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And every cryke1 in Britaigne and in Spayne.

His barge y-cleped was the Maudelayne. 410
With us ther was a Doctour of Phisyk,
In al this world ne was ther noon him lyk
To speke of 2 phisik and of surgerye;
For he was grounded in astronomye.
He kepte his pacient a ful greet del
In houres, by his magik naturel.
Wel coude he fortunen the ascendent
Of his images for his pacient.3
He knew the cause of everich maladye,
Were it of hoot or cold, or moiste, or drye,
And where engendred, and of what humour; 4
He was a verrey,5 parfit practisour.

6

The cause y-knowe, and of his harm the rote,
Anon he yaf the seke man his bote.7
Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries,
To sende him drogges and his letuaries,3
For ech of hem made other for to winne;
Hir frendschipe nas nat newe to biginne.
Wel knew he the olde Esculapius, 9
And Deiscorides, and cck Rufus;
Old Ypocras, Haly, and Galien;
Serapion, Razis, and Avicen;
Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn
Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.
Of his diete mesurable was he,
For it was of no superfluitee,

But of greet norissing and digestible. His studie was but litel on the Bible.

415

425

430

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435

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true root,

1 creek, inlet 2 in regard to, if one is speaking of For ll. 415-18, on the use of astrology in treating patients, see the Notes. 4 For the humours as related to diseases, see the Notes. 9 The men cause 7 remedy medicinal syrups named in II. 429–34 were famous writers on medicine, ancient and modern. 10 red 11 blue 12 light silk 13 moderate the plague 16 remedy expenditure for heart-disease 17 harm 18 skill

14

15

And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she
That she was out of alle charitee.
452
Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground;
I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound, ·
That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed. 455
Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
Ful streite y-teyd, and shoes ful moyste
and newe.

Boold was hir face and fair and reed of hewe.
She was a worthy womman al hir lyve;
Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,
Withouten oother compaignye in youthe, 461
But ther-of nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.2
And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;
She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
At Rome she hadde been and at Boloigne,
In Galice at Seint Jame, and at Coloigne ;466
She coude muche of wandrynge by the

3

weye:

Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.
Upon an amblere esily she sat,
Y-wympled wel, and on her heed an hat 470
As brood as is a bokeler or a targe; 6
A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
And on hire feet a paire of spores sharpe.
In felaweshipe wel coude she laughe and
474

1

carpe;

Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,8
For she coude of that art the olde daunce.9
A good man was ther of religioun,
And was a povre Persoun of a toun;
But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk;
He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
480
That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche.
Hise parisshens devoutly wolde he teche;
Benygne he was and wonder diligent,
And in adversitee ful pacient ;

And swich he was y-preved 10 ofte sithes.11 485
Ful looth were hym to cursen 12 for hise tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
Unto his povre parisshens aboute,
Of his offryng and eek of his substaunce.
He coude in litel thyng have suffisaunce, 490
Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,
But he ne lafte 13 nat for reyn ne thonder
In siknesse nor in meschief to visite

The ferreste 14 in his parisshe, muche and lite,15

4

1 soft 2 at present knew teeth set wide apart, a sign that one will travel. 5 with a wimple about her face shield riding-skirt 8 doubtless 9 This proved 1 times 12 excommuni14 farthest neglected

7 10

11

is a slang phrase. cate

13

15

rich and poor

495

Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his sheepe he gaf,
That firste he wroghte and afterward he
taughte.

500

Out of the gospel he tho1 wordes caughte,
And this figure he added eek 2 therto,
That if gold ruste, what shal iren doo?
For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
No wonder is a lewed 3 man to ruste;
And shame it is, if a prest take keep,4
A [filthy] shepherde and a clene sheep.
Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yeve 505
By his clennesse, how that his sheepe sholde
lyve.

