to whom fortune hath yiven
     915
Victorie, and as a conqueror to lyven,
     916
Nat greveth us youre glorie and youre honour,
     917
But we biseken mercy and socour.
     918
Have mercy on oure wo and oure distresse!
     919
Som drope of pitee, thurgh thy gentillesse,
     920
Upon us wrecched wommen lat thou falle.
     921
For, certes, lord, ther is noon of us alle,
     922
That she ne hath been a duchesse or a queene.
     923
Now be we caytyves, as it is wel seene,
     924
Thanked be fortune and hire false wheel,
     925
That noon estaat assureth to be weel.
     926
And certes, lord, to abyden youre presence,
     927
Heere in this temple of the goddesse clemence
     928
We han ben waitynge al this fourtenyght.
     929
Now help us, lord, sith it is in thy myght.
     930
I, wrecche, which that wepe and wayle thus,
     931
Was whilom wyf to kyng cappaneus,
     932
That starf at thebes -- cursed be that day! --
     933
And alle we that been in this array
     934
And maken al this lamentacioun,
     935
We losten alle oure housbondes at that toun,
     936
Whil that the seege theraboute lay.
     937
And yet now the olde creon, weylaway!
     938
That lord is now of thebes the citee,
     939
Fulfild of ire and of iniquitee,
     940
He, for despit and for his tirannye,
     941
To do the dede bodyes vileynye
     942
Of alle oure lordes whiche that been yslawe,
     943
Hath alle the bodyes on an heep ydrawe,
     944
And wol nat suffren hem, by noon assent,
     945
Neither to been yburyed nor ybrent,
     946
But maketh houndes ete hem in despit.
     947
And with that word, withouten moore respit,
     948
They fillen gruf and criden pitously,
     949
Have on us wrecched wommen som mercy,
     950
And lat oure sorwe synken in thyn herte.
     951
This gentil duc doun from his courser sterte
     952
With herte pitous, whan he herde hem speke.
     953
Hym thoughte that his herte wolde breke,
     954
Whan he saugh hem so pitous and so maat,
     955
That whilom weren of so greet estaat;
     956
And in his armes he hem alle up hente,
     957
And hem conforteth in ful good entente,
     958
And swoor his ooth, as he was trewe knyght,
     959
He wolde doon so ferforthly his myght
     960
Upon the tiraunt creon hem to wreke,
     961
That al the peple of grece sholde speke
     962
How creon was of theseus yserved
     963
As he that hadde his deeth ful wel deserved.
     964
And right anoon, withouten moore abood,
     965
His baner he desplayeth, and forth rood
     966
To thebes-ward, and al his hoost biside.
     967
No neer atthenes wolde he go ne ride,
     968
Ne take his ese fully half a day,
     969
But onward on his wey that nyght he lay,
     970
And sente anon ypolita the queene,
     971
And emelye, hir yonge suster sheene,
     972
Unto the toun of atthenes to dwelle,
     973
And forth he rit; ther is namoore to telle.
     974
The rede statue of mars, with spere and targe,
     975
So shyneth in his white baner large,
     976
That alle the feeldes glyteren up and doun;
     977
And by his baner born is his penoun
     978
Of gold ful riche, in which ther was ybete
     979
The mynotaur, which that he slough in crete.
     980
Thus rit this duc, thus rit this conquerour,
     981
And in his hoost of chivalrie the flour,
     982
Til that he cam to thebes and alighte
     983
Faire in a feeld, ther as he thoughte to fighte.
     984
But shortly for to speken of this thyng,
     985
With creon, which that was of thebes kyng, Page  27
     986
He faught, and slough hym manly as a knyght
     987
In pleyn bataille, and putte the folk to flyght;
     988
And by assaut he wan the citee after,
     989
And rente adoun bothe wall and sparre and rafter;
     990
And to the ladyes he restored agayn
     991
The bones of hir housbondes that were slayn,
     992
To doon obsequies, as was tho the gyse.
     993
But it were al to longe for to devyse
     994
The grete clamour and the waymentynge
     995
That the ladyes made at the brennynge
     996
Of the bodies, and the grete honour
     997
That theseus, the noble conquerour,
     998
Dooth to the ladyes, whan they from hym wente;
     999
But shortly for to telle is myn entente.
     1000
Whan that this worthy duc, this theseus,
     1001
Hath creon slayn, and wonne thebes thus,
     1002
Stille in that feeld he took al nyght his reste,
     1003
And dide with al the contree as hym leste.
     1004
To ransake in the taas of bodyes dede,
     1005
Hem for to strepe of harneys and of wede,
     1006
The pilours diden bisynesse and cure
     1007
After the bataille and disconfiture.
     1008
And so bifel that in the taas they founde,
     1009
Thurgh-girt with many a grevous blody wounde,
     1010
Two yonge knyghtes liggynge by and by,
     1011
Bothe in oon armes, wroght ful richely,
     1012
Of whiche two arcita highte that oon,
     1013
And that oother knyght highte palamon.
     1014
Nat fully quyke, ne fully dede they were,
     1015
But by hir cote-armures and by hir gere
     1016
The heraudes knewe hem best in special
     1017
As they that weren of the blood roial
     1018
Of thebes, and of sustren two yborn.
     1019
Out of the taas the pilours han hem torn,
     1020
And han hem caried softe unto the tente
     1021
Of theseus; and he ful soone hem sente
     1022
To atthenes, to dwellen in prisoun
     1023
Perpetuelly, -- he nolde no raunsoun.
     1024
And whan this worthy duc hath thus ydon,
     1025
He took his hoost, and hoom he rit anon
     1026
With laurer crowned as a conquerour;
     1027
And ther he lyveth in joye and in honour
     1028
Terme of his lyf; what nedeth wordes mo?
     1029
And in a tour, in angwissh and in wo,
     1030
This palamon and his felawe arcite
     1031
For everemoore; ther may no gold hem quite.
     1032
This passeth yeer by yeer and day by day,
     1033
Till it fil ones, in a morwe of may,
     1034
That emelye, that fairer was to sene
     1035
Than is the lylie upon his stalke grene,
     1036
And fressher than the may with floures newe --
     1037
For with the rose colour stroof hire hewe,
     1038
I noot which was the fyner of hem two --
     1039
Er it were day, as was hir wone to do,
     1040
She was arisen and al redy dight;
     1041
For may wole have no slogardie a-nyght.
     1042
The sesoun priketh every gentil herte,
     1043
And maketh hym out of his slep to sterte,
     1044
And seith arys, and do thyn observaunce.
     1045
This maked emelye have remembraunce
     1046
To doon honour to may, and for to ryse.
     1047
Yclothed was she fressh, for to devyse:
     1048
Hir yelow heer was broyded in a tresse
     1049
Bihynde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse.
     1050
And in the gardyn, at the sonne upriste,
     1051
She walketh up and doun, and as hire liste
     1052
She gadereth floures, party white and rede,
     1053
To make a subtil gerland for hire hede;
     1054
And as an aungel hevenysshly she soong.
     1055
The grete tour, that was so thikke and stroong,
     1056
Which of the castel was the chief dongeoun,
     1057
(ther as the knyghtes weren in prisoun
     1058
Of which I tolde yow and tellen shal)
     1059
Was evene joynant to the gardyn wal
     1060
Ther as this emelye hadde hir pleyynge.
     1061
Bright was the sonne and cleer that morwenynge,
     1062
And palamoun, this woful prisoner,
     1063
As was his wone, by leve of his gayler,
     1064
Was risen and romed in a chambre an heigh,
     1065
In which he al the noble citee seigh,
     1066
And eek the gardyn, ful of braunches grene,
     1067
Ther as this fresshe emelye the shene
     1068
Was in hire walk, and romed up and doun.
     1069
This sorweful prisoner, this palamoun,
     1070
Goth in the chambre romynge to and fro,
     1071
And to hymself compleynynge of his wo.
     1072
That he was born, ful ofte he seyde, allas!
     1073
And so bifel, by aventure or cas,
     1074
That thurgh a wyndow, thikke of many a barre
     1075
Of iren greet and square as any sparre,
     1076
He cast his eye upon emelya,
     1077
And therwithal he bleynte and cride, a!
     1078
As though he stongen were unto the herte.
     1079
And with that cry arcite anon up sterte,
     1080
And seyde, cosyn myn, what eyleth thee,
     1081
That art so pale and deedly on to see?
     1082
Why cridestow? who hath thee doon offence?
     1083
For goddes love, taak al in pacience
     1084
Oure prisoun, for it may noon oother be.
     1085
Fortune hath yeven us this adversitee.
     1086
Som wikke aspect or disposicioun
     1087
Of saturne, by som constellacioun,
     1088
Hath yeven us this, although we hadde it sworn; Page  28
     1089
So stood the hevene whan that we were born.
     1090
We moste endure it; this is the short and playn.
     1091
This palamon answerde and seyde agayn:
     1092
Cosyn, for sothe, of this opinioun
     1093
Thow hast a veyn ymaginacioun.
     1094
This prison caused me nat for to crye,
     1095
But I was hurt right now thurghout myn ye
     1096
Into myn herte, that wol my bane be.
     1097
The fairnesse of that lady that I see
     1098
Yond in the gardyn romen to and fro
     1099
Is cause of al my criyng and my wo.
     1100
I noot wher she be womman or goddesse,
     1101
But venus is it soothly, as I gesse.
     1102
And therwithal on knees doun he fil,
     1103
And seyde: venus, if it be thy wil
     1104
Yow in this gardyn thus to transfigure
     1105
Bifore me, sorweful, wrecched creature,
     1106
Out of this prisoun help that we may scapen.
     1107
And if so be my destynee be shapen
     1108
By eterne word to dyen in prisoun,
     1109
Of oure lynage have som compassioun,
     1110
That is so lowe ybroght by tirannye.
     1111
And with that word arcite gan espye
     1112
Wher as this lady romed to and fro,
     1113
And with that sighte hir beautee hurte hym so,
     1114
That, if that palamon was wounded sore,
     1115
Arcite is hurt as muche as he, or moore.
     1116
And with a sigh he seyde pitously:
     1117
The fresshe beautee sleeth me sodeynly
     1118
Of hire that rometh in the yonder place,
     1119
And but I have hir mercy and hir grace,
     1120
That I may seen hire atte leeste weye,
     1121
I nam but deed; ther nis namoore to seye.
     1122
This palamon, whan he tho wordes herde,
     1123
Dispitously he looked and answerde,
     1124
Wheither seistow this in ernest or in pley?
     1125
Nay, quod arcite, in ernest, by my fey!
     1126
God helpe me so, me list ful yvele pleye.
     1127
This palamon gan knytte his browes tweye.
     1128
It nere, quod he, to thee no greet honour
     1129
For to be fals, ne for to be traitour
     1130
To me, that am thy cosyn and thy brother
     1131
Ysworn ful depe, and ech of us til oother,
     1132
That nevere, for to dyen in the peyne,
     1133
Til that the deeth departe shal us tweyne,
     1134
Neither of us in love to hyndre oother,
     1135
Ne in noon oother cas, my leeve brother;
     1136
But that thou sholdest trewely forthren me
     1137
In every cas, as I shal forthren thee, --
     1138
This was thyn ooth, and myn also, certeyn;
     1139
I woot right wel, thou darst it nat withseyn.
     1140
Thus artow of my conseil, out of doute,
     1141
And now thow woldest falsly been aboute
     1142
To love my lady, whom I love and serve,
     1143
And evere shal til that myn herte sterve.
     1144
Nay, certes, false arcite, thow shalt nat so.
     1145
I loved hire first, and tolde thee my wo
     1146
As to my conseil and my brother sworn
     1147
To forthre me, as I have toold biforn.
     1148
For which thou art ybounden as a knyght
     1149
To helpen me, if it lay in thy myght,
     1150
Or elles artow fals, I dar wel seyn.
     1151
This arcite ful proudly spak ageyn:
     1152
Thow shalt, quod he, be rather fals than I;
     1153
And thou art fals, I telle thee outrely,
     1154
For paramour I loved hire first er thow.
     1155
What wiltow seyen? thou woost nat yet now
     1156
Wheither she be a womman or goddesse!
     1157
Thyn is affeccioun of hoolynesse,
     1158
And myn is love, as to a creature;
     1159
For which I tolde thee myn aventure
     1160
As to my cosyn and my brother sworn.
     1161
I pose that thow lovedest hire biforn;
     1162
Wostow nat wel the olde clerkes sawe,
     1163
That "who shal yeve a lovere any lawe?"
     1164
Love is a gretter lawe, by my pan,
     1165
Than may be yeve to any erthely man;
     1166
And therfore positif lawe and swich decree
     1167
Is broken al day for love in ech degree.
     1168
A man moot nedes love, maugree his heed.
     1169
He may nat fleen it, thogh he sholde be deed,
     1170
Al be she mayde, or wydwe, or elles wyf.
     1171
And eek it is nat likly al thy lyf
     1172
To stonden in hir grace; namoore shal I;
     1173
For wel thou woost thyselven, verraily,
     1174
That thou and I be dampned to prisoun
     1175
Perpetuelly; us gayneth no raunsoun.
     1176
We stryve as dide the houndes for the boon;
     1177
They foughte al day, and yet hir part was noon.
     1178
Ther cam a kyte, whil that they were so wrothe,
     1179
And baar awey the boon bitwixe hem bothe.
     1180
And therfore, at the kynges court, my brother,
     1181
Ech man for hymself, ther is noon oother.
     1182
Love, if thee list, for I love and ay shal;
     1183
And soothly, leeve brother, this is al.
     1184
Heere in this prisoun moote we endure,
     1185
And everich of us take his aventure.
     1186
Greet was the strif and long bitwix hem tweye,
     1187
If that I hadde leyser for to seye,
     1188
But to th' effect. It happed on a day,
     1189
To telle it yow as shortly as I may,
     1190
A worthy duc that highte perotheus,
     1191
That felawe was unto duc theseus
     1192
Syn thilke day that they were children lite, Page  29
     1193
Was come to atthenes his felawe to visite,
     1194
And for to pleye as he was wont to do;
     1195
For in this world he loved no man so,
     1196
And he loved hym als tendrely agayn.
     1197
So wel they lovede, as olde bookes sayn,
     1198
That whan that oon was deed, soothly to telle,
     1199
His felawe wente and soughte hym doun in helle, --
     1200
But of that storie list me nat to write.
     1201
Duc perotheus loved wel arcite,
     1202
And hadde hym knowe at thebes yeer by yere,
     1203
And finally at requeste and preyere
     1204
Of perotheus, withouten any raunsoun,
     1205
Duc theseus hym leet out of prisoun
     1206
Frely to goon wher that hym liste over al,
     1207
In swich a gyse as I you tellen shal.
     1208
This was the forward, pleynly for t' endite,
     1209
Bitwixen theseus and hym arcite
     1210
That if so were that arcite were yfounde
     1211
Evere in his lif, by day or nyght, oo stounde
     1212
In any contree of this theseus,
     1213
And he were caught, it was acorded thus,
     1214
That with a swerd he sholde lese his heed.
     1215
Ther nas noon oother remedie ne reed;
     1216
But taketh his leve, and homward he him spedde.
     1217
Lat hym be war! his nekke lith to wedde.
     1218
How greet a sorwe suffreth now arcite!
     1219
The deeth he feeleth thurgh his herte smyte;
     1220
He wepeth, wayleth, crieth pitously;
     1221
To sleen hymself he waiteth prively.
     1222
He seyde, allas that day that I was born!
     1223
Now is my prisoun worse than biforn;
     1224
Now is me shape eternally to dwelle.
     1225
Noght in purgatorie, but in helle.
     1226
Allas, that evere knew I perotheus!
     1227
For elles hadde I dwelled with theseus,
     1228
Yfetered in his prisoun everemo.
     1229
Thanne hadde I been in blisse, and nat in wo.
     1230
Oonly the sighte of hire whom that I serve,
     1231
Though that I nevere hir grace may deserve,
     1232
Wolde han suffised right ynough for me.
     1233
O deere cosyn palamon, quod he,
     1234
Thyn is the victorie of this aventure.
     1235
Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure, --
     1236
In prison? certes nay, but in paradys!
     1237
Wel hath fortune yturned thee the dys,
     1238
That hast the sighte of hire, and I th' absence.
     1239
For possible is, syn thou hast hire presence,
     1240
And art a knyght, a worthy and an able,
     1241
That by som cas, syn fortune is chaungeable,
     1242
Thow maist to thy desir somtyme atteyne.
     1243
But I, that am exiled and bareyne
     1244
Of alle grace, and in so greet dispeir,
     1245
That ther nys erthe, water, fir, ne eir,
     1246
Ne creature that of hem maked is,
     1247
That may me helpe or doon confort in this,
     1248
Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse.
     1249
Farwel my lif, my lust, and my gladnesse!
     1250
Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune
     1251
On purveiaunce of god, or of fortune,
     1252
That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse
     1253
Wel bettre than they kan hemself devyse?
     1254
Som man desireth for to han richesse,
     1255
That cause is of his mordre or greet siknesse;
     1256
And som man wolde out of his prisoun fayn,
     1257
That in his hous is of his meynee slayn.
     1258
Infinite harmes been in this mateere.
     1259
We witen nat what thing we preyen heere:
     1260
We faren as he that dronke is as a mous.
     1261
A dronke man woot wel he hath an hous,
     1262
But he noot which the righte wey is thider,
     1263
And to a dronke man the wey is slider.
     1264
And certes, in this world so faren we;
     1265
We seken faste after felicitee,
     1266
But we goon wrong ful often, trewely.
     1267
Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I,
     1268
That wende and hadde a greet opinioun
     1269
That if I myghte escapen from prisoun,
     1270
Thanne hadde I been in joye and perfit heele,
     1271
Ther now I am exiled fro my wele.
     1272
Syn that I may nat seen you, emelye,
     1273
I nam but deed; ther nys no remedye.
     1274
Upon that oother syde palamon,
     1275
Whan that he wiste arcite was agon,
     1276
Swich sorwe he maketh that the grete tour
     1277
Resouneth of his youlyng and clamour.
     1278
The pure fettres on his shynes grete
     1279
Weren of his bittre, salte teeres wete.
     1280
Allas, quod he, arcita, cosyn myn,
     1281
Of al oure strif, God woot, the fruyt is thyn.
     1282
Thou walkest now in thebes at thy large,
     1283
And of my wo thow yevest litel charge.
     1284
Thou mayst, syn thou hast wisdom and manhede,
     1285
Assemblen alle the folk of oure kynrede,
     1286
And make a werre so sharp on this citee,
     1287
That by som aventure or some tretee
     1288
Thow mayst have hire to lady and to wyf
     1289
For whom that I moste nedes lese my lyf.
     1290
For, as by wey of possibilitee,
     1291
Sith thou art at thy large, of prisoun free,
     1292
And art a lord, greet is thyn avauntage
     1293
Moore than is myn, that sterve here in a cage.
     1294
For I moot wepe and wayle, whil I lyve,
     1295
With al the wo that prison may me yive,
     1296
And eek with peyne that love me yeveth also,
     1297
That doubleth al my torment and my wo. Page  30
     1298
Therwith the fyr of jalousie up sterte
     1299
Withinne his brest, and hente him by the herte
     1300
So woodly that he lyk was to biholde
     1301
The boxtree or the asshen dede and colde.
     1302
Thanne seyde he, o crueel goddes that governe
     1303
This world with byndyng of youre word eterne,
     1304
And writen in the table of atthamaunt
     1305
Youre parlement and youre eterne graunt,
     1306
What is mankynde moore unto you holde
     1307
Than is the sheep that rouketh in the folde?
     1308
For slayn is man right as another beest,
     1309
And dwelleth eek in prison and arreest,
     1310
And hath siknesse and greet adversitee,
     1311
And ofte tymes giltelees, pardee.
     1312
What governance is in this prescience,
     1313
That giltelees tormenteth innocence?
     1314
And yet encresseth this al my penaunce,
     1315
That man is bounden to his observaunce,
     1316
For goddes sake, to letten of his wille,
     1317
Ther as a beest may al his lust fulfille.
     1318
And whan a beest is deed he hath no peyne;
     1319
But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne,
     1320
Though in this world he have care and wo.
     1321
Withouten doute it may stonden so.
     1322
The answere of this lete I to dyvynys,
     1323
But wel I woot that in this world greet pyne ys.
     1324
Allas, I se a serpent or a theef,
     1325
That many a trewe man hath doon mescheef,
     1326
Goon at his large, and where hym list may turne.
     1327
But I moot been in prisoun thurgh saturne,
     1328
And eek thurgh juno, jalous and eek wood,
     1329
That hath destroyed wel ny al the blood
     1330
Of thebes with his waste walles wyde;
     1331
And venus sleeth me on that oother syde
     1332
For jalousie and fere of hym arcite.
     1333
Now wol I stynte of palamon a lite,
     1334
And lete hym in his prisoun stille dwelle,
     1335
And of arcita forth I wol yow telle.
     1336
The somer passeth, and the nyghtes longe
     1337
Encressen double wise the peynes stronge
     1338
Bothe of the lovere and the prisoner.
     1339
I noot which hath the wofuller mester.
     1340
For, shortly for to seyn, this palamoun
     1341
Perpetuelly is dampned to prisoun,
     1342
In cheynes and in fettres to been deed;
     1343
And arcite is exiled upon his heed
     1344
For everemo, as out of that contree,
     1345
Ne nevere mo he shal his lady see.
     1346
Yow loveres axe I now this questioun:
     1347
Who hath the worse, arcite or palamoun?
     1348
That oon may seen his lady day by day,
     1349
But in prison he moot dwelle alway;
     1350
That oother wher hym list may ride or go,
     1351
But seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
     1352
Now demeth as yow liste, ye that kan,
     1353
For I wol telle forth as I bigan.
     1354
Explicit prima pars.

Sequitur pars secunda.

