The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

Incipit secunda pars

Noght fer fro thilke paleys honurable,
     197
Wher as this markys shoop his mariage,
     198
There stood a throop, of site delitable,
     199
In which that povre folk of that village
     200
Hadden hir beestes and hir herbergage,
     201
And of hire labour tooke hir sustenance,
     202
After that the erthe yaf hem habundance.
     203
Amonges thise povre folk ther dwelte a man
     204
Which that was holden povrest of hem alle;
     205
But hye God somtyme senden kan
     206
His grace into litel oxes stalle;
     207
Janicula men of that throop hym calle.
     208
A doghter hadde he, fair ynogh to sighte,
     209
And grisildis this yonge mayden highte.
     210
But for to speke of vertuous beautee,
     211
Thanne was she oon the faireste under sonne;
     212
For povreliche yfostred up was she,
     213
No likerous lust was thurgh hire herte yronne.
     214
Wel ofter of the welle than of the tonne
     215
She drank, and for she wolde vertu plese,
     216
She knew wel labour, but noon ydel ese.
     217
But thogh this mayde tendre were of age,
     218
Yet in the brest of hire virginitee
     219
Ther was enclosed rype and sad corage;
     220
And in greet reverence and charitee
     221
Hir olde povre fader fostred shee.
     222
A fewe sheep, spynnynge, on feeld she kepte;
     223
She wolde noght been ydel til she slepte.
     224
And whan she homward cam, she wolde brynge
     225
Wortes or othere herbes tymes ofte,
     226
The whiche she shredde and seeth for hir lyvynge,
     227
And made hir bed ful hard and nothyng softe;
     228
And ay she kepte hir fadres lyf on-lofte
     229
With everich obeisaunce and diligence
     230
That child may doon to fadres reverence.
     231
Upon grisilde, this povre creature,
     232
Ful ofte sithe this markys sette his ye
     233
As he on huntyng rood paraventure;
     234
And whan it fil that he myghte hire espye,
     235
He noght with wantown lookyng of folye
     236
His eyen caste on hire, but in sad wyse
     237
Upon hir chiere he wolde hym ofte avyse,
     238
Commendynge in his herte hir wommanhede,
     239
And eek hir verty, passynge any wight
     240
Of so yong age, as wel in chiere as dede.
     241
For thogh the peple have no greet insight
     242
In verty, he considered ful right
     243
Hir bountee, and disposed that he wolde
     244
Wedde hire oonly, if evere he wedde sholde.
     245
The day of weddyng cam, but no wight kan
     246
Telle what womman that it sholde be;
     247
For which merveille wondred many a man,
     248
And seyden, whan they were in privetee,
     249
Wol nat oure lord yet leve his vanytee?
     250
Wol he nat wedde? allas; allas, the while!
     251
Why wole he thus hymself and us bigile? Page  104
     252
But nathelees this markys hath doon make
     253
Of gemmes, set in gold and in asure,
     254
Brooches and rynges, for grisildis sake;
     255
And of hir clothyng took he the mesure
     256
By a mayde lyk to hire stature,
     257
And eek of othere aornementes alle
     258
That unto swich a weddyng sholde falle.
     259
The time of undren of the same day
     260
Approcheth, that this weddyng sholde be;
     261
And al the paleys put was in array,
     262
Bothe halle and chambres, ech in his degree;
     263
Houses of office stuffed with plentee
     264
Ther maystow seen, of deyntevous vitaille
     265
That may be founde as fer al last ytaille.
     266
This roial markys, richely arrayed,
     267
Lordes and ladyes in his compaignye,
     268
The whiche that to the feeste weren yprayed,
     269
And of his retenue the bachelrye,
     270
With manya soun of sondry melodye,
     271
Unto the village of the which I tolde,
     272
In this array the righte wey han holde.
     273
Grisilde of this, God woot, ful innocent,
     274
That for hire shapen was al this array,
     275
To fecchen water at a welle is went,
     276
And cometh hoom as soone as ever she may;
     277
For wel she hadde herd seyd that thilke day
     278
The markys sholde wedde, and if she myghte,
     279
She wolde fayn han seyn som of that sighte.
