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ment worn out with wandering 1 burn, brook 12 it 13 whispered, made a low sound 14

In habit like a hermit

unholy in living,

wonders to seek

I went wide in this world

out.

But on a May morning, on Malvern hill

side,

5 I met with a marvel, of magic I thought it. I was weary, forwandered, and went to refresh me

Under a broad bank by the side of a brooklet. And as I lay and leaned there and looked on the waters,

I slumbered in a sleeping, the sound was so

soothing.

Then came to my mind's eye

vision,

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a marvellous

That I was in a wilderness, where wist I

never;

And as I looked into the east and up where the sun was,

I saw a tower on a toft trimly constructed;
A deep dale beneath a dungeon within it,#15
With deep ditch and dark and dreadful to
look on.

A fair field full of folk
Of all manner of men,

mighty,

found I between them,

Working and wandering

asketh.

the mean and the

as the world

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merry

destroy

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how 18 jesters 19 buffoons 20 to work if they pleased

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5

7

8

1 Grete lobres 2 and longe, that loth weore to swynke,

50 Clotheden hem in copes, to beo knowen for

bretheren; And súmme schopen hem to 4 hermytes

heore ese to have. I fond there freres, all the foure ordres, 55 Prechinge the peple for profyt of heore

wombes, 6 Glosynge ' the Gospel as hem good liketh, For covetyse of copes construeth hit ille ; For monye

9 of this maistres imowen 10 clothen hem at lyking, For moneye

and heore marchaundie moeten togedere;

60 Seththe 12 Charite hath be 13 chapmon,14 and

cheef to schriven 15 lordes, Mony ferlyes han 16 bifalle

in a fewe yeres. But 17 Holychirche and heo 18 holde bet 19

togedere, The moste mischecf on molde 20 is mountyng

11

up faste.

65

Great lubbers and long, that loth were to labour,

50 Clothed themselves in copes, to be counted

for “brethren”; And some entered as anchorites their ease

for to purchase. I found there the friars, all the four orders, Preaching to the people for profit of their bellies,

56 Glossing the gospel as good to them seemed, For coveting of copes construe it wrongly; For many of these masters may dress at

their fancy, For money and their merchandise meet oft together;

60 Since Charity hath been a chapman, and

chiefly to shrive nobles, Many freaks have befallen

in a few seasons. Save Holy-Church and they hold better to

gether, The worst mischief in the world is mounting

up swiftly. There too preached a pardoner, as if he a

priest were, And brought forth a bull

a bishop had signed it And said that himself could absolve them

all fully Of falseness in fasting and of vows they had

broken. The unleitered believed him well and liked

what he told them, And came up kneeling to kiss his sealed

paper; He banged them with his brevet and

blinded their vision, And raked in with his rigmarole rings and

brooches. Thus ye give up your gold gluttons to

pamper; And rain it on rascals that revel in lewdness. Were the bishop blessed and worth both

75 His seal should not be sent to deceive thus

the people. But the blame is not all on the bishop that

the boy preaches, But the parish priest and the pardoner part

the silver

22

30

31

Ther prechode a pardoner, as 21 he a prest were,

05 And brought forth bulle with bisschopes

seles, And seide that himself mighte asoylen

hem alle Of falsnesse and fastinge and of vouwes

i-broken.23 The lewede 24 men levide 25 him wel and

likede his speche, And comen up knelynge to kissen his bulle; He bonchede 26 hem with his brevet and blered 27 heore eiyen,28

71 And raughte 29 with his ragemon ringes

and broches. Thus ye giveth oure gold glotonis to

helpen; And leveth hit to losels 33 that lecherie

haunten.34 Weore the bisschop i-blesset and worth bothe his eres,35

75 His sel shulde not be sent to deceyve the

peple. Hit is not al bi 36 the bisschop that the boye

precheth, Bote the parisch prest and the pardoner

parte the sclver i I have omitted two lines, which probably were not in the earliest version. 2 lubbers 3 labour 4 shaped them to, became 5 friars 6 bellies ? interpreting 8 according to their own desire many

money 12 since 13 been 14 trader 15 shrive, confess

32

his cars,

16

3

4

5

7

24

many wonders have 17 unless 18 they the friars 19 better 20 earth 21 as if 22 absolve 23 broken vows ignorant 25 believed 26 banged 27 blinded 28

eyes reached, got license

31

your 32 gluttons 33 cals

practice ears it is not all the fault of

10 may

29

30

ras

11

34

35

36

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With wyn of Oseye and win of Gaskoyne,
Of the Ryn 2 and of the Rochel, the rost to

defye,
Al this I saugh slepynge, and seve sithes

more.

With wine of Alsace and wine of Gascon,
Of the Rhine and the Rochelle, the roast to

digest well.
All this saw I sleeping, and seven times

more.

THE FABLE OF BELLING THE CAT

FROM THE PROLOGUE (B — TEXT)

7

10

11

com

a

we dar

look up;

16

hold us,

With that ran there a route 5 of ratones 6 With that ran there a rabble of rats all at ones,

together, And smale mys 8 with hem, mo then a And small mice with them, more than a thousande,

thousand, And comen to a conseille for here

And came to a counsel for their common une profit;

profit; For a cat of a courte cam whan hym lyked, For a cat of a court came when it pleased him, And overlepe hem lyghtlich and laughte 12 And overleaped them lightly and levied on hem at his wille,

150
them freely,

150 And pleyde with hem perilouslych and And played with them perilously and pushed possed 13 hem aboute.

them about there. “For doute 14 of dyverse dredes 15

“For drede of divers deeds we dare not once noughte wel loke; And yif 18 we grucche 11 of his gamen,18 he wil And if his game we grudge him, he will grieve greve us alle,

us also, Cracche 19

us, or clawe us and in his cloches 20 Claw us or clinch us and in his clutches holde, That us lotheth the lyf or 21 he lete us passe. Making life to us loathsome ere he let us Myghte we with any witte his wille with

scamper. stonde,

156 Might we with any wisdom his wilfulness We myghte be lordes alost and lyven at

hinder,

156 owre ese.”

We might be lords aloft and live at our liking." A raton 2 of renon,23 most renable 24 of

A rat of high renown, most reasonable of tonge,

discourse, Seide for a sovereygne help to hymselve: 25- Said for a sovereign help for their sorrow: “I have y-sein 26 segges,

,” 27 quod he, “in the I have seen swains,” said he, “in the city cité of London

of London Beren beighes 28 ful brighte abouten here Wear circlets most splendid about their nekkes,

necks swinging, And some colers of crafty werk; uncoupled And some collars of crafty work; uncoupled thei wenden 29

162

they ramble Both in wareine 30 and in waste, where hem Both in warren and in waste land, een leve lyketh ; 31

where'er it pleases; And otherwhile thei aren elleswhere, as I And other times are they elsewhere, as I am here telle.

advised. Were there a belle on here beighe,32

bi Jesu, Were a bell borne on the collar, by Jesu, as as me thynketh,

me thinketh, Men myghte wite 33 where thei went, and One mght wit where they went, and away awei renne ! 34

166
scamper !

166

162

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