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0 Gaufred, dere mayster soverayn, That, whan thy worthy king Richard was slayn With shot, compleynedest his deth so sore, Why ne hadde I1 now thy sentence2 and

thy lore,3 530 The Friday for to chide, as diden ye? (For on a Friday soothly slayn was he.) Than wolde I shewe yow how that I coude

pleyne4 For Chauntecleres drede,5 and for his peyne.6 Certes, swich7 cry ne lamentacioun 535 Was never of ladies maad, whan Ilioun Was wonne, and Pirrus with his streite8 swerd, Whan he hadde hent9 king Priam by the berd, And slayn him (as saith us Eneydos), As maden alle the hennes in the clos,10 540 Whan they had seyn of Chauntecleer the sighte. But sovereynly dame Pertelote shrighte, Ful louder than dide Hasdrubales wyf, Whan that hir housbond hadde lost his lyf, And that the Romayns hadde brend11

Cartage. 545 She was so ful of torment and of rage, That wilfully into the fyr she sterte,12 And brende hir-selven with a stedfast

herte. O woful hennes, right so cryden ye, As, whan that Nero brende the citee 550 Of Rome, cryden senatoures wyves, For that hir housbondes losten alle hir lyves; Withouten gilt this Nero hath hem slayn. Now wol I torne to my tale agayn. This sely13 widwe, and eek hir doghtres

two, _ 555

Herden thise hennes crye and maken wo,
And out at dores sterten thay anoon,
And syen14 the fox toward the grove goon,
And bar upon his bak the cok away; 559
And cryden, "Out! harrow! and weylaway!
Ha, ha, the fox!" and after him they ran,
And eek with staves many another man;
Ran Colle our dogge, and Talbot, and

And Malkin, with a distaf in hir hand;


Ran cow and calf, and eek the verray hogges, 565

So were they fered for15 berking of the dogges And shouting of the men and wimmen eke, They ronne so, hem thoughte hir herte breke. They yelleden as feendes doon16 in helle; The dokes cryden as17 men wolde hem

quelle;18 570 The gees for fere flowen over the trees; Out of the hyve cam the swarm of bees; So hidous was the noyse, a! benedicite! Certes, he Iakke Straw, and his meynee,19 Ne maden20 never shoutes half so shrille, Whan that they wolden any Fleming kille, As thilke day was maad upon the fox. 577 Of bras thay broghten bemes,21 and of

box,22 Of horn, of boon, in whiche they blewe and pouped,23 And therwithal they shryked and they houped;24 580

It semed as that heven sholde falle.
Now, gode men, I pray yow herkneth alle!
Lo, how fortune turneth sodeinly
The hope and pryde eek of hir enemy!
This cok, that lay upon the foxes bak, 585
In al his drede, un-to the fox he spak,
And seyde, "sire, if that I were as ye,
Yet sholde I seyn (as wis26 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,
Maugree your heed,26 the cok shal heer abyde;
I wol him ete in feith, and that anon.'"
The fox answerde, "in feith, it shal be don,"—
And as he spak that word, al sodeinly 595
This cok brak27 from his mouth deliverly,28
And heighe29 up-on a tree he fleigh anon.
And whan the fox saugh that he was

"Alias!" quod he, "0 Chauntecleer, alias!
I have to yow," quod he, "y-doon trespas,
In-as-muche as I maked yow aferd, 601
Whan I yow hente, and broghte out of the yerd;

18 frightened by. w do. » as if. u kill. a company. »did not make. "trumpets. M box-wood.

"puffed. "whooped. "surely.

• in spite of your head; in spite of all you can do.
n broke. M nimbly. n high.

