The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

Sequitur pars secunda

The norice of digestioun, the sleep,
     347
Gan on hem wynke and bad hem taken keep
     348
That muchel drynke and labour wolde han reste;
     349
And with a galpyng mouth hem alle he keste,
     350
And seyde that it was tyme to lye adoun,
     351
For blood was in his domynacioun.
     352
Cherisseth blood, natures freend, quod he.
     353
They thanken hym galpynge, by two, by thre,
     354
And every wight gan drawe hym to his reste,
     355
As sleep hem bad; they tooke it for the beste.
     356
Hire dremes shul nat now been toold for me;
     357
Ful were hire heddes of fumositee,
     358
That causeth dreem of which ther nys no charge.
     359
They slepen til that it was pryme large,
     360
The mooste part, but it were canacee.
     361
She was ful mesurable, as wommen be;
     362
For of hir fader hadde she take leve
     363
To goon to reste soone after it was eve.
     364
Hir liste nat appalled for to be,
     365
Ne on the morwe unfeestlich for to se,
     366
And slepte hire firste sleep, and thanne awook.
     367
For swich a joye she in hir herte took
     368
Bothe of hir queynte ryng and hire mirour,
     369
That twenty tyme she changed hir colour;
     370
And in hire sleep, right for impressioun
     371
Of hire mirour, she hadde a visioun.
     372
Wherfore, er that the sonne gan up glyde,
     373
She cleped on hir maistresse hire bisyde,
     374
And seyde that hire liste for to ryse.
     375
Thise olde wommen that been gladly wyse,
     376
As is hire maistresse, answerde hire anon,
     377
And seyde, madame, whider wil ye goon Page  132
     378
Thus erly, for the folk been alle on reste?
     379
I wol, quod she, arise, for me leste
     380
Ne lenger for to slepe, and walke aboute.
     381
Hire maistresse clepeth wommen a greet route,
     382
And up they rysen, wel a ten or twelve;
     383
Up riseth fresshe canacee hireselve,
     384
As rody and bright as dooth the yonge sonne,
     385
That in the ram is foure degrees up ronne --
     386
Noon hyer was he whan she redy was --
     387
And forth she walketh esily a pas,
     388
Arrayed after the lusty seson soote
     389
Lightly, for to pleye and walke on foote,
     390
Nat but with fyve or sixe of hir meynee;
     391
And in a trench forth in the park gooth she.
     392
The vapour which that fro the erthe glood
     393
Made the sonne to seme rody and brood;
     394
But nathelees it was so fair a sighte
     395
That it made alle hire hertes for to lighte,
     396
What for the seson and the morwenynge,
     397
And for the foweles that she herde synge.
     398
For right anon she wiste what they mente,
     399
Right by hir song, and knew al hire entente.
     400
The knotte why that every tale is toold,
     401
If it be taried til that lust be coold
     402
Of hem that han it after herkned yoore,
     403
The savour passeth ever lenger the moore,
     404
For fulsomnesse of his prolixitee;
     405
And by the same resoun, thynketh me,
     406
I sholde to the knotte condescende,
     407
And maken of hir walkyng soone an ende.
     408
Amydde a tree, for drye as whit as chalk,
     409
As canacee was pleyyng in hir walk,
     410
Ther sat a faucon over hire heed ful hye,
     411
That with a pitous voys so gan to crye
     412
That all the wode resouned of hire cry.
     413
Ybeten hadde she hirself so pitously
     414
With bothe hir wynges, til the rede blood
     415
Ran endelong the tree ther-as she stood.
     416
And evere in oon she cryde alwey and shrighte,
     417
And with hir beek herselven so she prighte,
     418
That ther nys tygre, ne noon so crueel beest,
     419
That dwelleth outher in wode or in forest,
     420
That nolde han wept, if that he wepe koude,
     421
For sorwe of hire, she shrighte alwey so loude.
     422
For ther nas nevere yet no man on lyve,
     423
If that I koude a faucon wel discryve,
     424
That herde of swich another of fairnesse,
     425
As wel of plumage as of gentillesse
     426
Of shap, of al that myghte yrekened be.
