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Ther nas no dore that he nolde heve of harre,
A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple,
Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age;
A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place, That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnės face, 624 For sawcéfleem 30 he was, with eyen narwe. As hoot he was, and lecherous, as a sparwe, With scalėd31 browės blake and pilėd32 berd, Of his visagė children were aferd. Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, 33 ne brymstoon, Boras, 34 ceruce, ne oille of Tartre noon, Ne oynėment that woldė clense and byte, That hym myghte helpen of the whelkės35
white Nor of the knobbės sittynge on his chekes. Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eke lekes, 634 And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood; Thanne wolde he speke, and crie as he were
wood.36 And whan that he wel dronken hadde the
wyn, Than wolde he spekė no word but Latyn. A fewė termes37 hadde he, two or thre, That he had lernéd out of som decree,No wonder is, he herde it al the day, And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay Kan clepen WATTE38 as wel as kan the pope. But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope, s Thanne hadde he spent all his philosophie; 645 Ay Questio quid juris wolde he crie. He was a gentil harlot" and a kynde; A bettre felawe sholdė men noght fynde. . A gerland" hadde he set upon his heed,
The RevĖ was a sclendré colerik man His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan; His heer was by his erys round y-shorn, His top was dokėd lyk a preest biforn, 590 Ful longé were his leggės and ful lene, Y-lyk a staf, ther was no calf y-sene. Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne, Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne. Wel wiste he, by the droghte and by the reyn, The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn. 596 His lordės sheepe, his neet, 17 his dayėrye, His swyn, his hors, his stoor, 18 and his pultrye, Was hoolly in this revės governyng, And by his covenant yaf the rekenyng 600 1 Heave off its hinges.
2 Tip. : Loud and ribald jester.
4 Millers were allowed as toll a certain proportion of the grain in payment for the grinding. This miller tolled thrice, i. e. took three times the legal quantity of grain.
An allusion to the proverb "An honest miller has a thumb of gold.". The line may be ironical,-he stole corn, he tolled thrice, and yet was honest enough for a miller. The proverb itself is ambiguous, and the passage obscure. 6 Buyers.
7 Tally, i. e. charged the goods. 8 Always. • Watched.
10 Buying. 11 Before.
1: Ignorant. 13 On his own means.
14 Without debts. 15 Mad.
16 Outwitted them all. 17 Cattle.
18 Farm stock.
20 Hind, servant. 21 Trickery and deceit.
22 Dwelling. 23 Stocked. 24 Give and lend. 25 Craft. 26 Cob. 27 Dappled.
36 Crazy. 37 Legal phrases.
38 Can call Wat, or Walter, 39 Test, examine. 40 Fellow, knave.
41 On the ale stake, a pole projecting horizontally from the front of the tavern, hung an ivy-bush; the usual sign of an inn. A Garland, made of three hoops and decorated with ribbons was often hung from the ale stake, in addition to the bush.
As greet as it were for an alė stake;
With hym ther rood a gentil PARDONER
Romė. Ful loude he soong Com hider, love to me! This Somonour bar to hym'a stif burdoun, Was never trompe of half so greet a soun. This Pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex But smothe it heeng as dooth a strike of flex;' By ounces henge his lokkės that he hadde, And therwith he his shuldres overspradde. But thynne it lay by colpons oon and oon; But hood, for jolitee, ne wered he noon, 680 For it was trussėd up in his walet. Hym thoughte he rood al of the newė jet;8 Dischevelee, save his cappe, he rood al bare. Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare, A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe; 685 His walet lay biforn hym in his lappe Bret-ful of pardon, comen from Rome al
hoot. A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot; But of his craft, fro Berwyk unto Ware 692 Ne was ther swich another pardoner, For in his male' he hadde a pilwe-beer, 10 Which that, he seydė, was oure lady veyl; 695 He seyde he hadde a gobet1l of the seyl That Seintė Peter hadde, whan that he wente Upon the see, til Jhesu Crist hym hente.12 He hadde a croys of latoun,13 ful of stones, And in a glas he haddė piggės bones. But with thise relikés, whan that he fond A pouré person dwellynge upon lond, Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye Than that the person gat in monthės tweye; And thus with feynėd flaterye and japes14 705 He made the person and the peple his apes. But, trewėly to tellen attė laste, He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste; Wel koude he rede a lessoun or a storie, But alderbest he song an Offertorie; For wel he wistė whan that song was songe, He mostė preche, and wel affile his tonge To wynnė silver, as he ful wel koude; Therefore he song the murierly15 and loude.
