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For it was day, and eek bis hennes alle; And in a bed of wortes stille he lay,
That in awayt liggen to mordre men.
bemes! Leve I this Chauntecleer in his pasture; | Thou were ful wel y-warned by thy dremes, And after wol I telle his aventure. 420 That thilke day was perilous to thee. Wban that the month in which the world But what that god forwoot mot nedes be, bigan,
After the opinioun of certeyn clerkis. That highte March, whan god first maked Witnesse on him, that any perfit clerk is, 470 man,
That in scole is gret altercacioun Was complet, and (y)-passed were also, In this matere, and greet disputisoun, Sin March bigan, thritty dayes and two, And hath ben of an hundred thousand men. Bifel that Chauntecleer, in al his pryde, But I ne can not bulte it to the bren, His seven wyves walking by his syde, As can the holy doctour Augustyn, Caste up his eyen to the brighte sonne, Or Boece, or the bishop Bradwardyn, That in the signe of Taurus hadde y-ronne | Whether that goddes worthy forwiting Twenty degrees and oon, and somwhat Streyneth me nedely for to doon a thing, more;
(Nedely clepe I simple necessitee); And knew by kynde, and by noon other Or elles, if free choys be graunted me 480 lore,
To do that same thing, or do it noght, That it was pryme, and crew with blisful Though god forwoot it, er that it was stevene.
wroght; • The sonne,' he sayde, 'is clomben up on Or if his witing streyneth nevere a del hevene
But by necessitee condicionel.
My tale is of a cok, as ye may here, Herkneth thise blisful briddes how they That took his counseil of his wyf, with singe,
sorwe, And see the fresshe floures how they springe; To walken in the yerd upon that morwe Ful is myn herte of revel and solas.
That he had met the dreem, that I yow But sodeinly him fil a sorweful cas;
tolde. For ever the latter ende of Ioye is wo. Wommennes counseils been ful ofte colde; God woot that worldly loye is sone ago; 440 Wommannes counseil broghte us first to wo, And if a rethor coude faire endyte,
And made Adam fro paradys to go, 492 He in a cronique saufly mighte it wryte, Ther-as he was ful mery, and wel at ese. As for a sovereyn notabilitee.
But for I noot, to whom it mighte displese, Now every wys man, lat him herkne me; If I counseil of wommen wolde blame, This storie is al-so trewe, I undertake, Passe over, for I seyde it in my game. As is the book of Launcelot de Lake, Rede auctours, wher they trete of swich That wommen holde in ful gret reverence.
matere, Now wol I torne agayn to my sentence. And what tbay seyn of wommen ye may
A col-fox, ful of sly iniquitee, That in the grove hadde woned yeres three, Thise been the cokkes wordes, and nat By heigh imaginacioun forn-cast,
myne; The same night thrugh-out the hegges brast I can noon harm of no womman divyne. soo Into the yerd, ther Chauntecleer the faire Faire in the sond, to bathe hir merily, Was wont, and eek his wyves, to repaire; | Lyth Pertelote, and alle hir sustres by,
Agayn the sonne; and Chauntecleer so free | Let see, conne ye your fader countrefete?' Song merier than the mermayde in the see; This Chauntecleer his winges gan to bete, For Phisiologus seith sikerly,
As man that coude his tresoun nat espye, How that they singen wel and merily. So was he ravisshed with his flaterye. And so bifel that, as he caste his yė,
Allas ! ye lordes, many a fals flatour Among the wortes, on a boterflye,
Is in your courtes, and many a losenHe was war of this fox that lay ful lowe.
geour, No-thing ne liste him thanne for to crowe, That plesen yow wel more, by my feith, But cryde anon, cok, cok,' and up he Than he that soothfastnesse unto yow sterte,
seith. As man that was affrayed in his herte. Redeth Ecclesiaste of flaterye; For naturelly a beest desyreth flee
Beth war, ye lordes, of hir trecherye. Fro bis contrarie, if he may it see,
This Chauntecleer stood hye up-on his Though he never erst had seyn it with his yë. This Chauntecleer, wban he gan bim Strecching his nekke, and heeld his eyen espye,
cloos, He wolde han fled, but that the fox anon And gan to crowe loude for the nones; Seyde, “Gentil sire, allas ! wher wol ye gon? And daun Russel the fox sterte up at ones, Be ye affrayed of me that am your freend? And by the gargat hente Chauntecleer, Now certes, I were worse than a feend, 520 And on his bak toward the wode him beer, If I to yow wolde harm or vileinye.
