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Han sped hem for to burien him ful faste; And in a tombe of marbul-stones clere
With cursed Iewes, as it is notable, This abbot, which that was an holy man 190
For it nis but a litel whyle ago; As monkes been, or elles oghten be, Preye eek for us, we sinful folk unstable, This yonge child to coniure he bigan, That, of his mercy, god so merciable And seyde, o dere child, I halse thee, On us his grete mercy multiplye, In vertu of the holy Trinitee,
For reverence of his moder Marye. Amen. Tell me what is thy cause for to singe, Here is ended the Prioresses Tale Sith that thy throte is cut, to my seminge ?'
THE PROLOGUE OF THE NONNE •My throte is cut un-to my nekke-boon,'
Ho!' quod the knight, 'good sir, na-more But Iesu Crist, as ye in bokes finde,
of this, Wil that his glorie laste and be in minde, That ye han seyd is right y-nough, y-wis, And, for the worship of his moder dere, And mochel more; for litel hevinesse Yet may I singe “O Alma" loude and Is right y-nough to mochel folk, I gesse. clere.
for me, it is a greet disese
Wher-as men ban ben in greet welthe and This welle of mercy, Cristes moder swete, I lovede alwey, as after my conninge; To heren of bir sodeyn fal, allas ! And whan that I my lyf sholde forlete, And the contrarie is Ioie and greet solas, To me she cam, and bad me for to singe As whan a man hath been in povre estaat, This antem verraily in my deyinge,
And clymbeth up, and wexeth fortunat, jo As ye han herd, and, whan that I had And ther abydeth in prosperitee, songe,
Swich thing is gladsom, as it thinketh me, Me thoughte, she leyde a greyn up-on my And of swich thing were goodly for to tonge.
• Ye,' quod our hoste, by Seint Poules Wherfor I singe, and singe I moot certeyn belle, In honour of that blisful mayden free, Ye seye right sooth; this monk, he clappeth Til fro my tonge of-taken is the greyn;
loude, And afterward thus seyde she to me, He spak how “fortune covered with a “My litel child, now wol I fecche thee
cloude" Whan that the greyn is fro thy tonge y-take; I noot never what, and als of a “ Tragedie" Be nat agast, I wol thee nat forsake." Right now ye herde, and parde ! no remedie
It is for to biwaille, ne compleyne This holy monk, this abbot, him mene I, That that is doon, and als it is a peyne, His tonge out-caughte, and took a-wey the As ye han seyd, to here of hevinesse. greyn,
Sir monk, na-more of this, so god yow And he yaf up the goost ful softely.
blesse ! And whan this abbot had this wonder seyn, Your tale anoyeth al this companye; His salte teres trikled doun as reyn, Swich talking is nat worth a boterflye; And gruf he fil al plat up-on the grounde, For ther-in is ther no desport ne game. And stille he lay as he had been y-bounde. Wherfor, sir Monk, or dan Piers by your
name, The covent eek lay on the pavement I preye yow hertely, telle us somwhat Weping, and herien Cristes moder dere,
elles, And after that they ryse, and forth ben For sikerly, nere clinking of your belles, , went,
That on your brydel hange on every syde, And toke awey this martir fro bis bere, By heven king, that for us alle dyde,
I sholde er this han fallen doun for slepe, No deyntee morsel passed thurgh hir Although the slough had never been so
Hir dyete was accordant to hir cote. Than had your tale al be told in vayn. Repleccioun ne made hir never syk; For certeinly, as that thise clerkes seyn, Attempree dyete was al hir pbisyk, “Wher-as a man may have noon audience, And exercyse, and hertes suffisaunce. Noght helpeth it to tellen his sentence." The goute lette hir no-thing for to daunce, And wel I woot the substance is in me, Napoplexye shente nat hir heed; If any thing shal wel reported be.
No wyn ne drank she, neither whyt ne reed; Sir, sey 'somwhat of hunting, I yow preye.' Hir bord was served most with whyt and • Nay,' quod this monk, 'I have no lust to blak, pleye;
Milk and broun breed, in which she fond Now let another telle, as I have told.'
no lak, Than spak our host, with rude speche and Seynd bacoun, and somtyme an ey or bold,
tweye, And seyde un-to the Nonnes Preest anon, For she was as it were a maner deye. •Com neer, thou preest, com hider, thou sir A yerd she hadde, enclosed al aboute Iobn,
With stikkes, and a drye dich with-oute, Telus swich thing as may our bertes In which she hadde a cok, hight Chaunteglade,
cleer, Be blythe, though thou ryde up-on a Iade. In all the land of crowing nas his peer. What though thyn hors be bothe foule and His vois was merier than the mery orgon lene,
On messe-dayes that in the chirche gou; If he wol serve thee, rekke nat a bene; Wel sikerer was his crowing in his logge, Look that thyn berte be mery evermo.
