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A wanton friar is also of the party-full of sly and solemn mirth, and well beloved for his accommodating disposition
ral objects and scenery, in Chaucer's clear and simple style. The tales of the miller and reve are coarse, but richly humorous. Dryden and Pope have honoured the Father of British verse by paraphrasing some of these popular productions, and stripping them equally of their antiquated style and the more gross of their expressions, but with the sacrifice of most that is characteristic in the elder bard. In a brim-volume edited by Mr R. H. Horne, under the title of Chaucer Modernised, there are specimens of the poems altered with a much more tender regard to the original, and in some instances with considerable success; but the book by which ordinary readers of the present day, who are willing to take a little trouble, may best become acquainted with this great light of the fourteenth century, is one entitled the Riches of Chaucer, by C. C. Clarke (two volumes,
Yet, with all his learning, the clerk's coat was thread-1835), in which the best pieces are given, with only bare, and his horse was 'lean as is a rake.' Among the spelling modernised. An edition of the Canthe other dramatis personce are, a doctor of physic, a terbury Tales was published, with a learned commengreat astronomer and student, whose study was tary, by Thomas Tyrwhitt, Esq. (5 vols. 1778). but little on the Bible;' a purse-proud merchant; a sergeant of law, who was always busy, yet seemed busier than he was; and a jolly Franklin, or freeholder, who had been a lord of sessions, and was fond of good eating—
Full sweetly heard he confession,
And pleasant was his absolution.
We have a Pardoner from Rome, with some sacred
relics (as part of the Virgin Mary's veil, and part of
the sail of St Peter's ship), and who is also
ful of pardons come from Rome all hot.' In satirical
contrast to these merry and interested churchmen,
we have a poor parson of a town, rich in holy
thought and work,' and a clerk of Oxford, who was
skilled in logic-
Sounding in moral virtue was his speech,
And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.
The verse of Chaucer is, almost without exception, in ten-syllabled couplets, the verse in which by far the largest portion of our poetry since that time has been written, and which, as Mr Southey has remarked, may be judged from that circumstance to be best adapted to the character of our speech. The accentuation, by a license since abandoned, is different in many instances from that of common speech: the poet, wherever it suits his conveniency, or his pleasure, makes accented syllables short, and short syllables emphatic. This has been not only a difficulty with ordinary readers, but a subject of perplexity amongst commentators; but the principle has latterly been concluded upon as of the simple kind here stated. Another peculiarity is the making silent e's at the end of words tell in the metre, as in French lyrical poetry to this day: for example
Withouten baked meat never was his house, Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous; It snowed in his house of meat and drink. This character is a fine picture of the wealthy rural Englishman, and it shows how much of enjoyment and hospitality was even then associated with this station of life. The Wife of Bath is another lively national portrait: she is shrewd and witty, has abundant means, and is always first with her offering at church. Among the humbler characters are, a stout carl' of a miller, a reve or bailiff, and a sompnour or church apparitor, who summoned offenders before the archdeacon's court, but whose fire-red face and licentious habits contrast curiously with the nature of his duties. A shipman, cook, haberdasher, &c., make up the goodly companythe whole forming such a genuine Hogarthian pic-ance ture, that we may exclaim, in the eloquent language of Campbell, What an intimate scene of English life in the fourteenth century do we enjoy in these tales, beyond what history displays by glimpses through the stormy atmosphere of her scenes, or the antiquary can discover by the cold light of his researches !' Chaucer's contemporaries and their successors were justly proud of this national work. Many copies existed in manuscript, and when the art of printing came to England, one of the first duties of Caxton's press was to issue an impression of those tales which first gave literary permanence and consistency to the language and poetry of England.