For yet ne was ther no man that him I am nat come your counseil for tespye;
sewed. But trewely, the cause of my cominge O destinee, that mayst nat been eschewed! Was only for to herkne how that ye singe. | Allas, that Chauntecleer fleigh fro the For trewely ye have as mery a stevene
bemes ! As eny aungel bath, that is in hevene; Allas, his wyf ne roghte nat of dremes ! Therwith ye han in musik more felinge And on a Friday fil al this meschaunce. Than hadde Boece, or any that can singe. O Venus, that art goddesse of plesaunce, My lord your fader (god his soule blesse!) Sin that thy servant was this Chrauntecleer, And eek your moder, of hir gentilesse, 530 And in thy service dide al his poweer, Han in myn hous y-been, to my gret ese; More for delyt, than world to multiplye, And certes, sire, ful fayn wolde I yow plese. Why woldestow suffre him on thy day to But for men speke of singing, I wol saye,
580 So mote I brouke wel myn eyen tweye, O Gaufred, dere mayster soverayn, Save yow, I berde never man so singe, That, whan thy worthy king Richard was As dide your fader in the morweninge;
slayn Certes, it was of herte, al that he song. With shot, compleynedest his deth so sore, And for to make his voys the more strong, | Why ne hadde I now thy sentence and thy He wolde so peyne him, that with bothe his
The Friday for to chyde, as diden ye? He moste winke, so loude he wolde cryen, (For on a Friday soothly slayn was he.) And stonden on bis tiptoon ther-with-al, 541 Than wolde I shewe yow how that I coude And strecche forth his nekke long and smal.
pleyne And eek he was of swich discrecioun, For Chauntecleres drede, and for his That ther nas no man in no regioun That him in song or wisdom mighte passe. Certes, swich cry ne lamentacionn I have wel rad in daun Burnel the Asse, Was never of ladies maad, whan Jlioun 590 Among his vers, how that ther was a cok, Was wonne, and Pirrus with his streite For that a preestes sone yaf him a knok
swerd, Upon his leg, whyl he was yong and nyce, Whan he hadde hent king Priam by the berd, He made bim for to lese his benefyce. 550 And slayn him (as saith us Eneydos), But certegn, ther nis no comparisoun As maden alle the hennes in the clos, Bitwix the wisdom and discrecioun
Whan they had seyn of Chauntecleer the Of youre fader, and of his subtiltee.
sighte. Now singeth, sire, for seinte charitee, | But sovereynly dame Pertelote sbrighte,
Ful louder than dide Hasdrubales wyf, And seyde, sire, if that I were as ye, Whan that bir housbond hadde lost his lyf, Yet sholde I seyn (as wis god helpe me), And that the Romayns hadde brend Car Turneth agayn, ye proude cherles alle ! tage;
A verray pestilence up-on yow falle! She was so ful of torment and of rage, 600 Now am I come un-to this wodes syde, That wilfully into the fyr she sterte, Maugree your heed, the cok shal heer And brende hir-selven with a stedfast herte.
abyde; O woful hennes, right so cryden ye,
I wol him ete in feith, and that anon.'As, whan that Nero brende the citee
The fox answerde, in feith, it shal be Of Rome, cryden senatoures wyves,
don,' – For that hir housbondes losten alle hir lyves; And as he spak that word, al sodeinly Withouten gilt this Nero hath hem slayn. This cok brak from his mouth deliverly, 650 Now wol I torne to my tale agayn: - And heighe up-on a tree he fleigh anon. This sely widwe, and eek hir doghtres And whan the fox saugh that he was two,
y-gon, Herden thise hennes crye and maken wo, 610 • Allas ! quod he, O Chauntecleer, allas! And out at dores sterten they anoon, I have to yow,' quod he, ‘y-doon trespas, And syen the fox toward the grove goon, In-as-muche as I maked yow aferd, And bar upon his bak the cok away; Wban I yow bente, and broghte out of the Aud cryden, Out! harrow! and wey laway!
yerd; Ha, ha, the fox !' and after him they ran, But, sire, I dide it in no wikke entente ; And eek with staves many another man; Com doun, and I sbal telle yow what I Ran Colle our dogge, and Talbot, and Ger
I shal seye sooth to yow, god help me so.' And Malkin, with a distaf in hir hand; • Nay than,' quod he, 'I shrewe us bothe Ran cow and calf, and eek the verray
And first I shrewe my-self, bothe blood So were they fered for berking of the and bones, dogges
If thou bigyle me ofter than ones. And shouting of the men and wimmen eke, Thou shalt na-more, thurgh thy flaterye, They ronne so, hem thoughte hir herte Do me to singe and winke with myn yë. breke.
For he that winketh, whan he sholde see, They yelleden as feendes doon in helle; Al wilfully, god lat him never thee!' The dokes cryden as men wolde bem quelle; Nay,' quod the fox, but god yeve bim The gees for fere flowen over the trees;
meschaunce, Out of the hyve cam the swarm of bees; That is so undiscreet of governaunce, So hidous was the noyse, a ! benedicite ! That langleth whan he sholde holde his Certes, he lakke Straw, and bis meynee,
pees.' Ne made never shoutes half so shrille,
Lo, swich it is for to be recchelees, 670 Whan that they wolden any Fleming And necligent, and truste on flaterye. kille,
But ye that holden this tale a folye, As thilke-day was maad upon the fox. As of a fox, or of a cok and hen, Of bras thay broghten bemes, and of box, Taketh the moralitee, good men. Of horn, of boon, in whiche they blewe and For seint Paul seith, that al that writen is, pouped,
To our doctryne it is y-write, y-wis. And therwithal thay shryked and they Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be bouped;
stille. It semed as that heven sholde falle.
