Imatges de pàgina
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The thinges that I herde there,

What aloude, and what in ere.

But al the wonder most was this:

Whan oon had herde a thinge, ywis, 970

He come forthright to another wight,

\nd gan him tellen, anon ryght,

The same thynge that him was tolde,

Or hyt a forlonge way1 was olde,

But gan sommewhat for to eche1

Tho this tydyrige in this speche

More than hit ever was.

And nat so sone departed nas

That he fro him, thoo he ne mette

With the thridde; and, or he lette 980

A:.y stounde,1 he told hym als;

Were the tydynge sothe or fals,

Yit wolde he telle hyt natheles,

And evermo with more encres

Than yt was erst. Thus north and southe

Went every mothe* fro mouthe to mouthe,

And that encresing evermoo,

As fire ys wont to quyk 4 and goo

From a sparke sprongen amys,

Tille alle a citee brent up ys. 990

And whan that hit was ful yspronge,
And woxen more on every tonge
Than ever hit was, and went anoon
Up to a wyndowe out to goon,
Or, but hit myghte oute there pace,

'Short time. * Increase (eke). * Mite, atom. * Grow liver/.

Hyt gan oute crepe at somme crevace,
And flygh forthe faste for the nones.

And somtyme saugh I thoo, at ones
A lesyng and a sad sothe-sawe,1
That gonne of aventure thrawe 2 1000
Out to a wyndowe for to pace;
And, when they metten in that place,
They were acheked bothe two,
And neyther of hem most out goo;
For other so they gonne crowde,
Til eche of hem gan crien lowde,
"Lat me go first!" "Nay, but let me I
And here I wol ensuren the
Wyth the nones* that thou wolt do so,
That I shal never fro the go, Ioio
But be thyn oune sworen brother!
We wil us medle4 eche with other,
That no man, be they never so wrothe,
Shal han that on or two, but bothe
At ones, al beside his leve,
Come we a morwe or on eve,
Be we cried or stille y-rouned."6
Thus saugh I false and sothe, compauned,
Togeder fie for oo tydynge.

Thus out at holes gunne wringe' 1020 Every tydynge streght to Fame; And she gan geve eche hys name, After hir disposicioun,

1 A He and an established truth. 1 Struggle (throe). • Occasion, Mix. * Whispered. 6 Squeeze.

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And gaf hem eke duracioun,

Some to wexe and wane sone,

As dothe the faire white mone,

And lete hem goon. Ther myght I seen

Wenged wondres faste fleen,

Twenty thousand in a route,

As Eolus hem blew aboute. 1030

And, lord! this hous in alle tymes Was ful of shipmen and pilgrimes, With scrippes bret-ful of lesenges, Entremedled 1 with tydynges, And eke allone be hemselve. O, many a thousand tymes twelve Saugh I eke of these pardoners, Currours,* and eke messangers, With boystes * crammed ful of lyes, As ever vessel was with lyes. 1040 And as I alther-fastest * wente 'Vbout, and did al myn entente, Me for to pleyen and for to lere,' And eke a tydynge for to here, That I had herd of somme contre That shal not now be tolde for me; For hit no nede is, redely; Folke kan hit synge bet than I. For alle mote oute, other late or rathe,* Alle the sheves in the latbe.7 1050

I herde a grete noyse withalle In a corner of the halle,

1 Mingled. 1 Couriers. * Boms (0. Fr. baiste, box). 4 Fastest of all. • Learn. 9 Early. 7 Barn.

Ther men of love tydynges tolde,

And I gan thiderwarde beholde;

For I saugh rennynge every wight,

As fast as that they hadden myght;

And everyche criede, "What thing is that?"

And somme sayde, " I not never what."

And whan they were alle on an hepe,

Tho behynde begunne up lepe, 1060

And clamben up on other faste,

And up the noyse an-highen kaste,

And troden faste on otheres heles,

And stampe, as men doon after eles.

Atte laste I saugh a man,
Whiche that I nat,1 ne kan,
But he semede for to be
A man of grete auctorite.2

And therwithalle I abrayde *
Out of my slepe, half afrayde; 1070
Remembring welle what I hadde seene,
And how hye and ferre I hadde beene
In my goost; and hadde gret wonder
Of that the god of thunder
Hadde let me knowen; and began to write
Lyke as yee have herde me endite.
Wherefore to studye and rede alway,
I purpose to do day by day.

Thus in dreaming and in game Endeth this lytel booke of Fame. 1080

1 Knew not. • The remaining lines are from Thynne's editroi 3532), whence they came from Caxton's (about 1483). 3 Started.

LEGENDE OF GOODE WOMEN. 79

THE LEGENDE OF GOODE WOMEN.

The Prologue.

A Thousande tymes I have herde telle, There ys joy in hevene, and peyne in helle, And I acorde wel that it ys so; But, natheles, yet wot I wel also, That ther is noon dwellyng in this countree, That eythir hath in hevene or helle ybe, Ne may of hit noon other weyes witen,1 But as he hath herd seyde, or founde it writen; For by assay ther may no man it preve.

But God forbede but men shulde leve 10 Wel more thing then men han seen with eye! Men shal not wenen every thing a lye But-yf hymselfe yt seeth, or elles dooth; For, God wot, thing is never the lasse sooth, Thogh every wight ne may it not ysee. Bernarde, the monke, ne saugh nat alle, pardeI3

Than mote we to bokes that we fynde, — Thurgh which that olde thinges ben in mynde, — Ant' to the doctrine of these olde wyse,* Geve credence, in every skylful4 wise, 20 That tellen of these olde appreved stoiies, Of holynesse, of regnes,6 of victories,

1 Know. * Cf. Hamlet^ act i., sc. 5, 1. 166: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." s W.»e ones. * Reasonable. 6 Kingdoms.

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