The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

De Hugelino Comite de Pize

Off the erl hugelyn of pyze the langour
     2407
Ther may no tonge telle for pitee.
     2408
But litel out of pize stant a tour,
     2409
In which tour in prisoun put was he,
     2410
And with hym been his litel children thre;
     2411
The eldest scarsly fyf yeer was of age.
     2412
Allas, fortune! it was greet crueltee
     2413
Swiche briddes for to putte in swich a cage!
     2414
Dampned was he to dyen in that prisoun,
     2415
For roger, which that bisshop was of pize,
     2416
Hadde on hym maad a fals suggestioun,
     2417
Thurgh which the peple gan upon hym rise,
     2418
And putten hym to prisoun, in swich wise
     2419
As ye han herd, and mete and drynke he hadde
     2420
So smal, that wel unnethe it may suffise,
     2421
And therwithal it was ful povre and badde.
     2422
And on a day bifil that in that hour
     2423
Whan that his mete wont was to be broght,
     2424
The gayler shette the dores of the tour.
     2425
He herde it wel, but he spak right noght,
     2426
And in his herte anon ther fil a thoght
     2427
That they for hunger wolde doon hym dyen.
     2428
Allas! quod he, allas, that I was wroght!
     2429
Therwith the teeris fillen from his yen.
     2430
His yonge sone, that thre yeer was of age,
     2431
Unto hym seyde, fader, why do ye wepe?
     2432
Whanne wol the gayler bryngen oure potage?
     2433
Is ther no morsel breed that ye do kepe?
     2434
I am so hungry that I may nat slepe.
     2435
Now wolde God that I myghte slepen evere!
     2436
Thanne sholde nat hunger in my wombe crepe;
     2437
Ther is no thyng, save breed, that me were levere.
     2438
Thus day by day this child bigan to crye,
     2439
Til in his fadres barm adoun it lay,
     2440
And seyde, farewel, fader, I moot dye!
     2441
And kiste his fader, and dyde the same day.
     2442
And whan the woful fader deed it say,
     2443
For wo his armes two he gan to byte,
     2444
And seyde, allas, fortune, and weylaway!
     2445
Thy false wheel my wo al may I wyte.
     2446
His children wende that it for hunger was
     2447
That he his armes gnow, and nat for wo,
     2448
And seyde, fader, do nat so, allas!
     2449
But rather ete the flessh upon us two.
     2450
Oure flessh thou yaf us, take oure flessh us fro,
     2451
And ete ynogh, -- right thus they to hym seyde,
     2452
And after that, withinne a day or two,
     2453
They leyde hem in his lappe adoun and deyde.
     2454
Hymself, despeired, eek for hunger starf;
     2455
Thus ended is this myghty erl of pize.
     2456
From heigh estaat fortune awey hym carf.
     2457
Of this tragedie it oghte ynough suffise;
     2458
Whoso wol here it in a lenger wise,
     2459
Redeth the grete poete of ytaille
     2460
That highte dant, for he kan al devyse
     2461
Fro point to point, nat o word wol he faille.
     2462