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This Chauntecleer stood hye up-on his toos, Strecching Lis nekke, and held his eyen cloos, And gan to crowe loude for the nones1; Ami daun Russel- the foxe sterte up at ones, And by the gargat3 hente Chauntecleer, And on his bak toward the wode him beer4, For yet ne was ther no man that him sewed5. O destinee, that mayst nat ben eschewed! Alias, that Chauntecleer fleigh fro the bemes! Alias, his wyf ne roghte0 nat of dremes! '120 And on a Friday fil al this meschaunce. O Venus, that art goddesse of plesaunce, Sin that thy servant was this Chauntecleer,
Why woldestow suffre him on thy day to dye?
The Friday for to chide, as diden yef 531
For Chauntecleres drede, and for his peyne.
Certes, swich cry ne lamentacioun Was nevere of ladies maad, whan Ilioun Was wonne, and Pirrus10 with his streite11 swerd,
Whan he hadde hent king Priam by the berd,
And slayn him (as saith us Eneydos)^,
As maden alle the hennes in the clos13, 540
Whan they had seyn of Chauntecleer the sighte.
But sovereynlyi* dame Pertelote shrighte15,
Ful louder than dide Hasdrubalesi" wyf,
Whan that hir housbond hadde lost his lyf,
And that the Bomayns hadde brend Cartage,
She was so ful of torment and of rage,
That wilfully into the fyr she sterte17,
And brende18 hir-selven with a stedfast herte.
O woful hennes, right so cryden ye,
As, whan that Nero brende the citee 550
Of Bome, cryden senatoureB wyves,
For that hir housbondes losten alle hir lyves;
Withouten gilt19 this Nero hath hem slayn.
Now wol I torne to my tale agayn:
This sely20 widwe, and eek hir doghtres two,
Herden thise hennes crye and maken wo,
And Malkin2-, with a distaf in hir hand;
And therwithal thay shryked and they houped80;
Lo, how fortune turneth sodeinly The hope and pryde eek of hir enemy! This cok, that lay upon the foxes bak, In al his drede, un-to the fox he spak, And seyde, 'sire, if that I were as ye, Yet sholde I seyn (as wis31 God helpe me), Turneth agayn, ye proude cherles alle! A verray pestilence up-on yow falle! 590 Now am I come un-to this wodes syde, Maugree32 your heed, the cok shal heer abyde; I wol him ete in f eith, and that anon.'— The fox answerde, 'In feith, it shal be don,'— And as he spak that word, al sodeinly This cok brak from his mouth deliverly83, And heighe up-on a tree he fleigh anon. And whan the fox saugh that he was y-gon, 'Alias!' quod he, 'O Chauntecleer, alias! I have to yow,' quod he, 'y-doon trespas, 600 In-as-muche as I maked yow aferd, Whan 1 yow hente, and broghte out of the yerd;
But, sire, I dide it in no wikkei entente;
If thou bigyle me ofter than ones.
Thon shalt namorp, thurgh thy flaterye
Do3 me to singe and winke with myn yij. 610
For he that winketh, whan he sholde see,
Al wilfully, God lat him never thee4!
'Nay,' quod the fox, 'but God yive him
mesehaunce, That is so undiscreet of governaunce, That iangleth5 whan he sholde holde his pecs.'
Lo, swich it is for to be recchelees,
Now, gode God, if that it be thy wille,
From THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMION
The Story Of Thisbe Of Babylon, Martyr
Incipit Lcyende Testa liabilon, Martiria
At Babiloyne whilom fil it" thus,—
The name of everychei3 gan to other spryngen,
Maydens ben y-kept for jelousye
Ful streyte15, leste they diden somme folye.
This yonge man was cleped Piramus, And Tesbe highte the maide,—Naso'0 seith thus.
And thus by reporte was hir name y-shove1",
That as they wex in age, wex hir love.
And certeyn, as by reson of hir age,
Ther myghte have ben betwex hem manage,
But that hir fadres noldis it not assente, 730
And both in love y-like soore they brente19.
That noon of al hir frendes myghte it lette20.
But prevely2' somtyme yit they mette
By sleight, and spoken somme of hir desire,
As wre the glede22 and hotter is the fire;
Forbeede a love, and it is ten so woode-'s.
This wal, which that bitwixe hem bothe stoode,
Was cloven a-two, right fro the toppe adoun.
And thus here27 wardeyn wolde they disceyve, And every day this walle they wolde threete2*, And wisshe to God that it were doun y bete. Thus wolde they seyn: 'Alias, thou wikked walle!
Thurgh thyn envye thow us lettest28 alle!
