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And right so," quod this raton, reson me

sheweth To buggel a belle of brasse or of brighte

sylver And knitten on a colere for owre comune

profit, And hangen it upon the cattes hals;2 than

here 3 we mowen Where 5 he ritt 6 or rest or renneth 7 to

playe. And yif him list for to laike, thenne loke we mowen,

172 And pereno in his presence ther-while hym

plaie liketh; And yii him wrattheth, be y-war and his

weye shonye.” 12 Alle this route of ratones to this reson thei assented.

175 Ac tho 13 the belle was y-bought and on the

beighe hanged, Ther ne was ratoun in alle the route, for alle

the rewme 14 of Fraunce, That dorst have y-bounden the belle aboute

the cattis nekke, Ne hangen it aboute the cattes hals, al Enge

lond to wynne; And helden hem unhardy 15 and here conseille

feble, And leten 16 here laboure lost and alle here

longe studye. A mous that moche good couthe, 17 as me

thoughte, Stroke forth sternly and stode biforn hem

alle, And to the route of ratones reherced these

wordes: “Though we culled 18 the catte ther come another

185 To cracchy us and al owre kynde, though we

croupe 20 under benches. For-thi 21 I conseille alle the comune

to lat the catte worthe,22 And be we never so bolde the belle hym to

shewe; For I herde my sire seyn,

is sevene yere y-passed, There 24 the catte is a kitoun the courte is

ful elyng '; 25 That witnisseth Holi-write, who-so wil it

rede: Ve terre ubi puer rex est, 26 &c.

And right so," said this rat then,

doth counsel To buy a bell of brass or of bright silver And clasp on a collar for our common

profit, And knit it round the cat's neck; then may

we know clearly Whether he rides or rests or runs to disport

him. And if he pleases to play then may we press forward,

172 And appear in his presence while playing

him pleases; And if wrathful he be, then beware and his

way shun well.” All this rabble of rats to this reasoning assented.

175 But when the bell had been bought and

bound on the collar, There was no rat in all the rout that, for all

the realm of France, Durst have bound that same bell about the

cat's neck there, Nor have hung it about his head, to have

all England; And found themselves fearful, and of feeble

counsel, And allowed their labour lost and their long

study. A mouse that much good marked, as me

thinketh, Strode forth sternly and stood out before

them, And to that rabble of rats rehearsed this

wisdom: “Though we killed the cat, yet would there come another

185 To catch us and our kin, though we crept

under benches. Therefore I counsel all the commons

to let the cat flourish, And be we never so bold the bell for to show

him; For I heard my sire say

'tis seven years since then 'Where the cat is a kitten the court will be ailing';

190 That witnesseth Holy-writ, whoso will read

it: Vae terrae ubi puer rex est, etc.



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And from Ephesim Men gon 25 throghe many Iles in the See, unto the Cytee of Paterane, where Seynt Nicholas was born, and so to Martha, where he was chosen to ben 26 Bisschoppe; and there growethe right gode Wyn and strong; and that Men callen Wyn of Martha. And from thens 27 gon Men to the Ile of Crete, that the Emperour yaf 28 som


And from Ephesus men go through many isles in the sea unto the city of Pateran, where St. Nicholas was born, and so to Martha, where he was chosen to be bishop; and there groweth right good wine and strong; and men call it Wine of Martha. And from thence go men to the isle of Crete, which the Emperor gave formerly to the Genoese. And

20 each



flesh 4 feeds 5 man, person * confusion 7 tyrant get rid of it not for 11 could 12 rule 13




16 21

17 confess 18 would not 19
9 crowd
22 dream 23
24 dare not
talking cost 27 thence 28