Than is a clokke, or an abbey orlogge. • Yis, sir,' quod he, ‘yis, host, so mote I By nature knew he ech ascencioun go,
Of equinoxial in thilke toun; But I be mery, y-wis, I wol be blamed:'- For whan degrees fiftene were ascended, And right anon his tale he hath attamed, Thanne crew he, that it mighte nat ben And thus he seyde un-to us everichon,
amended. This swete preest, this goodly man, sir His comb was redder than the fyn coral, Iohn.
And batailed, as it were a castel-wal.
His bile was blak, and as the Ieet it shoon;
Lyk asur were his legges, and his toon; Here Biginneth the Nonne Preestes Tale
His nayles whytter than the lilie flour, of the Cok and Hen, Chaunte
And lyk the burned gold was his colons. cleer and Pertelote
This gentil cok hadde in his governaunce
Sevene hennes, for to doon al his plesA POVRE widwe, somdel stape in age,
aunce, Was whylom dwelling in a narwe cotage, Whiche were his sustres and his paraByside a grove, stonding in a dale.
mours, This widwe, of which I telle yow my tale, And wonder lyk to him, as of colours. Sin thilke day that she was last a wyf, Of whiche the faireste hewed on hir throte In pacience ladde a ful simple lyf,
Was cleped faire damoysele Pertelote. For litel was hir catel and hir rente; Curteys she was, discreet, and debonaire, By housbondrye, of such as God hir sente, And compaignable, and bar hir-self so She fond hir-self, and eek hir doghtren
Sin thilke day that she was seven night Three large sowes hadde she, and namo,
old, Three kyn, and eek a sheep that highte That trewely she bath the herte in hold Malle.
Of Chauntecleer loken in every lith; Ful sooty was hir bour, and eek hir halle, He loved hir so, that wel was him therIn which she eet ful many a sclendre
But such a loye was it to here hem singe, Of poynaunt sauce hir neded never a deel. Whan that the brighte sonne gan to springe,
In swete accord, 'my lief is faren in londe.' For thilke tyme, as I have understonde, Bestes and briddes coude speke and singe.
And so bifel, that in a daweninge, As Chauntecleer among his wyves alle Sat on his perche, that was in the halle, And next him sat this faire Pertelote, This Chauntecleer gan gronen in his
throte, As man that in his dreem is drecched sore. And wban that Pertelote thus herde him
rore, She was agast, and seyde, 'O herte dere, What eyleth yow, to grone in this manere ? Ye been a verray sleper, fy for shame!' And he answerde and seyde thus, 'madame, I pray yow, that ye take it nat a-grief : By god, me mette I was in swich meschief Right now, that yet myn herte is sore
afright. Now god,' quod he, my swevene recche
aright, 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 maad
areste Upon my body, and wolde han had me
deed. His colour was bitwise yelwe and reed; And tipped was his tail, and bothe his eres, With blak, unlyk the remenant of his heres; His snowte smal, with glowinge eyen tweye. Yet of his look for fere almost I deye; 140 This caused me my groning, doutelees.' * Avoy !' quod she, "fy on yow, herte
lees! Allas !' quod she, ‘for, by that god above, Now han ye lost myn herte and al my love; 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 lardy, wyse, and free, And secree, and no nigard, ne no fool, Ne hiin that is agast of every tool, Ne noon avauntour, by that god above ! How dorste ye seyn for shame unto your
love, That any thing mighte make yow aferd ? Have ye no mannes herte, and han a berd ? Allas ! and conne ye been agast of swevenis ? No-thing, god wot, but vanitee, in sweven is. Swevenes engendren of replecciouns, And ofte of fume, and of compleccionns,
Whan humours been to habundant in a
wight. Certes this dreem, which ye han met to
night, Cometh of the grete superfluitee Of youre rede colera, pardee, Which causeth folk to dreden in here
dremes Of arwes, and of fyr with rede lemes, Of grete bestes, that they wol hem byte, Of contek, and of whelpes grete and lyte; Right as the humour of malencolye Causeth ful many a man, in sleep, to crye, For fere of blake beres, or boles blake, Or elles, blake develes wole hem 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.
