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The war is mother of the wrongės allė;
And on a May morning on Malvernė hillės,
restė Under a broad bank, by a burn-sidė; And as I lay and leanėd, and looked in the waters,
9 I slumbered in a sleeping, it sounded so merry. Then did I dream there a dream full of wonder; In the wilds I was wandering, wist I not wherė. As I looked to the Eastward a-loft to the sunnė, I saw set on a summit a seemly tower; A deep dale beneath and a dungeon thereinnė, With deep ditches and dark, and dreadful to sight.
16 A fair field full of folk found I there between
them, With all manner of men the mean and the riche, Working and wandering as the world asketh. Some put them to ploughing, playing full
seldom, In setting and sowing swinking' full hard, And winning what wasters with gluttony des
troy. And some put to pride, appareled them there
after, In fancies of fashion finely arrayėd. To prayers and to penance put themselves
many, All for love of our Lord living full strict, In the hope for to have heavenly blissė; As anchorets and hermits that hold in their
cellės, In the world never wishing to wander about, Or with bounteous abundance their bodies to
please. And some chose to chaffer, their chances to
better, For it seems to our sight that such men are
most thriving. And some to make merry, as minstrels are able, And get gold with their glees, guiltless I deem
them. But jesters and jugglers, Judas's children, 35 Found out false fantasies and feigned them
selves foolish, Yet have wit at their will, to work were they
willing. That Paul preacheth 2 of them prove now I dare
not; Qui loquitur turpiloquium is Lucifer's slave. There bidders and beggars right busily wandered,
40 Their bags and their bellies with bread fully
crammed; They feigned want of food, and fought o'er the
ale-cups, In gluttony, God wot, go they to beddė, And rise up with ribaldry, these Robert's men.3 So sleeping and sloth pursue them forever.
Pilgrims and palmers plighted them together 1 Toiling.
c. 1332-1400 PIERS THE PLOUGHMAN
In the season of summer, when soft was the
sunnė, I clad myself coarsely in a cloak as a shepherd; In habit as an hermit unholy of workės, Went I wide in this world wonders to hearė. 3 Less.
2 I might prove that St. Paul's words "if a man does not work neither shall he eat," apply to these children of Judas, but I dare not, because he who speaks evil (Qui tur piloquium loquiter) is Lucifer's servant.
Behalf. & Glory.
And the poor of the parish may have what is
left. Parsons and parish-priests plained to the
Bishop, As their parishes were poor since the pestilence
time, To have licence and leave at London to dwellé, And they sing thus for simony,-for silver is
sweet. Bishops and bachelors both masters and
doctors, That hold cures 10 under Christ and have crown
ing' in token And sign that they should their parishioners
shrivė, And preach and to pray for them, and the poor
feedė, Are living in London, in Lent-time and other. Some are serving the King, and his silver are
taking, In Exchequer and Chancery, claiming his
debtės Due from wards in the wardmote, 12 both waifs
and estrays, And some serve as servants the lords and the
ladies, And instead of stewards they sit and condemn. Their mass and their matins and most of the
hours Are done undevoutly; dread is at the last That Christ in His Council should curse very
many. There hovered an hundred in hoodės of silkė, Sergeants it seemed that served at the barré, Pleading for pennies and poundės the laws, 212 And naught for love of our Lord unloose their
lips onės. 13 Better measure the mist on Malverne's hillės, Than get a mum from these mouthès till money
be showed. Baron and burgesses and bond-men also, I saw there assembled, as ye shall hear after. Bakers and brewers, and butchers a-many, And weavers of woolens, and weavers of linen, Tailors and tanners, and toilers of earth. Masons and miners, and many a craft. Of all living labourers leaped, some of each
kind, As ditchers and delvers that do their deeds ill, And drag out the long day with “Dieu vous sauve, Dame,'
224 Cooks and their knavės cried “hotė pies, hotė! Good gris15 and geese,--go now to dine,-go!" And unto them Taverners toldė the same, “White wine of Oseye, 16 and red wine of Gas
coigne Of the Rhine and of Rochelle the roast to defy!” And this I saw sleeping and seven times morė.