All the pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales do not relate stories. Chaucer had not, like Boccaccio, finished his design; for he evidently intended to have given a second series on the return of the company from Canterbury, as well as an account of the transactions in the city when they reached the sacred shrine. The concluding supper at the Tabard, when the successful competitor was to be declared, would have afforded a rich display for the poet's peculiar humour. The parties who do not relate tales (as the poem has reached us) are the yeoman, the ploughman, and the five city mechanics. The squire's tale is the most chivalrous and romantic, and that of the clerk, containing the popular legend of Patient Grisilde, is deeply affecting for its pathos and simplicity. The Cock and the Fox,' related by the nun's priest, and January and May,' the merchant's tale, have some minute painting of natu
Full well she sangé the service divine. Here 'sangé' is two syllables, while service furnishes an example of a transposed accent. In pursuof the same principle, a monosyllabic noun, as beam, becomes the dissyllable beamés in the plural. When these peculiarities are carefully attended to, much of the difficulty of reading Chaucer, even in the original spelling, vanishes.
In the extracts which follow, we present, first, a specimen in the original spelling; then various specimens in the reduced spelling adopted by Mr Clarke, but without his marks of accents and extra syllables, except in a few instances; and, finally, one specimen (the Good Parson), in which, by a few slight changes, the verse is accommodated to the present fashion. [Select characters from the Canterbury Pilgrimage.] A Knight ther was, and that a worthy man, That fro the time that he first began To riden out, he loved chevalrie, Trouthe and honour, fredom and curtesie. Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre; And, therto, hadde he ridden, none more ferre, As wel in Cristendom as in Hethenesse, And ever honoured for his worthinesse.
Though that he was worthy he was wise;
And of his port, as meke as is a mayde:
In all his lif, unto no manere wight,
He never yet no vilainie ne sayde,
He was a veray parfit gentil knight.
His hors was good, but he ne was not gaie
But, for to tellen you of his araie,-
Of fustian he wered a gipon
Alle besmatred with his habergeon,
1 A short cassock.
For he was late ycome fro his viage,
And wente for to don his pilgrimage.
With him, ther was his sone, a yonge Squier,
A lover, and a lusty bacheler;
With lockes crull as they were laide in presse.
Of twenty yere of age he was, I gesse.
Of his stature he was of even lengthe;
And wonderly deliver, and grete of strengthe,
And he hadde be, somtime, in chevachiel
In Flaundres, in Artois, and in Picardie,
And borne him wel, as of so litel space,
In hope to standen in his ladies grace.
Embrouded was he, as it were a mede
All full of freshe floures, white and rede.
Singing he was, or floyting all the day:
He was as freshe as is the moneth of May.
Short was his goune, with sleves long and wide.
Wel coude he sitte on hors, and fayre ride,
He coude songes make, and wel endite;
Juste and eke dance; and wel pourtraie and write:
So hote he loved, that by nightertale?
He slep no more than doth the nightingale :
Curteis he was, lowly and servisable;
And carf before his fader at the table.
A Yeman hadde he; and servantes no mo
At that time; for him luste to ride so:
And he was cladde in cote and hode of grene;
A shefe of peacock arwes bright and kene
Under his belt he bare ful thriftily;
Wel coude he dresse his takel yemanly:
His arwes drouped not with fetheres lowe,
And in his hand he bare a mighty bowe.
A not-hed3 hadde he with a broun visage,
Of wood-craft coude he wel alle the usage.
Upon his arme, he bare a gaie bracer;4
And by his side, a swerd and a bokeler;
And on that other side, a gaie daggere,
Harneised wel, and sharpe as point of spere:
A Cristofre on his brest of silver shene.
An horne he bare, the baudrik was of grene.
A forster was he, sothely, as I gesse.
Ther was also a Nonne, a Prioresse,
That of hire smiling was full simple and coy;
Hire gretest othe n'as but by Seint Eloy ;
And she was cleped 5 Madaine Eglentine.
Ful wel she sange the service devine,
Entuned in hire nose ful swetely;
And Frenche she spake ful fayre and fetisly,6
After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
For Frenche of Paris was to hire unknowe.
At mete was she wele ytaughte withalle;
She lette no morsel from her lippes falle,
Ne wette hire fingres in hire sauce depe.
Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel kepe,
Thatte no drope ne fell upon hire brest.
In curtesie was sette ful moche hire lest.7
Hire over-lippe wiped she so clene,
That in hire cuppe was no ferthing sene
Of grese, whan she dronken hadde hire draught.