But, sire, I dide it in no wikke1 entente;
Com doun, and I shal telle yow what I mente.
I shal seye sooth to yow, god help me so."
"Nay than," quod he, "I shrewe2 us bothe

two, 606 And first I shrewe my-self, bothe blood and

bones, If thou bigyle me ofter than ones. Thou shalt namore, thurgh thy flaterye Do me to3 singe and winke with myn ye. 610 For he that winketh, whan he sholde see, Al wilfully, god lat him never thee!"4 "Nay," quod the fox, "but god yeve6 him

meschaunce,6 That is so undiscreet of governaunce,7 That iangleth8 whan he sholde holde his pees." 615

Lo, swich it is for to be recchelees,9 And necligent, and truste on flaterye. But ye that holden this tale a folye,10 As of a fox, or of a cok and hen, Taketh the moralitee, good men. 620 For seint Paul seith, that al that writen is, To11 our doctryne12 it is y-write, y-wis. Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be stille.

Now, gode god, if that it be thy wille, As seith my lord, so make us alle good men; And bringe us to his heighe blisse. Amen.


Beere bigynneth the Pardoners Tale

In Flaundres whylom was a companye Of yonge folk, that haunteden13 folye, 136 As ryot, hasard,14 stewes,15 and tavernes, Wher-as, with harpes, lutes, and giternes,16 They daunce and pleye at dees bothe day and night, And ete also and drinken over hir might, Thurgh which they doon the devel

sacrifyse 141 With-in that develes temple, in cursed

wyse, Bysuperfluitee abhominable; Hir othes been so gret and so dampnable, That it is grisly for to here hem swere; 145 Ourblissed lordes body they to-tere;17

Hem thoughte18 Iewes rente him noght ynough;
And ech of hem at otheres sinne lough.
And right anon than comen tombesteres19
Fetys20 and smale, and yonge fruytesteres,21
Singers with harpes [eek, and] wafereres,22
Whiche been the verray develes officeres
To kindle and blowe the fyr of [luxurye],
That is annexed un-to glotonye;
The holy writ take I to my witnesse, 155
That luxurie is in wyn and dronkenesse.

Herodes (who so wel the stories soughte) Whan he of wyn was replet at his feste, 161 Ryght at his owene table he yaf his heste23 To sleen the Baptist John ful giltelees.

Senek24 seith eek a good word doutelees;
He seith, he can no difference finde 165
Bitwix a man that is out of his minde
And a man which that is dronkelewe,25
But that woodnesse,26 yfallen in a shrewe,27
Persevereth lenger than doth dronken-
O glotonye, ful of cursednesse, 170

O cause first of our confusioun,
O original of our dampnacioun,
Til Crist had boght us with his blood agayn!
Lo, how dere, shortly for to sayn,
Aboght28 was thilke cursed vileinye; 175
Corrupt was al this world for glotonye!

Adam our fader, and his wyf also,
Fro Paradys to labour and to wo
Were driven for that vyce, it is no drede;29
For whyl that Adam fasted, as I rede, 180
He was in Paradys; and whan that he
Eet of the fruyt defended30 on the tree,
Anon he was out-cast to wo and peyne.
O glotonye, on thee wel oghte us pleyne!31
0, wiste a man how many maladyes 185
Folwen of excesse and of glotonyes,
He wolde been the more mesurable32
Of his diete, sittinge at his table.
Alias! the shorte throte, the tendre mouth,
Maketh that, Est and West, and North
and South, 190 In erthe, in eir, in water men to-swinke33
To gete a glotoun deyntee mete and


■oitless '■' lacbin* "braheb.

1 curse. 'make me. * prosper.

'bad luck. 'self-control. "prattles. » silly thing, "for.

11 practised. H gambling.

M guitars. u tear in pieces.

n it seemed to them.

31 fruit sellers.

* Seneca.

37 wretch. "bought.

31 complain.

"dancing girls. » graceful.

"confectioners, "command.

** a drunkard. M madness.

*» without doubt. x forbidden.

13 temperate. u labor hard.