Whan that arcite to thebes comen was,
     1355
Ful ofte a day he swelte and seyde allas!
     1356
For seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
     1357
And shortly to concluden al his wo,
     1358
So muche sorwe hadde nevere creature
     1359
That is, or shal, whil that the world may dure.
     1360
His slep, his mete, his drynke, is hym biraft,
     1361
That lene he wex and drye as is a shaft;
     1362
His eyen holwe, and grisly to biholde,
     1363
His hewe falow and pale as asshen colde,
     1364
And solitarie he was and evere allone,
     1365
And waillynge al the nyght, makynge his mone;
     1366
And if he herde song or instrument,
     1367
Thanne wolde he wepe, he myghte nat be stent.
     1368
So feble eek were his spiritz, and so lowe,
     1369
And chaunged so, that no man koude knowe
     1370
His speche nor his voys, though men it herde.
     1371
And in his geere for al the world he ferde,
     1372
Nat oonly lik the loveris maladye
     1373
Of hereos, but rather lyk manye,
     1374
Engendred of humour malencolik,
     1375
Biforen, in his celle fantastik.
     1376
And shortly, turned was al up so doun
     1377
Bothe habit and eek disposicioun
     1378
Of hym, this woful lovere daun arcite.
     1379
What sholde I al day of his wo endite?
     1380
Whan he endured hadde a yeer or two
     1381
This crueel torment and this peyne and wo,
     1382
At thebes, in his contree, as I seyde,
     1383
Upon a nyght in sleep as he hym leyde,
     1384
Hym thoughte how that the wynged God mercurie
     1385
Biforn hym stood and bad hym to be murie.
     1386
His slepy yerde in hond he bar uprighte;
     1387
An hat he werede upon his heris brighte.
     1388
Arrayed was this god, as he took keep,
     1389
As he was whan that argus took his sleep;
     1390
And seyde hym thus: to atthenes shaltou wende,
     1391
Ther is thee shapen of thy wo an ende.
     1392
And with that word arcite wook and sterte.
     1393
Now trewely, hou soore that me smerte,
     1394
Quod he, to atthenes right now wol I fare,
     1395
Ne for the drede of deeth shal I nat spare
     1396
To se my lady, that I love and serve. Page  31
     1397
In hire presence I recche nat to sterve.
     1398
And with that word he caughte a greet mirour,
     1399
And saugh that chaunged was al his colour,
     1400
And saugh his visage al in another kynde.
     1401
And right anon it ran hym in his mynde,
     1402
That, sith his face was so disfigured
     1403
Of maladye the which he hadde endured,
     1404
He myghte wel, if that he bar hym lowe,
     1405
Lyve in atthenes everemoore unknowe.
     1406
And seen his lady wel ny day by day.
     1407
And right anon he chaunged his array,
     1408
And cladde hym as a povre laborer,
     1409
And al allone, save oonly a squier
     1410
That knew his privetee and al his cas,
     1411
Which was disgised povrely as he was,
     1412
To atthenes is he goon the nexte way.
     1413
And to the court he wente upon a day,
     1414
And at the gate he profreth his servyse
     1415
To drugge and drawe, what so men wol devyse.
     1416
And shortly of this matere for to seyn,
     1417
He fil in office with a chamberleyn
     1418
The which that dwellynge was with emelye;
     1419
For he was wys and koude soone espye
     1420
Of every servaunt which that serveth here.
     1421
Wel koude he hewen wode, and water bere,
     1422
For he was yong and myghty for the nones,
     1423
And therto he was long and big of bones
     1424
To doon that any wight kan hym devyse.
     1425
A yeer or two he was in this servyse,
     1426
Page of the chambre of emelye the brighte;
     1427
And philostrate he seyde that he highte.
     1428
But half so wel biloved a man as he
     1429
Ne was ther nevere in court of his degree;
     1430
He was so gentil of condicioun
     1431
That thurghout al the court was his renoun.
     1432
They seyden that it were a charitee
     1433
That theseus wolde enhauncen his degree,
     1434
And putten hym in worshipful servyse,
     1435
Ther as he myghte his vertu excercise.
     1436
And thus withinne a while his name is spronge,
     1437
Bothe of his dedes and his goode tonge,
     1438
That theseus hath taken hym so neer,
     1439
That of his chambre he made hym a squier,
     1440
And gaf hym gold to mayntene his degree.
     1441
And eek men broghte hym out of his contree,
     1442
From yeer to yeer, ful pryvely his rente;
     1443
But honestly and slyly he it spente,
     1444
That no man wondred how that he it hadde.
     1445
And thre yeer in this wise his lif he ladde,
     1446
And bar hym so, in pees and eek in werre,
     1447
Ther was no man that theseus hath derre.
     1448
And in this blisse lete I now arcite,
     1449
And speke I wole of palamon a lite.
     1450
In derknesse and horrible and strong prisoun
     1451
Thise seven yeer hath seten palamoun
     1452
Forpyned, what for wo and for distresse.
     1453
Who feeleth double soor and hevynesse
     1454
But palamon, that love destreyneth so
     1455
That wood out of his wit he goth for wo?
     1456
And eek therto he is a prisoner
     1457
Perpetuelly, noght oonly for a yer.
     1458
Who koude ryme in englyssh proprely
     1459
His martirdom? for sothe it am nat I;
     1460
Therfore I passe as lightly as I may.
     1461
It fel that in the seventhe yer, of may
     1462
The thridde nyght, (as olde bookes seyn,
     1463
That al this storie tellen moore pleyn)
     1464
Were it by aventure or destynee --
     1465
As, whan a thyng is shapen, it shal be --
     1466
That soone after the mydnyght palamoun,
     1467
By helpyng of a freend, brak his prisoun
     1468
And fleeth the citee faste as he may go.
     1469
For he hadde yeve his gayler drynke so
     1470
Of a clarree maad of a certeyn wyn,
     1471
With nercotikes and opie of thebes fyn,
     1472
That al that nyght, thogh that men wolde him shake,
     1473
The gayler sleep, he myghte nat awake;
     1474
And thus he fleeth as faste as evere he may.
     1475
The nyght was short and faste by the day,
     1476
That nedes cost he moot hymselven hyde;
     1477
And til a grove faste ther bisyde
     1478
With dredeful foot thanne stalketh palamon.
     1479
For, shortly, this was his opinion,
     1480
That in that grove he wolde hym hyde al day,
     1481
And in the nyght thanne wolde he take his way
     1482
To thebes-ward, his freendes for to preye
     1483
On theseus to helpe him to werreye;
     1484
And shortly, outher he wolde lese his lif,
     1485
Or wynnen emelye unto his wyf.
     1486
This is th' effect and his entente pleyn.
     1487
Now wol I turne to arcite ageyn,
     1488
That litel wiste how ny that was his care,
     1489
Til that fortune had broght him in the snare.
     1490
The bisy larke, messager of day,
     1491
Salueth in hir song the morwe gray,
     1492
And firy phebus riseth up so bright
     1493
That al the orient laugheth of the light,
     1494
And with his stremes dryeth in the greves
     1495
The silver dropes hangynge on the leves.
     1496
And arcita, that in the court roial
     1497
With theseus is squier principal,
     1498
Is risen and looketh on the myrie day.
     1499
And for to doon his observaunce to may,
     1500
Remembrynge on the poynt of his desir,
     1501
He on a courser, startlynge as the fir,
     1502
Is riden into the feeldes hym to pleye, Page  32
     1503
Out of the court, were it a myle or tweye.
     1504
And to the grove of which that I yow tolde
     1505
By aventure his wey he gan to holde,
     1506
To maken hym a gerland of the greves
     1507
Were it of wodebynde or hawethorn leves,
     1508
And loude he song ayeyn the sonne shene:
     1509
May, with alle thy floures and thy grene,
     1510
Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe may,
     1511
In hope that I som grene gete may.
     1512
And from his courser, with a lusty herte,
     1513
Into the grove ful hastily he sterte,
     1514
And in a path he rometh up and doun,
     1515
Ther as by aventure this palamoun
     1516
Was in a bussh, that no man myghte hym se,
     1517
For soore afered of his deeth was he.
     1518
No thyng ne knew he that it was arcite;
     1519
God woot he wolde have trowed it ful lite.
     1520
But sooth is seyd, go sithen many yeres,
     1521
That feeld hath eyen and the wode hath eres.
     1522
It is ful fair a man to bere hym evene,
     1523
For al day meeteth men at unset stevene.
     1524
Ful litel woot arcite of his felawe,
     1525
That was so ny to herknen al his sawe,
     1526
For in the bussh he sitteth now ful stille.
     1527
Whan that arcite hadde romed al his fille,
     1528
And songen al the roundel lustily,
     1529
Into a studie he fil sodeynly,
     1530
As doon thise loveres in hir queynte geres,
     1531
Now in the crope, now doun in the breres,
     1532
Now up, now doun, as boket in a welle.
     1533
Right as the friday, soothly for to telle,
     1534
Now it shyneth, now it reyneth faste,
     1535
Right so kan geery venus overcaste
     1536
The hertes of hir folk; right as hir day
     1537
Is gereful, right so chaungeth she array.
     1538
Selde is the friday al the wowke ylike.
     1539
Whan that arcite had songe, he gan to sike,
     1540
And sette hym doun withouten any moore.
     1541
Allas, quod he, that day that I was bore!
     1542
How longe, juno, thurgh thy crueltee,
     1543
Woltow werreyen thebes the citee?
     1544
Allas, ybroght is to confusioun
     1545
The blood roial of cadme and amphioun, --
     1546
Of cadmus, which that was the firste man
     1547
That thebes bulte, or first the toun bigan,
     1548
And of the citee first was crouned kyng.
     1549
Of his lynage am I and his ofspryng
     1550
By verray ligne, as of the stok roial,
     1551
And now I am so caytyf and so thral,
     1552
That he that is my mortal enemy,
     1553
I serve hym as his squier povrely.
     1554
And yet dooth juno me wel moore shame,
     1555
For I dar noght biknowe myn owene name;
     1556
But ther as I was wont to highte arcite,
     1557
Now highte I philostrate, noght worth a myte.
     1558
Allas, thou felle mars! allas, juno!
     1559
Thus hath youre ire oure lynage al fordo,
     1560
Save oonly me and wrecched palamoun,
     1561
That theseus martireth in prisoun.
     1562
And over al this, to sleen me outrely,
     1563
Love hath his firy dart so brennyngly
     1564
Ystiked thurgh my trewe, careful herte,
     1565
That shapen was my deeth erst than my sherte.
     1566
Ye sleen me with youre eyen, emelye!
     1567
Ye been the cause wherfore that I dye.
     1568
Of al the remenant of myn oother care
     1569
Ne sette I nat the montance of a tare,
     1570
So that I koude doon aught to youre plesaunce.
     1571
And with that word he fil doun in a traunce
     1572
A longe tyme, and after he up sterte.
     1573
This palamoun, that thoughte that thurgh his herte
     1574
He felte a coold swerd sodeynliche glyde,
     1575
For ire he quook, no lenger wolde he byde.
     1576
And whan that he had herd arcites tale,
     1577
As he were wood, with face deed and pale,
     1578
He stirte hym up out of the buskes thikke,
     1579
And seide: arcite, false traytour wikke,
     1580
Now artow hent, that lovest my lady so,
     1581
For whom that I have al this peyne and wo,
     1582
And art my blood, and to my conseil sworn,
     1583
As I ful ofte have told thee heerbiforn,
     1584
And hast byjaped heere duc theseus,
     1585
And falsly chaunged hast thy name thus!
     1586
I wol be deed, or elles thou shalt dye.
     1587
Thou shalt nat love my lady emelye,
     1588
But I wol love hire oonly and namo;
     1589
For I am palamon, thy mortal foo.
     1590
And though that I no wepene have in this place,
     1591
But out of prison am astert by grace,
     1592
I drede noght that outher thow shalt dye,
     1593
Or thow ne shalt nat loven emelye.
     1594
Chees which thou wolt, for thou shalt nat asterte!
     1595
This arcite, with ful despitous herte,
     1596
Whan he hym knew, and hadde his tale herd,
     1597
As fiers as leon pulled out his swerd,
     1598
And seyde thus: by God that sit above,
     1599
Nere it that thou art sik and wood for love,
     1600
And eek that thow no wepne hast in this place,
     1601
Thou sholdest nevere out of this grove pace,
     1602
That thou ne sholdest dyen of myn hond.
     1603
For I defye the seurete and the bond
     1604
Which that thou seist that I have maad to thee.
     1605
What, verray fool, thynk wel that love is free,
     1606
And I wol love hire maugree al thy myght! Page  33
     1607
But for as muche thou art a worthy knyght;
     1608
And wilnest to darreyne hire by bataille,
     1609
Have heer my trouthe, tomorwe I wol nat faille,
     1610
Withoute wityng of any oother wight,
     1611
That heere I wol be founden as a knyght,
     1612
And bryngen harneys right ynough for thee;
     1613
And ches the beste, and leef the worste for me.
     1614
And mete and drynke this nyght wol I brynge
     1615
Ynough for thee, and clothes for thy beddynge.
     1616
And if so be that thou my lady wynne,
     1617
And sle me in this wode ther I am inne,
     1618
Thow mayst wel have thy lady as for me.
     1619
This palamon answerde, I graunte it thee.
     1620
And thus they been departed til amorwe,
     1621
Whan ech of hem had leyd his feith to borwe.
     1622
O cupide, out of alle charitee!
     1623
O regne, that wolt no felawe have with thee!
     1624
Ful sooth is seyd that love ne lordshipe
     1625
Wol noght, his thankes, have no felaweshipe.
     1626
Wel fynden that arcite and palamoun.
     1627
Arcite is riden anon unto the toun,
     1628
And on the morwe, er it were dayes light,
     1629
Ful prively two harneys hath he dight,
     1630
Bothe suffisaunt and mete to darreyne
     1631
The bataille in the feeld bitwix hem tweyne;
     1632
And on his hors, allone as he was born,
     1633
He carieth al the harneys hym biforn.
     1634
And in the grove, at tyme and place yset,
     1635
This arcite and this palamon ben met.
     1636
Tho chaungen gan the colour in hir face,
     1637
Right as the hunters in the regne of trace,
     1638
That stondeth at the gappe with a spere,
     1639
Whan hunted is the leon or the bere,
     1640
And hereth hym come russhyyng in the greves,
     1641
And breketh bothe bowes and the leves,
     1642
And thynketh, heere cometh my mortal enemy!
     1643
Withoute faille, he moot be deed, or I;
     1644
For outher I moot sleen hym at the gappe,
     1645
Or he moot sleen me, if that me myshappe, --
     1646
So ferden they in chaungyng of hir hewe,
     1647
As fer as everich of hem oother knewe.
     1648
Ther nas no good day, ne no saluyng,
     1649
But streight, withouten word or rehersyng,
     1650
Everich of hem heelp for to armen oother
     1651
As freendly as he were his owene brother;
     1652
And after that, with sharpe speres stronge
     1653
They foynen ech at oother wonder longe.
     1654
Thou myghtest wene that this palamon
     1655
In his fightyng were a wood leon,
     1656
And as a crueel tigre was arcite;
     1657
As wilde bores gonne they to smyte,
     1658
That frothen whit as foom for ire wood.
     1659
Up to the ancle foghte they in hir blood.
     1660
And in this wise I lete hem fightyng dwelle,
     1661
And forth I wole of theseus yow telle.
     1662
The destinee, ministre general,
     1663
That executeth in the world over al
     1664
The purveiaunce that God hath seyn biforn,
     1665
So strong it is that, though the world had sworn
     1666
The contrarie of a thyng by ye or nay,
     1667
Yet somtyme it shal fallen on a day
     1668
That falleth nat eft withinne a thousand yeer.
     1669
For certeinly, oure appetites heer,
     1670
Be it of werre, or pees, or hate, or love,
     1671
Al is this reuled by the sighte above.
     1672
This mene I now by myghty theseus,
     1673
That for to hunten is so desirus,
     1674
And namely at the grete hert in may,
     1675
That in his bed ther daweth hym no day
     1676
That he nys clad, and redy for to ryde
     1677
With hunte and horn and houndes hym bisyde.
     1678
For in his huntyng hath he swich delit
     1679
That it is al his joye and appetit
     1680
To been hymself the grete hertes bane,
     1681
For after mars he serveth now dyane.
     1682
Cleer was the day, as I have toold er this,
     1683
And theseus with alle joye and blis,
     1684
With his ypolita, the faire queene,
     1685
And emelye, clothed al in grene,
     1686
On huntyng be they riden roially.
     1687
And to the grove that stood ful faste by,
     1688
In which ther was an hert, as men hym tolde,
     1689
Duc theseus the streighte wey hath holde.
     1690
And to the launde he rideth hym ful right,
     1691
For thider was the hert wont have his flight,
     1692
And over a brook, and so forth on his weye.
     1693
This duc wol han a cours at hym or tweye
     1694
With houndes swiche as that hym list comaunde.
     1695
And whan this duc was come unto the launde,
     1696
Under the sonne he looketh, and anon
     1697
He was war of arcite and palamon,
     1698
That foughten breme, as it were bores two.
     1699
The brighte swerdes wenten to and fro
     1700
So hidously that with the leeste strook
     1701
It semed as it wolde felle an ook.
     1702
But what they were, no thyng he ne woot.
     1703
This duc his courser with his spores smoot,
     1704
And at a stert he was bitwix hem two,
     1705
And pulled out a swerd, and cride, hoo!
     1706
Namoore, up peyne of lesynge of youre heed!
     1707
By myghty mars, he shal anon be deed
     1708
That smyteth any strook that I may seen.
     1709
But telleth me what myster men ye been,
     1710
That been so hardy for to fighten heere Page  34
     1711
Withouten juge or oother officere,
     1712
As it were in a lystes roially.
     1713
This palamon answerde hastily,
     1714
And seyde, sire, what nedeth wordes mo?
     1715
We have the deeth disserved bothe two.
     1716
Two woful wrecches been we, two caytyves,
     1717
That been encombred of oure owene lyves;
     1718
And as thou art a rightful lord and juge,
     1719
Ne yif us neither mercy ne refuge,
     1720
But sle me first, for seinte charitee!
     1721
But sle my felawe eek as wel as me;
     1722
Or sle hym first, for though thow knowest it lite,
     1723
This is thy mortal foo, this is arcite,
     1724
That fro thy lond is banysshed on his heed,
     1725
For which he hath deserved to be deed.
     1726
For this is he that cam unto thy gate
     1727
And seyde that he highte philostrate.
     1728
Thus hath he japed thee ful many a yer,
     1729
And thou hast maked hym thy chief squier;
     1730
And this is he that loveth emelye.
     1731
For sith the day is come that I shal dye,
     1732
I make pleynly my confessioun
     1733
That I am thilke woful palamoun
     1734
That hath thy prisoun broken wikkedly.
     1735
I am thy mortal foo, and it am I
     1736
That loveth so hoote emelye the brighte
     1737
That I wol dye present in hir sighte.
     1738
Wherfore I axe deeth and my juwise;
     1739
But sle my felawe in the same wise,
     1740
For bothe han we deserved to be slayn.
     1741
This worthy duc answerde anon agayn,
     1742
And seyde, this is a short conclusioun.
     1743
Youre owene mouth, by youre confessioun,
     1744
Hath dampned yow, and I wol it recorde;
     1745
It nedeth noght to pyne yow with the corde.
     1746
Ye shal be deed, by myghty mars the rede!
     1747
The queene anon, for verray wommanhede,
     1748
Gan for to wepe, and so dide emelye,
     1749
And alle the ladyes in the compaignye.
     1750
Greet pitee was it, as it thoughte hem alle,
     1751
That evere swich a chaunce sholde falle;
     1752
For gentil men they were of greet estaat,
     1753
And no thyng but for love was this debaat;
     1754
And saugh hir blody woundes wyde and soore,
     1755
And alle crieden, bothe lasse and moore,
     1756
Have mercy, lord, upon us wommen alle!
     1757
And on hir bare knees adoun they falle,
     1758
And wolde have kist his feet ther as he stood;
     1759
Til at the laste aslaked was his mood,
     1760
For pitee renneth soone in gentil herte.
     1761
And though he first for ire quook and sterte,
     1762
He hath considered shortly, in a clause,
     1763
The trespas of hem bothe, and eek the cause,
     1764
And although that his ire hir gilt accused,
     1765
Yet in his resoun he hem bothe excused,
     1766
As thus: he thoghte wel that every man
     1767
Wol helpe hymself in love, if that he kan,
     1768
And eek delivere hymself out of prisoun.
     1769
And eek his herte hadde compassioun
     1770
Of wommen, for they wepen evere in oon;
     1771
And in his gentil herte he thoughte anon,
     1772
And softe unto hymself he seyde, fy
     1773
Upon a lord that wol have no mercy,
     1774
But been a leon, bothe in word and dede,
     1775
To hem that been in repentaunce and drede,
     1776
As wel as to a proud despitous man
     1777
That wol mayntene that he first bigan.
     1778
That lord hath litel of discrecioun,
     1779
That in swich cas kan no divisioun,
     1780
But weyeth pride and humblesse after oon.
     1781
And shortly, whan his ire is thus agoon,
     1782
He gan to looken up with eyen lighte,
     1783
And spak thise same wordes al on highte:
     1784
The God of love, a, benedicite!
     1785
How myghty and how greet a lord is he!
     1786
Ayeyns his myght ther gayneth none obstacles.
     1787
He may be cleped a God for his myracles;
     1788
For he kan maken, at his owene gyse,
     1789
Of everich herte as that hym list divyse.
     1790
Lo heere this arcite and this palamoun,
     1791
That quitly weren out of my prisoun,
     1792
And myghte han lyved in thebes roially,
     1793
And witen I am hir mortal enemy,
     1794
And that hir deth lith in my myght also;
     1795
And yet hath love, maugree hir eyen two,
     1796
Broght hem hyder bothe for to dye.
     1797
Now looketh, is nat that an heigh folye?
     1798
Who may been a fool, but if he love?
     1799
Bihoold, for goddes sake that sit above,
     1800
Se how they blede! be they noght wel arrayed?
     1801
Thus hath hir lord, the God of love, ypayed
     1802
Hir wages and hir fees for hir servyse!
     1803
And yet they wenen for to been ful wyse
     1804
That serven love, for aught that may bifalle.
     1805
But this is yet the beste game of alle,
     1806
That she for whom they han this jolitee
     1807
Kan hem therfore as muche thank as me.
     1808
She woot namoore of al this hoote fare,
     1809
By god, than woot a cokkow or an hare!
     1810
But all moot ben assayed, hoot and coold;
     1811
A man moot ben a fool, or yong or oold, --
     1812
I woot it by myself ful yore agon,
     1813
For in my tyme a servant was I oon.
     1814
And therfore, syn I knowe of loves peyne,
     1815
And woot hou soore it kan a man distreyne,
     1816
As he that hath ben caught ofte in his laas,
     1817
I yow foryeve al hoolly this trespaas, Page  35
     1818
At requeste of the queene, that kneleth heere,
     1819
And eek of emelye, my suster deere.
     1820
And ye shul bothe anon unto me swere
     1821
That nevere mo ye shal my contree dere,
     1822
Ne make werre upon me nyght ne day,
     1823
But been my freendes in all that ye may.
     1824
I yow foryeve this trespas every deel.
     1825
And they hym sworen his axyng faire and weel,
     1826
And hym of lordshipe and of mercy preyde,
     1827
And he hem graunteth grace, and thus he seyde:
     1828
To speke of roial lynage and richesse,
     1829
Though that she were a queene or a princesse,
     1830
Ech of you bothe is worthy, doutelees,
     1831
To wedden whan tyme is, but nathelees
     1832
I speke as for my suster emelye,
     1833
For whom ye have this strif and jalousye.
     1834
Ye woot yourself she may nat wedden two
     1835
Atones, though ye fighten everemo.
     1836
That oon of you, al be hym looth or lief,
     1837
He moot go pipen in an yvy leef;
     1838
This is to seyn, she may nat now han bothe,
     1839
Al be ye never so jalouse ne so wrothe.
     1840
And forthy I yow putte in this degree,
     1841
That ech of yow shal have his destynee
     1842
As hym is shape, and herkneth in what wyse;
     1843
Lo heere youre ende of that I shal devyse.
     1844
My wyl is this, for plat conclusioun,
     1845
Withouten any repplicacioun, --
     1846
If that you liketh, take it for the beste:
     1847
That everich of you shal goon where hym leste
     1848
Frely, withouten raunson or daunger;
     1849
And this day fifty wykes, fer ne ner,
     1850
Everich of you shal brynge an hundred knyghtes
     1851
Armed for lystes up at alle rightes,
     1852
Al redy to darreyne hire by bataille.
     1853
And this bihote I yow withouten faille,
     1854
Upon my trouthe, and as I am a knyght,
     1855
That wheither of yow bothe that hath myght, --
     1856
This is to seyn, that wheither he or thow
     1857
May with his hundred, as I spak of now,
     1858
Sleen his contrarie, or out of lystes dryve,
     1859
Thanne shal I yeve emelya to wyve
     1860
To whom that fortune yeveth so fair a grace.
     1861
The lystes shal I maken in this place,
     1862
And God so wisly on my soule rewe,
     1863
As I shal evene juge been and trewe.
     1864
Ye shul noon oother ende with me maken,
     1865
That oon of yow ne shal be deed or taken.
     1866
And if yow thynketh this is weel ysayd,
     1867
Seyeth youre avys, and holdeth you apayd.
     1868
This is youre ende and youre conclusioun.
     1869
Who looketh lightly now but palamoun?
     1870
Who spryngeth up for joye but arcite?
     1871
Who kouthe telle, or who kouthe it endite,
     1872
The joye that is maked in the place
     1873
Whan theseus hath doon so fair a grace?
     1874
But doun on knees wente every maner wight,
     1875
And thonked hym with al hir herte and myght,
     1876
And namely the thebans often sithe.
     1877
And thus with good hope and with herte blithe
     1878
They taken hir leve, and homward gonne they ride
     1879
To thebes, with his olde walles wyde.
     1880
Explicit secunda pars.

