Imatges de pÓgina



The prologue of the Nonne preestes tale.


Ho! quod the knyght, 'good sir, no more of this,
That ye han seyd is right ynow, ywis,
And mochel more; for litel heuinesse
Is ryght ynow to mochel folk, I gesse.

I seye for me, it is a greet disese
Wher as men han ben in greet welthe and ese,
To heren of her sodeyn fal, allas !
And the contrarie is Ioie and greet solas,
As when a man hath ben in poure estaat,
And clymbeth vp, and wexeth fortunat,
And ther abydeth in prosperitee,
Swich thing is gladsom, as it thinketh me,
And of swich thing were goodly for to telle.'
Ye,' quod our hoste, by seint Poules belle,

3970 Ye seye ryght sooth; this monk, he clappeth loude, He spak how “fortune couered with a cloude I noot neuer what, and als of Tragedie” Ryght now ye herde, and parde! no remedie It is for to biwaille, ne compleyne

3975 That that is doon, and als it is a peyne, As ye han seyd, to here of heuynesse. Sir monk, no more of this, so god yow blesse !

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Your tale anoyeth al this companye ;
Swich talking is nat worth a boterflye;

For ther-in is ther no disport ne game.
Wherfor, sir Monk, or 1 dan Piers by your name,
I preye yow hertely, telle vs somwhat elles,
For sikerly, nere clinking of your belles,
That on your brydel hange on euery syde,

3985 By heuen king, that for vs alle dyde, I sholde er this han fallen doun for slepe Although the slough had neuer ben so depe; Than had your tale al be told in vayn. For certeinly, as that thise clerkes seyn,

3990 Wher as a man may haue noon audience, Nought helpeth it to tellen his sentence. And wel I woot the substance is in me, If any thing shal wel reported be. Sir, sey somwhat of hunting, I yow preye.' 3995 'Nay,' quod this monk, 'I haue no lust to pleye; Now let another telle, as I haue told.' Than spak our host, with rude speche and bold, And seyde vn-to the nonnes preste anon,

Com neer, thou prest, com hider, thou sir Iohn, 4000 Tel vs swich thing as may our hertes glade, Be blythe, though thou ryde vp-on a Iade. What though thyn hors be bothe foule and lene, If he wol serue thee, rek nat a bene; Look that thyn herte be merie euermo.'

4005 Yis, sir,' quod he, 'yis, host, so mote I go, But I be merie, ywis I wol be blamed : 'And ryght anon his tale he hath attamed,

1 Pt. or; Hn. 0; which the rest omit.

And thus he seyde vn-to vs euerichon,
This swete prest, this goodly man sir Iohn.



[Here follows The Nonne Prestes Tale, printed in Chaucer's Prologue, &c., ed. Morris (Clar. Press Series) pp. 97-116; lines numbered 4011-4636 in the Six-Text ; next comes The Nuns' Priest's End-link, ll. 4637–4652, with which Group B ends.

Group C begins with The Doctor's Tale, ll. 1-286; after which come The Wordes of the Hoost to the Phisicien and the Pardoner, ll. 287–328, and then The Pardoner's Preamble and Tale, ll. 329-968. See Man of Law's Tale, &c.; pp. 38–60.

Group D contains The Wife of Bath's Tale, the Friar's Tale, and the Summoner's Tale.]




Heere folweth the Prologe of the clerkes tale of

• Sir clerk of Oxenford,' our hoste sayde,
* Ye ryde as coy and stille as dooth a mayde,
Were newe spoused, sitting at the bord;
This day ne herde I of your tonge a word.
I trowe ye studie aboute som sophyme,
But Salomon seith, “ euery thyng hath tyme."

For goddes sake, as beth of bettre chere,
It is no tyme for to studien here.
Telle vs som merie tale, by your fey;
For what man that is entred in a pley,
He nedes moot vnto the pley assente.
But precheth nat, as freres doon in lente,
To make vs for our olde synnes wepe,
Ne that thy tale make vs nat to slepe.

Telle vs som merie thing of auentures;-
Your termes, your colours, and your figures,
Keepe hem in stoor til so be ye 1 endyte
Hy style, as whan that men to kinges wryte.
Speketh so pleyn at this tyme, 12 yow preye,
That we may vnderstonde what ye seye.'




1 E. Hl. that ye ; the rest omit that.

2 E. Hn, we; the rest I.




This, worthy clerk benignely answerde,
* Hoste,' quod he, 'I am vnder your yerde ;
Ye han of vs as now the gouernaunce,
And therfor wol I do yow obeisaunce,
As fer as reson axeth, hardily.
I wol yow telle a tale which that I
Lerned at Padowe of a worthy clerk,
As preued by his wordes and his werk.
He is now deed and nailed in his cheste,
I prey to god so yiue his soule reste !

Fraunceys Petrark, the laureat poete,
Highte this clerk, whos rethoryke sweete
Enlumined al Itaille of poetrye,
As Linian dide of philosophye
Or lawe, or other art particuler;
But deeth, that wol nat suffre vs 1 dwellen heer
But as it were a twinkling of an yë,
Hem bothe hath slayn, and alle shul we dyë.

But forth to tellen of this worthy man, - That taughte me this tale, as I bigan,

I seye that first with hy style he endyteth,
Er he the body of his tale wryteth,
A proheme, in the which discryueth he
Pemond, and of Saluces the contree,
And speketh of Apennyn, the hilles hye,
That been the boundes of West Lumbardye,

And of Mount Vesulus in special,
Where as the Poo out of a welle smal
Taketh his firste springing and his sours,
That Estward ay encresseth in his cours
To Emelward, to Ferrare, and Venyse;
The which a long thing were to deuyse.

1 E. omits suffre vs.




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