26 be






tyme to Janeweys. And thanne passen then men pass through the isles of Colos and Men thorghe the Isles of Colos and of Lango; Lango; of the which isles Hippocrates was of the whiche Iles Ypocras was Lord offe. lord. And some men say that in the isle of And some Men seyn, that in the Ile of Lango Lango is yet the daughter of Hippocrates, is yit 4 the Doughtre of Ypocras, in forme and in form and likeness of a great dragon that is lykeness of a gret Dragoun, that is a hundred a hundred fathoms in length, as men say; for Fadme 6 of lengthe, as Men seyn: For I have I have not seen her. And they of the isles not seen hire. And thei of the Isles callen call her Lady of the Land. And she lieth in hire, Lady of the Lond.6 And sche lyethe an old castle, in a cave, and appeareth twice in an olde castelle, in a Cave, and schewethe? or thrice in the year. And she doeth no twyes or thryes in the Yeer. And sche dothe harm to any man, unless men do harm to her. none harm to no Man, but-yif 8 Men don hire And she was thus changed and transformed harm. And sche was thus chaunged and from a fair damsel into likeness of a dragon by transformed, from a fair Damysele, in-to a goddess that was called Diana. And men lyknesse of a Dragoun, be ' a Goddesse, that say that she shall so continue in that form of a was clept 10 Deane. 11 And Men seyn, that dragon until the time that a knight shall come sche schalle so endure in that forme of a who is so hardy that he dares come to her and Dragoun, unto the tyme that a Knyghte come, kiss her on the mouth: and then shall she rethat is so hardy, that dar come to hire and kiss turn to her own nature and be a woman again : hire on the Mouthe: And then schalle sche but after that she shall not live long. And it turne ayen 12 to hire owne Kynde,13 and ben a is not long since that a knight of the Rhodes Woman ayen : But aftre that sche schalle not that was hardy and doughty in arms said that liven longe. And it is not long siththen,14 that he would kiss her. And when he was upon a Knyghte of the Rodes, that was hardy and his courser, and went to the castle, and doughty in Armes, seyde that he wolde entered into the cave, the dragon lifted up her kyssen hire. And whan he was upon his head against him. And when the knight Coursere, and wente to the Castelle, and saw her in that form, so hideous and so horentred into the Cave, the Dragoun lifte up rible, he fled away. And the dragon bore the hire Hed ayenst

And whan the knight upon a rock despite his efforts; and Knyghte saw hire in that Forme so hidous from the rock she cast him into the sea : and and so horrible, he fleyghe 16 awey. And the so was lost both horse and man. And also a Dragoun bare 17 the Knyghte upon a Roche,18 young man, that did not know about the mawgre his Hede ; 19 and from that Roche, dragon, went out of a ship, and went through sche caste him in-to the See: and so was lost the isle till he came to the castle, and came bothe Hors and Man. And also a yonge into the cave; and went on till he found a Man, that wiste 21 not of the Dragoun, wente chamber, and there he saw a damsel that was out of a Schipp, and wente thorghe the Ile, combing her hair and looking in a mirror; and til that he come to the Castelle, and cam in to she had much treasure about her: and he the Cave; and wente so longe, til that he supposed that she was a common woman, who fond a Chambre, and there he saughe 22 dwelt there to receive men to folly. And he Damysele, that kembed 23 hire Hede, and waited till the damsel saw his shadow in the lokede in a Myrour; and sche hadde meche 24 mirror. And she turned herself toward him, Tresoure abouten hire: and he trowed,25 that and asked him what he wished. And he said sche hadde ben a comoun Woman, that he would be her lover or paramour. And dwelled there to receyve Men to Folye. And she asked him if he were a knight. And he he abode, tille the Damysele saughe the said, “Nay.” And then she said that he Schadewe of him in the Myrour. And sche could not be her lover: but she bade him go turned hire toward him, and asked hym, back to his fellows and make himself a knight, what he wolde. And he seyde, he wolde ben and come again upon the morrow, and she hire Limman 26 or Paramour. And sche asked would come out of the cave before him; and him, yif 27 that he were a Knyghte. And he then he should come and kiss her on the 1 formerly, once upon a time ? the Genoese 3

say against 16 fed 17 bore 18 rock 19 despite his head * yet 5 fathom bland ?

