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For gold in phisik is a cordial;

Of his offrynge, and eek of his substaunce. Therfore he lovede gold in special,

He cowde in litel thing han suffisance. A good WiF was ther or byside BATHE, Wyd was his parisch, and houses fer asondur, But sche was somdel deef, and that was skathe. But he ne lafte not for reyn ne thondur, Of cloth-makyng sche hadde such an haunt, In siknesse ne in meschief to visite Sche passed hem of Ypris and of Gaunt. 450 The ferrest in his parissche, moche and lite, In al the parisshe wyf ne was ther noon Uppon his feet, and in his hond a staf. That to the offryng byforn hire schulde goon, This noble ensample unto his scheep he gaf, And if ther dide, certeyn so wroth was sche, That ferst he wroughte, and after that he taughte, That sche was thanne out of alle charité.

Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte, 500 Hire keverchefs weren ful fyne of grounde; And this figure he addid yit therto, I durste swere they weyghede ten pounde That if gold ruste, what schulde yren doo? That on the Sonday were upon hire heed. For if a prest be foul, on whom we truste, Hire hosen were of fyn scarlett reed, [newe. No wondur is a lewid man to ruste; Ful streyte y-teyed, and schoos ful moyste and And schame it is, if that a prest take kepe, Bold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe. 460 A schiten schepperd and a clene schepe; Sche was a worthy womman al hire lyfe, Wel oughte a prest ensample for to give, Housbondes atte chirche dore hadde sche fyfe, By his clennesse, how that his scheep schulde Withouten othur companye in youthe;

lyve. But therof needeth nought to speke as nouthe. He sette not his benefice to huyre, And thries hadde sche ben at Jerusalem; And lefte his scheep encombred in the myre, 510 Sche hadde passud many a straunge streem; And ran to Londone, unto seynte Poules, At Rome scħe hadde ben, and at Boloyne, To seeken him a chaunterie for soules, In Galice at seynt Jame, and at Coloyne. Or with a brethurhede be withholde; Sche cowde moche of wandryng by the weye. But dwelte at hoom, and kepte wel his folde, Gattothud was sche, sothly for to seye. 470 So that the wolf ne made it not myscarye. Uppon an amblere esely sche sat,

He was a schepperde and no mercenarie; Wymplid ful wel, and on hire heed an hat

And though he holy were, and vertuous, As brood as is a bocler or a targe;

He was to senful man nought dispitous, A foot-mantel aboute hire hupes large,

Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne, And on hire feet a paire of spores scharpe. But in his teching discret and benigne. 520 In felawschipe wel cowde lawghe and carpe. To drawe folk to heven by fairnesse, Of remedyes of love sche knew parchaunce, By good ensample, was his busynesse: For of that art sche knew the olde daunce.

But it were eny persone obstinat, A good man was ther of religioun,

What so he were of high or lowe estat,
And was a pore PERSOON of a toun; 480 Him wolde he snybbe scharply for the nones.
But riche he was of holy thought and werk. A bettre preest I trowe ther nowher non is.
He was also a lerned man, a clerk

He waytud after no pompe ne reverence,
That Cristes gospel truly wolde preche; Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
His parischens devoutly wold he teche.

But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve,
Benigne he was, and wondur diligent,

He taught, and ferst he folwed it himselve. 530 And in adversité ful pacient;

With him ther was a PLOUGHMAN, his brothur, And such he was i-proved ofte sithes.

That hadde i-lad of dong ful many a fothur. Ful loth were him to curse for his tythes; A trewe swynker and a good was hee, But rather wolde he geven out of dowte, Lyvynge in pees and parfight charitee. Unto his pore parisschens aboute,

490 God loved he best with al his trewe herte brated works, the Decameron of Boccaccio, and the Visions at alle tymes, though him gained or smerte, of Piers Plonghman.

And thanne his neighebour right as himselve, 449. cloth makyng. The west of England, and especially He wolde threisshe, and therto dyke and delve, the neighbourhood of Bath, from which the “good wif" For Cristes sake, with every pore wight, came, was celebrated, till a comparatively recent period. Withouten huyre, if it laye in his might.

540 as the district of cloth-making. Ipres and Ghent were the great clothing marts on the Continent.