Of this matere, O Paul, wel canstow trete, "Mete un-to wombe,1 and wombe eek

un-to mete, Shal god destroyen bothe," as Paulus

seith. I95

Allas! a foul thing is it, by my feith,
To seye this word, and fouler is the dede,
Whan man so drinketh of the whyte and


That of his throte he maketh his privee, Thurgh thilke cursed superfluitee. 200 The apostel weping seith ful pitously, "Ther walken many of whiche yow told have I, I seye it now weping with pitous voys, That they been enemys of Cristes croys,2 Of whiche the ende is deeth, wombe1 is her god." 205

How gret labour and cost is thee to fynde!3
Thise cokes, how they stampe, and streyne,4 and grinde, 210 And turnen substaunce in-to accident,
To fulfille al thy likerous5 talent!6
Out of the harde bones knokke they
The mary,7 for they caste noght a-wey
That may go thurgh the golet softe and swote;8 215 Of spicerye, of leef, and bark, and rote9
Shal been his sauce ymaked by delyt,
To make him yet a newer appetyt.
But certes, he that haunteth swich delyces10 Is deed, whyl that he liveth in tho vyces.
A [cursed] thing is wyn, and dronken-
esse 221
Is ful of stryving11 and of wrecchednesse.
O dronke man, disfigured is thy face,
Sour is thy breeth, foul artow to embrace,
And thurgh thy dronke nose semeth the

soun12 225

As though thou seydest ay "Sampsoun,

Sampsoun," And yet, god wot, Sampsoun drank never

no wyn.

Thou fallest, as it were a stiked swyn;
Thy tonge is lost, and al thyn honest

cure;13 For dronkenesse is verray sepulture 230

Of mannes wit and his discrecioun.
In whom that drinke hath dominacioun,
He can no conseil kepe, it is no drede.
Now kepe yow fro the whyte and fro the rede, And namely fro the whyte wyn of Lepers
That is to selle in Fishstrete or in Chepe.
This wyn of Spayne crepeth subtilly
In othere wynes, growing faste by,
Of which ther ryseth swich fumositee,14
That whan a man hath dronken draughtes

three, 240 And weneth15 that he be at hoom in Chepe, He is in Spayne, right at the toune of

Lepe, Nat at the Rochel, ne at Burdeux toun; And thanne wol he seye, "Sampsoun, Sampsoun." But herkneth, lordings, o word, I yow preye, 245 That alle the sovereyn actes, dar I seye, Of victories in the olde testament, Thurgh verray16 god, that is omnipotent, Were doon in abstinence and in preyere; Loketh the Bible, and ther ye may it lere. Loke, Attila, the grete conquerour, 251 Deyde17 in his sleep, with shame and dishonour, Bledinge ay at his nose in dronkenesse; A capitayn shoulde live in sobernesse. And over al this, avyseth yow18 right wel 255 What was comaunded un-to Lamuel— Nat Samuel, but Lamuel, seye I— Redeth the Bible, and finde it expresly Of wyn-yeving19 to hem that han lustyse; Namore of this, for it may wel suffyse. 260 And now that I have spoke of glotonye, Now wol I yow defenden20 hasardrye.21 Hasard is verray moder of lesinges,22 And of deceite, and cursed forsweringes,23 Blaspheme of Crist, manslaughtre, and wast24 also 265 Of catel25 and of tyme; and forthermo, It is repreve26 and contrarie of honour For to ben holde27 a commune hasardour. And ever the hyer he is of estaat, The more is he holden desolaat.28 270 If that a prince useth hasardrye, In alle governaunce and policye He is, as by commune opinoun, Yholde the lasse in reputacioun.

1 belly. * cross. 1 maintain. • labor.

8 dainty. 'appetite. 7 marrow. 'sweetly,

•root. '9 pleasures. "strife. "sound.

13 care for honorable reputation.

11 confusing fumes.
I7died. "consider.

11 gambling. *1 lies.
*• wealth. "a reproach.

11 thinks. »the true.

19 giving. w forbid.

11 perjury. "waste.

"known as. "shunned.

