The House of Fame, p.1Geoffrey Chaucer
[OMACL release #2]
The House of Fame
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The following text is based on that published in THE COMPLETE
WORKS OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER, ed. W.W. Skeat (Oxford, 1899). This
work is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN.
This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by
Douglas B. Killings ([email protected]), September 1994, based
upon a previous e-text of unknown origin. Additional assistance
provided by Diane M. Brendan.
BOOK I Incipit liber primus.
1 God turne us every dreem to gode!
2 For hit is wonder, be the rode,
3 To my wit, what causeth swevens
4 Either on morwes, or on evens;
5 And why the effect folweth of somme,
6 And of somme hit shal never come;
7 Why that is an avisioun,
8 And this a revelacioun,
9 Why this a dreem, why that a sweven,
10 And nat to every man liche even;
11 Why this a fantom, these oracles,
12 I noot; but who-so of these miracles
13 The causes knoweth bet than I,
14 Devyne he; for I certeinly
15 Ne can hem noght, ne never thinke
16 To besily my wit to swinke,
17 To knowe of hir signifiaunce
18 The gendres, neither the distaunce
19 Of tymes of hem, ne the causes,
20 For-why this more than that cause is;
21 As if folkes complexiouns
22 Make hem dreme of reflexiouns;
23 Or ellis thus, as other sayn,
24 For to greet feblenesse of brayn,
25 By abstinence, or by seeknesse,
26 Prison, stewe, or greet distresse;
27 Or elles by disordinaunce
28 Of naturel acustomaunce,
29 That som man is to curious
30 In studie, or melancolious,
31 Or thus, so inly ful of drede,
32 That no man may him bote bede;
33 Or elles, that devocioun
34 Of somme, and contemplacioun
35 Causeth swiche dremes ofte;
36 Or that the cruel lyf unsofte
37 Which these ilke lovers leden
38 That hopen over muche or dreden,
39 That purely hir impressiouns
40 Causeth hem avisiouns;
41 Or if that spirites have the might
42 To make folk to dreme a-night
43 Or if the soule, of propre kinde
44 Be so parfit, as men finde,
45 That hit forwot that is to come,
46 And that hit warneth alle and somme
47 Of everiche of hir aventures
48 Be avisiouns, or by figures,
49 But that our flesh ne hath no might
50 To understonden hit aright,
51 For hit is warned to derkly; --
52 But why the cause is, noght wot I.
53 Wel worthe, of this thing, grete clerkes,
54 That trete of this and other werkes;
55 For I of noon opinioun
56 Nil as now make mensioun,
57 But only that the holy rode
58 Turne us every dreem to gode!
59 For never, sith that I was born,
60 Ne no man elles, me biforn,
61 Mette, I trowe stedfastly,
62 So wonderful a dreem as I
63 The tenthe day dide of Decembre,
64 The which, as I can now remembre,
65 I wol yow tellen every del,
66 But at my ginninge, trusteth wel,
67 I wol make invocacioun,
68 With special devocioun,
69 Unto the god of slepe anoon,
70 That dwelleth in a cave of stoon
71 Upon a streem that cometh fro Lete,
72 That is a flood of helle unswete;
73 Besyde a folk men clepe Cimerie,
74 Ther slepeth ay this god unmerie
75 With his slepy thousand sones
76 That alway for to slepe hir wone is --
77 And to this god, that I of rede,
78 Prey I, that he wol me spede
79 My sweven for to telle aright,
80 If every dreem stonde in his might.
81 And he, that mover is of al
82 That is and was, and ever shal,
83 So yive hem Ioye that hit here
84 Of alle that they dreme to-yere,
85 And for to stonden alle in grace
86 Of hir loves, or in what place
87 That hem wer levest for to stonde,
88 And shelde hem fro poverte and shonde,
89 And fro unhappe and eche disese,
90 And sende hem al that may hem plese,
91 That take hit wel, and scorne hit noght,
92 Ne hit misdemen in her thoght
93 Through malicious entencioun.
94 And who-so, through presumpcioun,
95 Or hate or scorne, or through envye,
96 Dispyt, or Iape, or vilanye,