His tythes payede he ful faire and wel, 456. ten pounde. This is the reading of all the best mss. Bathe of his owne swynk and his catel. I have consulted. Tyrwhitt has a pound. It is a satire In a tabbard he rood upon a mere, on the fashionable head-dresses of the ladies at this time, which appear in the illuminations to be composed of large

Ther was also a reeve and a mellere, quantities of heavy wadding; and the satirist takes the A sompnour and a pardoner also, liberty of exaggerating a little. 459. moyste. One of the Cambridge mss. reads softe,

A maunciple, and my self, ther was no mo. which was, perhaps, originally a gloss to moyste.

The MELLERE was a stout carl for the nones, 462 atte chirche dore. The priest formerly joined the Ful big he was of braun, and eek of boones; hands of the couple, and

performed a great part of the That prevede wel, for over al ther he cam, marriage-service in the church porch, See Warton's His. At wrastlynge he wolde bere awey the ram. 550

468. Coloyne. At Cologne the bones of the three Kings He was schort schuldred, broode, a thikke knarre, of the East were believed to be preserved.

477. remedyes. An allusion to the title and subject of 521. fairnesse. This is the reading of most of the mss. Ovid's book, De Remedio Amoris.

The Ms. Harl. has clennesse, which seems not to give so 480. Chaucer, in his beautiful character of the parson, good a sense. sets up the industrious secular clergy against the lazy

This was the usual prize at wrestlingwicked monks.

matches. See below, ver. 13671; and Gamelyn, ver. 343 483. truly. I have substituted this word, which is found and 555. M. Paris mentions a wrestling-match at Westin most of the other mss., for gladly, the reading of the minster, in the year 1222, at which a ram was the prize." Ms. Harl

--Tyrwhitt.

550. the ram.

Ther nas no dore that he nolde heve of harre, His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrie, 600
Or breke it with a rennyng with his heed. Was holly in this reeves governynge,
His berd as ony sowe or fox was reed,

And by his covenaunt gaf the rekenynge,
And therto brood, as though it were a spade. Syn that his lord was twenti yeer of age;
Upon the cop right of his nose he hade

Ther couthe noman bringe him in arrerage. A werte, and theron.stood a tuft of heres, Ther nas ballif, ne herde, ne other hyne, Reede as the berstles of a souwes eeres.

That they ne knewe his sleight and his covyne; His nose-thurles blake were and wyde.

They were adrad of him, as of the deth, A swerd and a bocler baar he by his side. 560 His wonyng was ful fair upon an heth, His mouth as wyde was as a gret forneys. With grene trees i-schadewed was his place. He was a jangler, and a golyardeys,

He cowde bettre than his lord purchace. 610
And that was most of synne and harlotries. Ful riche he was i-stored prively,
Wel cowde he stele corn, and tollen thries; His lord wel couthe he plese subtilly,
And yet he hadde a thombe of gold pardé. To geve and lene him of his owne good,
A whight cote and blewe hood wered he. And have a thank, a cote, and eek an hood.
A baggepipe cowde he blowe and sowne, In youthe he lerned hadde a good mester;
And therwithal he brought us out of towne. He was a wel good wright, a carpenter.

A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple, This reeve sat upon a wel good stot,
Of which achatours mighten take exemple 570 That was a pomely gray, and highte Scot.
For to be wys in beyyng of vitaille.

A long surcote of pers uppon he hadde,
For whethur that he payde, or took by taille, And by his side he bar a rusty bladde.

620 Algate he wayted so in his acate,

Of Northfolk was this reeve of which I telle, That he was ay biforn and in good state. Byside a toun men callen Baldeswelle. Now is not that of God a ful fair grace,

Tukkud he was, as is a frere, aboute, That such a lewed mannes wit schal pace And ever he rood the hynderest of the route, The wisdom of an heep of lernede men?

