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Benigne he was, and wonder diligent,
And in adversite ful patient :
And swiche he was ypreved' often sithes.
Ful loth were him to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yevens out of doute,
Unto his pourè parishens aboute,
Of his offring, and eke of his substance.
He coude in litel thing have suffisance.
Wide was his parish, and houses fer asоnder,
But he ne left nought for no rain ne thonder,
In sikenesse and in mischief to visite
The ferrest in his parish, moche and lite,
Upon his fete, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his shepe he yaf5,
That first he wrought, and afterward he taught.
Out of the gospel he the wordès caught,
And this figure he added yet therto,
That if golde rustè, what shuld iren do?
For if a preest be foule, on whom we trust,
No wonder is a lewèd man to rust :
And shame it is, if that a preest take kepe,
To see a shitten shepherd, and clene shepe:
Wel ought a preest ensample for to yeve,
By his clenenessè, how his shepe shulde live.

He settè not his benefice to hire,
And lette his shepe accombred in the mire,
And ran unto London, unto Seint Poules,
To seken him a chanterie for soules,
i Proved.
2 Times.

3 Give. 4 The nearest and most distant of his parishioners. 5 Gave.

Or with a brotherhede to be withold :
But dwelt at home, and keptè wel his fold,
So that the wolf ne made it not miscarie.
He was a shepherd, and no mercenarie.
And though he holy were, and vertuous,
He was to sinful men not dispitous,
Ne of his spechè dangerous ne digne,
But in his teching discrete and benigne.
To drawen folk to heven, with fairènesse,
By good ensample, was his besinesse :
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were of highe, or low estat,
Him wolde he snibben sharply for the nonès.
A better preest I trowe that nowhere non is.
He waited after no pompe ne reverence,
Ne maked him no spiced 3 conscience,
But Cristès lore, and his apostles twelve,
He taught, but first he folwed it himselve.

With him ther was a Plowman, was his brother,
That hadde ylaid of dong- ful many a fother 5.
A trewe swinker, and a good was he,
Living in pees, and parfite charitee.
God loved he bestè with alle his herte
At allè timès, were it gain or smerte?,
And than his neighèbour right as himselve.
He woldè thresh, and therto dike, and delve,
For Cristès sake, for every pourè wight,
Withouten hire, if it lay in his might.
1 Snub, reprove.

2 No where. 3 Nice, in an affected sense. Dung. 5 Load.

7 Pain.

6 Peace

His tithès paied he ful fayre and wel
Both of his propre swinke, and his catel.
In a tabard he rode upon a mere.

Ther was also a reve, and a millere,
A sompnour', and a pardoner? also,
A manciples, and myself, ther n'ere no mo.

The Miller was a stout carl for the nones,
Ful bigge he was of braun, and eke of bones;
That proved wel, for over all ther he came,
At wrastling he wold bere away the ram*.
He was short shuldered brode, a thikkè gnarre,
Ther n'as no dore, that he n'olde heve of barre,
Or breke it at a renning with his hede.
His berd as any sowe or fox was rede,
And therto brode, as though it were a spade.
Upon the cop? right of his nose he hade
A wert, and theron stode a tufte of heres,
Rede as the bristles of a sowès eres.
His nosè-thirlès 8 blackè were and wide.
A swerd and bokeler bare he by his side.
His mouth as wide was as a forneis.
He was a jangler, and a goliardeis 10,

1 A sompnour, an officer employed to summon delinquents in ecclesiastical courts, now called an apparitor.--Tyrwhitt.

? A pardoner, a seller of pardons or indulgences.

3 A manciple, an officer who has the care of furnishing victuals for an inn of court. 4 The prize.

5 A hard knot in a tree, 6 A running. 8 Nostrils. 9 Prater.. 10 Buffoon.

7 Top

And that was most of sinne, and harlotrieś.
Wel coude he stelen corne, and tollen thries.
And yet he had a thomb of gold parde.
A white cote and a blew hode wered he.
A baggèpipe wel coude he blowe and soune,
And therwithall he brought us out of toune.

A gentil Manciples was ther of a temple,
Of which achatourst mighten take ensemple
For to ben wise in bying of vitaille.
For whether that he paide, or toke by taille,
Algate he waited so in his achate,
That he was ay before in good estate.
Now is not that of God a ful fayre grace,
That swiche a lewèd mannès wit shal pace
The wisdom of an hepe of lered men?

Of maisters had he mo than thriès ten, That were of lawe expert and curious : Of which ther was a dosein in that hous, Worthy to ben stewardes of rent and lond Of any lord that is in Englelond, To maken him live by his propre good, In honour detteles, but if he were wood, Or live as scarsly, as him list desire; And able for to helpen all a shire In any cas that mighte fallen or happe: And yet this manciple sette hir aller cappe. The Revè was a slendre colerike man, His berd was shave as neighe as ever he can. His here was by his erès round yshorne. His top was docked like a preest beforne. Ful longè were his leggès, and ful lene, Ylike a staff, ther was no calf ysene. Wel coude he kepe a garner and a binne: Ther was non auditour coude on him winne. Wel wiste he by the drought, and by the rain, The yelding of his seed, and of his grain, His lordès shepe, his nete?, and his deirie, His swine, his hors, his store, and his pultrie, Were holly in this revès governing, And by his covenant yave he rekening, Sin that his lord was twenty yere

1 2 He was as honest as other millers, though he had, according to the proverb, like every miller, a thumb of gold. 3 Vide 3 on the preceding page.

4 Purchasers. 5 Purchase. 6 Free from debt.. 7 Made a fool of them all.


age; Ther coude no man bring him in arerage. Ther n'as baillif, ne herde, ne other hine, That he ne knew his sleight and his covine": They were adradde of him, as of the deth. His wonning was ful fayre upon an heth, With grenè trees yshadewed was his place. He coudè better than his lord pourchace. Ful riche he was ystored privily. His lord wel coude he plesen subtilly, To yeve

and lene him of his owen good, And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood. In youthe he lerned hadde a good mistere. He was a wel good wright, a carpentere. 1 Yielding.

2 Cows. 3 Steward. 4 Secret contrivances. 5 Trade, occupation.

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