Imatges de pÓgina
[blocks in formation]

1 E. batailles ; Hn. bataille ; the rest bataile, batail, batell. ? Hl. Of ladys loue and drewery. 3 E. Pt. and of; the rest omit of. 4 E. rood; but the rest glood, glod, glode.


Him-self drank water of the wel,
As did the knyght sir Percyuel,

So worthy' vnder wede,
Til on a day-

Heere the Hoost stynteth Chaucer of his tale of Thopas.


• No more of this, for goddes dignitee,'
Quod our hoste, “ for thou makest me
So wery of thy verray lewednesse
That, also wisly god my soule blesse,
Myn eres aken of thy drasty speche;


This may wel be rym dogerel,' quod he.

Why so ?' quod I, 'why wiltow lette me
More of my tale than another man,
Sin that it is the beste rym? I can?'




• Thou dost nought elles but despendest tyme,
Sir, at o word, thou shalt no lenger ryme.
Lat se wher thou canst tellen ought in geste,
Or telle in prose somwhat at the leste
In which ther-be som mirthe or som doctrine.'
• Gladly,' quod I, “[for Cristes] swete pyne,
I wol yow telle a litel thing in prose,
That oughte lyken yow, as I suppose,
Or elles, certes ye ben to daungerous.
It is a moral tale vertuous,
Al be it told som tyme in sondry wyse
Of sondry folk, as I shal yow deuyse.


Hl. worthy; E. Hn. worly ; Pt. worthely; Cm. Cp. Ln. omit ll. 2105-8. 2 E, tale; the rest rym, ryme. 8 E. take; the rest told, tolde, toold.


As thus; ye wot that euery Euangelist,
That telleth vs the peyne of Iesu Crist,
Ne saith nat al thing as his felaw dooth,
But natheles, her sentence is al sooth,
And alle accorden as in her sentence,
Al be ther in her telling difference.
For somme of hem seyn more, and somme? lesse,
Whan they his pitous passioun expresse;

I mene of Mark and ? Mathew, Luk and Iohn;
But douteles hir sentence is al oon.
Therfor, lordinges alle, I yow biseche,
If that ye? thinke I varie as in my speche,
As thus, though that I telle som-what more 2145
Of prouerbes, than ye han herd bifore,
Comprehended in this litel tretis heer,
To enforce with the theffect of my mateer,
And though I nat the same wordes seye
As ye han herd, yet to yow alle I preye,

2150 Blameth me nat; for, as in my sentence, Ye shul not fynden moche 4 difference Fro the sentence of this tretis lyte After the which this mery tale I wryte. And therfor herkneth what that I shal seye, 2155 And lat me tellen al my tale, I preye.'


[Here follows, in prose, the long and dull Tale of Melibeus ; numbered 11. 2157-3078 in the Six-Text edition. After which comes The Monk's Prologue.]

1 E. Hn. Cm. Ln. somme seyn; but Cp. Pt. Hl. omit seyn. 2 Hl. and; which the rest omit.

3 E. Hl. yow; the rest ye. • Cm. Cp. Ln. Ye schal not fynden moche; E. Hn. Pt. Hl. Shul ye nowher fynden.


The murye wordes of the Hoost to the Monk.

Whan ended was my tale of Melibee,
And of Prudence and hir benignitee,

Our hoste seyde, as I am faithful man,
And by the precious corpus Madrian,
I hadde leuer than a barel ale
That goode lief my wyf hadde herd this tale !
For she nis no-thing of swich pacience

3085 As was this Melibeus wyf Prudence. [So mot I thryue !) whan I bete my knaues, She bringth me forth the grete clobbed staues, And cryeth, 'slee the dogges euerichoon, And brek hem, bothe bak and euery boon.' 3090 And if that any neighebor of myne Wol nat in chirche to my wyf enclyne, Or be so hardy to hir to trespace, Whan she comth hoom”, she rampeth in my face, And cryeth, ' false coward, wreek thy wyf,

3095 [So mot I thryuen!] I wol haue thy knyf, And thou shalt haue my distaf and go spinne !' Fro day to nyght ryght thus she wol biginne ;• Allas !' she seith, that euer I was shape To wedde a milksop or a coward ape,


1 E. Hn. omit For; the rest have it.
2 Pt. hoom; HI. hom; Cp. Ln. home; E. Hn. omit,

That wol be ouerlad with euery wyght!
Thou darst nat stonden by thy wyues ryght!'
This is my lyf, but if that I wol fyghte;
And out at dore anon I mot me dyghte,
Or elles I am but lost, but-if that I

Be lyk a wilde leoun fool-hardy.
I wot wel she wol do me slee som day
Som neighebor, and thanne go my wey.
For I am perilous with knyf in honde,
Al be it that I dar nat hir 1 withstonde,

3110 For she is big in armes, by my feith, That shal he fynde, that hir misdooth or seith. But let vs passe awey fro this matere. My lord the monk,' quod he, be mery of chere; For ye shal telle a tale trewely.

3115 Lo! Rouse]chester stant heer faste by! Ryd forth, myn owen lord, brek nat our game, But, by my trewthe, I knowe nat your name, Wher I shal calle yow my lord dan Iohn, Or dan Thomas, or elles dan Albon ?

3120 Of what hous be ye, by your fader kin? I vow [in feith], thou hast a ful fair skin, It is a gentil pasture ther thou goost ; Thou art nat lyk a penaunt or a goost. Vpon my feith, thou art som officer,

3125 Som worthy sexteyn, or som celerer, For by my fader soule, as to my doom, Thou art a maister whan thou art at hoom; No poure cloisterer, ne no nouys, But a gouernour, wyly and wys.

3130 And therwithal of brawnes and of bones A wel-faring persone for the nones.'

1 E. Cp. Ln. hire nat; Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. nat hire.

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