     427
A faucon peregryn thanne semed she
     428
Of fremde land; and everemoore, as she stood,
     429
She swowneth now and now for lak of blood,
     430
Til wel neigh is she fallen fro the tree.
     431
This faire kynges doghter, canacee,
     432
That on hir fynger baar the queynte ryng,
     433
Thurgh which she understood wel every thyng
     434
That any fowel may in his leden seyn,
     435
And koude answeren hym in his ledene ageyn,
     436
Hath understonde what this faucon seyde,
     437
And wel neigh for the routhe almoost she deyde.
     438
And to the tree she gooth ful hastily,
     439
And on this faukon looketh pitously,
     440
And heeld hir lappe abrood, for wel she wiste
     441
The faukon moste fallen fro the twiste,
     442
Whan that it swowned next, for lak of blood.
     443
A longe whil to wayten hire she stood,
     444
Til atte laste she spak in this manere
     445
Unto the hauk, as ye shal after heere:
     446
What is the cause, if it be for to telle,
     447
That ye be in this furial pyne of helle?
     448
Quod canacee unto this hauk above.
     449
Is this for sorwe of deeth or los of love?
     450
For, as I trowe, thise been causes two
     451
That causen moost a gentil herte wo;
     452
Of oother harm it nedeth nat to speke.
     453
For ye youreself upon yourself yow wreke,
     454
Which proveth wel that outher ire or drede
     455
Moot been enchesoun of youre cruel dede,
     456
Syn that I see noon oother wight yow chace.
     457
For love of god, as dooth youreselven grace,
     458
Or what may been youre help? for west nor est
     459
Ne saugh I nevere er now no bryd ne beest
     460
That ferde with hymself so pitously.
     461
Ye sle me with youre sorwe verraily,
     462
I have of yow so greet compassioun.
     463
For goddes love, com fro the tree adoun;
     464
And as I am a kynges doghter trewe,
     465
If that I verraily the cause knewe
     466
Of youre disese, if it lay in my myght,
     467
I wole amenden it er that it were nyght,
     468
As wisly helpe me grete God of kynde!
     469
And herbes shal I right ynowe yfynde
     470
To heel with youre hurtes hastily.
     471
Tho shrighte this faucon yet moore pitously
     472
Than ever she dide, and fil to grounde anon,
     473
And lith aswowne, deed and lyk a stoon,
     474
Til canacee hath in hire lappe hire take
     475
Unto the tyme she gan of swough awake.
     476
And after that she of hir swough gan breyde,
     477
Right in hir haukes ledene thus she seyde:
     478
That pitee renneth soone in gentil herte,
     479
Feelynge his similitude in peynes smerte,
     480
Is preved alday, as men may it see,
     481
As wel by werk as by auctoritee;
     482
For gentil herte kitheth gentillesse.
     483
I se wel that ye han of my distresse Page  133
     484
Compassion, my faire canacee,
     485
Of verray wommanly benignytee
     486
That nature in youre principles hath set.
     487
But for noon hope for to fare the bet,
     488
But for to obeye unto youre herte free,
     489
And for to maken othere be war by me,
     490
As by the whelp chasted is the leon,
     491
Right for that cause and that conclusion,
     492
Whil that I have a leyser and a space,
     493
Myn harm I wol confessen er I pace.
     494
And evere, whil that oon hir sorwe tolde,
     495
That oother weep as she to water wolde,
     496
Til that the faucon bad hire to be stille,
     497
And, with a syk, right thus she seyde hir wille:
     498
Ther I was bred -- allas, that ilke day! --
     499
And fostred in a roche of marbul gray
     500
So tendrely that no thyng eyled me,
     501
I nyste nat what was adversitee,
     502
Til I koude flee ful hye under the sky.
     503
Tho dwelte a tercelet me faste by,
     504
That semed welle of alle gentillesse;
     505
Al were he ful of treson and falsnesse,
     506
It was so wrapped under humble cheere,
     507
And under hewe of trouthe in swich manere,
     508
Under plesance, and under bisy peyne,
     509
That no wight koude han wend he koude feyne,
     510
So depe in greyn he dyed his coloures.