He sette nat his benefice to hyre

510

And leet his sheep encombred in the myre,
And ran to London unto Seïnt Poules
To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,
Or with a bretherhed to been withholde; 5
But dwelte at hoom and kepte wel his folde,
So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie;
He was a shepherde, and noght a mercenarie.
And though he hooly were and vertuous, 515
He was to synful man nat despitous,"
Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,8
But in his techyng descreet and benygne;
To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were, of heigh or lowe estat,
Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the

521

nonys.10

A bettre preest I trowe that no-wher noon ys;
He waited after no pompe and reverence, 525
Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
But Cristes loore, and his apostles twelve,
He taughte, but first he folwed it hym-selve.
With him ther was a Plowman, was
11 his
brother,

That hadde y-lad 12 of dong ful many a fother,13

530

A trewe swinkere 14 and a good was he,
Livinge in pees and parfit 15 charitee.
God loved he best with al his hole herte
At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte,16
And thanne his neighebour right as him-
selve.

535

He wolde thresshe, and ther-to dyke and delve,

3

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1those 2 also ignorant heed 5 maintained pitiless overbearing haughty snub, rebuke 10 for the nonys means very, extremely 11 who was 12 carried 13 load 14 labourer 15 perfect 16 whether he was happy or unhappy

For Cristes sake, for every povre wight,
Withouten hyre, if it lay in his might.
His tythes payed he ful faire and wel,
Bothe of his propre 1 swink 2 and his catel."
In a tabardhe rood upon a mere.
541

Ther was also a Reve and a Millere,
A Somnour and a Pardoner also,
A Maunciple, and my-self; ther were namo.
The Millere was a stout carl for the nones,8
Ful byg he was of brawn and eek of bones;
That proved wel, for over-al ther he can,
At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram.10
He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke
knarre,"1

9

Ther nas no dore that he nolde heve of harre 12

Or breke it at a rennyng with his heed. 551
His berd, as any sowe or fox, was reed,
And therto brood, as though it were a spade.
Upon the cop 13 right of his nose he hade
A werte, and theron stood a tuft of herys,555
Reed as the bristles of a sowes erys; 14
His nosethirles 15 blake were and wyde.
A swerd and a bokeler bar he by his syde.
His mouth as wyde was as a greet forneys;
He was a janglere 1 and a goliardeys,17 560
And that was moost of synne and harlotries.
Wel coude he stelen corn and tollen thries,
And yet he hadde a thombe of gold,18 pardee!
A whit cote and a blew hood wered he;
A baggepipe wel coude he blowe and sowne,
And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.

A gentil Maunciple was ther of a temple,19
Of which achatours 20 mighte take exemple
For to be wyse in bying of vitaille. 569
For whether that he payde, or took by taille,21
Algate he wayted 22 so in his achat 23
That he was ay biforn 24 and in good stat.
Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace,
That swich a lewed 25 mannes wit shal pace
The wisdom of an heep of lerned men? 575
Of maistres hadde he mo 27 than thryes ten,
That were of lawe expert and curious;
Of which ther were a doseyn in that hous,
Worthy to been stiwardes of rente and lond
Of any lord that is in Engelond,

580

3

26

5

7

1own 2 labour property 4 short sleeveless jacket foreman of the laborers on a manor 6 bailiff of an ecclesiastical court steward of a college or inn of court for the nones means very, extremely 9 everywhere 10 the prize 11 knot 12 heave off its hinges end ears nostrils 16 loud talker

13

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15

17

jester As all honest millers have. 19 inn of court

18

20 buyers 21 tally, i.e. on credit 22 always he watched 23 purchase

24

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25 ahead ignorant surpass more