Lo Catoun, which that was so wys a man, Seyde he nat thus, ne do no fors of dremes ? Now, sire,' quod she, 'whan we flee fro the
bemes, 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 bothe of colere and of malencolye 180 Ye purge yow; and for ye shul nat tarie, Though in this toun is noon apotecarie, I shal my-self to herbes techen yow, That shul ben for your hele, and for your
prow; And in our yerd tho herbes shal I finde, The whiche ban of bir propretee, by kinde, To purgen yow binethe, and eek above. Forget not this, for goddes owene love! Ye been ful colerik of compleccioun. Ware the sonne in his ascencioun Ne fynde yow nat repleet of humours
hote; And if it do, I dar wel leye a grote, That
shul have a fevere terciane, Or an agu, that may be youre bane. A day or two ye shul have digestyves Of wormes, er ye take your laxatyves, Of lauriol, centaure, and fumetere, Or elles of ellebor, that groweth there, Of catapuce, or of gaytres beryis, Of erbe yve, growing in our yerd, that
Pekke hem up right as they growe, and ete
hem in. Be mery, housbond, for your fader kin ! Dredeth no dreem; I can say yow na-more.'
• Madame,' quod he, graunt mercy of
But nathelees, as touching daun Catonn, With a ful pitous face, pale of hewe.
And whan that he cam to this oxes stalle,
The hostiler answered him anon, And han wel founden by experience, And seyde, sire, your felawe is agon, That dremes ben significaciouns,
As sone as day he wente out of the toun.' As wel of Ioye as tribulaciouns
This man gan fallen in suspecioun, That folk enduren in this lyf present. Remembring on his dremes that he mette, Ther nedeth make of this noon argument; And forth he goth, no lenger wolde he lette, The verray preve sheweth it in dede.' Unto the west gate of the toun, and fond Oon of the gretteste auctours that men A dong-carte, as it were to donge lond, 270 rede
That was arrayed in the same wyse Seith thus, that whylom two felawes wente As ye han herd the dede man devyse; On pilgrimage, in a ful good entente; And with an hardy herte he gan to crye And happed so, thay come into a tonn, Vengeaunce and Iustice of this felonye: Wher-as ther was swich congregacioun *My felawe mordred is this same nignt, Of peple, and eek so streit of herbergage, And in this carte he lyth gapinge upright. That they ne founde as muche as o cotage, I crye out on the ministres,' qnod he, In which they bothe mighte y-logged be. • That sholden kepe and reulen this citee; Wherfor thay mosten, of necessitee, Harrow! allas! her lyth my felawe slayn!' As for that night, departen compaignye; What sholde I more un-to this tale sayn? 280 And ech of hem goth to his hostelrye, The peple out-sterte, and caste the cart to And took his logging as it wolde falle.
grounde, That oon of hem was logged in a stalle, And in the middel of the dong they founde Fer in a yerd, with oxen of the plough; The dede man, that mordred was al newe. That other man was logged wel y-nough, O blisful god, that art so Iust and trewe! As was his aventure, or his fortune, Lo, how that thou biwreyest mordre alway! That us governeth alle as in commune. Mordre wol out, that see we day by day.
And so bifel, that, longe er it were day, Mordre is so wlatsom and abhominable This man mette in his bed, ther-as he lay, To god, that is so Iust and resonable, How that his felawe gan up-on bim calle, That he ne wol nat suffre it heled be; 289 And seyde, 'allas! for in an oxes stalle Though it abyde a yeer, or two, or three, This night I shal be mordred ther I lye. Mordre wol out, this my conclusioun. Now help me, dere brother, er I dye; And right anoon, ministres of that toun In alle baste com to me,' he sayde.
Han bent the carter, and so sore him pyned, This man out of his sleep for fere abrayde; And eek the hostiler so sore engyned, But whan that he was wakned of his sleep, That thay biknewe hir wikkednesse anoon, He turned him, and took of this no keep; And were an-banged by the nekke-boon. Him thoughte his dreem nas but a vanitee. Here may men seen that dremes been to Thus twyës in his sleping dremed he.
drede. And atte thridde tyme yet his felawe And certes, in the same book I rede, Cam, as him thoughte, and seide, I am now Right in the nexte chapitre after this, slawe;
(I gabbe nat, so have Ì Ioye or blis,) Bihold my blody woundes, depe and wyde! Two men that wolde han passed over see, Arys up erly in the morwe-tyde,
For certeyn cause, in-to a fer contree, And at the west gate of the tonn,' quod he, If that the wind ne hadde been contrarie, 'A carte ful of donge ther shaltow see, That made hem in a citee for to tarie, In which my body is hid ful prively; That stood ful mery upon an haven-syde. Do thilke carte aresten boldely.