97 Misdeme hit, preye I Iesus god
98 That (dreme he barfoot, dreme he shod),
99 That every harm that any man
100 Hath had, sith that the world began,
101 Befalle him therof, or he sterve,
102 And graunte he mote hit ful deserve,
103 Lo! with swich a conclusioun
104 As had of his avisioun
105 Cresus, that was king of Lyde,
106 That high upon a gebet dyde!
107 This prayer shal he have of me;
108 I am no bet in charite!
109 Now herkneth, as I have you seyd,
110 What that I mette or I abreyd.
111 Of Decembre the tenthe day,
112 Whan hit was night, to slepe I lay
113 Right ther as I was wont to done,
114 And fil on slepe wonder sone,
115 As he that wery was for-go
116 On pilgrimage myles two
117 To the corseynt Leonard,
118 To make lythe of that was hard.
119 But as I sleep, me mette I was
120 Within a temple y-mad of glas;
121 In whiche ther were mo images
122 Of gold, stondinge in sondry stages,
123 And mo riche tabernacles,
124 And with perre mo pinacles,
125 And mo curious portreytures,
126 And queynte maner of figures
127 Of olde werke, then I saw ever.
128 For certeynly, I niste never
129 Wher that I was, but wel wiste I,
130 Hit was of Venus redely,
131 The temple; for, in portreyture,
132 I sawgh anoon-right hir figure
133 Naked fletinge in a see.
134 And also on hir heed, parde,
135 Hir rose-garlond whyt and reed,
136 And hir comb to kembe hir heed,
137 Hir dowves, and daun Cupido
138 Hir blinde sone, and Vulcano,
139 That in his face was ful broun.
140 But as I romed up and doun,
141 I fond that on a wal ther was
142 Thus writen, on a table of bras:
143 `I wol now singe, if that I can,
144 The armes, and al-so the man,
145 That first cam, through his destinee,
146 Fugitif of Troye contree,
147 In Itaile, with ful moche pyne,
148 Unto the strondes of Lavyne.'
149 And tho began the story anoon,
150 As I shal telle yow echoon.
151 First saw I the destruccioun
152 Of Troye, through the Greek Sinoun,
153 That with his false forsweringe,
154 And his chere and his lesinge
155 Made the hors broght into Troye,
156 Thorgh which Troyens loste al hir Ioye.
157 And after this was grave, allas!
158 How Ilioun assailed was
159 And wonne, and King Priam y-slayn,
160 And Polites his sone, certayn,
161 Dispitously, of dan Pirrus.
162 And next that saw I how Venus,
163 Whan that she saw the castel brende,
164 Doun fro the hevene gan descende,
165 And bad hir sone Eneas flee;
166 And how he fledde, and how that he
167 Escaped was from al the pres,
168 And took his fader, Anchises,
169 And bar him on his bakke away,
170 Cryinge, `Allas, and welaway!'
171 The whiche Anchises in his honde
172 Bar the goddes of the londe,
173 Thilke that unbrende were.
174 And I saw next, in alle this fere,
175 How Creusa, daun Eneas wyf,
176 Which that he lovede as his lyf,
177 And hir yonge sone Iulo,
178 And eek Ascanius also,
179 Fledden eek with drery chere,
180 That hit was pitee for to here;
181 And in a forest, as they wente,
182 At a turninge of a wente,
183 How Creusa was y-lost, allas!
184 That deed, but noot I how, she was;
185 How he hir soughte, and how hir gost
186 Bad him to flee the Grekes ost,
187 And seyde he most unto Itaile,
188 As was his destinee, sauns faille;
189 That hit was pitee for to here,
190 Whan hir spirit gan appere,
191 The wordes that she to him seyde,
192 And for to kepe hir sone him preyde.
193 Ther saw I graven eek how he,
194 His fader eek, and his meynee,
195 With his shippes gan to sayle
196 Toward the contree of Itaile,
197 As streight as that they mighte go.
198 Ther saw I thee, cruel Iuno,
199 That art daun Iupiteres wyf,
200 That hast y-hated, al thy lyf,
201 Al the Troyanisshe blood,
202 Renne and crye, as thou were wood,
203 On Eolus, the god of windes,
204 To blowen out, of alle kindes,
205 So loude, that he shulde drenche
206 Lord and lady, grome and wenche,
207 Of al the Troyan nacioun,
