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Quod the Frankeleyn, 'considering thy youthe,
What, frankeleyn? parde, sir, wel thou wost
I preye yow, haueth me nat in disdeyn
1 E. listneth; the rest listeth, lusteth.
I wol yow nat contrarien in no wyse
[Here follows the Franklin's Tale, ll. 709–1624 in the Six-Text edition ; with which Group F ends. Group G contains the Second Nun's Tale and End-link, and the Canon's Yeoman's Tale. Group H contains the Manciple's Prologue and Tale., Group I contains the Parson's Prologue and Tale; and concludes the series.]
[I am indebted to Dr. Morris for numerous hints, and, in particular,
for the notes marked · M.']
INTRODUCTION TO THE MAN OF LAWES TALE
(GROUP B). 1. If, as Mr. Furnivall supposes, the time of the telling of the Canterbury Tales be supposed to be longer than one day, we may suppose the Man of Lawes Tale to begin the stories told on the second morning of the journey, April 18. Otherwise, we must suppose all the stories in Group A to precede it, which is not impossible, if we suppose the pilgrims to have started early in the morning.
Hoste. . This is one of the words which are sometimes disyllabic, and sometimes monosyllabic; see the Preface. It is here a disyllable, as in l. 39. See note to line 1883 below.
Sey, i.e. saw. The forms of saw' vary in the MSS. In this line we find saugh, sauh, segh, sauhe, sawh, none of which are Chaucer's own, but due to the scribes. The true form is determined by the rime, as in the Clerkes Tale, E. 667, where most of the MSS. have say. A still better spelling is sey, which may be found in the Aldine edition of Troilus and Creseyde, vol. iv. p. 204, 1. 1265, where it rimes with day and array. The A. S. form is seáh.
2. The ark, &c. In Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe, pt. ii. ch.7 (ed. Skeat), is the proposition headed—' To knowe the arch of the day, that some folk kallen the day artificial, from the sonne arisyng til hit go to rest.' Thus, while the day natural’ is twenty-four hours, the day artificial' is the time during which the sun is above the horizon. The • arc' of this day merely means the extent or duration of it, as reckoned along the circular rim of an astrolabe; or, when measured along the horizon (as here), it means the arc extending from the point of sunrise to that of sunset.
Ronne, run, performed, completed. 3. The fourthe part. The true explanation of this passage, which Tyrwhitt failed to discover, is due to Mr. A. E. Brae, who first published
it in May, 1851, and reprinted it at p. 68 of his edition of Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe. His conclusions were based upon actual calculation, and will be mentioned in due order. In re-editing the • Astrolabe,' I took the opportunity of roughly checking his calculations by other methods, and am satisfied that he is quite correct, and that the day meant is not the 28th of April, as in the Ellesmere MS., nor the 13th of April, as in the Harleian MS., but the 18th, as in the Hengwrt MS. and most others. It is sily seen that xviii may be corrupted into xxviii by prefixing x, or into xiii by the omission of v; this may account for the variations.
The key to the whole matter is given by a passage in Chaucer's • Astrolabe,' pt. ii. ch. 29, where it is clear that Chaucer (who, however, merely translates from Messahala) actually confuses the hour-angle with the azimuthal arc; that is, he considered it correct to find the hour of the day by noting the point of the horizon over which the sun appears to stand, and supposing this point to advance, with a uniform, not a variable, motion. The host's method of proceeding was this. Wanting to know the hour, he observed how far the sun had moved southward along the horizon since it rose, and saw that it had gone more than half-way from the point of sunrise to the exact southern point. Now the 18th of April in Chaucer's time answers to the 26th of April at present. On April 26, 1874, the sun rose at 4h. 43m., and set at 7h. 12m., giving a day of about 14h. 30m., the fourth part of which is at 8h. 2om., or, with sufficient exactness, at half-past eight. This would leave a whole hour and a half to signify Chaucer's 'half an houre and more,' shewing that further explanation is still necessary. The fact is, however, that the host reckoned, as has been said, in another by observing the sun's position with reference to the horizon. On April 18 the sun was in the 6th degree of Taurus at that date, as we again learn from Chaucer's treatise. Set this 6th degree of Taurus on the East horizon on a globe, and it is found to be 22 degrees to the North of the East point, or 112 degrees from the South. The half of this is at 56 degrees from the South; and the sun would seem to stand above this 56th degree, as may be seen even upon a globe, at about a quarter past nine ; but Mr. Brae has made the calculation, and shews that it was at twenty minutes past nine. This makes Chaucer's half an houre and more' to stand for half an hour and ten minutes; an extremely neat result. But this we can check again by help of the host's other observation. He also took note, that the lengths of a shadow and its object were equal, whence the sun's altitude must have been 45 degrees. Even a globe will shew that the sun's altitude, when in the 6th degree of Taurus, and at 10 o'clock in the morning, is somewhere about 45 or 46 degrees. But Mr. Brae has calculated it exactly, and his result is,