To seek for Saint James and the saintės at
Rome, Went forth in their way with many wise stories, And had leave for to lie, all their life after. I saw some that said they had sought out the
saintės; With tongues tempered to lie in each tale that
they toldė, More than to say sooth it seemed by their
speech. Hermits in an heap, with hooked stavės To Walsingham wended,—their wenches came
after. Great lubbers and lazy that loth were to
swinkė, Clothed them in copes to be counted as "breth
ren," In habit of hermit their ease for to have. I found there the friars of all the four
orders, They preached to the people to profit them
selves, Glossing the Gospel as was their good pleasure. For, coveting copes, they construed as they
would. For many of these masters may dress as it likes
them, For their money and merchandise marchen to
gether, For since Charity hath been chapman and chief
to shrive lordės, Many ferlies have fallen in a few yearės. If Holy Church and they hold not better to
gether, The most mischief on moldis mounting full
fast. There preachéd a Pardoner, a priest as he
werė, And brought forth a Bull with the Bishopės
sealės, And said that himself might assoilen8 them
alle Of falseness in fasting, and vows they had
broken. The unlettered believed him and liked well his
wordės, Coming up to him kneeling and kissing his
Bullés, Then he banged them with his brevet and
blearéd their eyen, Thus they give up their gold these gluttons to
help. Were the Bishop but blessed and worth both
his earės, He would send not his seal for deceiving the
people. But 'tis not at the Bishop that the boy
preaches, For Pardoner and priest part between them the.
silver, 4 The shrine of St. James the Great, at Santiago (i. e, St. James) de Compostella, a town in Spain, was sought for, by many pilgrims.
* A town in Northern Suffolk, a famous resort for pilgrims. Marvels.
8 Pardon. * Blinded their eyes, i. e. Cheated them.
1. Each ward of London had its ward-mote, or ward mecting of its citizens.
14 "God save you, lady," apparently the refrain of an old song 15 Pigs. 16 Alsace.
From THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN
THE PROLOGUE A thousande tymės I have herd men telle, That there is joy in hevene, and peyne in helle, And I accordė wel that it is so; But, nathéles, yet wot I wel also, That ther is noon dwellying in this countree, 5 That eythir hath in hevene or in helle y-be, Ne may of hit noon other weyės witen, But as he hath herd seyde, or founde it writen; For by assay ther may no man it preve.
But God forbedė but men shuldė leve? Wel more thing than men han seen with eye! Men shal not wenen everything a lye But-if hymselfe it seeth, or ellės dooth; For, God wot, thing is never the lassé sooth, Thogh every wight ne may it not y-see. 15 Bernarde, the monke, ne saugh nat al, parde!
Than motė we to bokės that we fynde,Thurgh which that oldė thingės ben in mynde, And to the doctrine of these oldė wyse, Yevé credénce, in every skylful wise,
20 That tellen of these olde appreved stories, Of holynesse, of regnės, of victóries, Of love, of hate, of other sondry thynges Of whiche I may not maken rehersýnges. And if that oldė bokės were awey, Y-lornewere of remembraunce the key. Wel ought us, thanne, honouren and beleve These bokės, ther we han noon other preve.
And as for me, though that I konne but lyte, On bokės for to rede I me delyte, And to hem yive I feyth and ful credénce, And in myn herte have hem in reverence So hertėly, that ther is gamės noon That from my bokės maketh me to goon, But it be seldom on the holyday, Save, certeynly, whan that the month of May Is comen, and that I here the foulėsø synge, And that the flourės gynnen for to sprynge, Farewel my boke, and my devocion!