Ful semely after hire mete she raught.9
And sikerly she was of grete disport,
And ful plesant, and amiable of port,
And peined 10 hire to contrefeten 11 chere
Of court, and ben estatelich of manere,
And to ben holden dignel2 of reverence.
But for to speken of hire conscience, She was so charitable and so pitous, She wolde wepe if that she saw a mous Caughte in a trappe, if it were ded or bledde. Of smale houndes hadde she, that she fedde
With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel brede.
But sore wept she if on of hem were dede,
Or if men smote it with a yerdel smerte:2
And all was conscience and tendre herte.
Ful semely hire wimple ypinched was; Hire nose tretis ;3 hire eyen grey as glas; Hire mouth ful smale, and thereto soft and red;
But sikerly she hadde a fayre forehed.
It was almost a spanne brode I trowe;
For hardily she was not undergrowe.4
Ful fetise was hire cloke, as I was ware.
Of smale corall aboute hire arm she bare
A pair of bedes, gauded all with grene;
And thereon heng a broche of gold ful shene,
On whiche was first ywriten a crouned A,
And after, Amor vincit omnia.
Another Nonne also with hire hadde she,
That was hire chapelleine, and Preestes thre.
A Monk ther was, a fayre for the maistrie,
An out-rider, that loved venerie ;
A manly man, to ben an abbot able.
Ful many a deinte hors hadde he in stable;
And when he rode, men mighte his bridel here
Gingeling, in a whistling wind, as clere
And eke as loude as doth the chapell belle,
Ther as this lord was keper of the celle.
The reule of Seint Maure and of Seint Beneit,
Because that it was olde and somdele streit,
This ilke monk lette olde thinges pace,
And held after the newe world the trace.
He yave not of the text a pulled hen,
That saith that hunters ben not holy men;
Ne that a monk, whan he is rekkeles,
Is like to a fish that is waterles;
(This is to say, a monk out of his cloistre);
This ilke text he held not worth an oistre.
Therfore he was a prickasoure7 a right:
Greihoundes he hadde as swift as foul of flight:
Of pricking, and of hunting for the hare
Was all his lust; for no cost wolde he spare.
I saw his sleves purfiled at the hond With gris, and that the finest of the lond, And, for to fasten his hood, under his chinne He hadde, of gold ywrought, a curious pinne,A love-knotte in the greter ende ther was. His hed was balled, and shone as any glas, And eke his face, as it hadde ben anoint. He was a lord ful fat and in good point. His eyen stepe, and rolling in his hed, That stemed as a furneis of a led; His bootes souple, his hors in gret estat; Now certainly he was a fayre prelat. He was not pale as a forpined gost. A fat swan loved he best of any rost. His palfrey was as broun as is a bery.
A Marchant was ther with a forked berd, In mottelee, and highe on hors he sat, And on his hed a Flaundrish bever hat, His bootes clapsed fayre and fetisly, His resons spake he ful solempnely, Souning alway the encrese of his winning. He wold the see were kept, for any thing, Betwixen Middleburgh and Orewell. Wel coud he in eschanges sheldes9 selle. This worthy man ful wel his wit besette; Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette, So stedfastly didde he in his governance, With his bargeines, and with his chevisance,10 Forsothe he was a worthy man withalle. But soth to sayn, I no't how men him calle.
Smartly, adv. 5 Neat. 6 Hunting. 9 French crowns. money.
4 Of low stature 7 A hard rider. 8 Fur. 10 An agreement for borrowing
A Clerk ther was of Oxenforde also,
That unto logike hadde long ygo.
As lene was his hors as is a rake,
And he was not right fat I undertake;
But looked holwe, and thereto soberly.
Ful thredbare was his overest courtepy,
For he hadde geten him yet no benefice,
He was nought worldly to have an office.
For him was lever han, at his beddes hed,
Twenty bokes clothed in black or red,
Of Aristotle and his philosophie,
Than robes riche, or fidel, or sautrie:
But all be that he was a philosophre,
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
But all that he might of his frendes hente,1
On bokes and on lerning he it spente;
And besily gan for the soules praie
Of hem that yave him wherwith to scolaie.