Why nyltow cleve30, or fallen al a-two J
Or at the lceste, but thow wouldest so3',
Yit woldestow but ones let us meete, 760
Or ones that we myghte kyssen sweete,
Than were we covered32 of oure cares colde.
But natheles, yit be we to thee holde33,
In as muche as thou suffrest for to goon
Our wordes thurgh thy lyme and eke thy stoon;
10 Ovid (Publlus Ovld
lus Naso) in Met a
morphose* iv 53.
ff.. wbence this
story is taken. 17 their names were
(literally pushed) l s would not 10 burned
22 cover the glowing
23 ton times as pas
25 scarcely at all
28 threaten 20 hlnderest
30 wilt thou not cleave
31 If thou wouldest not
do that S2 recovered 33 beholden Yet oghte we with the ben wel apayedei.'
And whan these idel wordes weren sayde, The eolde walle they wolden kysse of stoon, And take hir leve, and forth they wolden goon. And this was gladly in the evetyde, 770 Or wonder erly, lest men it espyede. And longe tyme they wrogbt in this manere, Til on a day, whan Phebus2 gan to elere3— Aurora with the stremes of hire hete4 Had dried uppe the dewe of herbes wete— Unto this clyfte, as it was wont to be, Come Piramus, and after come Tesbe. And plighten trouthe5 fully in here faye8, That ilke same nyght to Steele awaye, And to begile hire wardeyns everychone, 780 And forth out of the eitee for to gone. And, for the feeldes ben so broode and wide, F6r to meete in o place at o tyde They sette markes, hire metyng sholde bee Ther7 kyng Nynus was graven8, under a tree,— For olde payens9, that ydoles heriede10, Useden tho in feeldes to ben beriedeii,— And faste by his grave was a welle. And, shortly of this tale for to telle, This covenaunt was affermed wonder faste, 790 And longe hem thoghte that the sonne lasts, That it nere goon'2 under the see adoun.
This Tesbe hath so greete affeccioun, And so grete lykynge Piramus to see, That whan she seigh hire tyme myghte bee, At nyght she staleis awey ful prevely, With hire face y-wympled subtilly. For a] hire frendes, for to save hire trouthe, She hath forsake; alias, and that is routhe14, That ever woman wolde be so trewe 800 To trusten man, but she the bet hym knewe1"'!
And to the tree she goth a ful goode paas'°, For love made hir so hardy in this caas; And by the welle adoun she gan hir dressei7. Alias! than comith a wilde lconesse Out of the woode, withouten more arreste18, With blody mouth, of strangelynge of a beste, To drynken of the welle ther as she sat. And whan that Tesbe had espyed that, She rysti' hir up, with a ful drery herte, 810 And in a cave with dredful foot she sterte, For by the moone she saugh it wel withalle. And as she ranne, hir wympel leet she falle, And tooke noon hede, so sore she was awhaped2",
And eke so glade that she was escaped;
And at the laste this Piramus is come,
'Alias,' quod he, 'the day that I was borne 1
Now Tesbe, which that wyste32 nat of this,
And lyke the wawesi quappe2 gan hir herte,
Who koude write which a dedely ehere
rentet 870 And how she gan hir-selve to turmentef And how she lyth and swowneth on the
And. how she wepe of teres ful his woundef How medleth7 she his blood with hir compleyntef
How with his blood hir-selven gan she peyntef
This woful man, that was nat fully deed,
Tesbe rist uppe, withouten noyse or boste10, And saugh hir wympel and his empty shethe, And eke his swerde, that him hath don to dethe.
Than spake she thus: 1 Thy woful hande,' quod she, 890
'Is strong ynogh in swiche a werke to me;
For love shal me yive strengthe and hardynesse,
To make my wounde large ynogh, I gesse.
'And now, ye wrecehed jelouse fadres oure,
And for my parte I shal anon it kythe"!' And with that worde his swerde she took as swithe'5,
That warme was of hire loves blood, and hote, And to the herte she hire-selvcn smote.
And thus are Tesbe and Piramus ago18. Of trewe men I fynde but fevve mo In al my bookes, save this Piramus, And therfore have I spoken of hym thus For it is deyntee to us men to fynde 920 A man that kan in love be trewe and kynde.
Here may ye seen, what lover so he be, A woman dar and kan as wel as he.
THE COMPLEYNT OF CHAUCEB TO HIS PUBSE
To you, my purse, and to noon other wyght Compleyne I, for ye be my lady dere!
I am so sorry now that ye been light;
For, certes, but ye make me hevy cherei7,
For whiche unto your mercy thus I erye,-—
Beth19 hcvy ageyn, or elles mot20 I dye!
