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Ther nas no dore that he nolde heve of harre,1
A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple,
To maken hym lyve by his propre good13
1 Heave off its hinges. Loud and ribald jester.
In any caas that myghte falle or happe;
13 On his own means.
The REVE 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 doked lyk a preest biforn, Ful longé were his legges 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. His lordės sheepe, his neet," his dayerye, His swyn, his hors, his stoor, 18 and his pultrye, Was hoolly in this revés governyng, And by his covenant yaf the rekenyng
600 2 Tip.
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.
14 Without debts.
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.
7 Tally, i. e. charged the goods. • Watched. 10 Buying.
16 Outwitted them all. 18 Farm stock.
Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age;
That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;21
In youthe he lerned hadde a good myster, 25
A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place, That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnės face, For sawcèfleem30 he was, with eyen narwe. As hoot he was, and lecherous, as a sparwe, With scaled browės blake and piled32 berd,— Of his visage children were aferd.
19 Herdsman. 21 Trickery and 23 Stocked. 26 Cob.
Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge,33 ne brymstoon,
29 Hindermost. 32 Patchy. 35 Blotches.
Nor of the knobbės sittynge on his chekes.
And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
24 Give and lend. 27 Dappled.
33 White lead.
20 Hind, servant. 22 Dwelling.
38 Can call Wat, or Walter. 40 Fellow, knave.
37 Legal phrases.
39 Test, examine.
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 ale stake;
With hym ther rood a gentil PARDONER Of Rouncivale,2 his freend and his compeer, 670 That streight was comen fro the court of Rome.
Ful loude he soong Com hider, love to me!
A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot;
He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste;
Now have I toold you shortly, in a clause, 715 The staat, tharray, the nombre, and eek the
Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
But first, I pray yow of youre curteisye, 725 That ye narette it nat my vileynye,17 Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere, 18 Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely;19 For this ye knowen al-so wel as I, Whoso shal telle a tale after a man, He moote reherce, as ny as ever he kan, Everich a word, if it be in his charge, Al speke he never so rudéliche20 or large; Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe, Or feyné thyng, or fynde wordės newe. He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother; He moot as wel seye o word as another. Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ, And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
Also I prey yow to foryeve it me Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
Eek Plato seith, whoso that kan hym rede, "The wordės moote be cosyn to the dede.'
Heere in this tale, as that they sholdė stonde; My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.
Greet chiere made oure hoost us everichon, And to the soper sette he us anon,
And served us with vitaille at the beste:
17 Impute it not to my coarseness.
19 Literally, exactly.
A semely man OUR HOOSTE was with-alle For to han been a marchal in an halle. A large man he was, with eyen stepe,
A fairer burgeys is ther noon in Chepe;22
And after soper pleyen he bigan,
And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
"Ye goon to Canterbury-God yow speede, The blisful martir quité yow youre meede!24 770 And, wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye, Ye shapen yow to talen25 and to pleye; For trewely confort ne myrthe is noon To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon; And therfore wol I maken yow disport, 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 soule, that is deed, But ye be myrie, smyteth of myn heed!
22 Cheapside in London. 25 Prepare to tell stories.
Hoold up youre hond, withouten moore speche." Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche;
Us thoghte it was noght worth to make it wys,1
And graunted hym withouten moore avys,2 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 shorte with your weye, In this viáge shal telle tales tweye,—
To Caunterburyward, I mean it so,
And homward he shal tellen otherė two,Of aventures that whilom han bifalle.
And which of yow that bereth hym beste of alle,
Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
This thyng was graunted, and oure othės
With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
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,
As he han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
To kepe his foreward by his free assent,
THE PARDONER'S TALE
Thise riotoures thre, of whiche I telle, Longe erst er prime13 rong of any belle, Were set hem in a taverne for to drynke; And as they sat they herde a belle clynke Biforn a cors, was carried to his grave. That oon of hem gan callen to his knave:14 Go bet," quod he, "and axe redily15 What cors is this that passeth heer forby, And looke that thou reporte his name 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 peple 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 were necessarie For to be war of swich an adversarie; Beth redy for to meete hym evermoore;
Thus taughte me my dame; I sey na-moore." By Seinte Marie!" seyde this taverner, 685 "The child seith sooth, for he hath slayn this
Henne" over a mile, withinne a greet village, Bothe man and womman, child, and hyne, is and page;
I trowe his habitacioun be there;
To been avysed1o greet wysdom it were, 690 11 Right.