Of studie toke he most cure and hede.
Not a word spake he more than was nede;
And that was said in forme and reverence,
And short and quike, and full of high sentence:
Souning in moral vertue was his speche;
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.
A Frankelein was in this compagnie ;
White was his berd as is the dayesie.
Of his complexion he was sanguin.
Wel loved he by the morwe2 a sop in win.
To liven in delit was ever his wone.3
For he was Epicures owen sone,
That held opinion, that plein delit
Was veraily felicite parfite.
An housholder, and that a grete was he;
Seint Julian he was in his contree.
His brede, his ale, was alway after on;
A better envyned man was no wher non.
Withouten bake mete never was his hous,
Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous,
It snewed in his hous of mete and drinke,
Of alle deintees that men coud of thinke.
After the sondry sesons of the yere,
So changed he his mete and his soupere.
Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in mewe;
And many a breme, and many a luce, in stewe.
Wo was his coke but if his sauce were
Poinant and sharpe, and redy all his gere.
His table, dormant in his halle, alway
Stode redy covered alle the longe day.
At sessions ther was he lord and sire;
Ful often time he was knight of the shire.
An anelaces and a gipcieres all of silk
Heng at his girdel, white as morwe milk.
A shereve hadde he ben and a countour.
Was no wher swiche a worthy vavasour.7
An Haberdasher, and a Carpenter, A Webbe, a Deyer, and a Tapiser, Were alle yclothed in 08 livere Of a solempne and grete fraternite. Ful freshe and newe hir gere ypiked was; Hir knives were ychaped not with bras, But all with silver wrought full clene and wel, Hir girdeles and hir pouches, every del. Wel semed eche of hem a fayre burgeis, To sitten in a gild halle, on the deis. Everich, for the wisdom that he can, Was shapelich for to ben an alderman. For catel hadden they ynough, and rent. And, eke, hir wives wolde it wel assent, And elles certainly they were to blame, It is full fayre to ben ycleped MadameAnd for to gon to vigiles all before, And have a mantel reallich ybore.
A good Wif was ther of beside Bathe;
But she was som del defe, and that was scathe.
Of cloth making she hadde swiche an haunt,
She passed hem of Ipres, and of Gaunt.
In all the parish, wif ne was ther non
That to the offring before hire shulde gon-
And if ther did, certain so wroth was she,
That she was out of alle charitee.
Hire coverchiefs weren ful fine of ground,
(I dorste swere they weyeden a pound),
That on the Sonday were upon hire hede:
Hire hosen weren of fine scarlet rede,
Ful streite yteyed, and shoon ful moist and newe.
Bold was hire face, and fayre and rede of hew.
She was a worthy woman all hire live:
Housbondes, at the chirche dore, had she had five,
Withouten other compagnie in youthe,
But thereof nedeth not to speke as nouthe.
And thries hadde she ben at Jerusaleme;
She had passed many a strange streme:
At Rome she hadde ben, and at Boloigne,
In Galice at Seint James, and at Coloine:
She coude moche of wandring by the way,
Gat-tothed was she, sothly for to say.
Upon an ambler esily she sat,
Ywimpled wel; and on hire hede an hat
As brode as is a bokeler, or a targe;
A fore-mantel about hire hippes large;
And on hire fete a pair of sporres sharpe.
In felawship, wel coude she laughe and carpe
Of remedies of love she knew perchance;
For, of that arte, she coude the olde dance.
Ther was also a Reve and a Millere,
A Sompnour, and a Pardoner also,
A Manciple, and myself; ther n'ere no mo.
The Miller was a stout carl for the nones,
Ful bigge he was of braun, and eke of bones;
That proved wel; for over all ther he came,
At wrastling he wold bere away the ram.
He was short shuldered, brode, a thikke gnarre,1
Ther n'as no dore, that he n'olde heve of barre,
Or breke it at a renning with his hede.
His berd as any sowe or fox was rede,
And therto brode, as though it were a spade:
Upon the cop right of his nose he hade
A wert, and theron stode a tufte of heres,
Rede as the bristles of a sowes eres :
His nose-thirles blacke were and wide.