8 unless by

(= despite all he could do) 20 young 21 knew 10 called 11 Diana 12 again, back 13 nature since 23 combed 24 much 25 believed, thought 26 lover 27 if

15 him.








saw 7

seyde, nay. And than sche seyde, that he mouth, and have no dread; "for I shall do myghte not ben hire Lemman: 1 But sche thee no manner of harm, albeit that thou see bad him gon ayen 2 unto his Felowes, and me in likeness of a dragon. For though thou make him Knyghte, and come ayen upon the see me hideous and horrible to look upon, I Morwe, and sche scholde come out of the Cave give thee to know that it is caused by enbefore him; and thanne come and kysse hire chantment. For without doubt I am none on the mowthe, and have no Drede; "for I other than thou seest now, a woman; and schalle do the no maner harm, alle be it that therefore dread thee naught. And if thou thou see me in Lyknesse of a Dragoun. For kiss me, thou shalt have all this treasure, and thoughe thou see me hidouse and horrible be my lord and lord also of all the isle." to loken onne, I do 3 the to wytene,4 that it is And he departed from her and went to his made be Enchauntement. For withouten fellows on the ship, and had himself made a doute, I am non other than thou seest now, knight, and came back upon the morrow to a Woman; and therfore drede the noughte. kiss the damsel. And when he saw her come And yif thou kysse me, thou schalt have alle out of the cave, in the form of a dragon, so this Tresoure, and be my Lord, and Lord also hideous and so horrible, he had so great dread of alle that Ile.” And he departed fro hire that he fled back to the ship; and she foland wente to his Felowes to Schippe, and leet 5 lowed him. And when she saw that he turned make him Knyghte, and cam ayen upon the not back, she began to cry, as a thing that had Morwe, for to kysse this Damysele. And great sorrow: and then she turned back into whan he saughe hire comen out of the Cave,


her cave; and at once thetknight died. And in forme of a Dragoun, so hidouse and so hor- from then until now no knight has been able rible, he hadde so grete drede, that he to see her but that he died very soon. But fleyghe ayen to the Schippe; and sche when a knight comes that is so bold as to kiss folewed him. And whan sche saughe, that her, he shall not die; but he shall turn the he turned not ayen, sche began to crye, as a damsel into her right form and natural shape, thing that hadde meche & Sorwe: and thanne and he shall be lord of all the countries and sche turned ayen, in-to hire Cave; and anon isles abovesaid. the Knighte dyede. And siththen' hidrewards, 10 myghte no Knighte se hire, but that he dyede anon. But whan a Knyghte comethe, that is so hardy to kisse hire, he schalle not dye; but he schalle turne the Damysele in-to hire righte Forme and kyndely 11 Schapp, and he schal be Lord of alle the Contreyes and Iles aboveseyd.

FROM CHAP. XXVII In the Lond of Prestre John ben many In the land of Prester John are many didyverse thinges and many precious Stones, so verse things, and many precious stones so grete and so large that men maken of hem 12 great and so large that men make of them Vesselle; as Plateres, Dissches, and Cuppes. vessels; as platters, dishes and cups. And And many other marveylles ben there; that many other marvels are there; that it were it were to 14 combrous and to 14 long to putten too cumbrous and too long to put it in the it in scripture 15 of Bokes.

writing of books. But of the princypalle Yles and of his But of the principal isles and of his estate Estate and of his Lawe I schalle telle you and of his law I shall tell you some part. som partye.16 This Emperour Prestre John is This emperor Prester John is Christian; and Cristene; and a gret partie of his Contree also: a great part of his country also: but yet they but yit thei have not alle the Articles of oure have not all the articles of our faith, as we Feythe, 17 as wee have. Thei beleven wel in have. They believe well in the Father, in the the Fadre, in the Sone, and in the Holy Gost : Son, and in the Holy Ghost: and they are very 1 lover 2 back 3 cause A know 5 let 6 come