Sequitur pars tercia.

I trowe men wolde deme it necligence
     1881
If I foryete to tellen the dispence
     1882
Of theseus, that gooth so bisily
     1883
To maken up the lystes roially,
     1884
That swich a noble theatre as it was,
     1885
I dar wel seyen in this world ther nas.
     1886
The circuit a myle was aboute,
     1887
Walled of stoon, and dyched al withoute.
     1888
Round was the shap, in manere of compas,
     1889
Ful of degrees, the heighte of sixty pas,
     1890
That whan a man was set on o degree,
     1891
He letted nat his felawe for to see.
     1892
Estward ther stood a gate of marbul whit,
     1893
Westward right swich another in the opposit.
     1894
And shortly to concluden, swich a place
     1895
Was noon in erthe, as in so litel space;
     1896
For in the lond ther was no crafty man
     1897
That geometrie or ars-metrike kan,
     1898
Ne portreyour, ne kervere of ymages,
     1899
That theseus ne yaf him mete and wages,
     1900
The theatre for to maken and devyse.
     1901
And for to doon his ryte and sacrifise,
     1902
He estward hath, upon the gate above,
     1903
In worshipe of venus, goddesse of love,
     1904
Doon make an auter and an oratorie;
     1905
And on the gate westward, in memorie
     1906
Of mars, he maked hath right swich another,
     1907
That coste largely of gold a fother.
     1908
And northward, in a touret on the wal,
     1909
Of alabastre whit and reed coral,
     1910
An oratorie, riche for to see,
     1911
In worshipe of dyane of chastitee,
     1912
Hath theseus doon wroght in noble wyse.
     1913
But yet hadde I foryeten to devyse
     1914
The noble kervyng and the portreitures,
     1915
The shap, the contenaunce, and the figures,
     1916
That weren in thise oratories thre. Page  36
     1917
First in the temple of venus maystow se
     1918
Wroght on the wal, ful pitous to biholde,
     1919
The broken slepes, and the sikes colde,
     1920
The sacred teeris, and the waymentynge,
     1921
The firy strokes of the desirynge
     1922
That loves servantz in this lyf enduren;
     1923
The othes that hir covenantz assuren;
     1924
Plesaunce and hope, desir, foolhardynesse,
     1925
Beautee and youthe, bauderie, richesse,
     1926
Charmes and force, lesynges, flaterye,
     1927
Despense, bisynesse, and jalousye,
     1928
That wered of yelewe gooldes a gerland,
     1929
And a cokkow sittynge on hir hand;
     1930
Festes, instrumentz, caroles, daunces,
     1931
Lust and array, and alle the circumstaunces
     1932
Of love, which that I rekned and rekne shal,
     1933
By ordre weren peynted on the wal,
     1934
And mo than I kan make of mencioun.
     1935
For soothly al the mount of citheroun,
     1936
Ther venus hath hir principal dwellynge,
     1937
Was shewed on the wal in portreyynge,
     1938
With al the gardyn and the lustynesse.
     1939
Nat was foryeten the porter, ydelnesse,
     1940
Ne narcisus the faire of yore agon,
     1941
Ne yet the folye of kyng salomon,
     1942
Ne yet the grete strengthe of ercules --
     1943
Th-enchauntementz of medea and circes --
     1944
Ne of turnus, with the hardy fiers corage,
     1945
The riche cresus, kaytyf in servage.
     1946
Thus may ye seen that wysdom ne richesse,
     1947
Beautee ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardynesse,
     1948
Ne may with venus holde champartie,
     1949
For as hir list the world than may she gye.
     1950
Lo, alle thise folk so caught were in hir las,
     1951
Til they for wo ful ofte seyde allas!
     1952
Suffiseth heere ensamples oon or two,
     1953
And though I koude rekene a thousand mo.
     1954
The statue of venus, glorious for to se,
     1955
Was naked, fletynge in the large see,
     1956
And fro the navele doun al covered was
     1957
With wawes grene, and brighte as any glas.
     1958
A citole in hir right hand hadde she,
     1959
And on hir heed, ful semely for to se,
     1960
A rose gerland, fressh and wel smellynge;
     1961
Above hir heed hir dowves flikerynge.
     1962
Biforn hire stood hir sone cupido;
     1963
Upon his shuldres wynges hadde he two,
     1964
And blynd he was, as it is often seene;
     1965
A bowe he bar and arwes brighte and kene.
     1966
Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
     1967
The portreiture that was upon the wal
     1968
Withinne the temple of myghty mars the rede?
     1969
Al peynted was the wal, in lengthe and brede,
     1970
Lyk to the estres of the grisly place
     1971
That highte the grete temple of mars in trace,
     1972
In thilke colde, frosty regioun
     1973
Ther as mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.
     1974
First on the wal was peynted a forest,
     1975
In which ther dwelleth neither man ne best,
     1976
With knotty, knarry, bareyne trees olde,
     1977
Of stubbes sharpe and hidouse to biholde,
     1978
In which ther ran a rumbel in a swough,
     1979
As though a storm sholde bresten every bough.
     1980
And dounward from an hille, under a bente,
     1981
Ther stood the temple of mars armypotente,
     1982
Wroght al of burned steel, of which the entree
     1983
Was long and streit, and gastly for to see.
     1984
And therout came a rage and swich a veze
     1985
That it made al the gate for to rese.
     1986
The northren lyght in at the dores shoon,
     1987
For wyndowe on the wal ne was ther noon,
     1988
Thurgh which men myghten any light discerne.
     1989
The dore was al of adamant eterne,
     1990
Yclenched overthwart and endelong
     1991
With iren tough; and for to make it strong,
     1992
Every pyler, the temple to sustene,
     1993
Was tonne-greet, of iren bright and shene.
     1994
Ther saugh I first the derke ymaginyng
     1995
Of felonye, and al the compassyng;
     1996
The crueel ire, reed as any gleede;
     1997
The pykepurs, and eek the pale drede;
     1998
The smylere with the knyf under the cloke;
     1999
The shepne brennynge with the blake smoke;
     2000
The tresoun of the mordrynge in the bedde;
     2001
The open werre, with woundes al bibledde;
     2002
Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace.
     2003
Al ful of chirkyng was that sory place.
     2004
The sleere of hymself yet saugh I ther, --
     2005
His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer;
     2006
The nayl ydryven in the shode a-nyght;
     2007
The colde deeth, with mouth gapyng upright.
     2008
Amyddes of the temple sat meschaunce,
     2009
With disconfort and sory contenaunce.
     2010
Yet saugh I woodnesse, laughynge in his rage,
     2011
Armed compleint, outhees, and fiers outrage;
     2012
The careyne in the busk, with throte ycorve;
     2013
A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm ystorve;
     2014
The tiraunt, with the pray by force yraft;
     2015
The toun destroyed, ther was no thyng laft.
     2016
Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres;
     2017
The hunte strangled with the wilde beres;
     2018
The sowe freten the child right in the cradel;
     2019
The cook yscalded, for al his longe ladel.
     2020
Noght was foryeten by the infortune of marte
     2021
The cartere overryden with his carte:
     2022
Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
     2023
Ther were also, of martes divisioun, Page  37
     2024
The barbour, and the bocher, and the smyth,
     2025
That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his styth.
     2026
And al above, depeynted in a tour,
     2027
Saugh I conquest, sittynge in greet honour,
     2028
With the sharpe swerd over his heed
     2029
Hangynge by a soutil twynes threed.
     2030
Depeynted was the slaughtre of julius,
     2031
Of grete nero, and of antonius;
     2032
Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
     2033
Yet was hir deth depeynted ther-biforn
     2034
By manasynge of mars, right by figure.
     2035
So was it shewed in that portreiture,
     2036
As is depeynted in the sterres above
     2037
Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.
     2038
Suffiseth oon ensample in stories olde;
     2039
I may nat rekene hem alle though I wolde.
     2040
The statue of mars upon a carte stood
     2041
Armed, and looked grym as he were wood;
     2042
And over his heed ther shynen two figures
     2043
Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures,
     2044
That oon puella, that oother rubeus --
     2045
This God of armes was arrayed thus.
     2046
A wolf ther stood biforn hym at his feet
     2047
With eyen rede, and of a man he eet;
     2048
With soutil pencel depeynted was this storie
     2049
In redoutynge of mars and of his glorie.
     2050
Now to the temple of dyane the chaste,
     2051
As shortly as I kan, I wol me haste,
     2052
To telle yow al the descripsioun.
     2053
Depeynted been the walles up and doun
     2054
Of huntyng and of shamefast chastitee.
     2055
Ther saugh I how woful calistopee,
     2056
Whan that diane agreved was with here,
     2057
Was turned from a womman til a bere,
     2058
And after was she maad the loode-sterre;
     2059
Thus was it peynted, I kan sey yow no ferre.
     2060
Hir sone is eek a sterre, as men may see.
     2061
Ther saugh I dane, yturned til a tree, --
     2062
I mene nat the goddesse diane,
     2063
But penneus doghter, which that highte dane.
     2064
Ther saugh I attheon an hert ymaked,
     2065
For vengeaunce that he saugh diane al naked;
     2066
I saugh how that his houndes have hym caught
     2067
And freeten hym, for that they knewe hym naught.
     2068
Yet peynted was a litel forther moor
     2069
How atthalante hunted the wilde boor,
     2070
And meleagre, and many another mo,
     2071
For which dyane wroghte hym care and wo.
     2072
Ther saugh I many another wonder storie,
     2073
The which me list nat drawen to memorie.
     2074
This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet,
     2075
With smale houndes al aboute hir feet;
     2076
And undernethe hir feet she hadde a moone, --
     2077
Wexynge it was and sholde wanye soone.
     2078
In gaude grene hir statue clothed was,
     2079
With bowe in honde, and arwes in a cas.
     2080
Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun,
     2081
Ther pluto hath his derke regioun.
     2082
A womman travaillynge was hire biforn;
     2083
But for hir child so longe was unborn,
     2084
Ful pitously lucyna gan she calle,
     2085
And seyde, help, for thou mayst best of alle!
     2086
Wel koude he peynten lifly that it wroghte;
     2087
With many a floryn he the hewes boghte.
     2088
Now been thise lystes maad, and theseus,
     2089
That at his grete cost arrayed thus
     2090
The temples and the theatre every deel,
     2091
Whan it was doon, hym lyked wonder weel.
     2092
But stynte I wole of theseus a lite,
     2093
And speke of palamon and of arcite.
     2094
The day approcheth of hir retournynge,
     2095
That everich sholde an hundred knyghtes brynge
     2096
The bataille to darreyne, as I yow tolde.
     2097
And til atthenes, hir covenant for to holde,
     2098
Hath everich of hem broght an hundred knyghtes,
     2099
Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.
     2100
And sikerly ther trowed many a man
     2101
That nevere, sithen that the world bigan,
     2102
As for to speke of knyghthod of hir hond,
     2103
As fer as God hath maked see or lond,
     2104
Nas of so fewe so noble a compaignye.
     2105
For every wight that lovede chivalrye,
     2106
And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
     2107
Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game;
     2108
And wel was hym that therto chosen was.
     2109
For if ther fille tomorwe swich a cas,
     2110
Ye knowen wel that every lusty knyght
     2111
That loveth paramours and hath his myght,
     2112
Were it in engelond or elleswhere,
     2113
They wolde, hir thankes, wilnen to be there, --
     2114
To fighte for a lady, benedicitee!
     2115
It were a lusty sighte for to see.
     2116
And right so ferden they with palamon.
     2117
With hym ther wenten knyghtes many on;
     2118
Som wol ben armed in an haubergeoun,
     2119
And in a brestplate and light gypoun;
     2120
And som wol have a paire plates large;
     2121
And som wol have a pruce sheeld or a targe;
     2122
Som wol ben armed on his legges weel,
     2123
And have an ax, and som a mace of steel --
     2124
Ther is no newe gyse that it nas old.
     2125
Armed were they, as I have yow told,
     2126
Everych after his opinioun.
     2127
Ther maistow seen, comynge with palamoun,
     2128
Lygurge hymself, the grete kyng of trace. Page  38
     2129
Blak was his berd, and manly was his face;
     2130
The cercles of his eyen in his heed,
     2131
They gloweden bitwixen yelow and reed,
     2132
And lik a grifphon looked he aboute,
     2133
With kempe heeris on his browes stoute;
     2134
His lymes grete, his brawnes harde and stronge,
     2135
His shuldres brode, his armes rounde and longe;
     2136
And as the gyse was in his contree,
     2137
Ful hye upon a chaar of gold stood he,
     2138
With foure white boles in the trays.
     2139
In stede of cote-armure over his harnays,
     2140
With nayles yelewe and brighte as any gold,
     2141
He hadde a beres skyn, col-blak for old.
     2142
His longe heer was kembd bihynde his bak;
     2143
As any ravenes fethere it shoon for blak;
     2144
A wrethe of gold, arm-greet, of huge wighte,
     2145
Upon his heed, set ful of stones brighte,
     2146
Of fyne rubyes and of dyamauntz.
     2147
Aboute his chaar ther wenten white alauntz,
     2148
Twenty and mo, as grete as any steer,
     2149
To hunten at the leoun or the deer,
     2150
And folwed hym with mosel faste ybounde,
     2151
Colered of gold, and tourettes fyled rounde.
     2152
An hundred lordes hadde he in his route,
     2153
Armed ful wel, with hertes stierne and stoute.
     2154
With arcita, in stories as men fynde,
     2155
The grete emetreus, the kyng of inde,
     2156
Upon a steede bay trapped in steel,
     2157
Covered in clooth of gold, dyapred weel,
     2158
Cam ridynge lyk the God of armes, mars.
     2159
His cote-armure was of clooth of tars
     2160
Couched with perles white and rounde and grete;
     2161
His sadel was of brend gold newe ybete;
     2162
A mantelet upon his shulder hangynge,
     2163
Bret-ful of rubyes rede as fyr sparklynge;
     2164
His crispe heer lyk rynges was yronne,
     2165
And that was yelow, and glytered as the sonne.
     2166
His nose was heigh, his eyen bright citryn,
     2167
His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwyn;
     2168
A fewe frakenes in his face yspreynd,
     2169
Bitwixen yelow and somdel blak ymeynd;
     2170
And as a leon he his lookyng caste.
     2171
Of fyve and twenty yeer his age I caste.
     2172
His berd was wel bigonne for to sprynge;
     2173
His voys was as a trompe thonderynge.
     2174
Upon his heed he wered of laurer grene
     2175
A gerland, fressh and lusty for to sene.
     2176
Upon his hand he bar for his deduyt
     2177
An egle tame, as any lilye whyt.
     2178
An hundred lordes hadde he with hym there,
     2179
Al armed, save hir heddes, in al hir gere,
     2180
Ful richely in alle maner thynges.
     2181
For trusteth wel that dukes, erles, kynges
     2182
Were gadered in this noble compaignye,
     2183
For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
     2184
Aboute this kyng ther ran on every part
     2185
Ful many a tame leon and leopart.
     2186
And in this wise thise lordes, alle and some,
     2187
Been on the sonday to the citee come
     2188
Aboute pryme, and in the toun alight.
     2189
This theseus, this duc, this worthy knyght,
     2190
Whan he had broght hem into his citee,
     2191
And inned hem, everich at his degree,
     2192
He festeth hem, and dooth so greet labour
     2193
To esen hem and doon hem al honour,
     2194
That yet men wenen that no mannes wit
     2195
Of noon estaat ne koude amenden it.
     2196
The mynstralcye, the service at the feeste,
     2197
The grete yiftes to the meeste and leeste,
     2198
The riche array of theseus paleys,
     2199
Ne who sat first ne last upon the deys,
     2200
What ladyes fairest been or best daunsynge,
     2201
Or which of hem kan dauncen best and synge,
     2202
Ne who moost felyngly speketh of love;
     2203
What haukes sitten on the perche above,
     2204
What houndes liggen on the floor adoun, --
     2205
Of al this make I now no mencioun,
     2206
But al th' effect, that thynketh me the beste.
     2207
Now cometh the point, and herkneth if yow leste.
     2208
The sonday nyght, er day bigan to sprynge,
     2209
Whan palamon the larke herde synge,
     2210
(although it nere nat day by houres two,
     2211
Yet song the larke) and palamon right tho
     2212
With hooly herte and with an heigh corage,
     2213
He roos to wenden on his pilgrymage
     2214
Unto the blisful citherea benigne, --
     2215
I mene venus, honurable and digne.
     2216
And in hir houre he walketh forth a pas
     2217
Unto the lystes ther hire temple was,
     2218
And doun he kneleth, and with humble cheere
     2219
And herte soor, he seyde as ye shal heere:
     2220
Faireste of faire, o lady myn, venus,
     2221
Doughter to jove, and spouse of vulcanus,
     2222
Thow gladere of the mount of citheron,
     2223
For thilke love thow haddest to adoon,
     2224
Have pitee of my bittre teeris smerte,
     2225
And taak myn humble preyere at thyn herte.
     2226
Allas! I ne have no langage to telle
     2227
Th' effectes ne the tormentz of myn helle;
     2228
Myn herte may myne harmes nat biwreye;
     2229
I am so confus that I kan noght seye
     2230
But, -- mercy, lady bright, that knowest weele
     2231
My thought, and seest what harmes that feele!
     2232
Considere al this and rewe upon my soore,
     2233
As wisly as I shal for everemoore, Page  39
     2234
Emforth my myght, thy trewe servant be,
     2235
And holden werre alwey with chastitee.
     2236
That make I myn avow, so ye me helpe!
     2237
I kepe noght of armes for to yelpe,
     2238
Ne I ne axe nat tomorwe to have victorie,
     2239
Ne renoun in this cas, ne veyne glorie
     2240
Of pris of armes blowen up and doun;
     2241
But I wolde have fully possessioun
     2242
Of emelye, and dye in thy servyse.
     2243
Fynd thow the manere hou, and in what wyse:
     2244
I recche nat but it may bettre be
     2245
To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
     2246
So that I have my lady in myne armes.
     2247
For though so be that mars is God of armes,
     2248
Youre vertu is so greet in hevene above
     2249
That if yow list, I shal wel have my love.
     2250
Thy temple wol I worshipe everemo,
     2251
And on thyn auter, where I ride or go,
     2252
I wol doon sacrifice and fires beete.
     2253
And if ye wol nat so, my lady sweete,
     2254
Thanne preye I thee, tomorwe with a spere
     2255
That arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
     2256
Thanne rekke I noght, whan I have lost my lyf,
     2257
Though that arcita wynne hire to his wyf.
     2258
This is th' effect and ende of my preyere:
     2259
Yif me my love, thow blisful lady deere.
     2260
Whan the orison was doon of palamon,
     2261
His sacrifice he dide, and that anon,
     2262
Ful pitously, with alle circumstaunces,
     2263
Al telle I noght as now his observaunces;
     2264
But atte laste the statue of venus shook,
     2265
And made a signe, wherby that he took
     2266
That his preyere accepted was that day.
     2267
For thogh the signe shewed a delay,
     2268
Yet wiste he wel that graunted was his boone;
     2269
And with glad herte he wente hym hoom ful soone.
     2270
The thridde houre inequal that palamon
     2271
Bigan to venus temple for to gon,
     2272
Up roos the sonne, and up roos emelye,
     2273
And to the temple of dyane gan hye.
     2274
Hir maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
     2275
Ful redily with hem the fyr they hadde,
     2276
Th' encens, the clothes, and the remenant al
     2277
That to the sacrifice longen shal;
     2278
The hornes fulle of meeth, as was the gyse:
     2279
Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifise.
     2280
Smokynge the temple, ful of clothes faire,
     2281
This emelye, with herte debonaire,
     2282
Hir body wessh with water of a welle.
     2283
But hou she dide hir ryte I dar nat telle,
     2284
But it be any thing in general;
     2285
And yet it were a game to heeren al.
     2286
To hym that meneth wel it were no charge;
     2287
But it is good a man been at his large.
     2288
Hir brighte heer was kembd, untressed al;
     2289
A coroune of a grene ook cerial
     2290
Upon hir heed was set ful fair and meete.
     2291
Two fyres on the auter gan she beete,
     2292
And dide hir thynges, as men may biholde
     2293
In stace of thebes and thise bookes olde.
     2294
Whan kyndled was the fyr, with pitous cheere
     2295
Unto dyane she spak as ye may heere:
     2296
O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
     2297
To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,
     2298
Queene of the regne of pluto derk and lowe,
     2299
Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe
     2300
Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
     2301
As keepe me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
     2302
That attheon aboughte cruelly.
     2303
Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
     2304
Desire to ben a mayden al my lyf,
     2305
Ne nevere wol I be no love ne wyf.
     2306
I am, thow woost, yet of thy compaignye,
     2307
A mayde, and love huntynge and venerye,
     2308
And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
     2309
And noght to ben a wyf and be with childe.
     2310
Noght wol I knowe compaignye of man.
     2311
Now help me, lady, sith ye may and kan,
     2312
For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
     2313
And palamon, that hath swich love to me,
     2314
And eek arcite, that loveth me so soore,
     2315
(this grace I preye thee withoute moore)
     2316
As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two,
     2317
And from me turne awey hir hertes so
     2318
That al hire hoote love and hir desir,
     2319
And al hir bisy torment, and hir fir
     2320
Be queynt, or turned in another place.
     2321
And if so be thou wolt nat do me grace,
     2322
Or if my destynee be shapen so
     2323
That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
     2324
As sende me hym that moost desireth me.
     2325
Bihoold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
     2326
The bittre teeris that on my chekes falle.
     2327
Syn thou art mayde and kepere of us alle,
     2328
My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve
     2329
And whil I lyve, a mayde I wol thee serve.
     2330
The fires brenne upon the auter cleere,
     2331
Whil emelye was thus in hir preyere.
     2332
But sodeynly she saugh a sighte queynte,
     2333
For right anon oon of the fyres queynte,
     2334
And quyked agayn, and after that anon
     2335
That oother fyr was queynt and al agon;
     2336
And as it queynte it made a whistelynge,
     2337
As doon thise wete brondes in hir brennynge,
     2338
And at the brondes ende out ran anon Page  40
     2339
As it were blody dropes many oon;
     2340
For which so soore agast was emelye
     2341
That she was wel ny mad, and gan to crye,
     2342
For she ne wiste what it signyfied;
     2343
But oonly for the feere thus hath she cried,
     2344
And weep that it was pitee for to heere.
     2345
And therwithal dyane gan appeere,
     2346
With bowe in honde, right as an hunteresse,
     2347
And seyde, doghter, stynt thyn hevynesse.
     2348
Among the goddes hye it is affermed,
     2349
And by eterne word writen and confermed,
     2350
Thou shalt ben wedded unto oon of tho
     2351
That han for thee so muchel care and wo;
     2352
But unto which of hem I may nat telle.
     2353
Farwel, for I ne may no lenger dwelle.
     2354
The fires which that on myn auter brenne
     2355
Shulle thee declaren, er that thou go henne,
     2356
Thyn aventure of love, as in this cas.
     2357
And with that word, the arwes in the caas
     2358
Of the goddesse clateren faste and rynge,
     2359
And forth she wente, and made a vanysshynge;
     2360
For which this emelye astoned was,
     2361
And seyde, what amounteth this, allas?
     2362
I putte me in thy proteccioun,
     2363
Dyane, and in thy disposicioun.
     2364
And hoom she goth anon the nexte weye.
     2365
This is th' effect; ther is namoore to seye.
     2366
The nexte houre of mars folwynge this,
     2367
Arcite unto the temple walked is
     2368
Of fierse mars, to doon his sacrifise,
     2369
With alle the rytes of his payen wyse.
     2370
With pitous herte and heigh devocioun,
     2371
Right thus to mars he seyde his orisoun:
     2372
O stronge god, that in the regnes colde
     2373
Of trace honoured art and lord yholde,
     2374
And hast in every regne and every lond
     2375
Of armes al the brydel in thyn hond,
     2376
And hem fortunest as thee lyst devyse,
     2377
Accepte of me my pitous sacrifise.
     2378
If so be that my youthe may deserve,
     2379
And that my myght be worthy for to serve
     2380
Thy godhede, that I may been oon of thyne,
     2381
Thanne preye I thee to rewe upon my pyne.
     2382
For thilke peyne, and thilke hoote fir
     2383
In which thow whilom brendest for desir,
     2384
Whan that thow usedest the beautee
     2385
Of faire, yonge, fresshe venus free,
     2386
And haddest hire in armes at thy wille --
     2387
Although thee ones on a tyme mysfille,
     2388
Whan vulcanus hadde caught thee in his las,
     2389
And foond thee liggynge by his wyf, allas! --
     2390
For thilke sorwe that was in thyn herte,
     2391
Have routhe as wel upon my peynes smerte.
     2392
I am yong and unkonnynge, as thow woost,
     2393
And, as I trowe, with love offended moost
     2394
That evere was any lyves creature;
     2395
For she that dooth me al this wo endure
     2396
Ne reccheth nevere wher I synke or fleete.
     2397
And wel I woot, er she me mercy heete,
     2398
I moot with strengthe wynne hire in the place,
     2399
And, wel I woot, withouten help or grace
     2400
Of thee, ne may my strengthe noght availle.
     2401
Thanne help me, lord, tomorwe in my bataille,
     2402
For thilke fyr that whilom brente thee,
     2403
As wel as thilke fyr now brenneth me,
     2404
And do that I tomorwe have victorie.
     2405
Myn be the travaille, and thyn be the glorie!
     2406
Thy sovereyn temple wol I moost honouren
     2407
Of any place, and alwey moost labouren
     2408
In thy plesaunce and in thy craftes stronge,
     2409
And in thy temple I wol my baner honge
     2410
And alle the armes of my compaignye;
     2411
And everemo, unto that day I dye,
     2412
Eterne fir I wol bifore thee fynde.
     2413
And eek to this avow I wol me bynde:
     2414
My beerd, myn heer, that hongeth long adoun,
     2415
That nevere yet ne felte offensioun
     2416
Of rasour nor of shere, I wol thee yive,
     2417
And ben thy trewe servant whil I lyve.
     2418
Now, lord, have routhe upon my sorwes soore;
     2419
Yif me victorie, I aske thee namoore.
     2420
The preyere stynt of arcita the stronge,
     2421
The rynges on the temple dore that honge,
     2422
And eek the dores, clatereden ful faste,
     2423
Of which arcita somwhat hym agaste.
     2424
The fyres brenden upon the auter brighte,
     2425
That it gan al the temple for to lighte;
     2426
A sweete smel the ground anon up yaf,
     2427
And arcita anon his hand up haf,
     2428
And moore encens into the fyr he caste,
     2429
With othere rytes mo; and atte laste
     2430
The statue of mars bigan his hauberk rynge;
     2431
And with that soun he herde a murmurynge
     2432
Ful lowe and dym, and seyde thus, victorie!
     2433
For which he yaf to mars honour and glorie.
     2434
And thus with joye and hope wel to fare
     2435
Arcite anon unto his in is fare,
     2436
As fayn as fowel is of the brighte sonne.
     2437
And right anon swich strif ther is bigonne,
     2438
For thilke grauntyng, in the hevene above,
     2439
Bitwixe venus, the goddesse of love,
     2440
And mars, the stierne God armypotente,
     2441
That juppiter was bisy it to stente;
     2442
Til that the pale saturnus the colde,
     2443
That knew so manye of aventures olde,
     2444
Foond in his olde experience an art
     2445
That he ful soone hath plesed every part.
     2446
As sooth is seyd, elde hath greet avantage; Page  41
     2447
In elde is bothe wysdom and usage;
     2448
Men may the olde atrenne, and noght atrede.
     2449
Saturne anon, to stynten strif and drede,
     2450
Al be it that it is agayn his kynde,
     2451
Of al this strif he gan remedie fynde.
     2452
My deere doghter venus, quod saturne,
     2453
My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne,
     2454
Hath moore power than woot any man.
     2455
Myn is the drenchyng in the see so wan;
     2456
Myn is the prison in the derke cote;
     2457
Myn is the stranglyng and hangyng by the throte,
     2458
The murmure and the cherles rebellyng,
     2459
The groynynge, and the pryvee empoysonyng;
     2460
I do vengeance and pleyn correccioun,
     2461
Whil I dwelle in the signe of the leoun.
     2462
Myn is the ruyne of the hye halles,
     2463
The fallynge of the toures and of the walles
     2464
Upon the mynour or the carpenter.
     2465
I slow sampsoun, shakynge the piler;
     2466
And myne be the maladyes colde,
     2467
The derke tresons, and the castes olde;
     2468
My lookyng is the fader of pestilence.
     2469
Now weep namoore, I shal doon diligence
     2470
That palamon, that is thyn owene knyght,
     2471
Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight.
     2472
Though mars shal helpe his knyght, yet nathelees
     2473
Bitwixe yow ther moot be som tyme pees,
     2474
Al be ye noght of o compleccioun,
     2475
That causeth al day swich divisioun.
     2476
I am thyn aiel, redy at thy wille;
     2477
Weep now namoore, I wol thy lust fulfille.
     2478
Now wol I stynten of the goddes above,
     2479
Of mars, and of venus, goddesse of love,
     2480
And telle yow as pleynly as I kan
     2481
The grete effect, for which that I bygan.
     2482
Explicit tercia pars.