A swerd and bokeler bare he by his side.
His mouth as wide was as a forneis:
He was a jangler, and a goliardeis,2
And that was most of sinne and harlotries.
Wel coude he stelen corne and tollen thries.
And yet he had a thomb of gold parde.
A white cote and a blew hode wered he.
A baggepipe wel coude he blowe and soune,
And therwithall he brought us out of toune.
The Reve was a slendre colerike man ;
His berd was shave as neighe as ever he can :
His here was by his eres round yshorne ;
His top was docked like a preest beforne:
Ful longe were his legges, and ful lene,
Ylike a staff, ther was no calf ysene.
Wel coude he kepe a garner and a binne;
Ther was non auditour coude on him winne.
Wel wiste he, by the drought and by the rain,
The yelding of his seed and of his grain.
His lordes shepe, his nete,3 and his deirie,
His swine, his hors, his store, and his pultrie,
Were holly in this Reves governing;
And by his covenant yave he rekening,
Sin that his lord were twenty yere of age;
Ther coude no man bring him in arerage.
2 A man of jollity.
1 A knot in a tree. 4 Dairy.
Ther n'as bailif, ne herde, ne other hine,
That he ne knew his sleight and his covine:1
They were adradde of him as of the deth.
His wonning was ful fayre upon an heth;
With greene trees yshadewed was his place.
He coude better than his lord pourchace :
Ful riche he was ystored privily.
His lord wel coude he plesen, subtilly
To yeve and lene him of his owen good,
And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
In youth he lerned hadde a good mistere;
He was a wel good wright, a carpentere.
The Reve sate upon a right good stot
That was all pomelee grey, and highte Scot.
A long surcote of perse upon he hade,
And by his side he bare a rusty blade.
Of Norfolk was this Reve of which I tell,
Beside a toun men clepen Baldeswell.
Tucked he was, as is a frere, aboute;
And ever he rode the hinderest of the route.
A Sompnour was ther with us in that place,
That hadde a fire-red cherubinnes face,
With scalled browes blake, and pilled berd:
Of his visage children were sore aferd.
Ther n'as quicksilver, litarge, ne brimston,
Boras, ceruse, ne oile of tartre non,
Ne ointement, that wolde clense or bite,
That him might helpen of his whelkes white,
Ne of the knobbes sitting on his chekes.
Wel loved he garlike, onions, and lekes,
And for to drinke strong win as rede as blood;
Than wold he speke and crie as he were wood;
And when that he wel dronken had the win,
Than wold he speken no word but Latin.
A fewe termes coude he, two or three,
That he had lerned out of som decree;
No wonder is, he herd it all the day:
And eke ye knowen wel how that a jay
Can clepen watte as well as can the pope :
But who so wolde in other thing him grope
Than hadde he spent all his philosophie;
Ay Questio quid juris? wolde he crie.
He was a gentil harlot, and a kind;
A better felaw shulde a man not find.
And if he found o where a good felawe,
He wolde techen him, to have non awe,
In swiche a cas, of the archedekenes curse :
But if a mannes soule were in his purse,
For in his purse he shulde ypunished be.
Purse is the archedekenes hell, said he.
But, wel I wote, he lied right in dede:
Of cursing ought eche gilty man him drede;
For curse wol sle, right as assoiling saveth,
And also ware him of a significavit.
In danger hadde he, at his owen gise,
The yonge girles of the diocise;
And knew hir conseil and was of hir rede.
A girlond hadde he sette upon his hede,
As gret as it were for an alestake ;3
A bokeler hadde he made him of a cake.
With him there rode a gentil Pardonere Of Rouncevall, his frend and his compere, That streit was comen from the court of Rome, Ful loude he sang Come hither, love! to me: This Sompnour bare to him a stiff burdoun, Was never trompe of half so gret a soun. This Pardoner had here as yelwe as wax, Ful smothe it heng, as doth a strike of flax: By unces heng his lokkes that he hadde, And therwith he his shulders overspradde: Ful thinne it lay, by culpons on and on. But hode, for jolite, ne wered he non, For it was trussed up in his wallet. Him thought he rode al of the newe get 4
Dishevele, sauf his cappe, he rode all bare.