A SOMPNOUR was ther with us in that place, Of maystres hadde moo than thries ten, That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynes face, That were of lawe expert and curious;

For sawceflem he was, with eyghen narwe. Of which ther were a doseyn in an hous, 580 As hoot he was, and leccherous, as a sparwe, Worthi to be stiwardes of rente and lond With skalled browes blak, and piled berd; Of any lord that is in Engelond,

Of his visage children weren sore aferd. 630 To make him lyve by his propre good, Ther nas quyksilver, litarge, ne brimstone, In honour detteles, but if he were wood,

Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon, Or lyve as scarsly as he can desire;

Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte, And able for to helpen al a schire

That him might helpen of his whelkes white, In many caas that mighte falle or happe; Ne of the knobbes sittyng on his cheekes. And yit this maunciple sette here aller cappe. Wel loved he garleek, oynouns, and ek leekes,

The REEVE was a sklendre colerik man, And for to drinke strong wyn reed as blood. His berd was schave as neigh as ever he can. 590 Thanne wolde he speke, and crye as he were wood. His heer was by his eres rounde i-schorn. And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn, His top was dockud lyk a preest biforn. Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn. 640 Ful longe wern his leggus, and ful lene, A fewe termes hadde he, tuo or thre, Al like a staff, ther was no calf y-sene.

That he hadde lerned out of som decree; Wel cowde he kepe a gerner and a bynne; No wondur is, he herde it al the day,

er was non auditour cowde on him wynne. And eek ye knowe wel, how that a jay Wel wiste he by the drought, and by the reyn, Can clepe Watte, as wel as can the pope. The yeeldyng of his seed, and of his greyn. But who so wolde in othur thing him grope, His lordes scheep, his meet, and his dayerie, Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie,

Ay, Questio quid juris, wolde he crye. 552. harre. This is the reading of all the oldest and He was a gentil harlot and a kynde; best

mss.; barre, a later reading, adopted by Tyrwhitt, ap- A bettre felaw schulde men nowher fynde. 650 pears to have originated with some one who did not know He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn the meaning of the other word. 564. stele corn. During the middle ages millers enjoyed, A twelve moneth, and excuse him atte fulle.

A good felawe to han his concubyn above all other tradesmen, the reputation of being thieves; and their depredations were the more generally felt, as And prively a fynch eek cowde he pulle. people in all classes of society carried their own corn to And if he fond owher a good felawe, the mill to be ground, often in small quantities. 565. a thombe of gold. “If the allusion be, as is most

619. pers. The Ms. Harl. alone reads blew; perse was a probable, to the old proverb--every honest miller has a thumb sky-blue colour. of gold, this passage may mean, that our miller, notwith

622. Baldeswelle. A parish in Eynford hundred, Norfolk. standing his thefts, was an honest miller,-i. e. as honest 626. cherubynes face. H. Stephens, Apol. Herod. i. 30, as his brethren."--Tyrwhitt.

567. a baggepipe. The bagpipe was a very popular in- quotes the saine thought from a French epigram, strument of music in the middle ages, and figures in the

Nos grands docteurs du cherubin visage. illuminated manuscripts of various countries. In modern 648. Questio quid juris. “ This kind of question occurs times its use has been restricted to Scotland (probably be frequently in Ralph de Hengham. After having stated a cause minstrelsy was longer preserved there) until it was case, he adds, quid juris? and then proceeds to give the looked upon as the national music of that country. answer to it. See Heng. Mag., c. xi. Esto autem qnod

588. sette here aller cappe ; i.e. outwitted them all. This reus nullo modo venerit ad hunc diem, quid juris ? &c phrase occurs again in the Miller's Prologue.

See also c. xii."— Tyrwhitt. 591. rounde. The Ms. Harl. has neighe; but all the 649 harlot. Chaucer gives us here an excellent picture other mss. I have consulted agree in the reading I have of the class of society to which this name was applied in adopted in the text.

the middle ages. See the Glossary.

He wolde teche him to have non awe

He was in churche a noble ecclesiaste, 710 In such a caas of the archedeknes curs;

Wel cowde he rede a lessoun or a storye, But if a mannes soule were in his purs;

But altherbest he sang an offertorie; For in his purs he scholde punyssched be.

For wel wyst he, whan that song was songe, “ Purs is the ercedeknes helle," quod he. 660 He moste preche, and wel affyle his tunge, But wel I woot he lyeth right in dede;

To wynne silver, as he right wel cowde; Of cursyng oweth ech gulty man to drede; Therfore he sang ful meriely and lowde. For curs wol slee right as assoillyng saveth; Now have I told you schortly in a clause And also ware him of a significavit

.