Now have I toold you shortly, in a clause, 715 The staat, tharray, the nombre, and eek the Why that assembled was this compaignye In Southwerk, at this gentil hostelrye, That highte the Tabard, fastė by the Belle. 16 But now is tymė to yow for to telle
720 How that we baren us that ilkė nyght,
Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
But first, I pray yow of youre curteisye, 725
Also I prey yow to foryeve it me Al have I nat set folk in hir degree Heere in this tale, as that they sholdė stonde; My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.
Greet chierė made oure hoost us everichon, And to the soper sette he us anon, And served us with vitaille at the beste: Strong was the wyn and wel to drynke us
leste. 21 A semely man Our HoostĖ was with-alle For to han been a marchal in an halle. A largė man he was, with eyen stepe, A fairer burgeys is ther noon in Chepe;22 Boold of his speche, and wys and well y-taught, And of manhod hym lakkedė right naught. Eek therto he was right a myrie man, And after soper pleyen he bigan, And spak of myrthe amongės othere thynges, Whan that we haddė maad our rekenynges; 760 And seyde thus: “Now, lordynges, trewėly, Ye been to me right welcome, hertėly; For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye, I ne saugh this yeer so myrie a compaignye At onės in this herberwe23 as is now; Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how. And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght, To doon yow ese, and it shal costė noght.
Ye goon to Canterbury-God yow speede, The blisful martir quitė yow youre meede!24 770 And, wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye, Ye shapen yow to talen25 and to pleye; For trewėly confort ne myrthe is noon To ridė by the weye doumb as a stoon; And therfore wol I maken yow disport, 775 As I seyde erste, and doon yow som confort. And if you liketh alle, by oon assent, Now for to stonden at my juggėment, And for to werken as I shal yow seye, To-morwė, whan ye riden by the weye, Now, by my fader soulė, that is deed, But ye be myrie, smyteth of myn heed!
"A loaf of bread.
? Probably the hospital of the Blessed Mary of Rouncyvalle, on the outskirts of Chaucer's London. * Strong bass.
4 Hank of flax. # Shreds.
6 Fashion. * A small copy of the picture of the face of Christ, the original of which, on a cloth or handkerchief, was preserved for centuries at St. Peter's in Rome. * Brimful.
* Wallet. 10 Pillow-case. 11 Shred.
1: Caught. 12 Pinchbeck, a cheap imitation of gold. 14 Tricks
15 The more merrily. 16 Presumably the name of an Inn.
17 Impute it not to my coarseness.
18 Behavior. 19 Literally, exactly.
20 Freely. 21 Pleased.
12 Cheapside in London. 25 Prepare to tell stories.
Hoold up youre hond, withouten moorė speche.”
Oure conseil was nat longè for to seche; 784 Us thoghte it was noght worth to make it
wys, And graunted hym withouten moore avys, And bad him seye his verdit, as hym leste. “Lordynges,” quod he, “now herkneth for
the beste; But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn; 789 This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn, That ech of yow, to shortė with your weye, In this viáge shal tellė talės tweye, To Caunterburyward, I mean it so, And homward he shal tellen otherė two,Of aventures that whilom han bifalle. 795 And which of yow that bereth hym beste of alle, That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas Tales of best sentence and most solaas, 3 Shal have a soper at oure aller cost, Heere in this placė, sittynge by this post, 800 Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury. And, for to makė yow the moorė mury, I wol myselven gladly with yow ryde Right at myn owenė cost, and be youre gyde; And whoso wole my juggėment withseye Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye. And if ye vouché-sauf that it be so Tel me anon, withouten wordės mo, And I wol erly shape me therefore.'
This thyng was graunted, and oure othės With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also That he would vouché-sauf for to do so, And that he woldė been oure governour, And of our talės juge and réportour, And sette a soper at a certeyn pris,
815 And we wol reulėd been at his devys In heigh and lough; and thus, by oon assent, We been acorded to his juggėment. And therupon the wyn was fet anon; We dronken, and to restė wente echon, 820 Withouten any lenger taryynge. Amorwė, whan that day gan for to sprynge, Up roos oure Hoost and was oure aller cok," And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok,
824 And forth we riden, a little moore than paas," Unto the warteryng of Seint Thomas; And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste And seydė, “ Lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste: Ye woot youre forward? and I it yow recorde. If even-song and morwė-song accorde, 830 Lat se now who shal telle the firstė tale. As ever mote I drynkė wyn or ale, Whoso be rebel to my juggėment. Shal paye for all that by the wey is spent! Now draweth cut,er that we ferrer twynne." He which that hath the shorteste shal bigynne.