Swiche glaring eyen hadde he as an hare.
A vernicle hadde he sewed upon his cappe.
His wallet lay beforne him, in his lappe,
Bret-ful of pardon come from Rome al hote.
A vois he hadde, as smale as hath a gote:
No berd hadde he, ne never non shulde have;
As smothe it was as it were newe shave.
But of his craft, fro Berwike unto Ware, Ne was ther swiche an other Pardonere ;For in his male he hadde a pilwebere, Which, as he saide, was our Ladies veil: He saide he hadde a gobbet of the seyl Thatte Seint Peter had, whan that he went Upon the see till Jesu Crist him hent: He had a crois of laton ful of stones; And in a glas he hadde pigges bones. But with these relikes, whanne that he fond A poure persone dwelling upon lond, Upon a day he gat him more moneic Than that the persone gat in monethes tweie; And thus with fained flattering and japes, He made the persone, and the peple, his apes. But trewely to tellen atte last,
He was in chirche a noble ecclesiast;
Wel coude he rede a lesson or a storie,
But alderbest 3 he sang an offertorie;
For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
He muste preche and wel afile his tonge,
To winne silver, as he right wel coude;
Therfore he sang the merier and loude.
[Description of a Poor Country Widow.] A poore widow, somedeal stoop'n in age, Was whilom dwelling in a narwé cottage Beside a grove standing in a dale. This widow, which I tell you of my Tale, Since thilke day that she was last a wife, In patience led a full simple life, For little was her cattle and her rent; By husbandry of such as God her sent, She found herself and eke her daughters two. Three large sowes had she, and no mo, Three kine, and eke a sheep that highte5 Mall: Full sooty was her bower and eke her hall, In which she ate many a slender meal; Of poignant sauce ne knew she never a deal ;6 No dainty morsel passed through her throat; Her diet was accordant to her cote :7 Repletion ne made her never sick; Attemper diet was all her physic, And exercise, and heartes suffisance : The goute let her nothing for to dance, Ne apoplexy shente 10 not her head; No wine ne drank she neither white nor red; Her board was served most with white and black, Milk and brown bread, in which she found no lack, Seindell bacon, and sometime an egg or tway, For she was as it were a manner dey.12
[The Death of Arcite.]
Swelleth the breast of Arcite, and the sore Encreaseth at his hearte more and more. The clottered blood for any leche-craft 13 Corrupteth, and is in his bouk14 ylaft, That neither veine-blood ne ventousing,15 Ne drink of herbes may be his helping.
1 A copy of the miraculous handkerchief.
3 Best of all.
4 Thrift, economy. 5 Called. 6 Not a bit. 8 Temperate. 9 Prevented. 10 Injured. 12 Mr Tyrwhitt supposes the word dey to refer to the management of a dairy; and that it originally signified a hind.
Manner dey may therefore be interpreted a species of hired, or day-labourer.' 13 Medical skill. 14 Body. 15 Ventousing (Fr.)-cupping; hence the term breathing a vein.'
7 Cot, cottage. 11 Singed.
The virtue expulsive or animal,
From thilke virtue cleped1 natural,
Ne may the venom voiden ne expell;
The pipes of his lunges 'gan to swell,
And every lacert? in his breast adown
Is shent3 with venom and corruption.
He gaineth neither,4 for to get his life,
Vomit upward ne downward laxative:
All is to-bursten thilke region;
Nature hath now no domination :
And certainly where nature will not werche,5
Farewell physic; go bear the man to church.
This is all and some, that Arcite muste die;
For which he sendeth after Emily,
And Palamon, that was his cousin dear;
Then said he thus, as ye shall after hear:
Nought may the woful spirit in mine heart
Declare one point of all my sorrows' smart
To you my lady, that I love most,
But I bequeath the service of my ghost
To you aboven every creature,
Since that my life ne may no longer dure.
'Alas the woe! alas the paines strong,
That I for you have suffered, and so long!