Stilbon, that was a wys embassadour,2 75 Was sent to Corinthe, in ful greet honour, Fro Lacidomie, to make hir alliaunce. And whan he cam, him happede, par chaunce, That alle the grettest that were of that lond, Pleyinge atte hasard he hem fond. 280 For which, as sone as it mighte be, He stal1 him hoom1 agayn to his contree, And seyde, "Ther wol I nat lese2 my name; Ne I wol nat take on me so greet defame,3 Yow for to allye un-to none hasardours. 285 Sendeth othere wyse embassadours; For, by my trouthe, me were lever4 dye, Than I yow sholde to hasardours allye. For ye that been so glorious in honours Shul nat allyen yow with hasardours 290 As by my wil, ne as by my tretee." This wyse philosophre thus seyde he.

Loke eek that to the king Demetrius The king of Parthes, as the book seith us, Sente him a paire of dees5 of gold in scorn, For he hadde used hasard ther-biforn; 296 For which he heeld his glorie or his renoun At no value or reputacioun. Lordes may fynden other maner pley Honeste ynough to dryve the day awey. 300 Now wol I speke of othes false and grete A word or two, as olde bokes trete. Gret swering is a thing abhominable, And fals swering is yet more reprevable. The heighe god forbad swering at al, 305 Witnesse on Mathew; but in special Of swering seith the holy Ieremye, "Thou shalt seye sooth6 thyn othes, and nat lye, And swere in dome,7 and eek in right- wisnesse;" But ydel swering is a cursednesse. 310 Bihold and see, that in the firste table Of heighe goddes hestes8 honurable, How that the seconde heste of him is this—"Tak nat my name in ydel9 or amis." Lo, rather he forbedeth swich swering 315 Than homicyde or many a cursed thing; Isej-e that, as by ordre, thus it stondeth; This knowen, that10 his hestes under


How that the second heste of god is that. And forther over, I wol thee telle al plat,11 That vengeance shal nat parten12 from his

hous, 321 That of his othes is to outrageous. "By goddes precious herte, and by his

nayles, And by the blode of Crist, that it is in Hayles, Seven is my chaunce, and thyn is rink13

and treye;14 325

By goddes armes, if thou falsly pleye,
This dagger shal thurgh-out thyn herte go"-
This fruyt cometh of the bicched15 bones two,
Forswering, ire, falsnesse, homicyde.
Now, for the love of Crist that for us dyde,
Leveth your othes, bothe grete and smale;
But, sirs, now wol I telle forth my tale. 332
Thise ryotoures three, of whiche I telle,
Longe erst er pryme16 rong of any belle,
Were set hem in a taverne for to drinke; 335
And as they satte, they herde a belle clinke
Biforn a cors, was caried to his grave;
That oon of hem gan callen to his knave,
"Go bet,"17 quod he, "and axe redily,
What cors is this that passeth heer forby;
And look that thou reporte his name

wel." 341 "Sir," quod this boy, "it nedeth

neveradel.18 It was me told, er ye cam heer, two houres; He was, pardee, an old felawe19 of youres; And sodeynly he was yslayn to-night, 345 For-dronke,20 as he sat on his bench

upright; Ther cam a privee theef, men clepeth21 Deeth, That in this contree al the peple sleeth, And with his spere he smoot his herte

atwo, 349 And wente his wey with-outen wordes mo. He hath a thousand slayn this pestilence: And, maister, er ye come in his presence, Me thinketh that it were necessarie For to be war of swich an adversarie: Beth redy for to mete him evermore. 355 Thus taughte me my dame, I sey namore." "By seinte Marie," seyde this taverner, "The child seith sooth,22 for he hath slayn

this yeer,

'irtorned. * lose. 'dishonor. * I would rather,

i&e. • truthfully. 7 judgment.

'oxinundments. • in vain. "those who.

11 plainly. "depart, "five. u three. ncursed.
'* nine o'clock A. M. "quickly. w there is no need of it,
"companion. "dead drunk. "name. "truth.