15 writing 16 part 17 religion 7 fled 8 much .since 10 till now natural 12 them



13 vessels

14 too




and thei ben fulle devoute and righte trewe on! devout and very true one to another. And to another. And thei sette not be 2 no they do not practice any tricks, or frauds, or Barettes, ne be Cawteles,“ ne of no Disceytes. deceits. And he hath under him seventyAnd he hathe undre him 72 Provynces; and two provinces; and in every province is a in every Provynce is a Kyng. And iheise king. And these kings have kings under Kynges han 6 Kynges undre hem; and alle them; and all are tributaries to Prester ben tributaries to Prestre John. And he John. And he hath in his lordships many hathe in his Lordschipes many grete mar- great marvels. For in his country is the sea veyles. For in his Contree is the See that that men call the Gravelly Sea, that is all men clepen ? the Gravely & See, that is alle gravel and sand, without any drop of water; Gravelle and Sond' with-outen ony drope of and it ebbeth and floweth in great waves, as Watre; and it ebbet he and flowethe in grete other seas do; and it is never still nor in Wawes, 10 as other Sees don; and it is never peace in any season. And no man may pass stille ne in pes 11 in no manner 12 cesoun.13 that sea by ship or by any kind of craft : and And no man may passe that See be Navye 14 therefore may no man know what land is ne be no maner of craft : 15 and therfore may beyond that sea. And albeit that it have no no man knowe what Lond is beyond that See. water, yet men find therein and on the banks And alle-be-it that it have no Watre, yit men very good fish of different kinds and shapes fynden 16 there-in and on the Bankes fulle gode from those that men find in any other sea; and Fissche of other maner of kynde and schappe they are all very good to eat and delicious for thanne men fynden in ony other See; and thei man's food. ben of right goode tast and delycious to mannes mete.

And a 3 journeys long fro that See, ben gret And three days' distance from that sea are Mountaynes; out of the whiche gothe 17 out a great mountains; out of which flows a great gret Flood,18 that comethe out of Paradys; and river, that comes from Paradise; and it is full it is fulle of precious Stones, withouten ony of precious stones, without any drop of water; drope of Water; and it rennethe 19 thorghe the. and it runs through the desert, on the one side, Desert, on that 20 o ' syde, so that it maket he so that it makes the sea gravelly; and it the See gravely; and it berethe 17 in-to that flows into the sea and ends there. And this See, and there it endethe. And that Flome 19 river runs three days in the week, and brings rennet he also 3 dayes in the Woke, 21 and with it great stones and rocks also, and that bryngethe with him grete Stones and the in great abundance. And as soon as they Roches 22 also therewith, and that gret plentee. have entered into the Gravelly Sea, they are And anon as thei ben entred in-to the gravely no more but are lost forever. And See, thei ben seyn 23 no more, but lost for evere during the three days that the river runs, no more. And in tho 3 dayes that that Ryvere man dares enter into it: but during the other rennethe no man dar 24 entren in-to it : but days one may enter well. enough. Also in the other dayes men dar entren wel ynow.25 beyond that river, further upward towards the Also beyonde that Flome, 18 more upward to deserts, is a great plain of gravel between the the Desertes, is a gret Pleyn alle gravelly mountains; and in that plain, every day at betwene the Mountaynes; and in that Playn the rising of the sun, there begin to grow small every day at the Sonne risynge begynnen to trees; and they grow till midday, bearing growe smale Trees; and thei

growen til

fruit; but no man dares take any of that mydday, berynge Frute; but no man dar fruit, for it is a thing of faërie. And after taken of that Frute, for it is a thing of midday they decrease and enter again into Fayrye 26 And aftre mydday thei discrecen 27 the earth; so that at the setting of the sun and entren ayen in-to the Erthe; so that at they appear no more; and so they do every the goynge doun of the Sonne thei apperen no day: and that is a great marvel. more; and so thei don every day: and that is a gret marvaylle. lone ? set not by ( = do not practice) 3 frauds device

find 17

goes, flows * tricks 5 deceits 6 have call 8 gravelly sand the week



seen dare enough peace 12 kind of

ship magic

decrease 28






18 river
















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