Alas the death! alas mine Emily!
Alas departing of our company!
Alas mine hearte's queen! alas my wife!
Mine hearte's lady, ender of my life!
What is this world?-what asken men to have?
Now with his love, now in his colde grave-
Alone-withouten any company.
Farewell my sweet-farewell mine Emily!
And softe take me in your armes tway
For love of God, and hearkeneth what I say.
'I have here with my cousin Palamon
Had strife and rancour many a day agone
For love of you, and for my jealousy;
And Jupiter so wis my soule gie,7
To speaken of a servant properly,
With alle circumstances truely;
That is to say, truth, honour, and knighthead,
Wisdom, humbless, estate, and high kindred,
Freedom, and all that 'longeth to that art,
So Jupiter have of my soule part,
As in this world right now ne know I none
So worthy to be loved as Palamon,
That serveth you, and will do all his life;
And if that ever ye shall be a wife,
Forget not Palamon, the gentle man.'
And with that word his speeche fail began ;
For from his feet up to his breast was come
The cold of death that had him overnome ;8
And yet, moreover, in his armes two,
The vital strength is lost and all ago ;9
Only the intellect, withouten more,
That dwelled in his hearte sick and sore,
'Gan faillen when the hearte felte death;
Dusked his eyen two, and fail'd his breath:
But on his lady yet cast he his eye;
His laste word was, ' Mercy, Emily!'
The will of Christ, and kneeling on the strond,
She saide, Lord, aye welcome be thy sond.1
'He that me kepte from the false blame,
While I was in the land amonges you,
He can me keep from harm and eke from shame
In the salt sea, although I see not how :
As strong as ever he was, he is yet now:
In him trust I, and in his mother dear,
That is to me my sail and eke my steer."2
Her little child lay weeping in her arm;
And kneeling piteously, to him she said-
'Peace, little son,
I will do thee no harm :'
With that her kerchief off her head she braid,
And over his little eyen she it laid,
And in her arm she lulleth it full fast,
And into th' heaven her eyen up she cast.
'Mother, quod she, and maiden bright, Mary!
Soth is, that through womannes eggement,
Mankind was lorn, and damned aye to die,
For which thy child was on a cross yrent :6
Thy blissful eyen saw all his torment;
Then is there no comparison between
Thy woe and any woe man may sustain.
Thou saw'st thy child yslain before thine eyen,
And yet now liveth my little child parfay :7
Now, lady bright! to whom all woful crien,
Thou glory of womanhood, thou faire May !
Thou haven of refute, bright star of day I
Rue9 on my child, that of thy gentleness
Ruest on every rueful in distress.
"O little child, alas! what is thy guilt, That never wroughtest sin as yet, pardíe? Why will thine harde father have thee spilt 10 O mercy, deare Constable ! (quod she) As let my little child dwell here with thee; And if thou dar'st not saven him from blame, So kiss him ones in his father's name.'
Therewith she looketh backward to the land, And saide, Farewell, husband rutheless!' 11 And up she rose, and walketh down the strand Toward the ship; her followeth all the press: And ever she prayeth her child to hold his peace, And tak'th her leave, and with a holy' intent She blesseth her, and into the ship she went.
Victailled was the ship, it is no drede,13 Abundantly for her a full long space; And other necessaries that should need She had enow, heried14 be Goddes grace: For wind and weather, Almighty God purchase,15 And bring her home, I can no better say, But in the sea she driveth forth her way.
[The Pardoner's Tale.]
In Flanders whilom was a company Of youngé folk that haunteden follý, As hazard, riot, stewés, and taverns, Whereas with harpés, lutés, and gitterns,16 They dance and play at dice both day and night, And eat also and drinken o'er their might, Through which they do the devil sacrifice, Within the devil's temple', in cursed wise, By superfluity abominable. Their oathes been so great and so damnable That it is grisly17 for to hear them swear. Our blissful Lordés body they to-tear; Them thought the Jewés rent him not enough; And each of them at other's sinné laugh.
And right anon in comen tombesteres 18 Fetis19 and small, and youngé fruitesteres,20