Imatges de pàgina

No,' quod [the other], 'tel me what; '-
And than he tolde him this and that,

(960) 2050
And swoor ther-to that hit was sooth-
"Thus hath he seyd '--and 'Thus he dooth'-
* Thus shal hit be'—'Thus herde I seye'-
“That shal be found'-'That dar I leye :'-
That al the folk that is a-lyve

Ne han the cunning to discryve
The thinges that I herde there,
What aloude, and what in ere.
But al the wonder-most was this :-
Whan oon had herd a thing, y-wis, (970) 2060
He com forth to another wight,
And gan him tellen, anoon-right,
The same that to him was told,
Or hit a furlong-way was old,
But gan somwhat for to eche

To this tyding in this speche
More than hit ever was.
And nat so sone departed nas
That he fro him, that he ne mette
With the thridde; and, or he lette

(980) 2070
Any stounde, he tolde him als;
Were the tyding sooth or fals,
Yit wolde he telle hit nathelees,
And evermo with more encrees
Than hit was erst. Thus north and southe
Went every (word) fro mouth to mouthe,
And that encresing ever-mo,
As fyr is wont to quikke and go
From a sparke spronge amis,
Til al a citee brent up is.

(990) 2080
And, whan that was ful y-spronge,
And woxen more on every tonge


2049. All he; read the other (Willert). 2053. All insert And (twice) before thus; but compare the next line. 2059. All wonder most (moste). 2061. F. B. forth ryght to; Cx. forth vnto; Th. streyght to.

2063. Cx. to; rest om. 2066. F. Tho; rest To. 2069. F. B. That he; Cx. Th. Tho. F. thoo; B. tho; Cx. Th. that. 2076. F. B. Went every mouthe; Cx. Th. Wente euery tydyng.

2081. Cx. Th. vp spronge.

Than ever hit was, [hit] wente anoon
Up to a windowe, out to goon;
Or, but hit mighte out ther pace,

Hit gan out crepe at som crevace,
And fleigh forth faste for the nones.

And somtyme saugh I tho, at ones,
A lesing and a sad soth-sawe,
That gonne of aventure drawe

(1000) 2090
Out at a windowe for to pace;
And, when they metten in that place,
They were a-chekked bothe two,
And neither of hem moste out go;
For other so they gonne croude,

Til eche of hem gan cryen loude,
'Lat me go first!' 'Nay, but lat me!
And here I wol ensuren thee
With the nones that thou wolt do so,
That I shal never fro thee go,

(1010) 2100
But be thyn owne sworen brother !
We wil medle us ech with other,
That no man, be he never so wrothe,
Shal han that oon [of] two, but bothe
At ones, al beside his leve,

Come we a-morwe or on eve,
Be we cryed or stille y-rouned.'
Thus saugh I fals and sooth compouned
Togeder flee for oo tydinge.

Thus out at holes gonne wringe (1020) 2110
Every tyding streight to Fame;
And she gan yeven eche his name,
After hir disposicioun,
And yaf hem eek duracioun,

2083. All and (for and hit). 2087. F. flygh; B. fligh ; Cx. Th. flewe. 2088. F. om. I. 2090. Cx. Th. drawe; F. B. thrawe.

2091. Cx, Th. at; F. B. to. 2093. F. B. a cheked; Cx. Th. a chekked.

2095–2158. Cx. omits. 2099. B. om, the.

2103. Th. he; F. B. they. 2104. F. han on two (sic); B. haue that oon (om, of two); Th. haue one two. I

supply that from B.; and also of. 2106. Th. amorowe; F. B. morwe. 2112. All yeue.

Some to wexe and wane sone,

As dooth the faire whyte mone,
And leet hem gon. Ther mighte I seen
Wenged wondres faste fleen,
Twenty thousand in a route,
As Eolus hem blew aboute.

(1030) 2120
And, lord ! this hous, in alle tymes,
Was ful of shipmen and pilgrymes,
With scrippes bret-ful of lesinges,
Entremedled with tydinges,
And eek alone by hem-selve.

O, many a thousand tymes twelve
Saugh I eek of these pardoneres,
Currours, and eek messangeres,
With boistes crammed ful of lyes
As ever vessel was with lyes. She is

(1040) 2130
And as I alther-fastest wente
Aboute, and dide al myn entente
Me for to pleye and for to lere,
And eek a tyding for to here,
That I had herd of som contree

That shal not now be told for me ;-
For hit no nede is, redely;
Folk can singe hit bet than I;
For al mot out, other late or rathe,
Alle the sheves in the lathe ;-

(1050) 2140
I herde a gret noise withalle
In a corner of the halle,
Ther men of love tydings tolde,
And I gan thiderward beholde;
For I saugh renninge every wight,

As faste as that they hadden might;
And everich cryed, 'What thing is that?'
And som seyde, 'I not never what.'
And whan they were alle on an hepe,
Tho behinde gonne up lepe,

(1060) 2150

2115. Th. wane; F. B. wynne (!). 2129. F. boystes; Th. boxes; B. bowgys. F. beganne.

2123. Th. scrippes; F. B. shrippes.

2150. Th. gonne; B. bigonne ;

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2151, 3. F. other; B. othir ; read othere (oth’re), plural.

2132. F. noyse an highen (!); Th. noyse on hyghen (!"; B. nose and yen; read on hye (Koch).

2153. F. B. other; Th. others. 2154. F. B. stampen; Th. stampe. 2156. I supply nevene. 2158. Here F. B. end; Cx. Th. add 12 spurious lines.

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The Prologue to this Poem exists in two different versions, which differ widely from each other in many passages. The arrangement of the material is also different.

For the sake of clearess, the earlier version is here called 'Text A,' and the later version Text B.'

"Text A' exists in one MS. only, but this MS, is of early date and much importance. It is the MS. marked Gg. 4. 27 in the Cambridge University Library, and is here denoted by the letter C.' It is the same MS. as that denoted by the abbreviation ‘Cm.' in the footnotes to the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde. This text is printed in the upper part of the following pages. The footnotes give the MS. spellings, where these are amended in the text.

*Text B’occupies the lower part of the following pages. It follows the Fairfax MS. mainly, which is denoted by 'F.' In many places, the inferior spellings of this MS. are relegated to the footnotes, amended spellings being given in the text. Various readings are given from Tn. (Tanner MS. 340); T. (Trinity MS., R. 3. 19); A. (Arch. Seld. B. 24 in the Bodleian Library); Th. (Thynne's Edition, 1532); B. (Bodley MS. 638); P. (Pepys MS. 2006); and sometimes from C. (already mentioned) or Add. (Addit. 9832).

Lines which occur in one text only are marked (in either text) by a prefixed asterisk. Lines marked with a dagger (+) stand just the same in both texts. The blank space after A 60 (p. 70) shews that there is nothing in Text A corresponding to B 69–72. Where the corresponding matter is transposed to another place, one or other text has a portion printed in smaller type.

The prologe of is. goode Wimmen.
A THOUSAND sythes have I herd men telle,
† That ther is loye in heven, and peyne in helle;

The prologe of ix. goode Wimmen.
A THOUSAND tymes have I herd men telle,
| That ther is loye in heven, and peyne in helle;

A. 1. thousent sythis. 2. there ; heuene.

B. 1. T. C. A. have I herd; rest I have herd. F. B. P. om, men; the rest have it. 2. F. B. (only) om. That.


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