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And lyk the burned* gold was his colour.
This gentil cok hadde in his govcrnaunce
Sevene hennes, for to doon all his plesaunce,
Whiche were his sustres and his paramours,
And wonder lyk to him, as of2 colours.
Of whiche the faireste hewed on hir throte
Was cleped3 faire damoysele Pertelote. 50
C'urteys she was, discreet, and debonaire1,
And compaignable, and bar hir-self so faire,
Sin thilke day that she was seven night old,
That trewely she hath the herte in hold
Of Chauntecleer loken in every liths,
He loved hir so, that wel him was therwith.
But such a Ioye was it to here hem singe,
Whan that the brighte Sonne gan to springe,
In swete accord, 'my lief is faren in londe8.'
For thilke7 tyme, as I have understonde, 60
Bestes and briddes coude speke and singe.
And so bifel, that in a dawenynge,
As Chauntecleer among his wyves alle
Sat on his perche, that was in the halle,
And next him sat this fair© Pertelote,
This Chauntecleer gan gronen in his throte,
As man that in his dreem is drccched* sore.
And wban that Pertelote thus herde him rore,
She was agast, and seyde, 'o herte decre,
What cyleth yow, to grone in this nianere? 70
Ye ben a verray sleper, fy for shame!'
And he answerde and seyde thus, 'madame,
I pray yow, that ye take it nat agrief9:
By God, me mette10 I was in swich meschief
Eight now, that yet myn herte is sore afright.
Now God,' quod he, 'my swevcneit rede12
And keep my body out of foul prisoun!
Me mette, how that I romed up and doun
Withinne our yerde, wher as I saugh a beste,
Was lyk an hound, and wolde han maail
a rested 80
Upon my body, and wolde han had me deed.
His colour was bitwixe yelwe and reed;
And tipped was his tail, and bothe his ercs
With blak, unlyk the remenant of his heres;
His snowte smal, with glowinge even tweye.
Yet of his look for fere almost I deye;
This caused me my groning. douteles.'
'Avoy'4!' quod she, 'fy on yow, herteles'M
Alias!' quod she, 'for, by that God above,
Now han ye lost myn herte and al my love; 90
I can nat love a coward, by my feith.
For certes, what so any womman seith,
We alle desyren, if it mighte be,
To han housbondes hardy, wyse, and free18,
And secreei', and no nigard, ne no fool,
Xe him that is agast of every tool'3,
Xe noon avauntourio, by that God above!
How dorste ye sayn for shame unto youre love,
That any thing mighte make yow aferdf
Have ye no mannes herte, and han a berdf 100
Alias! and conne ye been agast of swevenis?
Xo-thing, God wot, but vanitee, in sweven is.
Swevenes engendren of replecciouns,
And ofte of fume, and of compleceiouns20,
Whan humours2! been to22 habundant in a
Certes this dreem, which ye han met23 to night,
Cometh of the grete supcrfluitee
Of youre rede colera2*, pardee,
Which causeth folk to dremen in here25 dremes
Of arwes20, and of fyr with rede lemes27, 1111
Of grete bestes, that they wol hem byte,
Of contek-'s, and of whelpes grete and lyte;
Right as the humour of malencolye-'"
Causeth ful many a man, in sleep, to crye,
Por fere of blake beres, or boles30 blake,
Or elles, blake develes wole him take.
Of othere humours coude I telle also,
That werken many a man in sleep ful wo;
But I wol passe as lightly as I can. 119
Lo Catounsi, which that was so wys a man,
Seyde ho nat thus, ne do no fors32 of dremes?
Now, sire,' quod she, 'whan we flee fro the
For Goddes love, as" tak som laxatyf;
Up peril of my soule, and of my lyf,
I counseille yow the beste, I wol nat lye,
That both of colere, and of malencolye'-0
Ye purge yow; and for ye shul nat tarie,
Though in this toun is noon apotecarie,
I shal my-self to herbes techen yow, 129
That shul ben for your hele, and for your
And in our yerd tho herbes shal I fynde.
The whiche han of here propretee, by kynde'-5.
To purgen yow binethe, and eek above.