Sequitur pars quarta.

Greet was the feeste in atthenes that day,
     2483
And eek the lusty seson of that may
     2484
Made every wight to been in swich plesaunce
     2485
That al that monday justen they and daunce,
     2486
And spenden it in venus heigh servyse.
     2487
But by the cause that they sholde ryse
     2488
Eerly, for to seen the grete fight,
     2489
Unto hir reste wenten they at nyght.
     2490
And on the morwe, whan that day gan sprynge,
     2491
Of hors and harneys noyse and claterynge
     2492
Ther was in hostelryes al aboute;
     2493
And to the paleys rood ther many a route
     2494
Of lordes upon steedes and palfreys.
     2495
Ther maystow seen devisynge of harneys
     2496
So unkouth and so riche, and wroght so weel
     2497
Of goldsmythrye, of browdynge, and of steel;
     2498
The sheeldes brighte, testeres, and trappures,
     2499
Gold-hewen helmes, hauberkes, cote-armures;
     2500
Lordes in parementz on hir courseres,
     2501
Knyghtes of retenue, and eek squieres
     2502
Nailynge the speres, and helmes bokelynge;
     2503
Giggynge of sheeldes, with layneres lacynge
     2504
(there as nede is they weren no thyng ydel);
     2505
The fomy steedes on the golden brydel
     2506
Gnawynge, and faste the armurers also
     2507
With fyle and hamer prikynge to and fro;
     2508
Yemen on foote, and communes many oon
     2509
With fyle and hamer prikynge to and fro;
     2510
Pypes, trompes, nakers, clariounes,
     2511
That in the bataille blowen blody sounes;
     2512
The paleys ful of peple up and doun,
     2513
Heere thre, ther ten, holdynge hir questioun,
     2514
Dyvynynge of thise thebane knyghtes two.
     2515
Somme seyden thus, somme seyde it shal be so;
     2516
Somme helden with hym with the blake berd,
     2517
Somme with the balled, somme with the thikke herd;
     2518
Somme seyde he looked grymme, and he wolde fighte;
     2519
He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte.
     2520
Thus was the halle ful of divynynge,
     2521
Longe after that the sonne gan to sprynge.
     2522
The grete theseus, that of his sleep awaked
     2523
With mynstralcie and noyse that was maked,
     2524
Heeld yet the chambre of his paleys riche,
     2525
Til that the thebane knyghtes, bothe yliche
     2526
Honured, were into the paleys fet.
     2527
Duc theseus was at a wyndow set,
     2528
Arrayed right as he were a God in trone.
     2529
The peple preesseth thiderward ful soone
     2530
Hym for to seen, and doon heigh reverence,
     2531
And eek to herkne his heste and his sentence.
     2532
And heraud on a scaffold made an oo!
     2533
Til al the noyse of peple was ydo,
     2534
And whan he saugh the peple of noyse al stille,
     2535
Tho shewed he the myghty dukes wille.
     2536
The lord hath of his heigh discrecioun
     2537
Considered that it were destruccioun
     2538
To gentil blood to fighten in the gyse
     2539
Of mortal bataille now in this emprise.
     2540
Wherfore, to shapen that they shal nat dye,
     2541
He wol his firste purpos modifye.
     2542
No man therfore, up peyne of los of lyf,
     2543
No maner shot, ne polax, ne short knyf Page  42
     2544
Into the lystes sende, or thider brynge;
     2545
Ne short swerd, for to stoke with poynt bitynge,
     2546
No man ne drawe, ne bere it by his syde.
     2547
Ne no man shal unto his felawe ryde
     2548
But o cours, with a sharpe ygrounde spere;
     2549
Foyne, if hym list, on foote, hymself to were.
     2550
And he that is at meschief shal be take
     2551
And noght slayn, but be broght unto the stake
     2552
That shal ben ordeyned on either syde;
     2553
But thider he shal by force, and there abyde.
     2554
And if so falle the chieftayn be take
     2555
On outher syde, or elles sleen his make,
     2556
No lenger shal the turneiynge laste.
     2557
God spede you! gooth forth, and ley on faste!
     2558
With long swerd and with maces fighteth youre fille.
     2559
Gooth now youre wey, this is the lordes wille.
     2560
The voys of peple touchede the hevene,
     2561
So loude cride they with murie stevene,
     2562
God save swich a lord, that is so good,
     2563
He wilneth no destruccion of blood!
     2564
Up goon the trompes and the melodye,
     2565
And to the lystes rit the compaignye,
     2566
By ordinance, thurghout the citee large,
     2567
Hanged with clooth of gold, and nat with sarge.
     2568
Ful lik a lord this noble duc gan ryde,
     2569
Thise two thebans upon either syde;
     2570
And after rood the queene, and emelye,
     2571
And after that another compaignye
     2572
Of oon and oother, after hir degree.
     2573
And thus they passen thurghout the citee,
     2574
And to the lystes come they by tyme.
     2575
It nas nat of the day yet fully pryme
     2576
Whan set was theseus ful riche and hye,
     2577
Ypolita the queene, and emelye,
     2578
And othere ladys in degrees aboute.
     2579
Unto the seetes preesseth al the route.
     2580
And westward, thurgh the gates under marte,
     2581
Arcite, and eek the hondred of his parte,
     2582
With baner reed is entred right anon;
     2583
And in that selve moment palamon
     2584
Is under venus, estward in the place,
     2585
With baner whyt, and hardy chiere and face.
     2586
In al the world, to seken up and doun,
     2587
So evene, withouten variacioun,
     2588
Ther nere swiche compaignyes tweye;
     2589
For ther was noon so wys that koude seye
     2590
That any hadde of oother avauntage
     2591
Of worthynesse, ne of estaat, ne age,
     2592
So evene were they chosen, for to gesse.
     2593
And in two renges faire they hem dresse.
     2594
Whan that hir names rad were everichon,
     2595
That in hir nombre gyle were ther noon,
     2596
Tho were the gates shet, and cried was loude:
     2597
Do now youre devoir, yonge knyghtes proude!
     2598
The heraudes lefte hir prikyng up and doun;
     2599
Now ryngen trompes loude and clarioun.
     2600
Ther is namoore to seyn, but west and est
     2601
In goon the speres ful sadly in arrest;
     2602
In gooth the sharpe spore into the syde.
     2603
Ther seen men who kan juste and who kan ryde;
     2604
Ther shyveren shaftes upon sheeldes thikke;
     2605
He feeleth thurgh the herte-spoon the prikke.
     2606
Up spryngen speres twenty foot on highte;
     2607
Out goon the swerdes as the silver brighte;
     2608
The helmes they tohewen and toshrede;
     2609
Out brest the blood with stierne stremes rede;
     2610
With myghty maces the bones they tobreste.
     2611
He thurgh the thikkeste of the throng gan threste;
     2612
Ther stomblen steedes stronge, and doun gooth al;
     2613
He rolleth under foot as dooth a bal;
     2614
He foyneth on his feet with his tronchoun,
     2615
And he hym hurtleth with hors adoun;
     2616
He thurgh the body is hurt and sither take,
     2617
Maugree his heed, and broght unto the stake:
     2618
As forward was, right there he moste abyde.
     2619
Another lad is on that oother syde.
     2620
And some tyme dooth hem theseus to reste,
     2621
Hem to refresshe and drynken, if hem leste.
     2622
Ful ofte a day han thise thebanes two
     2623
Togydre ymet, and wroght his felawe wo;
     2624
Unhorsed hath ech oother of hem tweye.
     2625
Ther nas no tygre in the vale of galgopheye,
     2626
Whan that hir whelp is stole whan it is lite,
     2627
So crueel on the hunte as is arcite
     2628
For jelous herte upon this palamon.
     2629
Ne in belmarye ther nys so fel leon,
     2630
That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
     2631
Ne of his praye desireth so the blood,
     2632
As palamon to sleen his foo arcite.
     2633
The jelous strokes on hir helmes byte;
     2634
Out renneth blood on bothe hir sydes rede.
     2635
Som tyme an ende ther is of every dede.
     2636
For er the sonne unto the reste wente,
     2637
The stronge kyng emetreus gan hente
     2638
This palamon, as he faught with arcite,
     2639
And made his swerd depe in his flessh to byte;
     2640
And by the force of twenty is he take
     2641
Unyolden, and ydrawe unto the stake.
     2642
And in the rescus of this palamoun
     2643
The stronge kyng lygurge is born adoun,
     2644
And kyng emetreus, for al his strengthe, Page  43
     2645
Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
     2646
So hitte him palamoun er he were take;
     2647
But al for noght, he was broght to the stake.
     2648
His hardy herte myghte hym helpe naught:
     2649
He moste abyde, whan that he was caught,
     2650
By force and eek by composicioun.
     2651
Who sorweth now but woful palamoun,
     2652
That moot namoore goon agayn to fighte?
     2653
And whan that theseus hadde seyn this sighte,
     2654
Unto the folk that foghten thus echon
     2655
He cryde, hoo! namoore, for it is doon!
     2656
I wol be trewe juge, and no partie.
     2657
Arcite of thebes shal have emelie,
     2658
That by his fortune hath hire faire ywonne.
     2659
Anon ther is a noyse of peple bigonne
     2660
For joye of this, so loude and heighe withalle,
     2661
It semed that the lystes sholde falle.
     2662
What kan now faire venus doon above?
     2663
What seith she now? what dooth this queene of love,
     2664
But wepeth so, for wantynge of hir wille,
     2665
Til that hir teeres in the lystes fille?
     2666
She seyde, I am ashamed, douteless.
     2667
Saturnus seyde, doghter, hoold thy pees!
     2668
Mars hath his wille, his knyght hath al his boone,
     2669
And, by myn heed, thow shalt been esed soone.
     2670
The trompours, with the loude mynstralcie,
     2671
The heraudes, that ful loude yelle and crie,
     2672
Been in hire wele for joye of daun arcite.
     2673
But herkneth me, and stynteth noyse a lite,
     2674
Which a myracle ther bifel anon.
     2675
This fierse arcite hath of his helm ydon,
     2676
And on a courser, for to shewe his face,
     2677
He priketh endelong the large place
     2678
Lokynge upward upon this emelye;
     2679
And she agayn hym caste a freendlich ye
     2680
(for wommen, as to speken in comune,
     2681
Thei folwen alle the favour of fortune)
     2682
And was al his chiere, as in his herte.
     2683
Out of the ground a furie infernal sterte,
     2684
From pluto sent at requeste of saturne,
     2685
For which his hors for fere gan to turne,
     2686
And leep aside, and foundred as he leep;
     2687
And er that arcite may taken keep,
     2688
He pighte hym on the pomel of his heed,
     2689
That in the place he lay as he were deed,
     2690
His brest tobrosten with his sadel-bowe.
     2691
As blak he lay as any cole or crowe,
     2692
So was the blood yronnen in his face.
     2693
Anon he was yborn out of the place,
     2694
With herte soor, to theseus paleys.
     2695
Tho was he korven out of his harneys,
     2696
And in a bed ybrought ful faire and blyve;
     2697
For he was yet in memorie and alyve,
     2698
And alwey criynge after emelye.
     2699
Duc theseus, with al his compaignye,
     2700
Is comen hoom to atthenes his citee,
     2701
With alle blisse and greet solempnitee.
     2702
Al be it that this aventure was falle,
     2703
He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.
     2704
Men seyde eek that arcite shal nat dye;
     2705
He shal been heeled of his maladye.
     2706
And of another thyng they weren as fayn,
     2707
That of hem alle was ther noon yslayn,
     2708
Al were they soore yhurt, and namely oon,
     2709
That with a spere was thirled his brest boon.
     2710
To othere woundes and to broken armes
     2711
Somme hadden salves, and somme hadden charmes;
     2712
Fermacies of herbes, and eek save
     2713
They dronken, for they wolde hir lymes have.
     2714
For which this noble duc, as he wel kan,
     2715
Conforteth and honoureth every man,
     2716
And made revel al the longe nyght
     2717
Unto the straunge lordes, as was right.
     2718
Ne ther was holden no disconfitynge
     2719
But as a justes, or a tourneiynge;
     2720
For soothly ther was no disconfiture.
     2721
For fallyng nys nat but an aventure,
     2722
Ne to be lad by force unto the stake
     2723
Unyolden, and with twenty knyghtes take,
     2724
O persone allone, withouten mo,
     2725
And haryed forth by arme, foot, and too,
     2726
And eke his steede dryven forth with staves
     2727
With footmen, bothe yemen and eek knaves, --
     2728
It nas arretted hym no vileynye;
     2729
Ther may no man clepen it cowardye.
     2730
For which anon duc theseus leet crye,
     2731
To stynten alle rancour and envye,
     2732
The gree as wel of o syde as of oother,
     2733
And eyther syde ylik as ootheres brother;
     2734
And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree,
     2735
And fully heeld a feeste dayes three,
     2736
And conveyed the kynges worthily
     2737
Out of his toun a journee largely.
     2738
And hoom wente every man the righte way.
     2739
Ther was namoore but fare wel, have good day!
     2740
Of this bataille I wol namoore endite,
     2741
But speke of palamon and of arcite.
     2742
Swelleth the brest of arcite, and the soore
     2743
Encreesseth at his herte moore and moore.
     2744
The clothered blood, for any lechecraft,
     2745
Corrupteth, and is in his bouk ylaft,
     2746
That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusynge,
     2747
Ne drynke of herbes may ben his helpynge.
     2748
The vertu expulsif, or animal, Page  44
     2749
Fro thilke vertu cleped natural
     2750
Ne may the venym voyden ne expelle.
     2751
The pipes of his longes gonne to swelle,
     2752
And every lacerte in his brest adoun
     2753
Is shent with venym and corrupcioun.
     2754
Hym gayneth neither, for to gete his lif,
     2755
Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif.
     2756
Al is tobrosten thilke regioun;
     2757
Nature hath now no dominacioun.
     2758
And certeinly, ther nature wol nat wirche,
     2759
Fare wel phisik! go ber the man to chirche!
     2760
This al and som, that arcita moot dye;
     2761
For which he sendeth after emelye,
     2762
And palamon, that was his cosyn deere.
     2763
Thanne seyde he thus, as ye shal after heere:
     2764
Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte
     2765
Declare o point of alle my sorwes smerte
     2766
To yow, my lady, that I love moost;
     2767
But I biquethe the servyce of my goost
     2768
To yow aboven every creature,
     2769
Syn that my lyf may no lenger dure.
     2770
Allas, the wo! allas, the peynes stronge,
     2771
That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
     2772
Allas, the deeth! allas, myn emelye!
     2773
Allas, departynge of oure compaignye!
     2774
Allas, myn hertes queene! allas, my wyf!
     2775
Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
     2776
What is this world? what asketh men to have?
     2777
Now with his love, now in his colde grave
     2778
Allone, withouten any compaignye.
     2779
Fare wel, my sweete foo, myn emelye!
     2780
And softe taak me in youre armes tweye,
     2781
For love of god, and herkneth what I seye.
     2782
I have heer with my cosyn palamon
     2783
Had strif and rancour many a day agon
     2784
For love of yow, and for my jalousye.
     2785
And juppiter so wys my soule gye,
     2786
To speken of a servaunt proprely,
     2787
With alle circumstances trewely --
     2788
That is to seyen, trouthe, honour, knyghthede,
     2789
Wysdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kynrede,
     2790
Fredom, and al that longeth to that art --
     2791
So juppiter have of my soule part,
     2792
As in this world right now ne knowe I non
     2793
So worthy to ben loved as palamon,
     2794
That serveth yow, and wol doon al his lyf.
     2795
And if that evere ye shul ben a wyf,
     2796
Foryet nat palamon, the gentil man.
     2797
And with that word his speche faille gan,
     2798
For from his feet up to his brest was come
     2799
The coold of deeth, that hadde hym overcome,
     2800
And yet mooreover, for in his armes two
     2801
The vital strengthe is lost and al ago.
     2802
Oonly the intellect, withouten moore,
     2803
That dwelled in his herte syk and soore,
     2804
Gan faillen whan the herte felte deeth.
     2805
Dusked his eyen two, and failled breeth,
     2806
But on his lady yet caste he his ye;
     2807
His laste word was, mercy, emelye!
     2808
His spirit chaunged hous and wente ther,
     2809
As I cam nevere, I kan nat tellen wher.
     2810
Therfore I stynte, I nam no divinistre;
     2811
Of soules fynde I nat in this registre,
     2812
Ne me ne list thilke opinions to telle
     2813
Of hem, though that they writen wher they dwelle.
     2814
Arcite is coold, ther mars his soule gye!
     2815
Now wol I speken forth of emelye.
     2816
Shrighte emelye, and howleth palamon,
     2817
And theseus his suster took anon
     2818
Swownynge, and baar hire fro the corps away.
     2819
What helpeth it to tarien forth the day
     2820
To tellen how she weep bothe eve and morwe?
     2821
For in swich cas wommen have swich sorwe,
     2822
Whan that hir housbondes ben from hem ago,
     2823
That for the moore part they sorwen so,
     2824
Or ellis fallen in swich maladye,
     2825
That at the laste certeinly they dye.
     2826
Infinite been the sorwes and the teeres
     2827
Of olde folk, and folk of tendre yeeres,
     2828
In al the toun for deeth of this theban.
     2829
For hym ther wepeth bothe child and man;
     2830
So greet wepyng was ther noon, certayn,
     2831
Whan ector was ybroght, al fressh yslayn,
     2832
To troye. Allas, the pitee that was ther,
     2833
Cracchynge of chekes, rentynge eek of heer.
     2834
Why woldestow be deed, thise wommen crye,
     2835
And haddest gold ynough, and emelye?
     2836
No man myghte gladen theseus,
     2837
Savynge his olde fader egeus,
     2838
That knew this worldes transmutacioun,
     2839
As he hadde seyn it chaunge bothe up and doun,
     2840
Joye after wo, and wo after gladnesse,
     2841
And shewed hem ensamples and liknesse.
     2842
Right as ther dyed nevere man, quod he,
     2843
That he ne lyvede in erthe in some degree,
     2844
Right so ther lyvede never man, he seyde,
     2845
In al this world, that som tyme he ne deyde.
     2846
This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo,
     2847
And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro.
     2848
Deeth is an ende of every worldly soore.
     2849
And over al this yet seyde he muchel moore
     2850
To this effect, ful wisely to enhorte
     2851
The peple that they sholde hem reconforte.
     2852
Duc theseus, with al his bisy cure, Page  45
     2853
Caste now wher that the sepulture
     2854
Of goode arcite may best ymaked be,
     2855
And eek moost honurable in his degree.
     2856
And at the laste he took conclusioun
     2857
That ther as first arcite and palamoun
     2858
Hadden for love the bataille hem bitwene,
     2859
That in that selve grove, swoote and grene,
     2860
Ther as he hadde his amorouse desires,
     2861
His compleynte, and for love his hoote fires,
     2862
He wolde make a fyr in which the office
     2863
Funeral he myghte al accomplice.
     2864
And leet comande anon to hakke and hewe
     2865
The okes olde, and leye hem on a rewe
     2866
In colpons wel arrayed for to brenne.
     2867
His officers with swifte feet they renne
     2868
And ryde anon at his comandement.
     2869
And after this, theseus hath ysent
     2870
After a beere, and it al over spradde
     2871
With clooth of gold, the richeste that he hadde.
     2872
And of the same suyte he cladde arcite;
     2873
Upon his hondes hadde he gloves white,
     2874
Eek on his heed a coroune of laurer grene,
     2875
And in his hond a swerd ful bright and kene.
     2876
He leyde hym, bare the visage, on the beere;
     2877
Therwith he weep that pitee was to heere.
     2878
And for the peple sholde seen hym alle,
     2879
Whan it was day, he broghte hym to the halle,
     2880
That roreth of the criyng and the soun.
     2881
Tho cam this woful theban palamoun,
     2882
With flotery berd and ruggy, asshy heeres,
     2883
In clothes blake, ydropped al with teeres;
     2884
And, passynge othere of wepynge, emelye,
     2885
The rewefulleste of al the compaignye.
     2886
In as muche as the servyce sholde be
     2887
The moore noble and riche in his degree,
     2888
Duc theseus leet forth thre steedes brynge,
     2889
That trapped were in steel al gliterynge,
     2890
And covered with the armes of daun arcite.
     2891
Upon thise steedes, that weren grete and white,
     2892
Ther seten folk, of whiche oon baar his sheeld,
     2893
Another his spere up on his hondes heeld,
     2894
The thridde baar with hym his bowe turkeys
     2895
(of brend gold was the caas and eek the harneys);
     2896
And riden forth a paas with sorweful cheere
     2897
Toward the grove, as ye shul after heere.
     2898
The nobleste of the grekes that ther were
     2899
Upon hir shuldres caryeden the beere,
     2900
With slakke paas, and eyen rede and wete,
     2901
Thurghout the citee by the maister strete,
     2902
That sprad was al with blak, and wonder hye
     2903
Right of the same is the strete ywrye.
     2904
Upon the right hond wente olde egeus,
     2905
And on that oother syde duc theseus,
     2906
With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fyn,
     2907
Al ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wyn;
     2908
Eek palamon, with ful greet compaignye;
     2909
And after that cam woful emelye,
     2910
With fyr in honde, as was that tyme the gyse,
     2911
To do the office of funeral servyse.
     2912
Heigh labour and ful greet apparaillynge
     2913
Was at the service and the fyr-makynge,
     2914
That with his grene top the hevene raughte;
     2915
And twenty fadme of brede the armes straughte --
     2916
This is to seyn, the bowes weren so brode.
     2917
Of stree first ther was leyd ful many a lode.
     2918
But how the fyr was maked upon highte,
     2919
Ne eek the names that the trees highte,
     2920
As ook, firre, birch, aspe, alder, holm, popler,
     2921
Wylugh, elm, plane, assh, box, chasteyn, lynde, laurer,
     2922
Mapul, thorn, bech, hasel, ew, whippeltree, --
     2923
How they weren feld, shal nat be toold for me;
     2924
Ne hou the goddes ronnen up and doun,
     2925
Disherited of hire habitacioun,
     2926
In which they woneden in reste and pees,
     2927
Nymphes, fawnes and amadrides;
     2928
Ne hou the beestes and the briddes alle
     2929
Fledden for fere, whan the wode was falle;
     2930
Ne how the ground agast was of the light,
     2931
That was nat wont to seen the sonne bright;
     2932
Ne how the fyr was couched first with stree,
     2933
And thanne with drye stikkes cloven a thre,
     2934
And thanne with grene wode and spicerye,
     2935
And thanne with clooth of gold and with perrye,
     2936
And gerlandes, hangynge with ful many a flour;
     2937
The mirre, th' encens, with al so greet odour;
     2938
Ne how arcite lay among al this,
     2939
Ne what richesse aboute his body is;
     2940
Ne how that emelye, as was the gyse,
     2941
Putte in the fyr of funeral servyse;
     2942
Ne how she swowned whan men made the fyr,
     2943
Ne what she spak, ne what was hir desir;
     2944
Ne what jeweles men in the fyre caste,
     2945
Whan that the fyr was greet and brente faste;
     2946
Ne how somme caste hir sheeld, and somme hir spere,
     2947
And of hire vestimentz, whiche that they were,
     2948
And coppes fulle of wyn, and milk, and blood,
     2949
Into the fyr, that brente as it were wood;
     2950
Ne how the grekes, with an huge route,
     2951
Thries riden al the fyr aboute
     2952
Upon the left hand, with a loud shoutynge,
     2953
And thries with hir speres claterynge;
     2954
And thries how the ladyes gonne crye; Page  46
     2955
Ne how that lad was homward emelye;
     2956
Ne how arcite is brent to asshen colde;
     2957
Ne how that lyche-wake was yholde
     2958
Al thilke nyght; ne how the grekes pleye
     2959
The wake-pleyes, ne kepe I nat to seye;
     2960
Who wrastleth best naked with oille enoynt,
     2961
Ne who that baar hym best, in no disjoynt.
     2962
I wol nat tellen eek how that they goon
     2963
Hoom til atthenes, whan the pley is doon;
     2964
But shortly to the point thanne wol I wende,
     2965
And maken of my longe tale an ende.
     2966
By processe and by lengthe of certeyn yeres,
     2967
Al stynted is the moornynge and the teres
     2968
Of grekes, by oon general assent.
     2969
Thanne semed me ther was a parlement
     2970
At atthenes, upon certein pointz and caas;
     2971
Among the whiche pointz yspoken was,
     2972
To have with certein contrees alliaunce,
     2973
And have fully of thebans obeisaunce.
     2974
For which this noble theseus anon
     2975
Leet senden after gentil palamon,
     2976
Unwist of hym what was the cause and why;
     2977
But in his blake clothes sorwefully
     2978
He cam at his comandement in hye.
     2979
Tho sente theseus for emelye.
     2980
Whan they were set, and hust was al the place,
     2981
And theseus abiden hadde a space
     2982
Er any word cam fram his wise brest,
     2983
His eyen sette he ther as was his lest.
     2984
And with a sad visage he siked stille,
     2985
And after that right thus he seyde his wille:
     2986
The firste moevere of the cause above,
     2987
Whan he first made the faire cheyne of love,
     2988
Greet was th' effect, and heigh was his entente.
     2989
Wel wiste he why, and what thereof he mente;
     2990
For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
     2991
The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
     2992
In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee.
     2993
That same prince and that moevere, quod he,
     2994
Hath stablissed in this wrecched world adoun
     2995
Certeyne dayes and duracioun
     2996
To al that is engendred in this place,
     2997
Over the whiche day they may nat pace,
     2998
Al mowe they yet tho dayes wel abregge.
     2999
Ther nedeth noght noon auctoritee t' allegge,
     3000
For it is preeved by experience,
     3001
But that me list declaren my sentence.
     3002
Thanne may men by this ordre wel discerne
     3003
That thilke moevere stable is and eterne.
     3004
Wel may men knowe, but it be a fool,
     3005
That every part dirryveth from his hool;
     3006
For nature hath nat taken his bigynnyng
     3007
Of no partie or cantel of a thyng,
     3008
But of a thyng that parfit is and stable,
     3009
Descendynge so til it be corrumpable.
     3010
And therfore, of his wise purveiaunce,
     3011
He hath so wel biset his ordinaunce,
     3012
That speces of thynges and progressiouns
     3013
Shullen enduren by successiouns,
     3014
And nat eterne, withouten any lye.
     3015
This maystow understonde and seen at ye.
     3016
Loo the ook, that hath so long a norisshynge
     3017
From tyme that it first bigynneth to sprynge,
     3018
And hath so long a lif, as we may see,
     3019
Yet at the laste wasted is the tree.
     3020
Considereth eek how that the harde stoon
     3021
Under oure feet, on which we trede and goon,
     3022
Yet wasteth it as it lyth by the weye.
     3023
The brode ryver somtyme wexeth dreye;
     3024
The grete tounes se we wane and wende.
     3025
Thanne may ye se that al this thyng hath ende.
     3026
Of man and womman seen we wel also
     3027
That nedes, in oon of thise termes two,
     3028
This is to seyn, in youthe or elles age,
     3029
He moot be deed, the kyng as shal a page;
     3030
Som in his bed, som in the depe see,
     3031
Som in the large feeld, as men may see;
     3032
Ther helpeth noght, al goth that ilke weye.
     3033
Thanne may I seyn that al this thyng moot deye.
     3034
What maketh this but juppiter, the kyng,
     3035
That is prince and cause of alle thyng,
     3036
Convertynge al unto his propre welle
     3037
From which it is dirryved, sooth to telle?
     3038
And heer-agayns no creature on lyve,
     3039
Of no degree, availleth for to stryve.
     3040
Thanne is it wysdom, as it thynketh me,
     3041
To maken vertu of necessitee,
     3042
And take it weel that we may nat eschue,
     3043
And namely that to us alle is due.
     3044
And whoso gruccheth ought, he dooth folye,
     3045
And rebel is to hym that al may gye.
     3046
And certeinly a man hath moost honour
     3047
To dyen in his excellence and flour,
     3048
Whan he is siker of his goode name;
     3049
Thanne hath he doon his freend, ne hym, no shame.
     3050
And gladder oghte his freend been of his deeth,
     3051
Whan with honour up yolden is his breeth,
     3052
Than whan his name apalled is for age,
     3053
For al forgeten is his vassellage.
     3054
Thanne is it best, as for a worthy fame,
     3055
To dyen whan that he is best of name.
     3056
The contrarie of al this is wilfulnesse.
     3057
Why grucchen we, why have we hevynesse,
     3058
That goode arcite, of chivalrie the flour,
     3059
Departed is with duetee and honour
     3060
Out of this foule prisoun of this lyf? Page  47
     3061
Why grucchen heere his cosyn and his wyf
     3062
Of his welfare, that loved hem so weel?
     3063
Kan he hem thank? nay, God woot, never a deel,
     3064
That both his soule and eek hemself offende,
     3065
And yet they mowe hir lustes nat amende.
     3066
What may I conclude of this longe serye,
     3067
But after wo I rede us to be merye,
     3068
And thanken juppiter of al his grace?
     3069
And er that we departen from this place
     3070
I rede that we make of sorwes two
     3071
O parfit joye, lastynge everemo.
     3072
And looketh now, wher moost sorwe is herinne,
     3073
Ther wol we first amenden and bigynne.
     3074
Suster, quod he, this is my fulle assent,
     3075
With al th' avys heere of my parlement,
     3076
That gentil palamon, youre owene knyght,
     3077
That serveth yow with wille herte, and myght,
     3078
And ever hath doon syn ye first hym knewe,
     3079
That ye shul of youre grace upon hym rewe,
     3080
And taken hym for housbonde and for lord.
     3081
Lene me youre hond, for this is oure accord.
     3082
Lat se now of youre wommanly pitee.
     3083
He is kynges brother sone, pardee;
     3084
And though he were a povre bacheler,
     3085
Syn he hath served yow so many a yeer,
     3086
And had for yow so greet adversitee,
     3087
It moste been considered, leeveth me;
     3088
For gentil mercy oghte to passen right.
     3089
Thanne seyde he thus to palamon the knight:
     3090
I trowe ther nedeth litel sermonyng
     3091
To make yow assente to this thyng.
     3092
Com neer, and taak youre lady by the hond.
     3093
Bitwixen hem was maad anon the bond
     3094
That highte matrimoigne or mariage,
     3095
By al the conseil and the baronage.
     3096
And thus with alle blisse and melodye
     3097
Hath palamon ywedded emelye.
     3098
And god, that al this wyde world hath wroght,
     3099
Sende hym his love that hath it deere aboght;
     3100
For now is palamon in alle wele,
     3101
Lyvynge in blisse, in richesse, and in heele,
     3102
And emelye hym loveth so tendrely,
     3103
And he hire serveth al so gentilly,
     3104
That nevere was ther no word hem bitwene
     3105
Of jalousie or any oother teene.
     3106
Thus endeth palamon and emelye;
     3107
And God save al this faire compaignye! amen.
     3108