208 Withoute any savacioun.
209 Ther saw I swich tempeste aryse,
210 That every herte mighte agryse,
211 To see hit peynted on the walle.
212 Ther saw I graven eek withalle,
213 Venus, how ye, my lady dere,
214 Wepinge with ful woful chere,
215 Prayen Iupiter an hye
216 To save and kepe that navye
217 Of the Troyan Eneas,
218 Sith that he hir sone was.
219 Ther saw I Ioves Venus kisse,
220 And graunted of the tempest lisse.
221 Ther saw I how the tempest stente,
222 And how with alle pyne he wente,
223 And prevely took arrivage
224 In the contree of Cartage;
225 And on the morwe, how that he
226 And a knight, hight Achatee,
227 Metten with Venus that day,
228 Goinge in a queynt array,
229 As she had ben an hunteresse,
230 With wind blowinge upon hir tresse;
231 How Eneas gan him to pleyne,
232 Whan that he knew hir, of his peyne;
233 And how his shippes dreynte were,
234 Or elles lost, he niste where;
235 How she gan him comforte tho,
236 And bad him to Cartage go,
237 And ther he shulde his folk finde
238 That in the see were left behinde.
239 And, shortly of this thing to pace,
240 She made Eneas so in grace
241 Of Dido, quene of that contree,
242 That, shortly for to tellen, she
243 Becam his love, and leet him do
244 That that wedding longeth to.
245 What shulde I speke more queynte,
246 Or peyne me my wordes peynte,
247 To speke of love? hit wol not be;
248 I can not of that facultee.
249 And eek to telle the manere
250 How they aqueynteden in-fere,
251 Hit were a long proces to telle,
252 And over long for yow to dwelle.
253 Ther sawgh I grave how Eneas
254 Tolde Dido every cas,
255 That him was tid upon the see.
256 And after grave was, how shee
257 Made of him, shortly, at oo word,
258 Hir lyf, hir love, hir luste, hir lord;
259 And dide him al the reverence,
260 And leyde on him al the dispence,
261 That any woman mighte do,
262 Weninge hit had al be so,
263 As he hir swoor; and her-by demed
264 That he was good, for he swich semed.
265 Allas! what harm doth apparence,
266 Whan hit is fals in existence!
267 For he to hir a traitour was;
268 Wherfor she slow hir-self, allas!
269 Lo, how a woman doth amis,
270 To love him that unknowen is!
271 For, by Crist, lo! thus hit fareth;
272 `Hit is not al gold, that glareth.'
273 For, al-so brouke I wel myn heed,
274 Ther may be under goodliheed
275 Kevered many a shrewed vyce;
276 Therfor be no wight so nyce,
277 To take a love only for chere,
278 For speche, or for frendly manere;
279 For this shal every woman finde
280 That som man, of his pure kinde,
281 Wol shewen outward the faireste,
282 Til he have caught that what him leste;
283 And thanne wol he causes finde,
284 And swere how that she is unkinde,
285 Or fals, or prevy, or double was.
286 Al this seye I by Eneas
287 And Dido, and hir nyce lest,
288 That lovede al to sone a gest;
289 Therfor I wol seye a proverbe,
290 That `he that fully knoweth therbe
291 May saufly leye hit to his ye';
292 Withoute dreed, this is no lye.
293 But let us speke of Eneas,
294 How he betrayed hir, allas!
295 And lefte hir ful unkindely.
297 That he wolde hir of trouthe faile,
298 And wende fro hir to Itaile,
299 She gan to wringe hir hondes two.
300 `Allas!' quod she, `what me is wo!
301 Allas! is every man thus trewe,
302 That every yere wolde have a newe,
303 If hit so longe tyme dure,
304 Or elles three, peraventure?
305 As thus: of oon he wolde have fame
306 In magnifying of his name;
307 Another for frendship, seith he;
308 And yet ther shal the thridde be,
309 That shal be taken for delyt,
310 Lo, or for singular profyt.'
311 In swiche wordes gan to pleyne
312 Dido of hir grete peyne,
313 As me mette redely;
314 Non other auctour alegge I.
315 `Allas!' quod she, `my swete herte,
316 Have pitee on my sorwes smerte,
317 And slee me not! go noght away!
318 O woful Dido, wel away!'
319 Quod she to hir-selve tho.
320 `O Eneas! what wil ye do?