     280
She thoghte, I wole with othere maydens stonde,
     281
That been my felawes, in oure dore and se
     282
The markysesse, and therfore wol I fonde
     283
To doon at hoom, as soone as it may be,
     284
The labour which that longeth unto me;
     285
And thanne I may at leyser hire biholde,
     286
If she this wey unto the castel holde.
     287
And as she wolde over hir thresshfold gon,
     288
The markys cam and gan hire for to calle;
     289
And she set doun hir water pot anon,
     290
Biside the thresshfold, in an oxes stalle,
     291
And doun upon hir knes she gan to falle,
     292
And with sad contenance kneleth stille,
     293
Til she had herd what was the lordes wille.
     294
This thoghtful markys spak unto this mayde
     295
Ful sobrely, and seyde in this manere:
     296
Where is youre fader, o grisildis? he sayde.
     297
And she with reverence, in humble cheere,
     298
Answerde, lord, he is al redy heere.
     299
And in she gooth withouten lenger lette,
     300
And to the markys she hir fader fette.
     301
He by the hand thanne took this olde man,
     302
And seyde thus, whan he hym hadde asyde:
     303
Janicula, I neither may ne kan
     304
Lenger the plesance of myn herte hyde.
     305
If that thou vouche sauf, what so bityde,
     306
Thy doghter wol I take, er that I wende,
     307
As for my wyf, unto hir lyves ende.
     308
Thou lovest me, I woot it wel certeyn,
     309
And art my feithful lige man ybore;
     310
And al that liketh me, I dar wel seyn
     311
It liketh thee, and specially therfore
     312
Tel me that poynt that I have seyd bifore,
     313
If that thou wolt unto that purpos drawe,
     314
To take me as for thy sone-in-lawe.
     315
This sodeyn cas this man astonyed so
     316
That reed he wax; abayst and al quakynge
     317
He stood; unnethes seyde he wordes mo,
     318
But oonly thus: lord, quod he, my willynge
     319
Is as ye wole, ne ayeynes youre likynge
     320
I wol no thyng, ye be my lord so deere;
     321
Right as yow lust, governeth this mateere.
     322
Yet wol I, quod this markys softely,
     323
That in thy chambre I and thou and she
     324
Have a collacioun, and wostow why?
     325
For I wol axe if it hire wille be
     326
To be my wyf, and reule hire after me.
     327
And al this shal be doon in thy presence;
     328
I wol noght speke out of thyn audience.
     329
And in the chambre, whil they were aboute
     330
Hir tretys, which as ye shal after heere,
     331
The peple cam unto the hous withoute,
     332
And wondred hem in how honest manere
     333
And tentifly she kepte hir fader deere.
     334
But outrely grisildis wondre myghte,
     335
For nevere erst ne saugh she swich a sighte.
     336
No wonder is thogh that she were astoned
     337
To seen so greet a gest come in that place;
     338
She nevere was to swiche gestes woned,
     339
For which she looked with ful pale face.
     340
But shortly forth this matere for to chace,
     341
Thise arn the wordes that the markys sayde
     342
To this benigne, verray, feithful mayde.
     343
Grisilde, he seyde, ye shal wel understonde
     344
It liketh to youre fader and to me Page  105
     345
That I yow wedde, and eek it may so stonde,
     346
As I suppose, ye wol that it so be.
     347
But thise demandes axe I first, quod he,
     348
That, sith it shal be doon in hastif wyse,
     349
Wol ye assente, or elles yow avyse?
     350
I seye this, be ye redy with good herte
     351
To al my lust, and that I frely may,
     352
As me best thynketh, do yow laughe or smerte,
     353
And nevere ye to grucche it, nyght ne day?
     354
And eek whan I sey 'ye,' ne sey nat 'nay,'
     355
Neither by word ne frownyng contenance?
     356
Swere this, and heere I swere oure alliance.
     357
Wondrynge upon this word, quakynge for drede,
     358
She seyde, lord, undigne and unworthy
     359
Am I to thilke honour that ye me beede,
     360
But as ye wole youreself, right so wol I.
     361
And heere I swere that nevere willyngly,
     362
In werk ne thogh, I nyl yow disobeye,
     363
For to be deed, though me were looth to deye.