Thestat, tharray, the nombre, and eek the cause In daunger he hadde at his owne assise Why that assembled was this companye The yonge gurles of the diocise,

In Southwerk at this gentil ostelrie, 720 And knew here counseil, and was al here red. That highte the Tabbard, faste by the Belle. A garland had he set upon his heed,

But now is tyme to yow for to telle As gret as it were for an ale-stake;

How that we bare us in that ilke night, A bokeler had he maad him of a cake. 670 Whan we were in that ostelrie alight;

With him ther rood a gentil PARDONER And aftur wol I telle of oure viage, Of Rouncival, his frend and his comper,

And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage. That streyt was comen from the court ef Rome. But ferst I pray you of your curtesie, Ful lowde he sang, Come hider, love, to me. That ye ne rette it nat my vilanye, This sompnour bar to him a stif burdoun, Though that I speke al pleyn in this matere, Was nevere trompe of half so gret a soun. To telle you here wordes and here cheere; 730 This pardoner hadde heer as yelwe as wex, Ne though I speke here wordes propurly. But smothe it heng, as doth a strike of flex; For this ye knowen al so wel as I, By unces hynge his lokkes that he hadde, Who so schal telle a tale aftur a man, And therwith he his schuldres overspradde. 680 He moste reherce, as neigh as ever he can, Ful thenne it lay, by culpons on and oon, Every word, if it be in his charge, But hood, for jolitee, ne wered he noon, Al speke he never so rudely ne large; For it was trussud up in his walet.

Or elles he moot telle his tale untrewe, Him thought he rood al of the newe get, Or feyne thing, or fynde wordes newe. Dischevele, sauf his cappe, he rood al bare. He may not spare, though he were his brothur; Suche glaryng eyghen hadde he as an hare. He moste as wel sey oo word as anothur. 740 A vernicle hadde he sowed on his cappe.

Crist spak himself ful broode in holy writ,
His walet lay byforn him in his lappe,

And wel ye woot no vilanye is it.
Bret ful of pardoun come from Rome al hoot. Eke Plató seith, who so that can him rede,
A voys he hadde as smale as eny goot. 690 The wordes mot be cosyn to the dede.
No berd ne hadde he, ne never scholde have, Also I pray you to forgeve it me,
As smothe it was as it ware late i-schave; Al have I folk nat set in here degré
I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare.

Here in this tale, as that thei schulde stonde; But of his craft, fro Berwyk unto Ware, My witt is schorte, ye may wel undurstonde. Ne was ther such another pardoner.

Greet cheere made oure ost us everichon, For in his male he hadde a pilwebeer,

And to the souper sette he us anon;

750 Which, that he saide, was oure lady veyl: And served us with vitaille atte beste. He seide, he hadde a gobet of the seyl

Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste. That seynt Petur hadde, whan that he wente A semely man oure ooste was withalle Uppon the see, till Jhesu Crist him hente. 700 For to han been a marchal in an halle; He hadde a cros of latoun ful of stones,

A large man was he with eyghen stepe, And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.

A fairere burgeys is ther noon in Chepe: But with thise reliques, whanne that he fand Bold of his speche, and wys and well i-taught, A pore persoun dwellyng uppon land,

And of manhede lakkede he right naught. Upon a day he gat him more moneye

Eke therto he was right a mery man, Than that the persoun gat in monthes tweye. And after soper playen he bygan,

760 And thus with feyned flaterie and japes, And spak of myrthe among othur thinges, He made the persoun and the people his apes.

Whan that we hadde maad oure rekenynges; But trewely to tellen atte laste,

And sayde thus; “Lo, lordynges, trewely

Ye ben to me right welcome hertily: 664. significavit." The writ de excommunicato capiendo, For by my trouthe, if that I schal not lye, commonly called a significavit

, from the beginning of the I ne saugh this yeer so mery a companye writ, which is as follows: Rex vicecomiti L. salutem. Significavit nobis venerabilis pater H. L., episcopus, &c. Cod. At oones in this herbergh as is now. Jur. Ecc., p. 1054."--Tyrwhitt.