Now voucheth sauf21 this day or hit22 be nyght,
Or see your colour lyk the sonne bright, 10
Queue of comfort and of good companye!
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye.
Now, purse, that be to me my lyves light And saveour, as doun27 in this worlde here,
Out of this toun help me throgh your myght, Syn28 that ye wole not been my tresorere-'; For I am shave as nye as is a frere3n.
But yet I pray unto your curtesye, 20
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye!
L'Envoye De Chaucer
Ben verray kyng, this song to you I sende. And ye that mowen82 al myn harm amende, Have mynde upon my supplicacioun!
FROM THE TRAVELS OF SIR
Forasmuch as the land beyond the sea, that is to say the Holy Land, that men call the Land of Promission or of Behesti, passing all other lands, is the most worthy land, most excellent, and lady and sovereign of all other lands, and is blessed and hallowed of the precious body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; in the which land it liked him to take flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary, to environ2 that holy land with his blessed feet; . . . and forasmuch as it is long time passed that there was nu general passage ne voyage over the sea; and many men desire for to hear speak of the Holy Land, and have thereof great solace and com fort;—I, John Mandeville, Knight, albeit I be not worthy, that was born in England, in the town of St. Albans, and passed the sea in the year of our Lord Jesu Christ, 1322, in the day of St. Michael; and hitherto have been long time over the sea, and have seen and gone through many diverse lands, and many provinces and kingdoms and isles; and have passed throughout Turkey, Armenia the little and the great; through Tartary, Persia, Syria, Arabia, Egypt the high and the low; through Libya, Chaldea, and a great part of Ethiopia; through Amazonia, Ind the less and the moret, a great part; and throughout many other isles that be about Ind, where dwell many diverse folks, and of diverse manners and laws, and of diverse shapes of men; ... I shall tell the way that they shall hold thither. For I have oftentimes passed and ridden that way, with good company of many lords. Qod be thanked!
And ye shall understand that I have put this book out of Latin into French, and translated it again out of French into English, that every man of my nation may understand it. But lords and knights and other noble and worthy men that con' Latin but little, and
i Land of Promise a know
z go about
•This book, which was extremely popular in Its day. was accepted then and long after in good faith. We now know it to be mainly a compilation from other books of travel. Ingeniously passed off as a record of original experience. "Mandeville" is probably a fictitious name. The oldest MS. is in French, dated 1371. The English translation from which our selections are taken was made after 1400. and therefore represents the language of the generation succeeding Chaucer. The spelling is modernized. See Eng. Lit., p. 44.
t Mandeville here couples the fabulous land of the Amazons with the actual Lesser and Greater India.
have been beyond the sea, know and understand if I say truth or no, and if I err in devising*, for forgetting or else, that they may redress it and amend it. For things passed out of long time from a man's mind or from his sight, turn soon into forgetting; because that5 the mind of man ne may not be comprehended ne withholden, for the frailty of mankind.}
Of The Cross Op Our Lord Jesu Christ
At Constantinople is the cross of our Lord Jesu Christ, and his coat without scams, that is clept tunica inconsutilis", and the sponge, and the reed, of the which the Jews gave our Lord eisel7 and gall, in» the cross. And there is one of the nails that Christ was nailed with on the cross. And some men trow that half the cross, that Christ was done on, be in Cyprus, in an abbey of monks, that men call the Hill of the Holy Cross; but it is not so. For that cross, that is in Cyprus, is the cross in the which Dismas the good thief was hanged on. But all men know not that; and that is evil y-done«. For for profit of the offering they say that it is the cross of our Lord Jesu Christ.
And ye shall understand that the cross of our Lord was made of four manner of trees, as it is contained in this verse,—In cruce fit palma, cedrus, cypressus, oliva. For that piece that went upright from the earth to the head was of cypress; and the piece that went overthwart, to the which his hands were nailed, was of palm; and the stock, that stood within the earth, in the which was made the mortise, was of cedar; and the table above his head, that was a foot and an half long, on the which the title was written in Hebrew, Qreek, and Latin, that was of olive. . . .
And the Christian men, that dwell beyond the sea, in Greece, say that the tree of the cross, that we call cypress, waB of that tree that Adam ate the apple off; and that find they written. And they say also that their scripture saith that Adam was sick, and said to his son Seth, that he should go to the angel that kept Paradise, that he would send him oil of mercy, for to anoint with his members, that he might have health. And Seth went. But the angel would not let him come in; but said
4 relating 8 on
5 because 8 Old past participle;
6 called "the tunic un- y equals German
t Possibly "Sir John" means to give the reader n sly hint here that it is also one of the frailties of mankind to tell big stories.