     511
Right as a serpent hit hym under floures
     512
Til he may seen his tyme for to byte,
     513
Right so this God of loves ypocryte
     514
Dooth so his cerymonyes and obeisaunces,
     515
And kepeth in semblaunt alle his observaunces
     516
That sownen into gentillesse of love.
     517
As in a toumbe is al the faire above,
     518
And under is the corps, swich as ye woot,
     519
Swich was this ypocrite, bothe coold and hoot.
     520
And in this wise he served his entente,
     521
That, save the feend, noon wiste what he mente,
     522
Til he so longe hadde wopen and compleyned,
     523
And many a yeer his service to me feyned,
     524
Til that myn herte, to pitous and to nyce,
     525
Al innocent of his crouned malice,
     526
Forfered of his deeth, as thoughte me,
     527
Upon his othes and his seuretee,
     528
Graunted hym love, on this condicioun,
     529
That everemoore myn honour and renoun
     530
Were saved, bothe privee and apert;
     531
This is to seyn, that after his desert,
     532
I yaf hym al myn herte and al my thoght --
     533
God woot and he, that ootherwise noght --
     534
And took his herte in chaunge of myn for ay.
     535
But sooth is seyd, goon sithen many a day,
     536
-- A trewe wight and a theef thenken nat oon. --
     537
And whan he saugh the thyng so fer ygoon
     538
That I hadde graunted hym fully my love,
     539
In swich a gyse as I have seyd above,
     540
And yeven hym my trewe herte as free
     541
As he swoor he yaf his herte to me;
     542
Anon this tigre, ful of doublenesse,
     543
Fil on his knees with so devout humblesse,
     544
With so heigh reverence, and, as by his cheere,
     545
So lyk a gentil lovere of manere,
     546
So ravysshed, as it semed, for the joye,
     547
That nevere jason ne parys of troye --
     548
Jason? certes, ne noon oother man
     549
Syn lameth was, that alderfirst bigan
     550
To loven two, as writen folk biforn --
     551
Ne nevere, syn the firste man was born,
     552
Ne koude man, by twenty thousand part,
     553
Countrefete the sophymes of his art,
     554
Ne were worthy unbokelen his galoche,
     555
Ther doublenesse or feynyng sholde approche,
     556
Ne so koude thonke a wight as he dide me!
     557
His manere was an hevene for to see
     558
Til any womman, were she never so wys,
     559
So peynted he and kembde at point-devys
     560
As wel his wordes as his contenaunce.
     561
And I so loved hym for his obeisaunce,
     562
And for the trouthe I demed in his herte,
     563
That if so were that any thyng hym smerte,
     564
Al were it never so lite, and I it wiste,
     565
Me thoughte I felte deeth myn herte twiste.
     566
And shortly, so ferforth this thyng is went,
     567
That my wyl was his willes instrument;
     568
This is to seyn, my wyl obeyed his wyl
     569
In alle thyng, as fer as reson fil,
     570
Kepynge the boundes of my worshipe evere.
     571
Ne nevere hadde I thyng so lief, ne levere,
     572
As hym, God woot! ne nevere shal namo.
     573
This laste lenger than a yeer or two,
     574
That I supposed of hym noght but good.
     575
But finally, thus atte laste it stood,
     576
That fortune wolde that he moste twynne
     577
Out of that place which that I was inne.
     578
Wher me was wo, that is no questioun;
     579
I kan nat make of it discripsioun;
     580
For o thyng dar I tellen boldely,
     581
I knowe what is the peyne of deeth therby;
     582
Swich harm I felte for he ne myghte bileve.
     583
So on a day of me he took his leve,
     584
So sorwefully eek that I wende verraily
     585
That he had felt as muche harm as I,
     586
Whan that I herde hym speke, and saugh his hewe.
     587
But nathelees, I thoughte he was so trewe,
     588
And eek that he repaire sholde ageyn
     589
Withinne a litel while, sooth to seyn; Page  134
     590
And resoun wolde eek that he moste go
     591
For his honour, as ofte it happeth so,
     592
That I made vertu of necessitee,
     593
And took it wel, syn that it moste be.