“Sire Knyght," quod he, “my mayster and my
lord, Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord. Cometh neer," quod he, “my lady Prioresse, 839 And ye sire Clerk, lat be your shamefastnesse, Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man.” Anon to drawen every wight bigan, And, shortly for to tellen as it was, Were it by áventure, or sort, or cas, The sothe is this, the cut fil to the knyght, Of which ful blithe and glad was every wyght: And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun," By foreward 12 and by composicioun, As he han herd; what nedeth wordės mo? 849 And whan this goode man saugh that it was so, As he that wys was and obedient To kepe his foreward by his free assent, He seydė, “Syn I shal bigynne the game, What, welcome be the cut, a Goddės name! 854 Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye.” And with that word we ryden forth oure weye; And he bigan with right a myrie cheere His tale anon, and seyde in this manėre.
THE PARDONER'S TALE
Thise riotourės thre, of whiche I telle, Longe erst er primė13 rong of any belle, Were set hem in a taverne for to drynke; And as they sat they herde a bellé clynke Biforn a cors, was carried to his grave. 665 That oon of hem gan callen to his knave:14 “Go bet," quod he, “and axé redily15. What cors is this that passeth heer forby, And looke that thou reporte his namė weel."
"Sire," quod this boy, "it nedeth never a deel, It was me toold er ye cam heere two houres; 671 He was, pardee, an old felawe of youres, And sodeynly he was y-slayn to-nyght, For-dronke, as he sat on his bench upright; Ther cam a privee theef, men clepeth Deeth,675 That in this contree al the peplé sleeth, And with his spere he smoot his herte atwo, And wente his wey withouten wordės mo. He hath a thousand slayn this pestilence, 16 And maister, er ye come in his presence, Me thynketh that it werè necessarie For to be war of swich an adversarie; Beth redy for to meete hym evermoore; Thus taughtė me my dame; I sey na-moore."
By Seinte Marie!” seyde this taverner, 685 “The child seith sooth, for he hath slayn this
yeer, Henne17 over a mile, withinne a greet village, Bothe man and womman, child, and hyne, 15 I trowe his habitacioun be there; To been avysėd'' greet wysdom it were, 690 10 Chance, destiny or luck.
1 "To make it a matter of wisdom or deliberation." 2 Advice.
3 Wisdom. 4 Cock for us all.
5 A foot-pace. & St. Thomas a-Watering; a brook where horses were watered, which crossed the road taken by the pilgrims to St. Thomas' shrine, i. e. to Canterbury.
; Know your promise.
Si. e. draw lots; pieces of straw, paper, etc. of unequal lengths, and used for the drawing of lots, were called cuts.
11 Right. 12 Agreement.
13 In general the interval between 6 and 9 A. M. More specifically, one of the seven stated times or hours of devotion. From the ringing of the bell, it refers here to the canonical hour for service.
15 Quickly. 16 Probably the plague of 1348-9, the earliest of the four great plagues in the 14th century. 17 Hence.
18 Hind. 19 Forewarned.
Er that he dide a man a dishonour."
“Ye, Goddės armės!” quod this riotour,
Is it swich peril with hym for to meete? I shal hym seke by weye and eek by strete; I make avow to Goddės dignėl bones Herkneth, felawės, we thre been al ones, Lat ech of us holde up his hand til oother, And ech of us bicomen otherès brother, And we wol sleen this falsė traytour, Deeth; He shal be slayn, he that so manye sleeth, By Goddės dignítee, er it be nyght!”
Togidres han thise thre hir trouthés? plight To lyve and dyen ech of hem for oother, As though he were his owene y-boré brother; And up they stirte,: al dronken, in this rage; And forth they goon towardės that village Of which the taverner hadde spoke biforn; And many a grisly ooth thanne han they sworn, And Cristės blessed body they to-rente,“ Deeth shal be deed, if that they may hym
hente.5 Whan they han goon nat fully half a mile, Right as they wolde han troden over a stile, An oold man and a pourė with hem mette; This oldė man ful mekély hem grette And seyėd thus: “Now, lordės, God yow see!"