Fayn wold I do yow merthe, wiste I how. 665. in daunger. The old meaning of the word danger And of a merthe I am right now bythought, was jurisdiction, or dominion whereby persons were liable to fine for certain offences to him in whose danger they 721. the Belle. Stowe mentions an inn named the Bull were. Most of the mss. have gise instead of assise..

as being near the Tabard; but I have found no mention 674. Come hider, love, to me. Probably the burden of a of the Bell. popular song.

743. Plato. Tyrwhitt thinks that Chaucer took this 675. bar ... a stif burdoun. “Sang the bass. See ver. saying of Plato from Boethius, iii. pr. 12. 4163, and Ducange in v. Burdo.Tyrwhitt.

748. schorte. This is the reading in which the mss. ge684. newe get. New fashion. Tyrwhitt has illustrated nerally agree, and it seems the best; the Ms. Harl. reads this phrase by a passage from Occleve's poem, De regimine thynne. principis :

756. Chepe, Cheapside was, in the middle ages, occuAlso ther is another newe getté,

pied by the wealthiest and most substantial citizens of Al foule waste of cloth and excessif.

London,

But ye

THE KNIGHTES TALE.

To doon you eese, and it schal coste nought. 770 Who so be rebel to my juggement
Ye goon to Caunturbury; God you speede, Schal paye for al that by the weye is spent.
The blisful martir quyte you youre meede! Now draweth cut, er that we forther twynne;
And wel I woot, as ye gon by the weye,

Which that hath the schortest schal bygynne."
Ye schapen yow to talken and to pleye; “Sire knight,” quoth he,“ maister and my lord,
For trewely comfort ne merthe is noon, Now draweth cut, for that is myn acord. 840
To ryde by the weye domb as a stoon; Cometh ner, quoth he, my lady prioresse;
And therfore wol I make you disport,

And ye, sir clerk, lat be your schamfastnesse, As I seyde erst, and do you som confort. Ne studieth nat; ley hand to, every man.” And if yow liketh alle by oon assent

Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
Now for to standen at my juggement; 780 And schortly for to tellen as it was,
And for to werken as I schal you seye,

Were it by aventure, or sort, or cas,
To morwe, whan ye riden by the weye, The soth is this, the cut fil to the knight,
Now by my fadres soule that is deed,

Of which ful glad and blithe was every wight; be merye, smyteth of myn heed. And telle he moste his tale as was resoun, Hold up youre hond withoute more speche.” By forward and by composicioun,

850 Oure counseil was not longe for to seche; As ye han herd; what needeth wordes moo? Us thoughte it nas' nat worth to make it wys, And whan this goode man seigh that it was so, And graunted him withoute more avys, As he that wys was and obedient And bad him seie his verdite, as him leste. 779 To kepe his forward by his fre assent, “Lordynges,” quoth he, “ now herkeneth for the He seyde; “Syn I schal bygynne the game, But taketh not, I pray you, in disdayn; [beste; What, welcome be thou cut, a Goddus name! This is the poynt, to speken schort and playn, Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye.” That ech of yow to schorte with youre weie,

And with that word we riden forth oure weye; In this viage, schal telle tales tweye,

And he bigan with right a merie chere To Caunturburi-ward, I mene it so,

His tale, and seide right in this manere. 860 And hom-ward he schal tellen othur tuo, Of aventures that ther han bifalle. And which of yow that bereth him best of alle, WHILOM, as olde stories tellen us, That is to seye, that telleth in this caas Ther was a duk that highte Theseus; Tales of hest sentence and of solas, 800 Of Athenes he was lord and governour, Schal han a soper at your alther cost

And in his tyme swich a conquerour, Here in this place sittynge by this post, That gretter was ther non under the sonne. Whan that we comen ageyn from Canturbery. Ful many a riche contré hadde he wonne; And for to make you the more mery,

That with his wisdam and his chivalrie
I wol myselven gladly with you ryde,

He conquered al the regne of Femynye,
Right at myn owen cost, and be youre gyde. That whilom was i-cleped Cithea;
And who so wole my juggement withseie And weddede the queen Ipolita,

870 Schal paye for al we spenden by the weye. And brought hire hoom with him in his contré And if ye vouchesauf that it be so,

With moche glorie and gret solempnité,
Telle me anoon, withouten wordes moo, 810 And eek hire yonge suster Emelye.
And I wole erely schappe me therfore.”