The Miller's Prologue

Whan that the knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
     3109
In al the route nas ther yong ne oold
     3110
That he ne seyde it was a noble storie,
     3111
And worthy for to drawen to memorie;
     3112
And namely the gentils everichon.
     3113
Oure hooste lough and swoor, so moot I gon,
     3114
This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male.
     3115
Lat se now who shal telle another tale;
     3116
For trewely the game is wel bigonne.
     3117
Now telleth ye, sir monk, if that ye konne
     3118
Somwhat to quite with the knyghtes tale.
     3119
The millere, that for dronken was al pale,
     3120
So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
     3121
He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
     3122
Ne abyde no man for his curteisie,
     3123
But in pilates voys he gan to crie,
     3124
And swoor, by armes, and by blood and bones,
     3125
I kan a noble tale for the nones,
     3126
With which I wol now quite the knyghtes tale.
     3127
Oure hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale,
     3128
And seyde, abyd, robyn, my leeve brother;
     3129
Som bettre man shal telle us first another.
     3130
Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily.
     3131
By goddes soule, quod he, that wol nat I;
     3132
For I wol speke, or elles go my wey.
     3133
Oure hoost answerde, tel on, a devel wey!
     3134
Thou art a fool; thy wit is overcome.
     3135
Now herkneth, quod the millere, alle and some!
     3136
But first I make a protestacioun
     3137
That I am dronke, I knowe it by my soun;
     3138
And therfore if that I mysspeke or seye, Page  48
     3139
Wyte it the ale of southwerk, I you preye.
     3140
For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
     3141
Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,
     3142
How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe.
     3143
The reve answerde and seyde, stynt thy clappe!
     3144
Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye.
     3145
It is a synne and eek a greet folye
     3146
To apeyren any man, or hym defame,
     3147
And eek to bryngen wyves in swich fame.
     3148
Thou mayst ynogh of othere thynges seyn.
     3149
This dronke millere spak ful soone ageyn
     3150
And seyde, leve brother osewold,
     3151
Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
     3152
But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon;
     3153
Ther been ful goode wyves many oon,
     3154
And evere a thousand goode ayeyns oon badde.
     3155
That knowestow wel thyself, but if thou madde.
     3156
Why artow angry with my tale now?
     3157
I have a wyf, pardee, as wel as thow;
     3158
Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plogh,
     3159
Take upon me moore than ynogh,
     3160
As demen of myself that I were oon;
     3161
I wol bileve wel that I am noon.
     3162
An housbonde shal nat been inquisityf
     3163
Of goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf.
     3164
So he may fynde goddes foyson there,
     3165
Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere.
     3166
What sholde I moore seyn, but this millere
     3167
He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,
     3168
But tolde his cherles tale in his manere.
     3169
M' athynketh that I shal reherce it heere.
     3170
And therfore every gentil wight I preye,
     3171
For goddes love, demeth nat that I seye
     3172
Of yvel entente, but for I moot reherce
     3173
Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
     3174
Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
     3175
And therfore, whoso list it nat yheere,
     3176
Turne over the leef and chese another tale;
     3177
For he shal fynde ynowe, grete and smale,
     3178
Of storial thyng that toucheth gentillesse,
     3179
And eek moralitee and hoolynesse.
     3180
Blameth nat me if that ye chese amys.
     3181
The millere is a cherl, ye knowe wel this;
     3182
So was the reve eek and othere mo,
     3183
And harlotrie they tolden bothe two.
     3184
Avyseth yow, and put me out of blame;
     3185
And eek men shal nat maken ernest of game.
     3186

The Miller's Tale

Whilom ther was dwellynge at oxenford
     3187
A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to bord,
     3188
And of his craft he was a carpenter.
     3189
With hym ther was dwellynge a poure scoler,
     3190
Hadde lerned art, but al his fantasye
     3191
Was turned for to lerne astrologye,
     3192
And koude a certeyn of conclusiouns,
     3193
To demen by interrogaciouns,
     3194
If that men asked hym in certein houres
     3195
Whan that men sholde have droghte or elles shoures,
     3196
Or if men asked hym what sholde bifalle
     3197
Of every thyng; I may nat rekene hem alle.
     3198
This clerk was cleped hende nicholas.
     3199
Of deerne love he koude and of solas;
     3200
And therto he was sleigh and ful privee,
     3201
And lyk a mayden meke for to see.
     3202
A chambre hadde he in that hostelrye
     3203
Allone, withouten any compaignye,
     3204
Ful fetisly ydight with herbes swoote;
     3205
And he hymself as sweete as is the roote
     3206
Of lycorys, or any cetewale.
     3207
His almageste, and bookes grete and smale,
     3208
His astrelabie, longynge for his art,
     3209
His augrym stones layen faire apart,
     3210
On shelves couched at his beddes heed;
     3211
His presse ycovered with a faldyng reed;
     3212
And al above ther lay a gay sautrie,
     3213
On which he made a-nyghtes melodie
     3214
So swetely that all the chambre rong;
     3215
And angelus ad virginem he song;
     3216
And after that he song the kynges noote.
     3217
Ful often blessed was his myrie throte.
     3218
And thus this sweete clerk his tyme spente
     3219
After his freendes fyndyng and his rente.
     3220
This carpenter hadde wedded newe a wyf,
     3221
Which that he lovede moore than his lyf;
     3222
Of eighteteene yeer she was of age.
     3223
Jalous he was, and heeld hire narwe in cage,
     3224
For she was wylde and yong, and he was old, Page  49
     3225
And demed hymself been lik a cokewold.
     3226
He knew nat catoun, for his wit was rude,
     3227
That bad man sholde wedde his simylitude.
     3228
Men sholde wedden after hire estaat,
     3229
For youthe and elde is often at debaat.
     3230
But sith that he was fallen in the snare,
     3231
He moste endure, as oother folk, his care.
     3232
Fair was this yonge wyf, and therwithal
     3233
As any wezele hir body gent and smal.
     3234
A ceynt she werede, barred al of silk,
     3235
A barmclooth eek as whit as morne milk
     3236
Upon hir lendes, ful of many a goore.
     3237
Whit was hir smok, and broyden al bifoore
     3238
And eek bihynde, on hir coler aboute,
     3239
Of col-blak silk, withinne and eek withoute.
     3240
The tapes of hir white voluper
     3241
Were of the same suyte of hir coler;
     3242
Hir filet brood of silk, and set ful hye.
     3243
And sikerly she hadde a likerous ye;
     3244
Ful smale ypulled were hire browes two,
     3245
And tho were bent and blake as any sloo.
     3246
She was ful moore blisful on to see
     3247
Than is the newe pere-jonette tree,
     3248
And softer than the wolle is of a wether.
     3249
And by hir girdel heeng a purs of lether,
     3250
Tasseled with silk, and perled with latoun.
     3251
In al this world, to seken up and doun,
     3252
There nys no man so wys that koude thenche
     3253
So gay a popelote or swich a wenche.
     3254
Ful brighter was the shynyng of hir hewe
     3255
Than in the tour the noble yforged newe.
     3256
But of hir song, it was as loude and yerne
     3257
As any swalwe sittynge on a berne.
     3258
Therto she koude skippe and make game,
     3259
As any kyde or calf folwynge his dame.
     3260
Hir mouth was sweete as bragot or the meeth,
     3261
Or hoord of apples leyd in hey or heeth.
     3262
Wynsynge she was, as is a joly colt,
     3263
Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt.
     3264
A brooch she baar upon hir lowe coler,
     3265
As brood as is the boos of a bokeler.
     3266
Hir shoes were laced on hir legges hye.
     3267
She was a prymerole, a piggesnye,
     3268
For any lord to leggen in his bedde,
     3269
Or yet for any good yeman to wedde.
     3270
Now, sire, and eft, sire, so bifel the cas,
     3271
That on a day this hende nicholas
     3272
Fil with this yonge wyf to rage and pleye,
     3273
Whil that hir housbonde was at oseneye,
     3274
As clerkes ben ful subtile and ful queynte;
     3275
And prively he caughte hire by the queynte,
     3276
And seyde, ywis, but if ich have my wille,
     3277
For deerne love of thee, lemman, I spille.
     3278
And heeld hire harde by the haunchebones,
     3279
And seyde, lemman, love me al atones,
     3280
Or I wol dyen, also God me save!
     3281
And she sproong as a colt dooth in the trave,
     3282
And with hir heed she wryed faste awey,
     3283
And seyde, I wol nat kisse thee, by my fey!
     3284
Why, lat be, quod she, lat be, nicholas,
     3285
Or I wol crie -- out, harrow -- and -- allas! --
     3286
Do wey youre handes, for youre curteisye!
     3287
This nicholas gan mercy for to crye,
     3288
And spak so faire, and profred him so faste,
     3289
That she hir love hym graunted atte laste,
     3290
And swoor hir ooth, by seint thomas of kent,
     3291
That she wol been at his comandement,
     3292
Whan that she may hir leyser wel espie.
     3293
Myn housbonde is so ful of jalousie
     3294
That but ye wayte wel and been privee,
     3295
I woot right wel I nam but deed, quod she.
     3296
Ye moste been ful deerne, as in this cas.
     3297
Nay, therof care thee noght, quod nicholas.
     3298
A clerk hadde litherly biset his whyle,
     3299
But if he koude a carpenter bigyle.
     3300
And thus they been accorded and ysworn
     3301
To wayte a tyme, as I have told biforn.
     3302
Whan nicholas had doon thus everideel,
     3303
And thakked hire aboute the lendes weel,
     3304
He kiste hire sweete and taketh his sawtrie,
     3305
And pleyeth faste, and maketh melodie.
     3306
Thanne fil it thus, that to the paryssh chirche,
     3307
Cristes owene werkes for to wirche,
     3308
This goode wyf went on an haliday.
     3309
Hir forheed shoon as bright as any day,
     3310
So was it wasshen whan she leet hir werk.
     3311
Now was ther of that chirche a parissh clerk,
     3312
The which that was ycleped absolon.
     3313
Crul was his heer, and as the gold it shoon,
     3314
And strouted as a fanne large and brode;
     3315
Ful streight and evene lay his joly shode.
     3316
His rode was reed, his eyen greye as goos.
     3317
With poules wyndow corven on his shoos,
     3318
In hoses rede he wente fetisly.
     3319
Yclad he was ful smal and proprely
     3320
Al in a kirtel of a lyght waget;
     3321
Ful faire and thikke been the poyntes set.
     3322
And therupon he hadde a gay surplys
     3323
As whit as is the blosme upon the rys.
     3324
A myrie child he was, so God me save.
     3325
Wel koude he laten blood and clippe and shave,
     3326
And maken a chartre of lond or acquitaunce.
     3327
In twenty manere koude he trippe and daunce
     3328
After the scole of oxenforde tho,
     3329
And with his legges casten to and fro,
     3330
And pleyen songes on a smal rubible;
     3331
Therto he song som tyme a loud quynyble; Page  50
     3332
And as wel koude he pleye on a giterne.
     3333
In al the toun nas brewhous ne taverne
     3334
That he ne visited with his solas,
     3335
Ther any gaylard tappestere was.
     3336
But sooth to seyn, he was somdeel squaymous
     3337
Of fartyng, and of speche daungerous.
     3338
This absolon, that jolif was and gay,
     3339
Gooth with a sencer on the haliday,
     3340
Sensynge the wyves of the parisshe faste;
     3341
And many a lovely look on hem he caste,
     3342
And namely on this carpenteris wyf.
     3343
To looke on hire hym thoughte a myrie lyf,
     3344
She was so propre and sweete and likerous.
     3345
I dar wel seyn, if she hadde been a mous,
     3346
And he a cat, he wolde hire hente anon.
     3347
This parissh clerk, this joly absolon,
     3348
Hath in his herte swich a love-longynge
     3349
That of no wyf took he noon offrynge;
     3350
For curteisie, he seyde, he wolde noon.
     3351
The moone, whan it was nyght, ful brighte shoon,
     3352
And absolon his gyterne hath ytake,
     3353
For paramours he thoghte for to wake.
     3354
And forth he gooth, jolif and amorous,
     3355
Til he cam to the carpenteres hous
     3356
A litel after cokkes hadde ycrowe,
     3357
And dressed hym up by a shot-wyndowe
     3358
That was upon the carpenteris wal.
     3359
He syngeth in his voys gentil and smal,
     3360
Now, deere lady, if thy wille be,
     3361
I praye yow that ye wole rewe on me,
     3362
Ful wel acordaunt to his gyternynge.
     3363
This carpenter awook, and herde him synge,
     3364
And spak unto his wyf, and seyde anon,
     3365
What! alison! herestow nat absolon,
     3366
That chaunteth thus under oure boures wal?
     3367
And she answerde hir housbonde therwithal,
     3368
Yis, God woot, john, I heere it every deel.
     3369
This passeth forth; what wol ye bet than weel?
     3370
Fro day to day this joly absolon
     3371
So woweth hire that hym is wo bigon.
     3372
He waketh al the nyght and al the day;
     3373
He kembeth his lokkes brode, and made hym gay;
     3374
He woweth hire by meenes and brocage,
     3375
And swoor he wolde been hir owene page;
     3376
He syngeth, brokkynge as a nyghtyngale;
     3377
He sente hire pyment, meeth, and spiced ale,
     3378
And wafres, pipyng hoot out of the gleede;
     3379
And, for she was of town, he profred meede.
     3380
For som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse,
     3381
And somme for strokes, and somme for gentillesse.
     3382
Somtyme, to shewe his lightnesse and maistrye,
     3383
He pleyeth herodes upon a scaffold hye.
     3384
But what availleth hym as in this cas?
     3385
She loveth so this hende nicholas
     3386
That absolon may blowe the bukkes horn;
     3387
He ne hadde for his labour but a scorn.
     3388
And thus she maketh absolon hire ape,
     3389
And al his ernest turneth til a jape.
     3390
Ful sooth is this proverbe, it is no lye,
     3391
Men seyn right thus, alwey the nye slye
     3392
Maketh the ferre leeve to be looth.
     3393
For though that absolon be wood or wrooth,
     3394
By cause that he fer was from hire sight,
     3395
This nye nicholas stood in his light.
     3396
Now ber thee wel, thou hende nicholas,
     3397
For absolon may waille and synge allas.
     3398
And so bifel it on a saterday,
     3399
This carpenter was goon til osenay;
     3400
And hende nicholas and alisoun
     3401
Acorded been to this conclusioun,
     3402
That nicholas shal shapen hym a wyle
     3403
This sely jalous housbonde to bigyle;
     3404
And if so be the game wente aright,
     3405
She sholde slepen in his arm al nyght,
     3406
For this was his desir and hire also.
     3407
And right anon, withouten wordes mo,
     3408
This nicholas no lenger wolde tarie,
     3409
But dooth ful softe unto his chambre carie
     3410
Bothe mete and drynke for a day or tweye,
     3411
And to hire housbonde bad hire for to seye,
     3412
If that he axed after nicholas,
     3413
She sholde seye she nyste where he was,
     3414
Of al that day she saugh hym nat with ye;
     3415
She trowed that he was in maladye,
     3416
For for no cry hir mayde koude hym calle,
     3417
He nolde answere for thyng that myghte falle.
     3418
This passeth forth al thilke saterday,
     3419
That nicholas stille in his chambre lay,
     3420
And eet and sleep, or dide what hym leste,
     3421
Til sonday, that the sonne gooth to reste.
     3422
This sely carpenter hath greet merveyle
     3423
Of nicholas, or what thyng myghte hym eyle,
     3424
And seyde, I am adrad, by seint thomas,
     3425
It stondeth nat aright with nicholas.
     3426
God shilde that he deyde sodeynly!
     3427
This world is now ful tikel, sikerly.
     3428
I saugh to-day a cors yborn to chirche
     3429
That now, on monday last, I saugh hym wirche.
     3430
Go up, quod he unto his knave anoon,
     3431
Clepe at his dore, or knokke with a stoon.
     3432
Looke how it is, and tel me boldely.
     3433
This knave gooth hym up ful sturdily, Page  51
     3434
And at the chambre dore whil that he stood,
     3435
He cride and knokked as that he were wood,
     3436
What! how! what do ye, maister nicholay?
     3437
How may ye slepen al the longe day?
     3438
But al for noght, he herde nat a word.
     3439
An hole he foond, ful lowe upon a bord,
     3440
Ther as the cat was wont in for to crepe,
     3441
And at that hole he looked in ful depe,
     3442
And at the laste he hadde of hym a sight.
     3443
This nicholas sat evere capyng upright,
     3444
As he had kiked on the newe moone.
     3445
Adoun he gooth, and tolde his maister soone
     3446
In what array he saugh this ilke man.
     3447
This carpenter to blessen hym bigan,
     3448
And seyde, help us, seinte frydeswyde!
     3449
A man woot litel what hym shal bityde.
     3450
This man is falle, with his astromye,
     3451
In some woodnesse or in som agonye.
     3452
I thoghte ay wel how that it sholde be!
     3453
Men sholde nat knowe of goddes pryvetee.
     3454
Ye, blessed be alwey a lewed man
     3455
That noght but oonly his bileve kan!
     3456
So ferde another clerk with astromye;
     3457
He walked in the feeldes, for to prye
     3458
Upon the sterres, what ther sholde bifalle,
     3459
Til he was in a marle-pit yfalle;
     3460
He saugh nat that. But yet, by seint thomas,
     3461
Me reweth soore of hende nicholas.
     3462
He shal be rated of his studiyng,
     3463
If that I may, by jhesus, hevene kyng!
     3464
Get me a staf, that I may underspore,
     3465
Whil that thou, robyn, hevest up the dore.
     3466
He shal out of his studiyng, as I gesse --
     3467
And to the chambre dore he gan hym dresse.
     3468
His knave was a strong carl for the nones,
     3469
And by the haspe he haaf it of atones;
     3470
Into the floor the dore fil anon.
     3471
This nicholas sat ay as stille as stoon,
     3472
And evere caped upward into the eir.
     3473
This carpenter wende he were in despeir,
     3474
And hente hym by the sholdres myghtily,
     3475
And shook hym harde, and cride spitously,
     3476
What! nicholay! what, how! what, looke adoun!
     3477
Awak, and thenk on cristes passioun!
     3478
I crouche thee from elves and fro wightes.
     3479
Therwith the nyght-spel seyde he anon-rightes