585

5

8

To make him live by his propre good,
In honour dettelees, but he were wood,1
Or live as scarsly 2 as him list desire;
And able for to helpen al a shire
In any cas that mighte falle or happe;
And yit this maunciple sette hir aller cappe.3
The Reeve was a sclendre colerik man.
His berd was shave as ny as ever he can;
His heer was by his eres round y-shorn;
His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
Ful longe were his legges, and ful lene,
Y-lyk a staf, ther was no calf y-sene.
Wel coude he kepe a gerner 6 and a binne:
Ther was noon auditour coude on him winne.
Wel wiste he, by the droghte, and by the reyn,
The yeldyng of his seed, and of his greyn. 596
His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye,
Was hooly in this reves governing;
And by his covenaunt yaf the rekening
9 боо
Sin 10 that his lord was twenty yeer of age;
Ther coude no man bringe him in arrerage."1
Ther nas baillif, ne herde,12 ne other hyne,13
That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
They were adrad of him, as of the deeth. 605
His woning was ful fair up-on an heeth;
With grene trees shadwed was his place;
He coude bettre than his lord purchace.
Ful riche he was astored prively;
His lord wel coude he plesen subtilly,
To yeve and lene him of his owne good,
And have a thank, and yet a cote, and hood.16
In youthe he lerned hadde a good mister;
He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
This reve sat up-on a ful good stot,"
That was al pomely grey, and highte Scot.
A long surcote of pers 20 up-on he hade,
And by his syde he bar a rusty blade.
Of Northfolk was this reve of which I telle,
Bisyde a toun men clepen Baldeswelle. 620
Tukked 21 he was, as is a frere, aboute,
And evere he rood the hindreste of our route.
A Somnour was ther with us in that place,
That hadde a fyr-reed cherubinnes face,
For sawceflem 22 he was, with eyen narwe,

14

15

17

18

19

*

1

591

610

615

3

9

servant

crazy 2 economically cheated them all (slang) 4 irascible 5 6 cut short granary 7 cattle stock of tools, etc. rendered account 10 since 11 find him in arrears 12 herdsman 13 14 whose craft and deceit he did not know 15 dwelling 1 lend his lord's own property to him and receive thanks and gifts 17 trade 18 cob 19 dappled 20 blue 21 his coat was tucked up with a girdle 22 pimpled

With scalled 1. browes blake, and piled berd;

630

Of his visage children were aferd.
Ther nas quik-silver, litarge, ne brimstoon,
Boras, ceruce,3 ne oille of tartre noon,
Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,
That him mighte helpen of his whelkes
whyte,

Ne of the knobbes sittinge on his chekes.
Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and cek lekes,
And for to drinken strong wyn, reed as blood.
Thanne wolde he speke and crye, as he were
wood.6

And whan that he wel dronken hadde the
wyn,

Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,

That he had lerned out of some decree; 640
No wonder is, he herde it al the day;

And eek ye knowen wel, how that a Jay
Can clepen Watte,' 7 as well as can the pope.
But who-so coude in other thing him grope,8
Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophye;
Ay "Questio quid iuris" wolde he crye. 646
He was a gentil harlot 10 and a kynde;
A bettre felawe 11 sholde men noght fynde;
He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn

9

A good felawe to have his [wikked sin]
A twelf-month, and excuse him atte fulle;
And prively a finch eek coude he pulle.12
And if he fond owher 13 a good felawe,
He wolde techen him to have non awe,
In swich cas, of the erchedeknes curs,14
But-if 15 a mannes soule were in his
purs;
For in his purs he sholde y-punisshed be.
"Purs is the erchedeknes helle," seyde he.
But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;
Of cursing oghte ech gulty man him drede 17
For curs wol slee, right as assoilling saveth
And also war him of a significavit.19
In daunger 20 hadde he at his owne gyse
The yonge girles 22 of the diocyse,
And knew hir counseil, and was al hir reed.24
A gerland hadde he set up-on his heed, 666

659

18

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650

655

16

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1 scurfy 2 scraggy a lead ointment 4 borax 6 mad bumps 7 call "Walter," as a parrot calls “Poll” test 9 "The question is what is the law" 10 rascal 11 good fellow was slang for a "disreputable person." 12 slang for "rob a greenhorn." anywhere excommunication 15 unless 16 purse 17 be afraid 18 absolving 19 writ for arresting an excommunicated person 20 under his influence

13

14

21

22

way young people of either sex secrets 24 adviser

As greet as it were for an ale-stake; 1
A bokeler hadde he maad him of a cake.