Forget not this, for Goddes owene love!
Ye been ful colerik of compleccioun.
Ware31' the Sonne in hiB aseencioun
Ne fynde yow nat repleet of humours hote;
And if it do, I dar wel leye a grote',
That ye shul have a fevere terciane2,
Or an agu, that may be youre bane. 140
A day or two ye shul have digestyves
Of worm.es, er ye take your laxatyves,
Of lauriol, centaure, and fumetere3,
Or elles of ellebor4, that groweth there,
Of eatapuce5, or of gaytres* beryis,
Of erbe yve, growing in our yerd, that mery is;
Pekke hem up right as they growe, and ete
Be mery, housbond, for your fader kyn!
Dredeth no dreem; I can say yow namore.'
'Madame,' quod he, 'graunt mercy'' of your
But natheles, as touching daun8 Catoun, 151
That hath of wisdom such a gret renoun,
Though that he bad no dremes for to drede,
By God, men may in olde bokes rede
Of many a man, more of auctoritee
Than evere Catoun was, so moot I thee8,
That al the revers10 seyn of this sentence11,
And han wel founden by experience,
That dremes ben significaciouns,
As wel of Ioye as tribulaciouns 160
That folk enduren in this lyf present.
Ther nedeth make of this noon argument;
The verray preve12 sheweth it in dede.
Oon of the gretteste auctours that men rede13
Seith thus, that whylom two felawes wente
On pilgrimage, in a ful good entente;
And happed so, thay come into a toun,
Wher as ther was swich congregacioun
Of peple, and eek so streit14 of hcrbergage15,
That they ne founde as muche as o cotage, 170
In which they bothe mighte y-logged be.
Wherfor thay mosten, of necessitee,
As for that night, departen compaignye;
And ech of hem goth to his hostelrye,
And took his logging as it wolde falle.
That oon of hem was logged in a stalle,
Fer1* in a yerd, with oxen of the plough;
That other man was logged wel y-nough.
As was his aventure17, or his fortune,
That us governeth alle as in commune18. 180
And so bifel, that, long er it were day,
This man mette in his bed, ther as he lay,
How that his felawe gan up-on him calle,
And seyde, 'alias! for in an oxes stalle
This night I shal be mordred ther1" I lye.
Now help me, dere brother, or I dye;
In alle haste com to me,' he sayde.
This man out of his sleep for fere abrayde-u;
But whan that he was wakned of his sleep,
He turned him, and took of this no keep21, 190
Him thoughte22 his dreem nas but a vanitee.
Thus twyes in his sleping dremed he.
And atte thridue tyme yet his felawe
Com, as him thoughte, and seide, 'I am now
Bihold my bloody woundes, depe and wyde!
Arys up erly in the morwe tyde2*,
And at the west gate of the toun,' quod he,
'A carte ful of donge ther shaltow see,
In which my body is hid ful prively;
Do thilke carte arresten" boldely. 200
My gold caused my mordre, sooth to sayn;'
And tolde him every poynt how he was slayn,
With a ful pitous face, pale of hewe.
And truste wel, his dreem he fond ful trewe;
For on the morwe, as sone as it was day,
To his felawes in he took the way;
And whan that he cam to this oxes stalle,
After his felawe he bigan to calle.
The hostiler answerde him anon,
And seyde, 'sire, your felawe is agon, 210
As sone as day he wente out of the toun.'
This man gan fallen in suspecioun,
Rcmembring on his dremes that he mette,
And forth he goth, no lenger wolde he lette29,
Unto the west gate of the toun, and fond
A dong-carte, as it were to donge lond,
That was arrayed in that same wyse
As ye han herd the dede man devyse27;
And with an hardy herte he gan to crye
Vengeaunce and Iustice of this felonye:— 220
'My felawe mordred is this same night,
And in this carte he lyth gapinge upright.
I crye out on the ministres28,' quod he,
'That shoklen kepe and reulen this citee;
Harrow! alias! her lyth my felawe slayn!'