And thus with victoric and with melodye
This thing was graunted, and oure othus swore Lete I this noble duk to Athenes ryde,
With ful glad herte, and prayden him also And al his ost, in armes him biside.
That he wolde vouchesauf for to doon so, And certes, if it nere to long to heere,
And that he wolde ben oure governour,

I wolde han told yow fully the manere,
And of oure tales jugge and reportour,

How wonnen was the regne of Femenye And sette a souper at a certeyn prys;

By Theseus, and by his chivalrye;

880 And we wolde rewled be at his devys,

And of the grete bataille for the nones
In heygh and lowe; and thus by oon assent Bytwix Athenes and the Amazones;
We been acorded to his juggement. 820 And how asegid was Ypolita
And therupon the wyn was fet anoon;

The faire hardy quyen of Cithea;
We dronken, and to reste wente echoon, And of the feste that was at hire weddynge,
Withouten eny lengere taryinge.

And of the tempest at hire hoom comynge, A morwe whan that the day bigan to sprynge, Up roos oure ost, and was oure althur cok, 837. draweth cut. Froissart terms this method of draw

ing lots tirer à la longue paille. And gaderud us togider alle in a flok,

860. right in this manere. Tyrwhitt reads as ye shul And forth we riden a litel more than paas, here, and inserts anon after tale. Unto the waterynge of seint Thomas:

The Knightes Tale. This story is taken from the TheAnd there oure ost bigan his hors areste,

seida of Boccaccio, which was translated also into French verse;

but whether Chaucer used the Italian or the French And seyde; “Lordus, herkeneth if yow leste. 830 is not certain, as I have not been able to compare Chaucer Ye woot youre forward, and I it you recorde. with the Frerich. The English story differs in some parts If eve-song and morwe-song acorde,

considerably, and is very much abbreviated, from the Let se now who schal telle ferst a tale,

poem of Boccaccio. The extracts given in the following

notes are repeated from Tyrwhitt. See Tyrwhitt's Introd. As evere I moote drinke wyn or ale,

and Warton's Hist. of Eng. Poet.

868. Femynye. A medieval name for the kingdom of 828. waterynge of seint Thomas. The watering of St. the Amazons. Gower (Conf. Amant) termis Penthesilea 'Thomas was at the second mile-stone on the old Canter- queen of Feminee. Cithea is, of course, a corruption of bury road. It is mentioned not unfrequently in the early Scythia. dramatists.

886. tempest. Tyrwhitt has temple, but I think his rea

But al that thing I most as now forbere. And lat oure sorwe synken in thyn herte." I have, God wot, a large feeld to ere;

This gentil duke doun from his courser sterte And wayke ben the oxen in my plough. With herte pitous, whan he herde hem speke. The remenaunt of the tale is long inough, 890 Him thoughte that his herte wolde breke, I wol not lette eek non of al this rowte. Whan he seyh hem so piteous and so maat, Lat every felawe telle his tale aboute,

That whilom weren of so gret estat. And lat see now who schal the soper wynne. And in his armes he hem alle up hente, And ther I lafte, I wolde agayn begynne. And hem conforteth in ful good entente; 960

This duk, of whom I make mencioun, And swor his oth, as he was trewe knight, Whan he was comen almost unto the toun, He wolde do so ferforthly his might In al his wele and in his moste pryde,

Upon the tyraunt Creon hem to wreke, He was war, as he cast his eyghe aside, That all the people of Grece scholde speke Wher that ther kneled in the hye weye How Creon was of Theseus y-served, A companye of ladies, tweye and tweye, 900 As he that hath his deth right wel deserved. Ech after other, clad in clothes blake;

And right anoon, withoute eny abood But such a cry and such a woo they make, His baner he desplayeth, and forth rood That in this world nys creature lyvynge,

To Thebes-ward, and al his oost bysyde; That herde such another waymentynge.