The proudeste of thise riotourės three 716 Answerde agayn, “What, carl with sory grace, Why artow al for-wrappėd, save thy face? Why lyvėstow so longe in so greet age?”
This oldė man gan looke in his visage, And seydė thus: "For I ne kan nat fynde A man, though that I walked into Ynde, Neither in citee, ne in no village, That woldė chaunge his youthė for myn age; And therfore moot I han myn agė stille, As longė tyme as it is Goddės wille. Ne Deeth, allas! ne wol nat han my lyf; Thus walke I, lyk a restėless kaityf, And on the ground which is my moodrės
gate, I knokkė with my staf, erly and late, And seyė, 'Leeve mooder, leet me in! Lo, how I vanysshe, flessh and blood and skyn; Allas! whan shul my bonės been at reste? Móoder, with yow wolde I chaunge my cheste That in my chambré longé tyme hath be, Ye, for an heyrė-clowt10 to wrappė me!' But yet to me she wol nat do that grace, For which ful pale and welkėd" is my face.
“But, sires, to yow it is no curteisye To speken to an old man vileynye, But he trespasse in word, or elles in dede. In Hooly Writ ye may your self wel rede, Agayns an oold man, hoor upon his heed, Ye sholde arise; wherfore I yeve yow reed, Ne dooth unto an oold man noon harm now, Namoore than ye wolde men did to yow In agė, if that ye so longe abyde. And God be with yow, where ye go or ryde; I moote go thider as I have to go.' 1 Worthy.
Nay, oldė cherl, by God, thou shalt nat so!” Seydė this oother hasardouríanon;
751 “Thou partest nat so lightly, by Seint_John! Thou spak right now of thilkė traytour, Deeth, That in this contree alle oure froendės sleeth; Have heer my trouthe, as thou art his espye, 755 Telle where he is, or thou shalt it abye, 14 By God and by the hooly sacrement! For soothly, thou art oon of his assent To sleen us yongė folk, thou falsė theef!"
"Now, sires," quod' he, “if that ye so be leef To fyndė Deeth, turne up this croked wey, For in that grove I lafte hym, by my fey, Under a tree, and there he wole abyde; Noght for youre boost he wole him no thyng
hyde. Se ye that ook? Right there ye shal hym fynde.
765 God savė yow that boghte agayn mankynde, And yow amende!” thus seyde this oldė man; And everich of thise riotourės ran Til he cam to that tree, and ther they founde, Of floryns fyne, of gold y-coynėd rounde,
770 Wel ny a seven busshels, as hem thoughte. No lenger thannė after Deeth they soughte, But ech of hem so glad was of that sighte, For that the floryns been so faire and brighte, That doun they set hem by this precious hoord. The worste of hem he spak the firstė word. 776 “Bretheren," quod he, "taak kepė what I
seye; My wit is greet, though that I bourdels and
pleye. This tresor hath Fortúne unto us yeven In myrthe and jolitee oure lyf to lyven, And lightly as it comth so wol we spende. Ey, Goddės precious digniteel who wende 16 To-day, that we sholde hav so faire a grace? But myghte this gold be caried fro this
place Hoom to myn hous, or ellės unto youres, (For wel ye woot that al this gold is oures), Thanne werė we in heigh felicitee. But trewėly, by day it may nat bee; Men woldė seyn that we were thevės stronge, And for oure owenė tresor doon us honge. This tresor moste y-caried be by nyghte As wisely and as slyly as it myghte. Wherfore, I rede that cut" among us all Be drawe, and let se wher the cut wol falle; And he that hath the cut with hertė blithe 795 Shal rennė to the towne, and that ful swythe, 18 And brynge us breed and wyn ful privėly, And two of us shul kepen subtilly This tresor wel; and if he wol nat tarie, Whan it is nyght we wol this tresor carie, By oon assent, where as us thynketh best." That oon of hem the cut broghte in his fest 19 And bad hem drawe and looke where it wol
falle; And it fil on the yongeste of hem alle, And forth toward the toun he wente anon; And al so soonė as that he was gon, That oon of hem spak thus unto that oother:
2 Troth. 3 Started. * Tore in pieces, i. e. by their oaths. & Seize. • Keep you in His sight; watch over you. 7 Art thou. 8 Mother's.
Dear Mother. 10 Hair shirt. 11 Withered.