     364
This is ynogh, grisilde myn, quod he.
     365
And forth he gooth, with a ful sobre cheere,
     366
Out at the dore, and after that cam she,
     367
And to the peple he seyde in this manere:
     368
This is my wyf, quod he, that standeth heere.
     369
Honoureth hire and loveth hire, I preye,
     370
Whoso me loveth; ther is namoore to seye.
     371
And for that no thyng of hir olde geere
     372
She sholde brynge into his hous, he bad
     373
That wommen sholde dispoillen hire right theere;
     374
Of which thise ladyes were nat right glad
     375
To handle hir clothes, wherinne she was clad.
     376
But nathelees, this mayde bright of hewe
     377
Fro foot to heed they clothed han al newe.
     378
Hir heris han they kembd, that lay untressed
     379
Ful rudely, and with hir fyngres smale
     380
A corone on hire heed they han ydressed,
     381
And sette hire ful of nowches grete and smale.
     382
Of hire array what sholde I make a tale?
     383
Unnethe the peple hir knew for hire fairnesse,
     384
Whan she translated was in swich richesse.
     385
This markys hath hire spoused with a ryng
     386
Broght for the same cause, and thanne hire sette
     387
Upon an hors, snow-whit and wel amblyng,
     388
And to his paleys, er he lenger lette,
     389
With joyful peple that hire ladde and mette,
     390
Conveyed hire, and thus the day they spende
     391
In revel, til the sonne gan descende.
     392
And shortly forth this tale for to chace,
     393
I seye that to this newe markysesse
     394
God hath swich favour sent hire of his grace,
     395
That it ne semed nat by liklynesse
     396
That she was born and fed in rudenesse,
     397
As in a cote or in an oxe-stalle,
     398
But norissed in an emperoures halle.
     399
To every wight she woxen is so deere
     400
And worshipful that folk ther she was bore,
     401
And from hire birthe knewe hire yeer by yeere,
     402
Unnethe trowed they, -- but dorste han swore --
     403
That to janicle, of which I spak bifore,
     404
She doghter were, for, as by conjecture,
     405
Hem thoughte she was another creature.
     406
For though that evere vertuous was she,
     407
She was encressed in swich excellence
     408
Of thewes goode, yset in heigh bountee,
     409
And so discreet and fair of eloquence,
     410
So benigne and so digne of reverence,
     411
And koude so the peples herte embrace,
     412
That ech hire lovede that looked in hir face.
     413
Noght oonly of saluces in the toun
     414
Publiced was the bountee of hir name,
     415
But eek biside in many a regioun,
     416
If oon seide wel, another seyde the same;
     417
So spradde of hire heighe bountee the fame
     418
That men and wommen, as wel yonge as olde,
     419
Goon to saluce, upon hire to biholde.
     420
Thus walter lowely -- nay, but roially --
     421
Wedded with fortunat honestetee,
     422
In goddes pees lyveth ful esily
     423
At hoom, and outward grace ynogh had he;
     424
And for he saugh that under low degree
     425
Was ofte vertu hid, the peple hym heelde
     426
A prudent man, and that is seyn ful seelde.
     427
Nat oonly this grisildis thurgh hir wit
     428
Koude al the feet of wyfly hoomlinesse,
     429
But eek, whan that the cas required it,
     430
The commune profit koude she redresse.
     431
Ther nas discord, rancour, ne hevynesse
     432
In al that land, that she ne koude apese,
     433
And wisely brynge hem alle in reste and ese.
     434
Though that hire housbonde absent were anon,
     435
If gentil men or othere of hire contree Page  106
     436
Were wrothe, she wolde bryngen hem aton;
     437
So wise and rype wordes hadde she,
     438
And juggementz of so greet equitee,
     439
That she from hevene sent was, as men wende,
     440
Peple to save and every wrong t' amende.
     441
Nat longe tyme after that this grisild
     442
Was wedded, she a doghter hath ybore.
     443
Al had hire levere have born a knave child,
     444
Glad was this markys and the folk therfore;
     445
For though a mayde child coome al bifore,
     446
She may unto a knave child attayne
     447
By liklihede, syn she nys nat bareyne.
     448
Explicit secunda pars.