No ner Athenes wolde he go ne ryde, 970 And of that cry ne wolde they never stenten, Ne take his eese fully half a day, Til they the reynes of his bridel henten. But onward on his way that nyght he lay; “ What folk be ye that at myn hom comynge

And sente anoon Y polita the queene,
Pertourben so my feste with cryenge?” And Emelye hir yonge suster schene,
Quod Theseus, “ have ye so gret envye

Unto the toun of Athenes to dwelle;
Of myn honour, that thus compleyne and crie? 910 And forth he ryt; ther is no more to telle.
Or who hath yow misboden, or offendid?

The reede statue of Mars with spere and targe And telleth me if it may ben amendid;

So schyneth in his white baner large, And why that ye ben clad thus al in blak?” That alle the feeldes gliteren up and doun; The oldest lady of hem alle spak,

And by his baner was born his pynoun

980 Whan sche had swowned with a dedly chere, Of gold ful riche, in which ther was i-bete That it was routhe for to seen or heere; The Minatour which that he slough in Crete. And seyde; “Lord, to whom fortune hath geven Thus ryt this duk, thus ryt this conquerour, Victorie, and as a conquerour lyven,

And in his oost of chevalrie the flour, Nought greveth us youre glorie and honour; Til that he cam to Thebes, and alighte But we beseken mercy and socour. 920 Fayre in a feeld wher as he thoughte to fighte, Have mercy on oure woo and oure distresse. But schortly for to speken of this thing, Som drope of pitee, thurgh youre gentilnesse, With Creon, which that was of Thebes kyng, Uppon us wrecchede wommen lat thou falle. He faught, and slough him manly as a knight For certus, lord, ther nys noon of us alle, In pleyn bataille, and putte his folk to flight; 990 That sche nath ben a duchesse or a queene; And by assaut he wan the cité aftur, Now be we caytifs, as it is well seene:

And rente doun bothe wal, and sparre, and raftur; Thanked be fortune, and hire false whcel,

And to the ladies he restored agayn That noon estat assureth to ben weel.

The bones of here housbondes that were slayn, And certus, lord, to abiden youre presence

To do exequies, as was tho the gyse.
Here in the temple of the goddesse Clemence 930 But it were al to long for to devyse
We han ben waytynge al this fourtenight; The grete clamour and the waymentynge
Now helpe us, lord, syn it is in thy might.

Which that the ladies made at the brennynge
I wrecche, which that wepe and waylle thus, Of the bodyes, and the grete honour
Was whilom wyf to kyng Capaneus,

That Theseus the noble conquerour 1000 That starf at Thebes, cursed be that day; Doth to the ladyes, whan they from him wente; And alle we that ben in this array,

But schortly for to telle is myn entente. And maken alle this lamentacioun,

Whan that this worthy duk, this Theseus, We leften alle oure housbondes at the toun, Hath Creon slayn, and Thebes wonne thus, Whil that the sege ther aboute lay.

Stille in the feelde he took al night his reste, And yet the olde Creon, welaway!

940 And dide with al the contré as him leste. That lord is now of Thebes the citee,

To ransake in the cas of bodyes dede Fulfilde of ire and of iniquité,

Hem for to streepe of herneys and of wede, He for despyt, and for his tyrannye,

The pilours diden businesse and cure, To do t’e deede bodyes vilonye,

After the bataile and discomfiture.

1010 Of alle oure lordes, which that ben i-slawe, And so byfil, that in the cas thei founde, Hath alle the bodies on an heep y-drawe, Thurgh girt with many a grevous blody wounde, And wol not suffren hem by noon assent Two yonge knightes liggyng by and by, Nother to ben y-buried nor i-brent,

Bothe in oon armes clad ful richely; But maketh houndes ete hem in despite." Of whiche two, Arcite hight that oon, And with that word, withoute more respite, 950 And that othur knight hight Palamon. They fillen gruf, and criden pitously,

Nat fully quyk, ne fully deed they were, “ Have on us wrecched wommen som mercy,

But by here coote armure, and by here gere,

Heraudes knewe hem wel in special, sons for this reading are not sufficiently weighty to authorise a departure from the text of the Ms. Harl., sup 1007. cas. So the other best mss. Tyrwhitt has substiported, as it is, by most of the good mss.

tuted tas, a heap.

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