10 Chance, destiny or luck.
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. 18 Hind.
Er that he dide a man a dishonour."
"Ye, Goddės armés!" 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 dignė1 bones Herkneth, felawės, we thre been al ones, Lat ech of us holde up his hand til oother, And ech of us bicomen otherės brother, And we wol sleen this false traytour, Deeth; He shal be slayn, he that so manye sleeth, By Goddės dignitee, er it be nyght!"
Togidres han thise thre hir trouthės2 plight To lyve and dyen ech of hem for oother, As though he were his owene y-borẻ brother; And up they stirte, al dronken, in this rage; And forth they goon towardės that villáge 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
Whan they han goon nat fully half a mile, Right as they wolde han troden over a stile, An oold man and a poure with hem mette; This oldė man ful mekély hem grette And seyed thus: "Now, lordes, God yow see!" The proudeste of thise riotoures three Answerde agayn, "What, carl with sory grace, Why artow al for-wrapped, save thy face? Why lyvestow so longe in so greet age?"
This olde man gan looke in his visage, And seyde thus: "For I ne kan nat fynde A man, though that I walked into Ynde, Neither in citee, ne in no village, That wolde chaunge his youthẻ for myn age; And therfore moot I han myn age stille, As longé tyme as it is Goddes wille. Ne Deeth, allas! ne wol nat han my lyf; Thus walke I, lyk a restėless kaityf, And on the ground which is my moodrės3
I knokke with my staf, erly and late,
Dear Mother. 12 Advice.
Nay, olde cherl, by God, thou shalt nat so!" Seyde this oother hasardour13 anon; "Thou partest nat so lightly, by Seint John! Thou spak right now of thilké traytour, Deeth, That in this contree alle oure freendės 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 false theef!" "Now, sires," quod he, “if that ye so be leef To fynde 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
Se ye that ook? Right there ye shal hym fynde.
God save 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,
This tresor hath Fortúne unto us yeven
But trewėly, by day it may nat bee;
Men wolde seyn that we were theves stronge,
This tresor wel; and if he wol nat tarie,
And it fil on the yongeste of hem alle,
14 Pay for.
16 Weemed, know. 19 Fist.
"Thow knowest wel thou art my sworne brother
That it departed were among us two,
Hadde I nat doon a freendės torn to thee?" 815 That ooth nswerde, "I noot how that may
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,1 "And I shal tellen thee in wordės fewe What we shal doon, and bryngen it wel aboute."
"I graunte," 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 deere freend, bitwixen me and thee. Thanne may we bothe oure lustės all fulfille, And pleye at dees2 right 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
Ther is no man that lyveth under the trone3
Putte in his thought that he sholde poyson beye, 4
With which he myghtė sleen his felawes tweye;
And eek ther was a polcat in his hawe,"
1 Rascal. Utterly.
8 Avenge himself.
A thyng that, al so God my soulė save,
Buy. 10 Give up.
"Now lat us sitte and drynke, and make us merie,
And afterward we wol his body berie;"
O cursed synne of alle cursednesse!
Now, goode men, God foryeve yow youre
And ware yow fro the synne of avarice.
To you, my purse, and to noon other wyght
For, certès, but ye make me hevy chere, Me were as leef be leyd upon my bere, Forwiche unto your mercy thus I crye,Beth hevy ageyn, or allės mot I dye!
THE COMPLEYNT OF CHAUCER TO HIS PURSE c. 1399
12. 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 fen, or part of that book;-not even the fen which specifically treats of poisons. 14 Gambling. 15 Heal.