But on a day, agayn the even-tyde, My gold caused my mordre, sooth to sayn;' The wind gan cbaunge, and blew right as And tolde him every poynt how he was
hem leste. slayn,
Iolif and glad they wente un-to hir reste,
And casten hem ful erly for to saille; Of any dreem, so holy was his herte. But to that oo man fil a greet mervaille. 310 By god, I hadde lever than my sherte That oon of hem, in sleping as he lay, That ye had rad his legende, as have I. Him mette a wonder dreem, agayn the day; Dame Pertelote, I sey yow trewely, Him thoughte a man stood by his beddes Macrobeus, that writ the avisioun syde,
In Affrike of the worthy Cipioun, And him comaunded, that he sholde abyde, Affermeth dremes, and seith that they been And seyde him thus, if thou to-morwe Warning of thinges that men after seen. 360 wende,
And forther-more, I pray yow loketh wel Thou shalt be dreynt; my tale is at an In the olde testament, of Daniel, ende.'
If he held dremes any vanitee. He wook, and tolde his felawe what he Reed eek of Ioseph, and ther shul ye see mette,
Wher dremes ben somtyme (I sey nat alle) And preyde him his viage for to lette; Warning of thinges that shul after falle. As for that day, he preyde bim to abyde. Loke of Egipt the king, daun Pharao, His felawe, that lay by his beddes syde, 320 His bakere and his boteler also, Gan for to laughe, and scorned him ful Wher they ne felte noon effect in dremes. faste.
Who-so wol seken actes of sondry remes, 370 'No dreem,' quod he, 'may so myn herte | May rede of dremes many a wonder thing. agaste,
Lo Cresus, which that was of Lyde king, That I wol lette for to do my thinges. Mette he nat that he sat upon a tree, I sette not a straw by thy dreminges, Which signified he sholde anhanged be? For swevenes been but vanitees and Iapes. Lo heer Andromacha, Ectores wyf, Men dreme al-day of owles or of apes, That day that Ector sholde lese his lyf, And eke of many a mase therwithal; She dremed on the same night biforn, Men dreme of thing that nevere was ne How that the lyf of Ector sholde be lorn, shal.
If thilke day he wente in-to bataille; But sith I see that thou wolt heer abyde, She warned him, but it mighte nat availle; And thus for-sleuthen wilfully thy tyde, 330 He wente for to fighte nathelees, God wot it reweth me; and have good day.' But he was slayn anoon of Achilles. And thus he took his leve, and wente bis But thilke tale is al to long to telle, way.
And eek it is ny day, I may nat dwelle. Buter that he hadde balfe his cours y-seyled, Shortly I seye, as for conclusioun, Noot I nat why, ne what mischaunce it That I shal han of this avisioun egled,
Adversitee ; and I seye forther-more, But casuelly the shippes botme rente, That I ne telle of laxatyves no store, And ship and man under the water wente For they ben venimous, I woot it wel; In sighte of othere shippes it byside, I hem defye, I love hem never a del. That with hem seyled at the same tyde. Now let us speke of mirthe, and stinte al And therfor, faire Pertelote so dere,
this; By swiche ensamples olde maistow lere, 340 Madame Pertelote, so have I blis, That no man sholde been to recchelees Of o thing god bath sent me large grace; Of dremes, for I sey thee, doutelees, For whan I see the beautee of your face, That many a dreem ful sore is for to drede. Ye ben so scarlet-reed about your yën,
Lo, in the lyf of seint Kenelm, I rede, It maketh al my drede for to dyen; That was Kenulphus sone, the noble king For, also siker as In principio, Of Mercenrike, how Kenelm mette a thing; Mulier est hominis confusio; A lyte er he was mordred, on a day, Madame, the sentence of this Latin is His mordre in his avisioun he say.
Womman is mannes Ioye and al his blis. 400 His norice him exponned every del
For whan I fele a-night your softe syde, His sweven, and bad him for to kepe him Al-be-it that I may nat on you ryde, wel
For that our percbe is maad so narwe, alas ! For traisoun; but he nas but seven yeer I am so ful of loye and of solas old,
That I defye bothe sweven and dreem.' And therfore litel tale hath he told
And with that word he fley doun fro the beem,