Now have I thanne suche a condicion, That of alle the flourės in the mede, Than love I most thise flourės white and rede, Suche as men callen daysyes in our toun. To hem have I so grete affeccioun, As I seyde erst, whan comen is the May, That in my bed ther daweth me no day, That I nam up and walkyng in the mede, To seen this floure agein the sonnė sprede,
Whan it uprysith erly by the morwe;
75 And am ful glad if I may fynde an ere Of any goodly word that ye han left. And thogh it happen me rehercen eft14 That ye han in your fresshė songės sayede, Forbereth me, and beth not evele apayede, 15 Syn that ye see I do the honour Of love, and eke in service of the flour Whom that I serve as I have witte or myght. She is the clerenesse and the verray lyght, That in this derkė worlde me wynt 18 and ledyth, The herte in-with my sorwful brest yow
But wherfore that I spake to yive credénce
• Face. 11 Write or compose.
12 Before this. 13 Reaped poetry, i. e. cut the crop of poetry. 14 Again. 15 ill pleased. 16 Turns. 11 Reyeres.
1 This poem (like its greater successor, The Canterbury Tales), consists of a number of separate stories, introduced by a Prologue. In the Legend, however, all the stories are of women who have been victims or martyrs to love. Chaucer apparently intended to tell the legends of nineteen good women, but the poem is unfinished.
: Bernard of Clairvaur (1091-1153). Even St. Bernard, holy and wise as he was, did not see everything. The passage is founded on a Latin proverb " Bernardus monachus non videt omnia. Lost. 5 Amusement.
7 Alike. 10 Skill.
18 At once.
With dredful21 hert, and glad devocion
This was hir songe, "The foweler we deffye,
And tho33 that hadde don unkyndėnesse, – As doth the tydis,34 for newfangelnesse, Besoghtė mercy of hir trespassynge, And humblėly songen hir répentynge, And sworen on the blosmės to be trewe, So that hire makės wolde upon hem rewe, And at the lastė maden hir acorde. Al founde they Daunger36 for a tyme a lord, 160 Yet Pitee, thurgh his strongè gentil myght, Foryaf, and madė Mercy passen Ryght, Thurgh Innocence, and ruled Curtėsye. But I ne clepe it innocence folye, Ne fals pitee, for vertue is the mene;37 As Ethike seith, in swich maner I mene. And thus thise sowelės, voide of al malice, Acordėden to love, and laften vice Of hate, and songen alle of oon acorde, *Welcome, Somer, oure governour and'lorde.'
And Zepherus and Flora gentilly Yaf to the flourės, softe and tenderly. 21 Reverent.
His swootė3 breth, and made hem for to sprede,
weste, And that this flour gan close, and goon to reste, For derknesse of the nyght, the which she
Whan I was leyde, and hadde myn eyen hed, 47
Y-clothed was this mighty god of Love In silke enbrouded, ful of grene greves, In-with a fret of redė rosé leves, The fresshest syn the worlde was first bygonne.