With him ther rood a gentil Pardoner Of Rouncivale, his frend and his compeer,670 That streight was comen fro the court of Rome.

Ful loude he song, 'Com hider love, to me.'
This somnour bar to him a stif burdoun,2
Was nevere trompe 3 of half so greet a soun.
This pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,
But smothe it heng, as doth a strike of flex; 4
By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
And ther-with he his shuldres overspradde;
But thinne it lay, by colpons oon and oon;
But hood, for jolitee, ne wered he noon, 680
For it was trussed up in his walet.

6

8

9

Him thoughte he rood al of the newe jet; '
Dischevele, save his cappe, he rood al bare.
Swiche glaringe eyen hadde he as an hare.
A vernicle 10 hadde he sowed on his cappe. 685
His walet lay biforn him in his lappe,
Bret-ful of pardoun come from Rome al
hoot.

A

voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot. No berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have, As smothe it was as it were late y-shave; 690

*

*

*

*

*

17

But of his craft, fro Berwik unto Ware,12
Ne was ther swich another pardoner;
For in his male 13 he hadde a pilwe-beer,14
Which that, he seyde, was our lady veyl; 15
He seyde, he hadde a gobet 16 of the seyl
That Seynt Peter hadde, whan that he wente
Up-on the see, til Iesu Crist him hente; 18
He hadde a croys
19 of latoun,20 ful of stones,
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
A povre person dwelling up-on lond,21
Up-on a day he gat him more moneye
Than that the person gat in monthes tweye.
And thus with feyned flaterye and japes,22 705.
He made the person and the peple his apes.2
But trewely to tellen, atte laste,

700

23

He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste.

*

*

ment

1a pole projecting from the wall of an inn and usually bearing a garland 2 accompani3 trumpet 4 hank of flax 5 small portions handfuls for sport it seemed to him 9 new fashion 10 a duplicate of the handkerchief of St. Veronica, on which the face of Jesus was imprinted. 11 brimful 12 from one end of England to the other 13 bag 14 pillow-cas 15 case Our Lady's veil 16 bit 17 sail 18 seized 19 20 brass 21 in the country 22 tricks 23 fools

cross

710

Wel coude he rede a lessoun or a storie,
But alderbest1 he song an offertorie;
For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
He moste preche, and wel affyle 2 his tonge,
To winne silver, as he ful wel coude;
Therfore he song so meriely and loude.

Now have I toold you shortly, in a clause, Thestaat, tharray, the nombre, and eek the 716

cause

3

Why that assembled was this compaignye
In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrye,
That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
But now is tyme to you for to telle
How that we baren us that ilke nyght,
Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
And after wol I telle of our viage

720

5

And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage.
But first, I pray yow of youre curteisye,
That ye narette it nat my vileynye,"
Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere
To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely; 7
For this ye knowen al-so wel as I,
Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
He moote reherce, as ny as evere he can,
Everich a word, if it be in his charge,

8

735

Al speke he never so rudeliche and large,
Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe
Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe;
He may nat spare, althogh he were his
brother,

726

1 best of all 2 polish, smooth

5

730

740

He moot as wel seye o word as another.
Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
And wel ye woot no vileynye 10 is it.
Eek Plato seith, whoso that can hym rede,
"The wordes moote be cosyn " to the dede."
Also I prey yow to foryeve it me
Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
Heere in this tale, as that they sholde stonde;
My wit is short, ye may wel understonde. 746

Greet chiere made oure hoste us everichon,12
And to the soper sette he us anon,
And served us with vitaille at the beste;
Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us
leste.13