321 O that your love, ne your bonde,
322 That ye han sworn with your right honde,
323 Ne my cruel deeth,' quod she,
324 "May holde yow still heer with me!
325 O, haveth of my deeth pitee!
326 Y-wis, my dere herte, ye
327 Knowen ful wel that never yit,
328 As fer-forth as I hadde wit,
329 Agilte I yow in thoght ne deed.
330 0, have ye men swich goodliheed
331 In speche, and never a deel of trouthe?
332 Allas, that ever hadde routhe
333 Any woman on any man!
334 Now see I wel, and telle can,
335 We wrecched wimmen conne non art;
336 For certeyn, for the more part,
337 Thus we be served everichone.
338 How sore that ye men conne grone,
339 Anoon as we have yow receyved!
340 Certeinly we ben deceyved;
341 For, though your love laste a sesoun,
342 Wayte upon the conclusioun,
343 And eek how that ye determynen,
344 And for the more part diffynen.
345 `O, welawey that I was born!
346 For through yow is my name lorn,
347 And alle myn actes red and songe
348 Over al this lond, on every tonge.
349 O wikke Fame! for ther nis
350 Nothing so swift, lo, as she is!
351 O, sooth is, every thing is wist,
352 Though hit be kevered with the mist.
353 Eek, thogh I mighte duren ever,
354 That I have doon, rekever I never,
355 That I ne shal be seyd, allas,
356 Y-shamed be through Eneas,
357 And that I shal thus Iuged be --
358 `Lo, right as she hath doon, now she
359 Wol do eftsones, hardily;'
360 Thus seyth the peple prevely.' --
361 But that is doon, nis not to done;
362 Al hir compleynt ne al hir mone,
363 Certeyn, availeth hir not a stre.
364 And when she wiste sothly he
365 Was forth unto his shippes goon,
366 She in hir chambre wente anoon,
367 And called on hir suster Anne,
368 And gan hir to compleyne thanne;
369 And seyde, that she cause was
370 That she first lovede Eneas,
371 And thus counseilled hir therto.
372 But what! when this was seyd and do,
373 She roof hir-selve to the herte,
374 And deyde through the wounde smerte.
375 But al the maner how she deyde,
376 And al the wordes that she seyde,
377 Who-so to knowe hit hath purpos,
378 Reed Virgile in Eneidos
379 Or the Epistle of Ovyde,
380 What that she wroot or that she dyde;
381 And nere hit to long to endyte,
382 By god, I wolde hit here wryte.
383 But, welaway! the harm, the routhe,
384 That hath betid for swich untrouthe,
385 As men may ofte in bokes rede,
386 And al day seen hit yet in dede,
387 That for to thenken hit, a tene is.
388 Lo, Demophon, duk of Athenis,
389 How he forswor him ful falsly,
390 And trayed Phillis wikkedly,
391 That kinges doghter was of Trace,
392 And falsly gan his terme pace;
393 And when she wiste that he was fals,
394 She heng hir-self right by the hals,
395 For he had do hir swich untrouthe;
396 Lo! was not this a wo and routhe?
397 Eek lo! how fals and reccheles
398 Was to Breseida Achilles,
399 And Paris to Enone;
400 And Iason to Isiphile;
401 And eft Iason to Medea;
402 And Ercules to Dyanira;
403 For he left hir for Iole,
404 That made him cacche his deeth, parde.
405 How fals eek was he, Theseus;
406 That, as the story telleth us,
407 How he betrayed Adriane;
408 The devel be his soules bane!
409 For had he laughed, had he loured,
410 He moste have be al devoured,
411 If Adriane ne had y-be!
412 And, for she had of him pitee,
413 She made him fro the dethe escape,
414 And he made hir a ful fals Iape;
415 For aftir this, within a whyle
416 He lefte hir slepinge in an yle,
417 Deserte alone, right in the see,
418 And stal away, and leet hir be;
419 And took hir suster Phedra tho
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