What sholde I more un to this tale saynf
The peple out-sterte, and caste the cart to
And in the middel of the dong they founde
The dede man, that mordred was al newe. 229
'O blisful God, that art so lust and trewe! Lo, how that thou biwreyest28 mordre alway! Mordre wol out, that se we day by day. Mordre is so wlatsom39 and abhominable To God, that is so lust and resonable,
That he ne wol nat suffre it heledi be;
Though it abyde a yeer, or two, or three,
Mordre wol out, this2 my conclusioun.
And right anoon, ministres of that toun
Han hent the carter, and so sore him pyned3,
And eek the hostiler so sore engyned4; 240
That thay biknewe5 hir wikkednesse anoon,
And were an-hanged by the nekke-boon.
'Here may men seen that dremcs been to drede.
And certes, in the same book I rede,
Right in the nexte chapitre after this,
(I gabbc8 nat, so have I Ioye or blis,)
Two men that wolde han passed over see,
For certeyn cause, in to a fer contree,
If that the wind ne hadde been contrarie,
That made hem in a citee for to tarie, 250
That stood ful mery upon an haven-syde.
But on a day, agayn7 the even-tyde,
The wind gan chaunge, and blew right as hem
Iolif and glad they wente un-to hir reste,
And easten hem' ful erly for to saille;
But to that oo° man fel a greet mervaille10.
That oon of hem, in sleping as he lay,
Him mette a wonder dreem, agayn7 the day;
Him thoughte a man stood by his beddes syde,
And him comaunded, that he sholde abyde11,
And seyde him thuB, 'if thou to-morwe
Thou shalt be dreynt12; my tale is at an ende.'
He wook, and tolde his felawe what he mette,
And preyde him his viage for to lette13;
As1* for that day, he preyde him to abyde.
His felawe, that lay by his beddes syde,
Gan for to laughe, and scorned him ful faste.
'No dreem,' quod he, 'may so myn herte
That I wol letto13 for to do my thinges1".
I sette not a straw by thy dreminges, 270
For swevencs been but vanitees and Iapes17.
Men dreme al-day13 of owles or of apes,
And eek of many a mase1* therwithal;
Men dreme of thing that nevere was ne shal.
But sith2° I see that thou wolt heer abyde,
And thus for-sleuthen21 wilfully thy tyde,
God wot it reweth22 me; and have good day.'
And thus he took his leve, and wento his way.
But er that he hadde halfe his cours v-seyled,
Noot23 I nat why, ne what mischaunce it eyled24,
But casuelly25 the shippes botme rente, 2S1
And ship and man under the water wente
In sighte of othere shippes it byside,
That with hem seyled at the same tyde.
And therfor, faire Pertelote so dere,
By swiche ensamples olde maistow2* lere27,
That no man sholde been to recchelees23
Of dremes, for I sey thee, doutelees,
That many a dreem ful sore is for to drede.
'Lo, in the lyf of seint Kenelm, I rede, 290 That was Kenulphus sone, the noble king Of Mercenrike2o, how Kenelm mette a thing; A lyte3" er he was mordred, on a day, His mordre in his avisiounsi he say32. His noriee33 him expouned every del His Bwevene, and bad him for to kepe him we! For3* traisoun; but he nas but seven yeer old,
And therfore litel tale's hath he told3«
Of any dreem, so holy was his herte.
By God, I hadde levere37 than my sherte 300
That ye had rad38 his legende, as have I.
Dame Pertelote, I sey yow trewely,
Macrobeus, that writ the avisioun3"
In Affrike of the worthy (Jipioun,
Affermeth dremes, and seith that they been
Warning of thinges that men after seen.
And forther-more, I pray yow loketh wel
In the olde testament, of Daniel,
If he held dremes any vanitee.
Reed eek of Ioseph, and ther shul ye see 310
WheHO dremes ben somtyme (I sey nat alle)
Warning of thinges that shul after falle.
Loke of Egipt the king, daun41 Pharao,
His bakere and his boteler42 also,
Wher4<> they ne felte noon effect in dremes.
Who so wol seken aotes43 of sondry remes44
May rede of dremes many a wonder thing.