750

A semely man oure Hooste was with-alle For to han been a marshal in an halle. A large man he was, with eyen stepe,' 14 A fairer burgeys was ther noon in Chepe; 15

was called journey do not ascribe it to lack of breeding

7

8

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accurately although coarsely 10 vulgarity li cousin 12 every one 18 it pleased us 14 big 15 Cheapside

Boold of his speche, and wys and wel y-taught,
And of manhod hym lakkede right naught.
Eek therto he was right a myrie man,
And after soper pleyen he bigan,
And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
Whan that we hadde maad our rekenynges;
And seyde thus: "Now, lordynges, trewely,
Ye been to me right welcome, hertely;
For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
I ne saugh this yeer so myrie a compaignye
At ones in this herberwe 2 as is now;
Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how.3
And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght,
To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.

762

765

775

"Ye goon to Canterbury; God yow speede, The blisful martir quite yow youre meede! * And, wel I woot," as ye goon by the weye, Ye shapen yow to talen and to pleye; For trewely comfort ne myrthe is noon To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon; And therfore wol I maken yow disport, As I seyde erst,' and doon yow som comfort. And if you liketh alle, by oon assent, Now for to stonden at my juggement, And for to werken as I shal yow seye, To-morwe, whan ye riden by the weye, Now by my fader soule that is deed, But ye be myrie, I wol yeve yow myn heed! Hoold up youre hond withouten

780

8

moore

speche."

757

wys,

Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche; Us thought it was noght worth to make it 785 And graunted hym withouten moore avys," And bad him seye his verdit, as hym leste.10 "Lordynges," " quod he, "now herkneth for the beste,

9

792

But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn;
This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
That ech of yow, to shorte with your weye,
In this viage shal telle tales tweye
To Caunterburyward, - I mean it so,
And homward he shal tellen othere two,
Of aventures that whilom 12 han bifalle.
And which of yow that bereth hym beste of
alle,

795

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sideration

3 meaning

772

That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas
Tales of best sentence 13 and moost solaas,
Shal have a soper at oure aller cost,14
Heere in this place, sittynge by this post, 800

4

1 besides 2 inn 3 if I knew how give you your reward 5 know 6 tell tales 7 before 8 unless 9 gentlemen 12 formerly

con

10

pleased him 11 14 cost of us all

Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
And, for to make yow the moore mury,1
I wol myselven gladly with yow ryde
Right at myn owne cost, and be youre gyde.
And whoso wole my juggement withseye2 805
Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
And if ye vouche-sauf that it be so,
Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
And I wol erly shape me therfore."

3

This thyng was graunted, and oure othes

810

swore

With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
That he would vouche-sauf for to do so,
And that he wolde been oure governour,
And of our tales juge and reportour,
And sette a soper at a certeyn pris,
And we wol reuled been at his devys
In heigh and lowe; and thus by oon assent
We been acorded to his juggement.

4

And therupon the wyn was fet anon;
We dronken and to reste wente echon
Withouten any lenger taryynge.

815

820

Amorwe, whan that day bigan to sprynge, Up roos oure Hoost and was oure aller cok,5 And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok, And forth we riden, a litel moore than paas, 6 Unto the Wateryng of Seint Thomas; 826 And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste, And seyde, "Lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste !

Ye woot youre forward, and I it yow recorde. 830

If even-song and morwe-song accorde,
Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale.
As evere mote I drynke wyn or ale,
Whoso be rebel to my juggement
Shal paye for all that by the wey is spent!
Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twynne.8
He which that hath the shorteste shal bi-
836
Sire Knyght," quod he, "my mayster and my
lord,

gynne.

Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord.
Cometh neer,'
,"9 quod he, "my lady Prioresse,
And ye, sire Clerk, lat be your shamefast-
nesse,
840

Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man."
Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
And, shortly for to tellen, as it was,
Were it by aventure, or sort,10 or cas,11

1

3

merry 2 gainsay prepare myself 4 fetched

5

all. 6 a little faster than a

cock — waked us walk farther depart agreement 10 fate 11 chance

7

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come nearer

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