22 Beast i. e. Taurus. 23 Europa. 45 Embroidered.
27 Weak. 28 Mild temperature. 31 Frightened. 14 Titmouse.
35 Take pity on them. 36 Love's dominion. 87 Average.
24 Sweet. 26 Gum. 29 Glad. 32 Mate.
39 Planned. 40 Good may befall. 41 Make poetry:
42 Ne wot, not know. 43 May they enjoy.
44 Cask. 46 Arbor, or resting place, a plot covered with grass or herbage. 46 For the sake of enjoying.
47 Hidden. 48 Dreamt. 49 Revere. 50 Royal. 51 Ornament. 52 Small flowers.
His giltė here was corowned with a sonne Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
And smalė fowelės maken melodye,
And palmeres for to seken straungė strondes, So that his loking doth myn hertė colde. To ferné halwės, kowthe in sondry londes; And by the hande he helde this noble quene, And specially, from every shirės ende Crowned with white, and clothed al in grene, Of Engėlond,'to Caunterbury they wende, So womanly, so bénigne, and so meke,
The hooly blissfulto martir for to seke,
In Southwerk at the Tabardı? as I lay,
20 Hyde Absalon, thy giltė tresses clere;
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage Ester, ley thou thy mekenesse al adoun; 250 To Caunterbury with ful devout corage, 18 Hyde, Jonathas, al thy frendly manére;
At nyght were come into that hostelrye Penalopee, and Marcia Catoun,
Wel nyne-and-twenty in a compaignye, Make of youre wifhode no comparysoun; Of sondry folk, by áventurelt y-falle Hyde ye youre beautės, Ysoude and Eleyne; In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle, My lady comith, that al this may disteyne. 69 That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
The chambres and the stables weren wyde, Thy fairė body lat it nat appere,
And wel we weren esed 15 attė beste. Lavyne; and thou Lucresse of Romé toun
And shortly, whan the sonnė was to reste, And Polixene, that boghten love so dere,
So hadde I spoken with hem everychon, And Cloepatre, with all thy passyoun,
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon, Hyde ye your trouthe of love, and your renoun,
And made forward 16 erly for to ryse, And thou, Tesbė, that hast of love suche peyne;
To take oure wey, ther as I yow devyse. My lady comith, that al this may disteyne.
But nathéless, whil I have tyme and space, Hero, Dido, Laudómia, alle yfere, 60
Er that I ferther in this talė pacė, And Phillis, hangying for thy Demophon, Me thynketh it accordaunt to resóun And Canacė, espied by thy cherė,
To tellė yow al the condicioun Y siphilie, betraysed with Jason,
Of cch of hem, so as it semèd me, Maketh of your trouthė neythir boost ne soun, And whiche they weren, and of what degree, Nor Ypermystre, or Adriane, ye tweyne; And eek in what array that they were inne; My lady cometh, that al thys may dysteyne. And at a Knyght than wol I first begynne. 42 This balade may ful wel y-songen be, 270
A KNYGHT ther was and that a worthy man, As I have seyde erst, by my lady free;
That fro the tymė that he first bigan For certeynly al thise mowe nat suffice
To riden out, he lovėd chivalrie,
45 To apperen wyth my lady in no wyse.
Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie. For as the sonnė wole the fire disteyne, So passeth al my lady sovereyne,
Ful worthy was he in his lordės werre,
And thereto hadde he riden, no man ferre, That is so good, so faire, so debonayre,
As wel in cristendom as in hethėnesse, I prey to God that ever falle hire faire.
And ever honoured for his worthynesse. For nadde6l comfort ben of hire presence,
At Alisaundre17 he was whan it was wonne; I hadde ben dede, withouten any defence,
Ful oftė tyme he hadde the bord bigonne18 For drede of Lovės wordės, and his chere, 280
Aboven alle nacions in Pruce. 19 As, when tyme is, herafter ye shal here.
3 The west wind, noted for its mild and life-giving
influence. Cf. Eng. Zephyr. THE CANTERBURY TALES
6 Aries, the first of the signs of the zodiac. The young (Begun 1386-1387)
sun (i. e. the sun just beginning its annual course), passed through the Ram from March 12th to April 11th. Hence:
during April, half the sun's course was "in the Ram." THE PROLOGUE
To say that this half course was completed, is equivalent
to saying that the time was after April 11th. Whan that Apríllé with hise shourės sootel
• Known. The droghte of March hath percéd to the roote, 10 Thomas à Becket.
11 Sick. And bathed every veyne in swich licour?
1: A famous Inn in Southwark, across the Thames from
London. 65 Scarcely. 1.6 Gleeds, brands.
14 By chance. 15 Entertained. 69 Nature 69 Stain, dim. 60 Together.
17 Alexandria in Egypt. 61 i. e. had no.
17. e. "he had been placed at the head of the dais, or 1 Sweet.
67 All the same.