The Hengwrt ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales
Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400., Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910.
Page  30* [6-text p 547]

5. and now begynneth the prologe of the Chanons yoman.

[Lichfield MS, leaf 172, l. 3.]

Whan ended was / the tale of seint Cecyle
Er we fully / had riden fif myle
At Boughton . vnder the blee / vs gan a take
A man that clothed was / in clothes blake
And vnder þat / he had a whit surplys
His hakeney that was / al pomel grys
So swette / that it wonder was to see
Hit semed he had / priked myles three
The hors eke / that his yoman rood vpon
So swette / þat vnnethe miȝte he goon
Aboute the peytrel / stood the foom ful hiȝe
He was of fome / al flekked as a pye
A male twifold / vpon his croper lay
It semed þat he caried / litel aray
Al light for somer / rood þis worthy man
And in myn herte / wondren I bigan
what þat he was / til þat I vnderstood
How þat his cloke / was swed to his hood
ffor which whan I longe / had a-vised me
I demed him / som chanon for to be
his hat heeng at his bak / doun by laas
ffor he had riden / more than trot or paas
He had ay priked / lyk as he were wood
A clote leef / he had vnder his hood
ffor swoot / and for to kepe his hede fro hete
But it was ioye / for to seen him swete
His forhed dropped / as a stillatorie
were ful of plannteyn / and of peritorie Page  [unnumbered] [6-text p 548]
And whan þat he com / he gan to crie
God saue quod he / this ioly companie
ffaste haue I priked / quod he for ȝoure sake
Be cause þat I wolde / ȝow ouertake
To ryden / in þis mery companie
His yoman eke / was ful of curtesie
And sire now // in the morwe tyde
Out of ȝoure Hostery / I saugh ȝow ryde [Lichfield MS folio 172b]
And warned here / my lord and my souerayn
which þat to ride / with ȝow is ful fayn
ffor his disport / he loueth daliaunce
And for þi warnyng / god ȝeue þe good chaunce
Saide oure hoost / certes it wolde seme
Thy lord were wys . and so I may wel deme
He is ful iocunde / also dar I leye
Can he ought telle / a mery tale or tweye
with whiche / he glade . may þis companye
who sire my lord / ȝe ȝe withoute lye
He can of merthe / and eek of iolyte
Nouȝt but ynogh / also sire trusteth me
And ȝe him knewe / as wel as do I
Ȝe wolde wondre / how wel and thriftily
He couthe werke / and þat in sondry wise
He hath taken on him / many greet apprise
Whiche were ful hard / for any þat is here
To bringe aboute / but þei of him it lere
As homely as he rit / amonges ȝow
Ȝif ye him knewe / it wolde be ȝoure prow
Ȝe wolde not forgoon / his aqueyntance
ffor moche good / I dar leye in balance
Al þat I haue / in my possession
he is a man / of high discrecion
I warne ȝow wel / he is a passinge man
Wel quod oure hoost I pray þe tel me þan
Is he clerk or noon / tel what he is
Nay he is gretter / than a Clerk ywis Page  [unnumbered] [6-text p 549]
Seide the ȝoman / and in wordes fewe
Hoost of his craft / somwhat I wol ȝow shewe
I say my lord / can such a sotilte
But al his craft / ȝe may not wite at me
And somwhat helpe I ȝit / to his worchyng
That al þis grounde / þat we ben on ridyng
Til þat we come / to Cauntebury toun
He coude al clene / turne vp so doun
And paue it al / of siluer and of goold
And whan þis Ȝoman / had þus y-toold
¶ Vn to oure hoost / he saide benedicite [Lichfield MS folio 173a]
This þing / is wonder . meruaillous to me
Sitthe þi lord / is of so high prudence
Be cause of which / men shulde him reuerence
That of his worshipe / rekketh . he so lyte
His ouer sloppe / is not worth a myte
As in effecte / to him so mote I go