'Lo Oesus, which that was of Lyde45 kinj;, Mette he nat that he sat upon a tree, Which signified he sholde anhanged bet 320 Lo heer Andromaeha, Ectores wyf. That day that Ector sholde lege" his lyf. She dremed on the same night biforn, How that the lyf of Ector sholde be lorn-*7,
If thilke day be wente in-to bataille;
She warned him, but it mighte nat availle;
He wente for to fighte nathelea,
But he was slayn anoom of2 Achilles.
But thilke tale is al to long to telle,
And eek it is ny8 Jay, I may nat dwelle. 330
Shortly I seye, as for conclusioun,
That I shal han of this aviaioun
Adversitee; and I seye forther-more,
That I ne telle of laxatyves no store4,
For they ben venimous5, I woot it wel;
I hem defye, I love hem nevere a del.
'Now let us speke of mirthe, and stinte al
Madame Pertelote, so have I blis",
Of o thing God hath sent me large grace;
For whan I see the beautee of your face, 340
Ye ben so scarlet-reed about youre yen,
It maketh al my drede for to dyen;
For, also siker? as In principio,
Mulier est hominis confusio*;
Madame, the sentence of this Latin is—
Womman is mannes Ioye and al his blis;
I am so ful of Ioye and of solas 350
That I defye bothe sweven and dreem.'
And with that word he fley8 doun fro the
For it was day, and eek his hennes alle;
And with a chuk he gan hem for to calle,
For he had founde a corn, lay in the yerd.
Roial he was, he was namore aferd;
He loketh as it were a grim leoun;
And on his toos he roraeth up and doun, 360
Him deyned10 not to sette his foot to grounde.
He chukketh, whan he hath a corn y-founde,
And to him rennen" thanne his wyves alle.
Thus roial, as a prince is in his halle,
Leve I this Chauntecleer in his pasture;
And after wol I telle his aventure.
Whan that the month in which the world bigan,
That highte March, whan God first maked man,
Was complet, and y-passed were also,
Sin March bigan, thritty dayes and two, 370
Bifel that Chauntecleer, in al his pryde,
His seven wyves walking by his syde,
Caste up his eyen to the brighte sonne,
That in the signe of Taurus hadde y-ronne
Twenty degrees and oon, and somwhat more;
And knew by kynde, and by noon other lore,
That it was pryme12, and crew with blisful stevenei*.
'The Sonne,' he sayde, 'is clomben up on hevene
Fourty degrees and oon, and more, y-wis.
Madame Pertelote, my worldes blis, 380
Herkneth thLse blisful briddes14 how they singe,
And see the fresshe floures how they springe;
Ful is myn hert of revel and solas.'
But sodeinly him fd a sorweful cas*5;
For evere the latter ende of Ioye is wo.
God woot that worldly Ioye is sone ago18;
And if a rethor" coude faire endyte18,
He in a chronique sauflyio mighte it write,
As for a sovereyn notabilitee20. 389
Now every wys man, lat him herkne me;
This storie is al-so trewe, I undertake2!,
As is the book of Launcelot de Lake22,
That wommen holde in ful gret reverence.
Now wol I tome agayn to my sentence.
A col2S-fox, ful of sly iniquitee,
That in the grove hadde woned yeres three,
By heigh imaginacioun forn-cast24,
The same night thurgh-out the hegges" brast28
Into the yerd, ther Chauntecleer the faire
Was wont, and eek his wyves, to repaire; 400
And in a bed of wortes27 stille he lay,
Til it was passed undern28 of the day,
Wayting his tyme on Chauntecleer to falle
As gladly doon thise homicydes alle,
That in awayt liggen28 to mordre men.
O false mordrer, lurking in thy den!
O ncwe Scariotso, newe Genilonsi!
False dissimilour82, O Greek Sinon",
That broghtest Troye al-outrely84 to sorwel
O Chauntecleer, acursed be that morwe, 410
That thou into that yerd Sough fro the bemes!
Thou were ful wel y-warned by thy dremes,
That thilke day was perilous to thee.
But what that God forwots5 mot nedes be,
After the opinioun of certeyn clerkis.