Now, gode god, if that it be thy wille, Now, gode men, I pray yow herkneth alle ! | As seith my lord, so make us alle good Lo, how fortune turneth sodeinly
nen; The hope and pryde eek of hir enemy! | And bringe us to his heighe blisse. This cok, that lay upon the foxes bak,
680 In al his drede, un-to the fox he spak, 640 Here is ended the Nonne Preestes Tale
THE FAERIE OUEENE | To blazon broade emongst her learned
Fierce warres and faithfull loves shall morDISPOSED INTO TWELVE BO
alize my song.
Helpe then, O holy virgin, chiefe of nyne,
Thy weaker novice to performe thy will; PRINTED FOR WILLIAM PONSONBIE
Lay forth out of thine everlasting scryne
Of Faerie knights, and fayrest Tanaquill, TO THE
Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long MOST MIGHTIE AND
Sought through the world, and suffered so MAGNIFICENT EMPRESSE
That I must rue his undeserved wrong: ELIZABETH,
O helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my BY THE GRACE OF GOD,
* dull tong
And thou, most dreaded impe of highest
At that good knight so cunningly didst rove,
That glorious fire it kindled in his hart, (Dedication of the edition of 1590.) Lay now thy deadly heben bowe apart,
And with thy mother mylde come to mine THE FIRST BOOKE
Come both, and with you bring triumphant
In loves and gentle jollities arraid,
After his murdrous spoyles and bloudie rage
And with them eke, O Goddesse heavenly
Great Ladie of the greatest Isle, whose Lo! I the man, whose Muse whylome did
Like Phæbus lampe throughout the world As time her taught, in lowly shephards doth shine, weeds,
Shed thy faire beames into my feeble eyne, Am now enforst, a farre unfitter taske, And raise my thoughtes, too humble and For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine oaten
too vile, reeds,
To thinke of that true glorious type of thine, And sing of knights and ladies gentle deeds; The argument of mine afflicted stile: Whose praises having slept in silence long, | The which to heare vouchsafe, O dearest Me, all too meape, the sacred Muse areeds
dread, a while.
Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide CANTO I
Under a vele, that wimpled was full low, The patrone of true Holinesse
And over all a blacke stole shee did throw:
As one that inly mournd, so was she sad,
And heavie sate upon her palfrey slow:
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had; I
And by her in a line a milkewhite lambe A GENTLE knight was pricking on the she lad.
plaine, Ycladd in mightie armes and silver shielde, Wherein old dints of deepe woundes did So pure and innocent, as that same lambe, remaine,
She was in life and every vertuous lore, The cruell markes of many'a bloody fielde; And by descent from royall lynage came Yet armes till that time did he never wield: Of ancient kinges and queenes, that had of His angry steede did chide his foming
Their scepters stretcht from east to westAs much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
erne shore, Full jolly knight he seemd, and faire did And all the world in their subjection held,
Till that infernall feend with foule uprore As one for knightly giusts and fierce en- | Forwasted all their land, and them expeld: counters fitt.
Whom to avenge, she had this knight from
far compeld. II
VI But on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore, The deare remembrance of his dying Lord, Behind her farre away a dwarfe did lag, For whose sweete sake that glorious badge That lasie seemd, in being ever last, he wore,
Or wearied with bearing of her bag And dead as living ever him ador'd:
Of needments at his backe. Thus as they Upon his shield the like was also scor'd
past, For soveraine hope, which in his helpe he The day with cloudes was suddeine overcast, had:
And angry Jove an hideous storme of raine Right faithfull true he was in deede and Did poure into his lemans lap so fast, word,
That everie wight to shrowd it did constrain, But of his cheere did seeme too solemne | And this faire couple eke to shroud themsad;
selves were fain. Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was
Enforst to seeke some covert nigh at hand, III
A shadie grove not farr away they spide, Upon a great adventure he was bond, That promist ayde the tempest to withstand: That greatest Gloriana to him gave,
Whose loftie trees, yclad with sommers That greatest glorious queene of Faery
Did spred so broad, that heavens light did To winne him worshippe, and her grace to
Not perceable with power of any start: Which of all earthly thinges he most did | And all within were pathes and alleies wide, crave;
With footing worne, and leading inward And ever as he rode his hart did earne
farr: To prove his puissance in battell brave Faire harbour that them seemes, so in they Upon his foe, and his new force to learne;
entred ar. Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stearne. IV
And foorth they passe, with pleasure forA lovely ladie rode him faire beside,
ward led, Upon a lowly asse more white then snow, I Joying to heare the birdes sweete harmony,