It is al baudy / and to-tore also
Why is þi lord / so sluttish I the prey
And is of power / better cloþes for to bey
Ȝif þat his dede / accorde with þi speche
Tel me that / and þat I the beseche
¶ Whi quod þis ȝoman / wherto aske ȝe me
God helpe me so / for he shal neuer ythe
But I wol not / avowe that I say
And therfore kepe it secre / I yow pray
He is to wys / in feith as I beleue
That þat is ouerdone / it wol not preue
And right as clerkes seyn / it is a vice
Wherfore in þat / I holde him lewed and nyce
ffor whan a man / hath ouer greet a wit
fful ofte him happeth / to misvsen it
So doth my lord / and that me greueth sore
God it amende / I can say ȝow no more
¶ Ther-of no fors / goode yoman quod oure hoost
Sitthen of the cunnynge / of þi lord þou woost Page  [unnumbered] [6-text p 550]
Telle how he doth / I pray the hertely
Sitthen þat he is / so crafty . and so slyȝ
where dwelle ȝe / ȝif it tolle be
In the subarbe / of a toun quod [he]
Lurkynge in hernes / and in lanes blynde
where thise robbers / and theefs be kynde
Holden her priue / and ferful residence
As þei þat dar not/ shewen her presence
So fare we / ȝif I shal say the sothe
Ȝit quod oure hoost / lat me talke to the
Why art þou / discoloured on thy face
Petre quod he / god ȝeue it harde grace
I am so vsed / in the fyre to blowe
That it hath chaunged / my colour as I trowe [Lichfield MS folio 173b]
I am not wont in no myrour to prie
But swynke sore / and lerne to multiplie
we bloundren euere / and pouren in the fyr
And for al þat we faylen / of oure desyr
ffor euere we lakken / oure conclusion
To moche folk we be / but illusion
And borwe gold / be it a pound or two
Or ten or twelue / or many sommes mo
And make hem wene / atte leste weye
That of a pound / we coude make tweye
Ȝit is it fals / and ay we han good hope
It for to done / and after it we grope
But þat science is / so fer vs biforn
we may not / al þogh. we had it sworn
It ouertake / it slit awey so faste
It wol vs make / beggers atte laste
¶ Whiles this ȝoman / was þus in his talkyng
This chanon drow him nere / and herde al þyng
which þat þis ȝoman spak / for suspecion
Of mennes speche / euere had this chanon
ffor caton seith / he þat gilty is
Demeth al þing / of him be spoke ywis Page  [unnumbered] [6-text p 551]
By cause of that / he gan so nygh to drawe
his ȝoman / and herde al his sawe
And thus he seide / vn to his ȝoma[n] tho
Hold now thy pees / and spek wordes no mo
ffor ȝif þou doost / þou shalt it de[re] abye
Thou sclaundrest me here / in this companye
And eke discouerest þat þou shuldest hyde
ȝe quod oure hoost / tel on what so be-tyde
Of al his thretenyng / recche þe nat a myte
In feith quod he / no more I do but lyte
And whan this chanon / saugh it wolde not be
But þat his yoman / wolde telle his priuite
he fledde a wey / for verray sorwe and shame
A quod þe ȝoman / here shal rise a game
Al þat I can / anoon wol I telle
Syn he is goon / þe foule feend him quelle
ffor neuere here after / wol I with him mete [Lichfield MS folio 174a]
ffor peny ne for pound / I the beheete
he that me brouȝte / first vn-to þat game
Er þat he deye / sorwe haue he and shame
ffor it is ernest to me by my feith
That fele I wel / what so eny man seith
And ȝit for al my smert/ and al my greef
ffor al my sorwe / labour and mescheef
I couthe neuere / leue it in no wise
Now wolde god / my wit myght suffise
To tellen al / that longeth to that art
[But natheles ȝit wol I telle ȝou part [Reg. 18 C ii folio 165a] ]
Syn þat my lord is goon / I wol not spare
Swich þing as I knowe / I wol declare [6-text p 552]
¶ Thus endeth þe prologe / and begynneth the tale*. [[on leaf 174]]