Witnesse on88 him, that any perfit clerk is,
That in scole is gret altercacioun
In this matere, and greet disputisoun,
And hath ben of an hundred thousand men.
But I ne can not bulte it to the breni, 420
As can the holy doctour Augustyn2,
Or Boece>, or the bishop Bradwardyn*,
Whether that Goddes worthy forwiting
Streyneths me nedely for to doon a thing,
(Nedely clepe I simple necessitee);
Or elles, if free choys be graunted me
To do that same thing, or do it noght,
Though God forwot it, er that it was wroght;
Or if his witing streyneth nevere a del
But by necessitee condicionel*. 430
I wol not han to do of swich mater e;
My tale is of a eok, as ye may here,
That took his counseil of his wyf, with sorwe,
To walken in the yerd upon that morwe
That he had met the dreem, that I of tolde.
Wommennes counseils been ful of te colde';
Wommannes counseil broghte us first to wo,
And made Adam fro paradys to go,
Ther as he was ful mery, and wel at ese.
But for I noot«, to whom it mighte displese,
If I counseil of wommen wolde blame, 441
Passe over, for I seyde it in my game".
Rede auctours, wher they trete of swich matere,
And what thay seyn of wommen ye may here.
Thise been the cokkes wordes, and nat myne;
I can noon harme of no womman divyne.
Faire in the sond, to bathe hire merily,
Lyth Pertelote, and alle hir sustres by,
Agaynio the Sonne; and Chauntecleer so free
Song merier than the mermayde in the
For Phisiologus" seith sikerly,
How that they singen wel and merily.
And so bifel, that as he caste his ye'2,
Among the wortea, on a boterflye,
He was war»* of this fox that lay ful lowe.
No-thing ne liste him thanne for to crowe,
But cryde anon, 'cok, cok,' and up he sterte,
As man that was affrayed in his herte.
For naturelly a beest desyreth flee
Fro his contrarie14, if he may it see, 460
Though he never erst had seyn it with his ye.
This Chauntecleer, whan he gan him espye'5,
He wolde han fled, but that the fox anon
Seyde, 'Gentil sire, alias! wher wol ye gonl
Be ye affrayed of me that am your freendf
Now certes, I were worse than a feend,
If I to yow wolde harm or vileinye.
I am nat come your counseil for tespye;
But trewely, the cause of my cominge
Was only for to herkne how that ye singe. 470
For trewely ye have as mery a stevene'*,
As eny aungel hath, that is in hevene;
Therwith ye han in musik more felinge
Than hadde Boece, or any that can singe.
My lord your fader (God his soule blesse!)
And eek your moder, of hir gentilesse,
Han in myn hous y-been, to my gret ese17;
And certes, sire, ful fayn wolde I yow plese.
But for men speke of singing, I wol save.
So mote I brouke'8 wel myn eyen tweye, 4*0
Save yow, I herde nevere man so singe,
As dide your fader in the morweninge;
Certes, it was of herte18, al that he song.
And for to make his voys the more strong,
He wolde so peyne himzo, that with both his
He moste winke", so loude he wolde cryen,
And stonden on his tiptoon therwitha],
And strecche forth his nekke long and smal.
And eek he was of swich discrecioun,
That ther nas no man in no regioun 49*
That him in song or wisdom mighte passe.
I have weel rad in daun^z Burnel the Asse,
Among his vers, how that ther was a cok,
For that a prestes sone yaf him a knok
Upon his leg, why] he was yong and nyce2*,
He made him for to lese his benefyce**.
But ceTteyn, ther niB no comparisoun
Bitwix the wisdom and discrecioun
Of your fader, and of his subtiltee.
Now singeth, sire, for seinte charitee, 50°
Let se, conne ye your fader countref ete f'
This Chauntecleer his winges gan to bete.
As man that coude his tresoun nat espye,
So was he ravisshed with his flaterye.
Alias! ye lordes, many a fals flatour25
Is in your courtes, and many a losengeour-«.
That plesen yow wel more, by my feith,
Than he that soothfastnesse unto yow seith.
Redeth Ecclesiaste" of flaterye;
Beth war, ye lordes, of hir trecherye. 510