     3480
On foure halves of the hous aboute,
     3481
And on the thresshfold of the dore withoute:
     3482
Jhesu crist and seinte benedight,
     3483
Blesse this hous from every wikked wight,
     3484
For nyghtes verye, the white pater-noster!
     3485
Where wentestow, seinte petres soster?
     3486
And atte laste this hende nicholas
     3487
Gan for to sik soore, and seyde, allas!
     3488
Shal al the world be lost aftsoones now?
     3489
This carpenter answerde, what seystow?
     3490
What! thynk on god, as we doon, men that swynke.
     3491
This nicholas answerde, fecche me drynke,
     3492
And after wol I speke in pryvetee
     3493
Of certeyn thyng that toucheth me and thee.
     3494
I wol telle it noon oother man, certeyn.
     3495
This carpenter goth doun, and comth ageyn,
     3496
And broghte of myghty ale a large quart;
     3497
And whan that ech of hem had dronke his part,
     3498
This nicholas his dore faste shette,
     3499
And doun the carpenter by hym he sette.
     3500
He seyde john, myn hooste, lief and deere,
     3501
Thou shalt upon thy trouthe swere me heere
     3502
That to no wight thou shalt this conseil wreye;
     3503
For it is cristes conseil that I seye,
     3504
And if thou telle it man, thou art forlore;
     3505
For this vengeaunce thou shalt han therfore,
     3506
That if thou wreye me, thou shalt be wood.
     3507
Nay, crist forbede it, for his hooly blood!
     3508
Quod tho this sely man, I nam no labbe;
     3509
Ne, though I seye, I nam nat lief to gabbe.
     3510
Sey what thou wolt, I shal it nevere telle
     3511
To child ne wyf, by hym that harwed helle!
     3512
Now john, quod nicholas, I wol nat lye;
     3513
I have yfounde in myn astrologye,
     3514
As I have looked in the moone bright,
     3515
That now a monday next, at quarter nyght,
     3516
Shal falle a reyn, and that so wilde and wood,
     3517
That half so greet was nevere noes flood.
     3518
This world, he seyde, in lasse than an hour
     3519
Shal al be dreynt, so hidous is the shour.
     3520
Thus shal mankynde drenche, and lese hir lyf.
     3521
This carpenter answerde, allas, my wyf!
     3522
And shal she drenche? allas, myn alisoun!
     3523
For sorwe of this he fil almoost adoun,
     3524
And seyde, is ther no remedie in this cas?
     3525
Why, yis, for gode, quod hende nicholas,
     3526
If thou wolt werken after loore and reed.
     3527
Thou mayst nat werken after thyn owene heed;
     3528
For thus seith salomon, that was ful trewe,
     3529
Werk al by conseil, and thou shalt nat rewe. --
     3530
And if thou werken wolt by good conseil,
     3531
I undertake, withouten mast and seyl,
     3532
Yet shal I saven hire and thee and me.
     3533
Hastow nat herd hou saved was noe,
     3534
Whan that oure lord hadde warned hym biforn
     3535
That al the world with water sholde be lorn?
     3536
Yis, quod this carpenter, ful yoore ago.
     3537
Hastou nat herd, quod nicholas, also
     3538
The sorwe of noe with his felaweshipe, Page  52
     3539
Er that he myghte gete his wyf to shipe?
     3540
Hym hadde be levere, I dar wel undertake
     3541
At thilke tyme, than alle his wetheres blake
     3542
That she hadde had a ship hirself allone.
     3543
And therfore, woostou what is best to doone?
     3544
This asketh haste, and of an hastif thyng
     3545
Men may nat preche or maken tariyng.
     3546
Anon go gete us faste into this in
     3547
A knedyng trogh, or ellis a kymelyn,
     3548
For ech of us, but looke that they be large,
     3549
In which we mowe swymme as in a barge,
     3550
And han therinne vitaille suffisant
     3551
But for a day, -- fy on the remenant!
     3552
The water shal aslake and goon away
     3553
Aboute pryme upon the nexte day.
     3554
But robyn may nat wite of this, thy knave,
     3555
Ne eek thy mayde gille I may nat save;
     3556
Axe nat why, for though thou aske me,
     3557
I wol nat tellen goddes pryvetee.
     3558
Suffiseth thee, but if thy wittes madde,
     3559
To han as greet a grace as noe hadde.
     3560
Thy wyf shal I wel saven, out of doute.
     3561
Go now thy wey, and speed thee heer-aboute.
     3562
But whan thou hast, for hire and thee and me,
     3563
Ygeten us thise knedyng tubbes thre,
     3564
Thanne shaltow hange hem in the roof ful hye,
     3565
That no man of oure purveiaunce spye.
     3566
And whan thou thus hast doon, as I have seyd,
     3567
And hast oure vitaille faire in hem yleyd,
     3568
And eek an ax, to smyte the corde atwo,
     3569
Whan that the water comth, that we may go,
     3570
And breke an hole an heigh, upon the gable,
     3571
Unto the gardyn-ward, over the stable,
     3572
That we may frely passen forth oure way,
     3573
Whan that the grete shour is goon away,
     3574
Thanne shaltou swymme as myrie, I undertake,
     3575
As dooth the white doke after hire drake.
     3576
Thanne wol I clepe, -- how, alison! how, john!
     3577
Be myrie, for the flood wol passe anon. --
     3578
And thou wolt seyn, -- hayl, maister nicholay!
     3579
Good morwe, I se thee wel, for it is day. --
     3580
And thanne shul we be lordes al oure lyf
     3581
Of al the world, as noe and his wyf.
     3582
But of o thyng I warne thee ful right:
     3583
Be wel avysed on that ilke nyght
     3584
That we ben entred into shippes bord,
     3585
That noon of us ne speke nat a word,
     3586
Ne clepe, ne crie, but be in his preyere;
     3587
For it is goddes owene heeste deere.
     3588
Thy wyf and thou moote hange fer atwynne;
     3589
For that bitwixe yow shal be no synne,
     3590
Namoore in lookyng than ther shal in deede,
     3591
This ordinance is seyd. Go, God thee speede!
     3592
Tomorwe at nyght, whan men ben alle aslepe,
     3593
Into oure knedyng-tubbes wol we crepe,
     3594
And sitten there, abidyng goddes grace.
     3595
Go now thy wey, I have no lenger space
     3596
To make of this no lenger sermonyng.
     3597
Men seyn thus, -- sende the wise, and sey no thyng: --
     3598
Thou art so wys, it needeth thee nat teche.
     3599
Go, save oure lyf, and that I the biseche.
     3600
This sely carpenter goth forth his wey.
     3601
Ful ofte he seide allas and weylawey,
     3602
And to his wyf he tolde his pryvetee,
     3603
And she was war, and knew it bet than he,
     3604
What al this queynte cast was for to seye.
     3605
But nathelees she ferde as she wolde deye,
     3606
And seyde, allas! go forth thy wey anon,
     3607
Help us to scape, or we been dede echon!
     3608
I am thy trewe, verray wedded wyf;
     3609
Go, deere spouse, and help to save oure lyf.
     3610
Lo, which a greet thyng is affeccioun!
     3611
Men may dyen of ymaginacioun,
     3612
So depe may impressioun be take.
     3613
This sely carpenter bigynneth quake;
     3614
Hym thynketh verraily that he may see
     3615
Noees flood come walwynge as the see
     3616
To drenchen alisoun, his hony deere.
     3617
He wepeth, weyleth, maketh sory cheere;
     3618
He siketh with ful many a sory swogh;
     3619
He gooth and geteth hym a knedyng trogh,
     3620
And after that a tubbe and a kymelyn,
     3621
And pryvely he sente hem to his in,
     3622
And heng hem in the roof in pryvetee.
     3623
His owene hand he made laddres thre,
     3624
To clymben by the ronges and the stalkes
     3625
Unto the tubbes hangynge in the balkes,
     3626
And hem vitailled, bothe trogh and tubbe,
     3627
With breed and chese, and good ale in a jubbe,
     3628
Suffisynge right ynogh as for a day.
     3629
But er that he hadde maad al this array,
     3630
He sente his knave, and eek his wenche also,
     3631
Upon his nede to london for to go.
     3632
And on the monday, whan it drow to nyght,
     3633
He shette his dore withoute candel-lyght,
     3634
And dressed alle thyng as it sholde be.
     3635
And shortly, up they clomben alle thre;
     3636
They seten stille wel a furlong way.
     3637
Now, pater-noster, clom! seyde nicholay,
     3638
And clom, quod john, and clom, seyde alisoun.
     3639
This carpenter seyde his devocioun,
     3640
And stille he sit, and biddeth his preyere,
     3641
Awaitynge on the reyn, if he it heere.
     3642
The dede sleep, for wery bisynesse,
     3643
Fil on this carpenter right, as I gesse, Page  53
     3644
Aboute corfew-tyme, or litel moore;
     3645
For travaille of his goost he groneth soore,
     3646
And eft he routeth, for his heed myslay.
     3647
Doun of the laddre stalketh nicholay,
     3648
And alisoun ful softe adoun she spedde;
     3649
Withouten wordes mo they goon to bedde,
     3650
Ther as the carpenter is wont to lye.
     3651
Ther was the revel and the melodye;
     3652
And thus lith alison and nicholas,
     3653
In bisynesse of myrthe and of solas,
     3654
Til that the belle of laudes gan to rynge,
     3655
And freres in the chaunsel gonne synge.
     3656
This parissh clerk, this amorous absolon,
     3657
That is for love alwey so wo bigon,
     3658
Upon the monday was at oseneye
     3659
With compaignye, hym to disporte and pleye,
     3660
And axed upon cas a cloisterer
     3661
Ful prively after john the carpenter;
     3662
And he drough hym apart out of the chirche,
     3663
And seyde, I noot, I saugh hym heere nat wirche
     3664
Syn saterday; I trowe that he be went
     3665
For tymber, ther oure abbot hath hym sent;
     3666
For he is wont for tymber for to go,
     3667
And dwellen at the grange a day or two;
     3668
Or elles he is at his hous, certeyn.
     3669
Where that he be, I kan nat soothly seyn.
     3670
This absolon ful joly was and light,
     3671
And thoghte, now is tyme to wake al nyght;
     3672
For sikirly I saugh hym nat stirynge
     3673
Aboute his dore, syn day bigan to sprynge.
     3674
So moot I thryve, I shal, at cokkes crowe,
     3675
Ful pryvely knokken at his wyndowe
     3676
That stant ful lowe upon his boures wal.
     3677
To alison now wol I tellen al
     3678
My love-longynge, for yet I shal nat mysse
     3679
That at the leeste wey I shal hire kisse.
     3680
Som maner confort shal I have, parfay.
     3681
My mouth hath icched al this longe day;
     3682
That is a signe of kissyng atte leeste.
     3683
Al nyght me mette eek I was at a feeste.
     3684
Therfore I wol go slepe an houre or tweye,
     3685
And al the nyght thanne wol I wake and pleye.
     3686
Whan that the firste cok hath crowe, anon
     3687
Up rist this joly lovere absolon
     3688
And hym arraieth gay, at poynt-devys.
     3689
But first he cheweth greyn and lycorys,
     3690
To smellen sweete, er he hadde kembd his heer.
     3691
Under his tonge a trewe-love he beer,
     3692
For therby wende he to ben gracious.
     3693
He rometh to the carpenteres hous,
     3694
And stille he stant under the shot-wyndowe --
     3695
Unto his brest it raughte, it was so lowe --
     3696
And softe he cougheth with a semy soun --
     3697
What do ye, hony-comb, sweete alisoun,
     3698
My faire bryd, my sweete cynamome?
     3699
Awaketh, lemman myn, and speketh to me!
     3700
Wel litel thynken ye upon my wo,
     3701
That for youre love I swete ther I go.
     3702
No wonder is thogh that I swelte and swete;
     3703
I moorne as dooth a lamb after the tete.
     3704
Ywis, lemman, I have swich love-longynge,
     3705
That lik a turtel trewe is my moornynge.
     3706
I may nat ete na moore than a mayde.
     3707
go fro the wyndow, jakke fool, she sayde;
     3708
As help me god, it wol nat be 'com pa me.'
     3709
I love another -- and elles I were to blame --
     3710
Wel bet than thee, by jhesu, absolon.
     3711
Go forth thy wey, or I wol caste a ston,
     3712
And lat me slepe, a twenty devel wey!
     3713
allas, quod absolon, and weylawey,
     3714
That trewe love was evere so yvel biset!
     3715
Thanne kysse me, syn it may be no bet,
     3716
For jhesus love, and for the love of me.
     3717
Wiltow thanne go thy wey therwith? quod she.
     3718
Ye, certes, lemman, quod this absolon.
     3719
Thanne make thee redy, quod she, I come anon.
     3720
And unto nicholas she seyde stille,
     3721
Now hust, and thou shalt laughen al thy fille.
     3722
This absolon doun sette hym on his knees
     3723
And seyde, I am a lord at alle degrees;
     3724
For after this I hope ther cometh moore.
     3725
Lemman, thy grace, and sweete bryd, thyn oore!
     3726
The wyndow she undoth, and that in haste.
     3727
Have do, quod she, com of, and speed the faste,
     3728
Lest that oure neighebores thee espie.
     3729
This absolon gan wype his mouth ful drie.
     3730
Derk was the nyght as pich, or as the cole,
     3731
And at the wyndow out she putte hir hole,
     3732
And absolon, hym fil no bet ne wers,
     3733
But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers
     3734
Ful savourly, er he were war of this.
     3735
Abak he stirte, and thoughte it was amys,
     3736
For wel he wiste a womman hath no berd.
     3737
He felte a thyng al rough and long yherd,
     3738
And seyde, fy! allas! what have I do?
     3739
Tehee! quod she, and clapte the wyndow to,
     3740
And absolon gooth forth a sory pas.
     3741
A berd! a berd! quod hende nicholas,
     3742
By goddes corpus, this goth faire and weel.
     3743
This sely absolon herde every deel,
     3744
And on his lippe he gan for anger byte, Page  54
     3745
And to hymself he seyde, I shal thee quyte.
     3746
Who rubbeth now, who froteth now his lippes
     3747
With dust, with sond, with straw, with clooth, with chippes,
     3748
But absolon, that seith ful ofte, allas!
     3749
My soule bitake I unto sathanas,
     3750
But me were levere than al this toun, quod he,
     3751
Of this despit awroken for to be.
     3752
Allas, quod he, allas, I ne hadde ybleynt!
     3753
His hoote love was coold and al yqueynt;
     3754
For fro that tyme that he hadde kist hir ers,
     3755
Of paramours he sette nat a kers;
     3756
For he was heeled of his maladie.
     3757
Ful ofte paramours he gan deffie,
     3758
And weep as dooth a child that is ybete.
     3759
A softe paas he wente over the strete
     3760
Until a smyth men cleped daun gerveys,
     3761
That in his forge smythed plough harneys;
     3762
He sharpeth shaar and kultour bisily.
     3763
This absolon knokketh al esily,
     3764
What, who artow? it am I, absalon.
     3766
And seyde, undo, gerveys, and that anon.
     3765
What, absolon! for cristes sweete tree,
     3767
Why rise ye so rathe? ey, benedicitee!
     3768
What eyleth yow? som gay gerl, God it woot,
     3769
Hath broght yow thus upon the viritoot.
     3770
By seinte note, ye woot wel what I mene.
     3771
This absolon ne roghte nat a bene
     3772
Of al his pley; no word agayn he yaf;
     3773
He hadde moore tow on his distaf
     3774
Than gerveys knew, and seyde, freend so deere,
     3775
That hoote kultour in the chymenee heere,
     3776
As lene it me, I have therwith to doone,
     3777
And I wol brynge it thee agayn ful soone.
     3778
Gerveys answerde, certes, were it gold,
     3779
Or in a poke nobles alle untold,
     3780
Thou sholdest have, as I am trewe smyth.
     3781
Ey, cristes foo! what wol ye do therwith?
     3782
Therof, quod absolon, be as be may.
     3783
I shal wel telle it thee to-morwe day --
     3784
And caughte the kultour by the colde stele.
     3785
Ful softe out at the dore he gan to stele,
     3786
And wente unto the carpenteris wal.
     3787
He cogheth first, and knokketh therwithal
     3788
Upon the wyndowe, right as he dide er.
     3789
This alison answerde, who is ther
     3790
That knokketh so? I warante it a theef.
     3791
Why, nay, quod he, God woot, my sweete leef,
     3792
I am thyn absolon, my deerelyng.
     3793
Of gold, quod he, I have thee broght a ryng.
     3794
My mooder yaf it me, so God me save;
     3795
Ful fyn it is, and therto wel ygrave.
     3796
This wol I yeve thee, if thou me kisse.
     3797
This nicholas was risen for to pisse,
     3798
And thoughte he wolde amenden al the jape;
     3799
He sholde kisse his ers er that he scape.
     3800
And up the wyndowe dide he hastily,
     3801
And out his ers he putteth pryvely
     3802
Over the buttok, to the haunche-bon;
     3803
And therwith spak this clerk, this absolon,
     3804
Spek, sweete bryd, I noot nat where thou art.
     3805
This nicholas anon leet fle a fart,
     3806
As greet as it had been a thonder-dent,
     3807
That with the strook he was almoost yblent;
     3808
And he was redy with his iren hoot,
     3809
And nicholas amydde the ers he smoot.
     3810
Of gooth the skyn an hande-brede aboute,
     3811
The hoote kultour brende so his toute,
     3812
And for the smert he wende for to dye.
     3813
As he were wood, for wo he gan to crye,
     3814
Help! water! water! water! help, for goddes herte!
     3815
This carpenter out of his slomber sterte,
     3816
And herde oon crien water as he were wood,
     3817
And thoughte, allas, now comth nowelis flood!
     3818
He sit hym up withouten wordes mo,
     3819
And with his ax he smoot the corde atwo,
     3820
And doun gooth al; he foond neither to selle,
     3821
Ne breed ne ale, til he cam to the celle
     3822
Upon the floor, and ther aswowne he lay.
     3823
Up stirte hire alison and nicholay,
     3824
And criden out and harrow in the strete.
     3825
The neighebores, bothe smale and grete,
     3826
In ronnen for to gauren on this man,
     3827
That yet aswowne lay, bothe pale and wan,
     3828
For with the fal he brosten hadde his arm.
     3829
But stonde he moste unto his owene harm;
     3830
For whan he spak, he was anon bore doun
     3831
With hende nicholas and alisoun.
     3832
They tolden every man that he was wood,
     3833
He was agast so of nowelis flood
     3834
Thurgh fantasie, that of his vanytee
     3835
He hadde yboght hym knedyng tubbes thre,
     3836
And hadde hem hanged in the roof above;
     3837
And that he preyed hem, for goddes love,
     3838
To sitten in the roof, par compaignye.
     3839
The folk gan laughen at his fantasye;
     3840
Into the roof they kiken and they cape,
     3841
And turned al his harm unto a jape.
     3842
For what so that this carpenter answerde,
     3843
It was for noght, no man his reson herde.
     3844
With othes grete he was so sworn adoun
     3845
That he was holde wood in al the toun;
     3846
For every clerk anonright heeld with oother. Page  55
     3847
They seyde, the man is wood, my leeve brother;
     3848
And every wight gan laughen at this stryf.
     3849
Thus swyved was this carpenteris wyf,
     3850
For al his kepyng and his jalousye;
     3851
And absolon hath kist hir nether ye;
     3852
And nicholas is scalded in the towte.
     3853
This tale is doon, and God save al the rowte!
     3854