14 Pay for.
Ye, sterve he shal, and that in lassė while
poysoun is so strong and violent."
swynke In cariynge of the gold out of that place. And whan this riotour with sory grace Hadde filled with wyn his gretė botels thre, To his felawes agayn repaireth he.
What nedeth it to sermone of it moore? For right as they hadde cast his deeth bifoore, Right so they han hym slayn, and that anon,881 And whan that this was doon thus spak that
oon; “Now lat us sitte and drynke, and make us
merie, And afterward we wol his body berie;" And with that word it happėd hym, par cas, 885 To take the botel ther the poysoun was, And drank and yaf his felawe drynke also, For which anon they storven bothė two.
But certės, I suppose that Avycen!? Wroot never in no Canón, 13 ne in no fen Mo wonder signės of empoisonyng Than hadde thise wrecches two, er hir endyng. Thus ended been thise homycidės two, And eek the false empoysonere also.
O cursėd synne of allé cursednesse! O traytorous homycide! O wikkednesse! O glotonye, luxúrie, and hasardrye!14 Thou blasphemour of Crist with vileynye, And othės grete, of usage and of pride! Allas! mankyndé, how may it bitide That to thy Creatour which that thee wroghte, And with his precious hertė-blood thee boghte, Thou art so fals and so unkynde, allas! Now, goode men, God foryeve yow youre
trespas, And ware yow fro the synne of avarice. Myn hooly pardoun may you alle warice.15
“Thow knowest wel thou art my sworné brother
be; He woot how that the gold is with us tweye; What shal we doon, what shal we to hym seye?”
“Shal it be conseil?” seyde the firtse shrewe, And I shal tellen thee in wordės fewe What we shal doon, and bryngen it wel aboute.”
"I grauntė,” quod that oother,“ out of doute, That by my trouthe I shal thee nat biwreye.' “Now," quod the firste, “thou woost wel we
be tweye, And two of us shul strenger be than oon. Looke whan that he is set, and right anoon Arys, as though thou woldest with hym pleye, And I shal ryve hym thurgh the sydės tweye, Whil that thou strogelst with hym as in game, And with thy daggere looke thou do the same; And thanne shal al this gold departed be, My deerė freend, bitwixen me and thee. Thanne may we bothe oure lustės all fulfille, And pleye at deesright at oure owene wille.” And thus acorded been thise shrewės tweye, 835 To sleen the thridde, as ye han herd me seye. This yongeste, which that wente unto the
toun, Ful oft in herte he rolleth up and doun The beautee of thise floryns newe and brighte; "O Lord,”:quod he, “if so were that I myghte 840 Have al this tresor to myself allone, Ther is no man that lyveth under the trone3 Of God, that sholdė lyve so murye as I!” And atté laste the feend, oure enemy, Putte in his thought that he sholde poyson
beye, With which he myghtė sleen his felawes tweye; For-why the feend foond hym in swich lyvynge, That he hadde levé hym to sorwė brynge, For this was outrėlyó his fulle entente To sleen hem bothe and never to repente. And forth he gooth, no lenger wolde he tarie, Into the toun, unto a pothecarie, And preydė hym that he hym woldė selle Som poysoun, that he myghte his rattės
quelle;8 And eek ther was a polcat in his hawe, That, as he seyde, his capouns hadde y-slawe, And fayn he woldé wreke hym, if he myghte On vermyn, that destroyed hym by nyghte. The pothecarie answerde, “And thou shalt
have A thyng that, al so God my soulė save, In all this world ther nis no creätúre,. That eten or dronken hath of this confiture, Noght but the montance of a corn of whete, That he ne shal his lif anon forlete;10 i Rascal.
THE COMPLEYNT OF CHAUCER TO HIS
c. 1399 To you, my purse, and to noon other wyght
Compleyne I, for ye be my lady dere! I am so sory now that ye been light;
For, certės, but ye make me hevy chere,
Me were as leef be leyd upon my bere, 5 Forwiche unto your mercy thus I crye, Beth hevy ageyn, or allės mot I dye!
2 Dice. 3 Throne. > Utterly.
7 Hedge. & Avenge himself. . Amount.
12 i. e., Avicenna (980-1037), a celebrated Arabian physician.
13 A section in The Canon, Avicenna's work on medicine, is called (from an Arabic word) a fen. No more wonderful signs of poisoning are described in the Canon of Medicine, or in any Sen, or part of that book; not even the fen which specifically treats of poisons.
* Buy. 10 Give up.