Henne1 over a myle, with-in a greet village,
Both man and womman, child and hyne,2 and page. 360 I trowe his habitacioun be there;
To been avysed3 greet wisdom it were,
Er that he dide a man a dishonour."
"Ye, goddes armes," quod this ryotour,
"Is it swich peril with him for to mete? 365
I shal him seke by wey and eek by strete,
I make avow to goddes digne4 bones!
Herkneth, felawes, we three been al ones;5
Lat ech of us holde up his hond til other,
And ech of us bicomen otheres brother, 370
And we wol sleen this false traytour Deeth;
He shal be slayn, which that so many sleeth, By goddes dignitee, er it be night."
Togidres han thise three her trouthes plight, To live and dyen ech of hem for other, 375
As though he were his owene yboren6 brother. And up they sterte al dronken, in this rage,
And forth they goon towardes that village,
Of which the taverner had spoke biforn,
And many a grisly ooth than han they

sworn, 380 And Cristes blessed body they to-rente— "Deeth shal be deed, if that they may him

hente."7 Whan they han goon nat fully half a myle, Right as they wolde han troden over a style, An old man and a povre with hem mette. This olde man ful mekely hem grette, 386 And seyde thus, "now, lordes, god yow see!"8 The proudest of thise ryotoures three Answerde agayn, "what? carl,9 with sory grace,10 Why artow11 al forwrapped12 save thy face? Why lyvestow so longe in so greet age? "391 This olde man gan loke13 in his visage, And seyde thus, "for I ne can nat finde A man, though that I walked in-to Inde, Neither in citee nor in no village, 395 That wolde chaunge his youthe for myn age; And therfore moot14I han myn age stille, As longe time as it is goddes wille.

• hence. 1servant. 'forewarned. 4 honorable. 1 of one mind. • bom. 7 seize.

I protect. 'churl. m bad luck to you.

II art thou. l2 wrapped up. " looked. u must.

Ne deeth, allas! ne wol nat han my lyf; Thus walke I, lyk a restelees caityf, 400 And on the ground, which is my modres gate, I knokke with my staf, bothe erly and late, And seye, 'leve15 moder, leet me in! Lo, how I vanish, flesh, and blood, and skin!

Allas! whan shul my bones been at reste? Moder, with yow wolde I chaunge my

cheste, 406 That in my chambre longe tyme hath be, Ye! for an heyre clowt16 to wrappe me!' But yet to me she wol nat do that grace, For which ful pale and welked17 is my

face. 410 But, sirs, to yow it is no curteisye To speken to an old man vileinye, But18 he trespasse in worde, or elles in

dede. In holy writ ye may your-self wel rede, 414 'Agayns19 an old man, hoor upon his heed, Ye sholde aryse,' wherfor I yeve yow reed,20 Ne dooth un-to an old man noon harm now, Namore than ye wolde men dide to yow In age, if that ye so longe abyde; And god be with yow, wher21 ye go22 or

ryde. 420 I moot go thider as I have to go." "Nay, olde cherl, by god, thou shalt nat

so," Seyde this other hasardour anon, "Thou partest nat so lightly, by seint

lohn! Thou spak right now of thilke traitour Deeth, 425

That in this contree alle our frendes sleeth.
Have heer my trouthe, as thou art his aspye,23 Tel wher he is, or thou shalt it abye,24
By god, and by the holy sacrament!
For soothly thou art oon of his assent,25 430
To sleen us yonge folk, thou false theef!"
"Now, sirs," quod he, "if that yow be so leef26

To finde Deeth, turne up this croked wey,
For in that grove I lafte him, by my fey,
Under a tree, and ther he wol abyde; 435
Nat for27 your boost28 he wol him no-thing hyde.

11 dear. u hair cloth. '• before. "advice. M me.

as spy. M rut

B on account of.

» whether.
18 conspiracy.


"unless. "walk. "eager.

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