The Reeve's Prologue

Whan folk hadde laughen at this nyce cas
     3855
Of absolon and hende nicholas,
     3856
Diverse folk diversely they seyde,
     3857
But for the moore part they loughe and pleyde.
     3858
Ne at this tale I saugh no man hym greve,
     3859
But it were oonly osewold the reve.
     3860
By cause he was of carpenteris craft,
     3861
A litel ire is in his herte ylaft;
     3862
He gan to grucche, and blamed it a lite.
     3863
So theek, quod he, ful wel koude I thee quite
     3864
With bleryng of a proud milleres ye,
     3865
If that me liste speke of ribaudye.
     3866
But ik am oold, me list not pley for age;
     3867
Gras tyme is doon, my fodder is now forage;
     3868
This white top writeth myne olde yeris;
     3869
Myn herte is also mowled as myne heris,
     3870
But if I fare as dooth an open-ers, --
     3871
That ilke fruyt is ever lenger the wers,
     3872
Til it be roten in mullok or in stree.
     3873
We olde men, I drede, so fare we:
     3874
Til we be roten, kan we nat be rype;
     3875
We hoppen alwey whil the world wol pype.
     3876
For in oure wyl ther stiketh evere a nayl,
     3877
To have an hoor heed and a grene tayl,
     3878
As hath a leek; for thogh oure myght be goon,
     3879
Oure wyl desireth folie evere in oon.
     3880
For whan we may nat doon, than wol we speke;
     3881
Yet in oure asshen olde is fyr yreke.
     3882
Foure gleedes han we, which I shal devyse, --
     3883
Avauntyng, liyng, anger, coveitise;
     3884
Thise foure sparkles longen unto eelde.
     3885
Oure olde lemes mowe wel been unweelde,
     3886
But wyl ne shal nat faillen, that is sooth.
     3887
And yet ik have alwey a coltes tooth,
     3888
As many a yeer as it is passed henne
     3889
Syn that my tappe of lif bigan to renne.
     3890
For sikerly, whan I was bore, anon
     3891
Deeth drough the tappe of lyf and leet it gon;
     3892
And ever sithe hath so the tappe yronne
     3893
Til that almoost al empty is the tonne.
     3894
The streem of lyf now droppeth on the chymbe.
     3895
The sely tonge may wel rynge and chymbe
     3896
Of wrecchednesse that passed is ful yoore;
     3897
With olde folk, save dotage, is namoore!
     3898
Whan that oure hoost hadde herd this sermonyng,
     3899
He gan to speke as lordly as a kyng.
     3900
He seide, what amounteth al this wit?
     3901
What shul we speke alday of hooly writ?
     3902
The devel made a reve for to preche,
     3903
Or of a soutere a shipman or a leche.
     3904
Sey forth thy tale, and tarie nat the tyme
     3905
Lo depeford! and it is half-wey pryme.
     3906
Lo grenewych, ther many a shrewe is inne!
     3907
It were al tyme thy tale to bigynne.
     3908
Now, sires, quod this osewold the reve,
     3909
I pray yow alle that ye nat yow greve,
     3910
Thogh I answere, and somdeel sette his howve;
     3911
For leveful is with force force of-showve.
     3912
This dronke millere hath ytoold us heer
     3913
How that bigyled was a carpenteer,
     3914
Peraventure in scorn, for I am oon.
     3915
And, by youre leve, I shal hym quite anoon;
     3916
Right in his cherles termes wol I speke.
     3917
I pray to God his nekke mote to-breke;
     3918
He kan wel in myn eye seen a stalke,
     3919
But in his owene he kan nat seen a balke.
     3920
Page  56