     594
As I best myghte, I hidde fro hym my sorwe,
     595
And took hym by the hond, seint john to borwe,
     596
And seyde hym thus: lo, I am youres al;
     597
Beth swich as I to yow have been and shal. --
     598
What he answerde, it nedeth noght reherce;
     599
Who kan sey bet than he, who kan do werse?
     600
Whan he hath al wel seyd, thanne hath he doon.
     601
-- Therfore bihoveth hire a ful long spoon
     602
That shal ete with a feend, -- thus herde I seye.
     603
So atte laste he moste forth his weye,
     604
And forth he fleeth til he cam ther hym leste.
     605
Whan it cam hym to purpos for to reste,
     606
I trowe he hadde thilke text in mynde,
     607
That -- alle thyng, repeirynge to his kynde,
     608
Gladeth hymself; -- thus seyn men, as I gesse.
     609
Men loven of propre kynde newefangelnesse,
     610
As briddes doon that men in cages fede.
     611
For though thou nyght and day take of hem hede,
     612
And strawe hir cage faire and softe as silk,
     613
And yeve hem sugre, hony, breed and milk,
     614
Yet right anon as that his dore is uppe,
     615
He with his feet wol spurne adoun his cuppe,
     616
And to the wode he wole, and wormes ete;
     617
So newefangel been they of hire mete,
     618
And loven novelries of propre kynde;
     619
No gentillesse of blood ne may hem bynde.
     620
So ferde this tercelet, allas the day!
     621
Though he were gentil born, and fressh and gay,
     622
And goodlich for to seen, and humble and free,
     623
He saugh upon a tyme a kyte flee,
     624
And sodeynly he loved this kyte so
     625
That al his love is clene fro me ago;
     626
And hath his trouthe falsed in this wyse.
     627
Thus hath the kyte my love in hire servyse,
     628
And I am lorn withouten remedie!
     629
And with that word this faucon gan to crie,
     630
And swowned eft in canacees barm.
     631
Greet was the sorwe for the haukes harm
     632
That canacee and alle hir wommen made;
     633
They nyste hou they myghte the faucon glade.
     634
But canacee hom bereth hire in hir lappe,
     635
And softely in plastres gan hire wrappe,
     636
Ther as she with hire beek hadde hurt hirselve.
     637
Now kan nat canacee but herbes delve
     638
Out of the ground, and make salves newe
     639
Of herbes preciouse and fyne of hewe,
     640
To heelen with this hauk. Fro day to nyght
     641
She dooth hire bisynesse and al hire myght,
     642
And by hire beddes heed she made a mewe,
     643
And covered it with veluettes blewe,
     644
In signe of trouthe that is in wommen sene.
     645
And al withoute, the mewe is peynted grene,
     646
In which were peynted alle this false fowles,
     647
As ben thise tidyves, tercelettes, and owles;
     648
Right for despit were peynted hem bisyde,
     649
Pyes, on hem for to crie and chyde.
     650
Thus lete I canacee hir hauk kepyng;
     651
I wol namoore as now speke of hir ryng,
     652
Til it come eft to purpos for to seyn
     653
How that this faucon gat hire love ageyn
     654
Repentant, as the storie telleth us,
     655
By mediacion of cambalus,
     656
The kynges sone, of which that I yow tolde.
     657
But hennesforth I wol my proces holde
     658
To speken of aventures and of batailles,
     659
That nevere yet was herd so grete mervailles.
     660
First wol I telle yow of cambyuskan,
     661
That in his tyme many a citee wan;
     662
And after wol I speke of algarsif,
     663
How that he wan theodora to his wif,
     664
For whom ful ofte in greet peril he was,
     665
Ne hadde he ben helpen by the steede of bras;
     666
And after wol I speke of cambalo,
     667
That faught in lystes with the bretheren two
     668
For canacee er that he myghte hire wynne.
     669
And ther I lefte I wol ayeyn bigynne.
     670
Explicit secunda pars.