The Reeve's Tale

At trumpyngtoun, nat fer fro cantebrigge,
     3921
Ther gooth a brook, and over that a brigge,
     3922
Upon the whiche brook ther stant a melle;
     3923
And this is verray sooth that I yow telle:
     3924
A millere was ther dwellynge many a day.
     3925
As any pecok he was proud and gay.
     3926
Pipen he koude and fisshe, and nettes beete,
     3927
And turne coppes, and wel wrastle and sheete;
     3928
Ay by his belt he baar a long panade,
     3929
And of a swerd ful trenchant was the blade
     3930
A joly poppere baar he is in his pouche;
     3931
Ther was no man, for peril, dorste hym touche.
     3932
A sheffeld thwitel baar he in his hose.
     3933
Round was his face, and camus was his nose;
     3934
As piled as an ape was his skulle.
     3935
He was a market-betere atte fulle.
     3936
Ther dorste no wight hand upon hym legge,
     3937
That he ne swoor he sholde anon abegge.
     3938
A theef he was for sothe of corn and mele,
     3939
And that a sly, and usaunt for to stele.
     3940
His name was hoote deynous symkyn.
     3941
A wyf he hadde, ycomen of noble kyn;
     3942
The person of the toun hir fader was.
     3943
With hire he yaf ful many a panne of bras,
     3944
For that symkyn sholde in his blood allye.
     3945
She was yfostred in a nonnerye;
     3946
For symkyn wolde no wyf, as he sayde,
     3947
But she were wel ynorissed and a mayde,
     3948
To saven his estaat of yomanrye.
     3949
And she was proud, and peert as is a pye.
     3950
A ful fair sighte was it upon hem two;
     3951
On halydayes biforn hire wolde he go
     3952
With his typet bounden aboute his heed,
     3953
And she cam after in a gyte of reed;
     3954
And symkyn hadde hosen of the same.
     3955
Ther dorste no wight clepen hire but dame;
     3956
Was noon so hardy that wente by the weye
     3957
That with hire dorste rage or ones pleye,
     3958
But if he wolde be slayn of symkyn
     3959
With panade, or with knyf, or boidekyn.
     3960
For jalous folk ben perilous everemo;
     3961
Algate they wolde hire wyves wenden so.
     3962
And eek, for she was somdel smoterlich,
     3963
She was as digne as water in a dich,
     3964
And ful of hoker and of bisemare.
     3965
Hir thoughte that a lady sholde hire spare,
     3966
What for hire kynrede and hir nortelrie
     3967
That she hadde lerned in the nonnerie.
     3968
A doghter hadde they bitwixe hem two
     3969
Of twenty yeer, withouten any mo,
     3970
Savynge a child that was of half yeer age;
     3971
In cradel it lay and was a propre page.
     3972
This wenche thikke and wel ygrowen was,
     3973
With kamus nose, and eyen greye as glas,
     3974
With buttokes brode, and brestes rounde and hye;
     3975
But right fair was hire heer, I wol nat lye.
     3976
This person of the toun, for she was feir,
     3977
In purpos was to maken hire his heir,
     3978
Bothe of his catel and his mesuage,
     3979
And straunge he made it of hir mariage.
     3980
His purpos was for to bistowe hire hye
     3981
Into som worthy blood of auncetrye;
     3982
For hooly chirches good moot been despended
     3983
On hooly chirches blood, that is descended.
     3984
Therfore he wolde his hooly blood honoure,
     3985
Though that he hooly chirche sholde devoure.
     3986
Greet sokene hath this millere, out of doute,
     3987
With whete and malt of al the land aboute;
     3988
And nameliche ther was a greet collegge
     3989
Men clepen the soler halle at cantebregge;
     3990
Ther was hir whete and eek hir malt ygrounde.
     3991
And on a day it happed, in a stounde,
     3992
Sik lay the maunciple on a maladye;
     3993
Men wenden wisly that he sholde dye.
     3994
For which this millere stal bothe mele and corn
     3995
An hundred tyme moore than biforn;
     3996
For therbiforn he stal but curteisly,
     3997
But now he was a theef outrageously,
     3998
For which the wardeyn chidde and made fare.
     3999
But therof sette the millere nat a tare;
     4000
He craketh boost, and swoor it was nat so.
     4001
Thanne were ther yonge povre scolers two,
     4002
That dwelten in this halle, of which I seye.
     4003
Testif they were, and lusty for to pleye,
     4004
And, oonly for hire myrthe and revelrye,
     4005
Upon the wardeyn bisily they crye
     4006
To yeve hem leve, but a litel stounde,
     4007
To goon to mille and seen hir corn ygrounde;
     4008
And hardily they dorste leye hir nekke
     4009
The millere sholde not stele hem half a pekke
     4010
Of corn by sleighte, ne by force hem reve;
     4011
And at the laste the wardeyn yaf hem leve.
     4012
John highte that oon, and aleyn highte that oother; Page  57
     4013
Of o toun were they born, that highte strother,
     4014
Fer in the north, I kan nat telle where.
     4015
This aleyn maketh redy al his gere,
     4016
And on an hors the sak he caste anon.
     4017
Forth goth aleyn the clerk, and also john,
     4018
With good swerd and with bokeler by hir syde.
     4019
John knew the wey, -- hem nedede no gyde, --
     4020
And at the mille the sak adoun he layth.
     4021
Aleyn spak first, al hayl, symond, y-fayth!
     4022
Hou fares thy faire doghter and thy wyf?
     4023
Aleyn, welcome, quod symkyn, by my lyf!
     4024
And john also, how now, what do ye heer?
     4025
Symond, quod john, by god, nede has na peer.
     4026
Hym boes serve hymself that has na swayn,
     4027
Or elles he is a fool, as clerkes sayn.
     4028
Oure manciple, I hope he wil be deed,
     4029
Swa werkes ay the wanges in his heed;
     4030
And forthy is I come, and eek alayn,
     4031
To grynde oure corn and carie it ham agayn;
     4032
I pray yow spede us heythen that ye may.
     4033
It shal be doon, quod symkyn, by my fay!
     4034
What wol ye doon whil that it is in hande?
     4035
By god, right by the hopur wil I stande,
     4036
Quod john, and se howgates the corn gas in.
     4037
Yet saugh I nevere, by my fader kyn,
     4038
How that the hopur wagges til and fra.
     4039
Aleyn answerde, john, and wiltow swa?
     4040
Thanne wil I be bynethe, by my croun,
     4041
And se how that the mele falles doun
     4042
Into the trough; that sal be my disport.
     4043
For john, y-faith, I may been of youre sort;
     4044
I is as ille a millere as ar ye.
     4045
This millere smyled of hir nycetee,
     4046
And thoghte, al this nys doon but for a wyle.
     4047
They wene that no man may hem bigyle,
     4048
But by my thrift, yet shal I blere hir ye,
     4049
For al the sleighte in hir philosophye.
     4050
The moore queynte crekes that they make,
     4051
The moore wol I stele whan I take.
     4052
In stide of flour yet wol I yeve hem bren.
     4053
-- The gretteste clerkes been noght wisest men, --
     4054
As whilom to the wolf thus spak the mare.
     4055
Of al hir art ne counte I noght a tare.
     4056
Out at the dore he gooth ful pryvely,
     4057
Whan that he saugh his tyme, softely.
     4058
He looketh up and doun til he hath founde
     4059
The clerkes hors, ther as it stood ybounde
     4060
Bihynde the mille, under a levesel;
     4061
And to the hors he goth hym faire and wel;
     4062
He strepeth of the brydel right anon.
     4063
And whan the hors was laus, he gynneth gon
     4064
Toward the fen, ther wilde mares renne,
     4065
And forth with wehee, thurgh thikke and thurgh thenne.
     4066
This millere gooth agayn, no word he seyde,
     4067
But dooth his note, and with the clerkes pleyde,
     4068
Til that hir corn was faire and well ygrounde.
     4069
And whan the mele is sakked and ybounde,
     4070
This john goth out and fynt his hors away,
     4071
And gan to crie harrow! and weylaway! Page  58
     4072
Oure hors is lorn, alayn, for goddes banes,
     4073
Step on thy feet! com of, man, al atanes!
     4074
Allas, our wardeyn has his palfrey lorn.
     4075
This aleyn al forgat, bothe mele and corn;
     4076
Al was out of his mynde his housbondrie.
     4077
What, whilk way is he geen? he gan to crie.
     4078
The wyf cam lepynge inward with a ren.
     4079
She seyde, allas! youre hors goth to the fen
     4080
With wilde mares, as faste as he may go.
     4081
Unthank come on his hand that boond hym so,
     4082
And he that bettre sholde han knyt the reyne!
     4083
Allas, quod john, aleyn, for cristes peyne
     4084
Lay doun thy swerd, and I wil myn alswa.
     4085
I is ful wight, God waat, as is a raa;
     4086
By goddes herte, he sal nat scape us bathe!
     4087
Why ne had thow pit the capul in the lathe?
     4088
Ilhayl! by god, alayn, thou is a fonne!
     4089
Thise sely clerkes han ful faste yronne
     4090
Toward the fen, bothe aleyn and eek john.
     4091
And whan the millere saugh that they were gon,
     4092
He half a busshel of hir flour hath take,
     4093
And bad his wyf go knede it in a cake.
     4094
He seyde, I trowe the clerkes were aferd.
     4095
Yet kan a millere make a clerkes berd,
     4096
For al his art; now lat hem goon hir weye!
     4097
Lo, wher he gooth! ye, lat the children pleye.
     4098
They gete hym nat so lightly, by my croun.
     4099
Thise sely clerkes rennen up and doun
     4100
With keep! keep! stand! stand! jossa, warderere,
     4101
Ga whistle thou, and I shal kepe hym heere!
     4102
But shortly, til that it was verray nyght,
     4103
They koude nat, though they dide al hir myght,
     4104
Hir capul cacche, he ran alwey so faste,
     4105
Til in a dych they caughte hym atte laste.
     4106
Wery and weet, as beest is in the reyn,
     4107
Comth sely john, and with him comth aleyn.
     4108
Allas, quod john, the day that I was born!
     4109
Now are we dryve til hethyng and til scorn.
     4110
Oure corn is stoln, men wil us fooles calle,
     4111
Bathe the wardeyn and oure felawes alle,
     4112
And namely the millere, weylaway!
     4113
Thus pleyneth john as he gooth by the way
     4114
Toward the mille, and bayard in his hond.
     4115
The millere sittynge by the fyr he fond,
     4116
For it was nyght, and forther myghte they noght;
     4117
But for the love of God they hym bisoght
     4118
Of herberwe and of ese, as for hir peny.
     4119
The millere seyde agayn, if ther be eny,
     4120
Swich as it is, yet shal ye have youre part.
     4121
Myn hous is streit, but ye han lerned art;
     4122
Ye konne by argumentes make a place
     4123
A myle brood of twenty foot of space.
     4124
Lat se now if this place may suffise,
     4125
Or make it rowm with speche, as is youre gise.
     4126
Now, symond, seyde john, by seint cutberd,
     4127
Ay is thou myrie, and this is faire answerd.
     4128
I have herd seyd, -- man sal taa of twa thynges
     4129
Slyk as he fyndes, or taa slyk as he brynges. --
     4130
But specially I pray thee, hooste deere,
     4131
Get us som mete and drynke, and make us cheere,
     4132
And we wil payen trewely atte fulle.
     4133
With empty hand men may na haukes tulle;
     4134
Loo, heere oure silver, redy for to spende.
     4135
This millere into toun his doghter sende
     4136
For ale and breed, and rosted hem a goos,
     4137
And boond hire hors, it sholde namoore go loos;
     4138
And in his owene chambre hem made a bed,
     4139
With sheetes and with chalons faire yspred
     4140
Noght from his owene bed ten foot or twelve.
     4141
His doghter hadde a bed, al by hirselve,
     4142
Right in the same chambre by and by.
     4143
It myghte be no bet, and cause why?
     4144
Ther was no roumer herberwe in the place.
     4145
They soupen and they speke, hem to solace,
     4146
And drynken evere strong ale atte beste.
     4147
Aboute mydnyght wente they to reste.
     4148
Wel hath this millere vernysshed his heed;
     4149
Ful pale he was for dronken, and nat reed.
     4150
He yexeth, and he speketh thurgh the nose
     4151
As he were on the quakke, or on the pose.
     4152
To bedde he goth, and with hym goth his wyf.
     4153
As any jay she light was and jolyf,
     4154
So was hir joly whistle wel ywet.
     4155
The cradel at hir beddes feet is set,
     4156
To rokken, and to yeve the child to sowke.
     4157
And whan that dronken al was in the crowke,
     4158
To bedde wente the doghter right anon;
     4159
To bedde goth aleyn and also john;
     4160
Ther nas na moore, -- hem nedede no dwale.
     4161
This millere hath so wisely bibbed ale
     4162
That as an hors he fnorteth in his sleep,
     4163
Ne of his tayl bihynde he took no keep.
     4164
His wyf bar hym a burdon, a ful strong;
     4165
Men myghte hir rowtyng heere two furlong;
     4166
The wenche rowteth eek, par compaignye.
     4167
Aleyn the clerk, that herde this melodye,
     4168
He poked john, and seyde, slepestow?
     4169
Herdestow evere slyk a sang er now?
     4170
Lo, swilk a complyn is ymel hem alle,
     4171
A wilde fyr upon thair bodyes falle!
     4172
Wha herkned evere slyk a ferly thyng?
     4173
Ye, they sal have the flour of il endyng.
     4174
This lange nyght ther tydes me na reste;
     4175
But yet, nafors, al sal be for the beste.
     4176
For, john, seyde he, als evere moot I thryve,
     4177
If that I may, yon wenche wil I swyve.
     4178
Som esement has lawe yshapen us;
     4179
For, john, ther is a lawe that says thus,
     4180
That gif a man in a point be agreved,
     4181
That in another he sal be releved.
     4182
Oure corn is stoln, sothly, it is na nay,
     4183
And we han had an il fit al this day;
     4184
And syn I sal have neen amendement
     4185
Agayn my los, I will have esement.
     4186
By goddes sale, it sal neen other bee!
     4187
This john answerde, alayn, avyse thee!
     4188
The millere is a perilous man, he seyde,
     4189
And gif that he out of his sleep abreyde,
     4190
He myghte doon us bathe a vileynye.
     4191
Aleyn answerde, I counte hym nat a flye.
     4192
And up he rist, and by the wenche he crepte.
     4193
This wenche lay uprighte, and faste slepte,
     4194
Til he so ny was, er she myghte espie,
     4195
That it had been to late for to crie,
     4196
And shortly for to seyn, they were aton.
     4197
Now pley, aleyn, for I wol speke of john.
     4198
This john lith stille a furlong wey or two,
     4199
And to hymself he maketh routhe and wo.
     4200
Allas! quod he, this is a wikked jape;
     4201
Now may I seyn that I is but an ape.
     4202
Yet has my felawe somwhat for his harm;
     4203
He has the milleris doghter in his arm.
     4204
He auntred hym, and has his nedes sped,
     4205
And I lye as a draf-sak in my bed;
     4206
And when this jape is tald another day,
     4207
I sal been halde a daf, a cokenay!
     4208
I wil arise and auntre it, by my fayth!
     4209
-- Unhardy is unseely, -- thus men sayth.
     4210
And up he roos, and softely he wente
     4211
Unto the cradel, and in his hand it hente,
     4212
And baar it softe unto his beddes feet.
     4213
Soone after this the wyf hir rowtyng leet,
     4214
And gan awake, and wente hire out to pisse,
     4215
And cam agayn, and gan hir cradel mysse,
     4216
And groped heer and ther, but she foond noon. Page  59
     4217
Allas! quod she, I hadde almoost mysgoon;
     4218
I hadde almoost goon to the clerkes bed.
     4219
Ey, benedicite! thanne hadde I foule ysped.
     4220
And forth she gooth til she the cradel fond.
     4221
She gropeth alwey forther with hir hond,
     4222
And foond the bed, and thoghte noght but good,
     4223
By cause that the cradel by it stood,
     4224
And nyste wher she was, for it was derk;
     4225
But faire and wel she creep in to the clerk,
     4226
And lith ful stille, and wolde han caught a sleep.
     4227
Withinne a while this john the clerk up leep,
     4228
And on this goode wyf he leith on soore.
     4229
So myrie a fit ne hadde she nat ful yoore;
     4230
He priketh harde and depe as he were mad.
     4231
This joly lyf han thise two clerkes lad
     4232
Til that the thridde cok bigan to synge.
     4233
Aleyn wax wery in the dawenynge,
     4234
For he had swonken al the longe nyght,
     4235
And seyde, fare weel, malyne, sweete wight!
     4236
The day is come, I may no lenger byde;
     4237
But everemo, wher so I go or ryde,
     4238
I is thyn awen clerk, swa have I seel!
     4239
Now, deere lemman, quod she, go, far weel!
     4240
But er thow go, o thyng I wol thee telle:
     4241
Whan that thou wendest homward by the melle,
     4242
Right at the entree of the dore bihynde
     4243
Thou shalt a cake of half a busshel fynde
     4244
That was ymaked of thyn owene mele,
     4245
Which that I heelp my sire for to stele.
     4246
And, goode lemman, God thee save and kepe!
     4247
And with that word almoost she gan to wepe.
     4248
Aleyn up rist, and thoughte, er that it dawe,
     4249
I wol go crepen in by my felawe;
     4250
And fond the cradel with his hand anon.
     4251
By god, thoughte he, al wrang I have mysgon.
     4252
Myn heed is toty of my swynk to-nyght,
     4253
That makes me that I ga nat aright.
     4254
I woot wel by the cradel I have mysgo;
     4255
Heere lith the millere and his wyf also.
     4256
And forth he goth, a twenty devel way,
     4257
Unto the bed ther as the millere lay.
     4258
He wende have cropen by his felawe john,
     4259
And by the millere in he creep anon,
     4260
And caughte hym by the nekke, and softe he spak.
     4261
He seyde, thou john, thou swynes-heed, awak,
     4262
For cristes saule, and heer a noble game.
     4263
For by that lord that called is seint jame,
     4264
As I have thries in this shorte nyght
     4265
Swyved the milleres doghter bolt upright,
     4266
Whil thow hast, as a coward, been agast.
     4267
Ye, false harlot, quod the miller, hast?
     4268
A, false traitour! false clerk! quod he,
     4269
Thow shalt be deed, by goddes dignitee!
     4270
Who dorste be so boold to disparage
     4271
My doghter, that is come of swich lynage?
     4272
And by the throte-bolle he caughte alayn,
     4273
And he hente hym despitously agayn,
     4274
And on the nose he smoot hym with his fest.
     4275
Doun ran the blody streem upon his brest;
     4276
And in the floor, with nose and mouth tobroke,
     4277
They walwe as doon two pigges in a poke;
     4278
And up they goon, and doun agayn anon,
     4279
Til that the millere sporned at a stoon,
     4280
And doun he fil bakward upon his wyf,
     4281
That wiste no thyng of this nyce stryf;
     4282
For she was falle aslepe a lite wight
     4283
With john the clerk, that waked hadde al nyght,
     4284
And with the fal out of hir sleep she breyde.
     4285
Help! hooly croys of bromeholm, she seyde,
     4286
In manus tuas! lord, to thee I calle!
     4287
Awak, symond! the feend is on me falle.
     4288
Myn herte is broken; help! I nam but deed!
     4289
Ther lyth oon upon my wombe and on myn heed.
     4290
Help, symkyn, for the false clerkes fighte!
     4291
This john stirte up as faste as ever he myghte,
     4292
And graspeth by the walles to and fro,
     4293
To fynde a staf; and she stirte up also,
     4294
And knew the estres bet than dide this john,
     4295
And by the wal a staf she foond anon,
     4296
And saugh a litel shymeryng of a light,
     4297
For at an hole in shoon the moone bright;
     4298
And by that light she saugh hem bothe two,
     4299
But sikerly she nyste who was who,
     4300
But as she saugh a whit thyng in hir ye.
     4301
And whan she gan this white thyng espye,
     4302
She wende the clerk hadde wered a volupeer,
     4303
And with the staf she drow ay neer and neer,
     4304
And wende han hit this aleyn at the fulle,
     4305
And smooth the millere on the pyled skulle,
     4306
That doun he gooth, and cride, harrow! I dye!
     4307
Thise clerkes beete hym weel and lete hym lye;
     4308
And greythen hem, and tooke hir hors anon,
     4309
And eek hire mele, and on hir wey they gon.
     4310
And at the mille yet they tooke hir cake
     4311
Of half a busshel flour, ful wel ybake. Page  60
     4312
Thus is the proude millere wel ybete,
     4313
And hath ylost the gryndynge of the whete,
     4314
And payed for the soper everideel
     4315
Of aleyn and of john, that bette hym weel.
     4316
His wyf is swyved, and his doghter als.
     4317
Lo, swich it is a millere to be fals!
     4318
And therfore this proverbe is seyd ful sooth,
     4319
Hym thar nat wene wel that yvele dooth;
     4320
A gylour shal hymself bigyled be.
     4321
And god, that sitteth heighe in magestee,
     4322
Save al this compaignye, grete and smale!
     4323
Thus have I quyt the millere in my tale.
     4324

The Cook's Prologue

The cook of londoun, whil the reve spak,
     4325
For joye him thoughte he clawed him on the bak.
     4326
Ha! ha! quod he, for cristes passion,
     4327
This millere hadde a sharp conclusion
     4328
Upon his argument of herbergage!
     4329
Wel seyde salomon in his langage,
     4330
-- Ne bryng nat every man into thyn hous; --
     4331
For herberwynge by nyghte is perilous.
     4332
Wel oghte a man avysed for to be
     4333
Whom that he broghte into his pryvetee.
     4334
I pray to god, so yeve me sorwe and care
     4335
If evere, sitthe I highte hogge of ware,
     4336
Herde I a millere bettre yset a-werk.
     4337
He hadde a jape of malice in the derk.
     4338
But God forbede that we stynte heere;
     4339
And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to heere
     4340
A tale of me, that am a povre man,
     4341
I wol yow telle, as wel as evere I kan,
     4342
A litel jape that fil in oure citee.
     4343
Oure hoost answerde and seide, I graunte it thee.
     4344
Now telle on, roger, looke that it be good;
     4345
For many a pastee hastow laten blood,
     4346
And many a jakke of dovere hastow soold
     4347
That hath been twies hoot and twies coold.
     4348
Of many a pilgrym hastow cristes curs,
     4349
For of thy percely yet they fare the wors,
     4350
That they han eten with thy stubbel goos;
     4351
For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.
     4352
Now telle on, gentil roger by thy name.
     4353
But yet I pray thee, be nat wroth for game;
     4354
A man may seye ful sooth in game and pley.
     4355
Thou seist ful sooth, quod roger, by my fey!
     4356
But -- sooth pley, quaad pley, -- as the flemyng seith.
     4357
And therfore, herry bailly, by thy feith,
     4358
Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,
     4359
Though that my tale be of an hostileer.
     4360
But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit;
     4361
But er we parte, ywis, thou shalt be quit.
     4362
And therwithal he lough and made cheere,
     4363
And seyde his tale, as ye shul after heere.
     4364

The Cook's Tale

A prentys whilom dwelled in oure citee,
     4365
And of a craft of vitailliers was hee.
     4366
Gaillard he was as goldfynch in the shawe,
     4367
Broun as a berye, a propre short felawe,
     4368
With lokkes blake, ykembd ful fetisly.
     4369
Dauncen he koude so wel and jolily
     4370
That he was cleped perkyn revelour.
     4371
He was as ful of love and paramour
     4372
As is the hyve ful of hony sweete:
     4373
Wel was the wenche with hym myghte meete. Page  61
     4374
At every bridale wolde he synge and hoppe;
     4375
He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe.
     4376
For whan ther any ridyng was in chepe,
     4377
Out of the shoppe thider wolde he lepe --
     4378
Til that he hadde al the sighte yseyn,
     4379
And daunced wel, he wolde nat come ayeyn --
     4380
And gadered hym a meynee of his sort
     4381
To hoppe and synge and maken swich disport;
     4382
And ther they setten stevene for to meete,
     4383
To pleyen at the dys in swich a streete.
     4384
For in the toune nas ther no prentys
     4385
That fairer koude caste a paire of dys
     4386
Than perkyn koude, and therto he was free
     4387
Of his dispense, in place of pryvetee.
     4388
That fond his maister wel in his chaffare;
     4389
For often tyme he foond his box ful bare.
     4390
For sikerly a prentys revelour
     4391
That haunteth dys, riot, or paramour.
     4392
His maister shal it in his shoppe abye,
     4393
Al have he no part of the mynstralcye.
     4394
For thefte and riot, they been convertible,
     4395
Al konne he pleye on gyterne or ribible.
     4396
Revel and trouthe, as in a lowe degree,
     4397
They been ful wrothe al day, as men may see.
     4398
this joly prentys with his maister bood,
     4399
Til he were ny out of his prentishood,
     4400
Al were he snybbed bothe erly and late,
     4401
And somtyme lad with revel to newegate.
     4402
But atte laste his maister him bithoghte.
     4403
Upon a day, whan he his papir soghte,
     4404
Of a proverbe that seith this same word,
     4405
Wel bet is roten appul out of hoord
     4406
Than that it rotie al the remenaunt.
     4407
So fareth it by a riotous servaunt;
     4408
It is ful lasse harm to lete hym pace,
     4409
Than he shende alle the servantz in the place.
     4410
Therfore his maister yaf hym acquitance,
     4411
And bad hym go, with sorwe and with meschance!
     4412
And thus this joly prentys hadde his leve.
     4413
Now lat hym riote al the nyght or leve.
     4414
And for ther is no theef withoute a lowke,
     4415
That helpeth hym to wasten and to sowke
     4416
Of that he brybe kan or borwe may,
     4417
Anon he sente his bed and his array
     4418
Unto a compeer of his owene sort,
     4419
That lovede dys, and revel, and disport,
     4420
And hadde a wyf that heeld for contenance
     4421
A shoppe, and swyved for hir sustenance.
     4422