The canterbury tales, p.37
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.37

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  1990 To thy subgitz1990 do noon oppressioun,

  Ne make thine aqueintance nat for to flee.”

  And Thomas, yet eftsoones1992 I charge thee:

  Be war from hire1993 that in thy bosom slepeth!

  War fro the serpent that so sleighly1994 crepeth

  1995 Under the gras, and stingeth subtilly1995.

  Be war, my sone, and herkne paciently,

  That twenty thousand men han lost hir lives

  For striving with hir lemmans1998 and hir wives.

  Now sith ye han so holy meke a wif,

  2000 What nedeth yow, Thomas, to maken strif?

  Ther nis, iwys2001, no serpent so cruel

  Whan man tret2002 on his tail, ne half so fel,

  As womman is whan she hath caught an ire.

  Vengeance is thanne al that they desire.

  2005 Ire is a sinne, oon of the grete of sevene,

  Abhominable unto the God of hevene,

  And to himself it is destruccioun.

  This every lewed viker2008 or persoun

  Kan seye, how ire engendreth homicide.

  2010 Ire is, in sooth, executour of pride.2010

  I koude of ire seye so muche sorwe

  My tale sholde laste til tomorwe;

  And therfore praye I God, bothe day and night,

  An irous man, God sende him litel might2014!

  2015 It is greet harm, and certes greet pitee,

  To sette an irous man in heigh degree.

  ‘Whilom2017 ther was an irous potestat,

  As seyth Senek, that during his estat2018,

  Upon a day out riden knightes two.

  2020 And as Fortune wolde that it were so,

  That oon2021 of hem cam hoom, that oother noght.

  Anon the knight bifore the juge is broght,

  That seide thus: “Thow hast thy felawe slain,

  For which I deme2024 thee to the deeth, certein.”

  2025 And to another knight comanded he:

  “Go lede him to the deeth, I charge thee.”

  And happed2027, as they wente by the weye

  Toward the place ther2028 he sholde deye,

  The knight cam which men wenden had be deed2029.

  2030 Thanne thoghten they it were the beste reed2030

  To lede hem bothe to the juge again.

  They seiden, “Lord, the knight ne hath nat slain

  His felawe; heere he standeth, hool alive.”

  “Ye shul be deed,” quod he, “so moot I thrive!

  2035 This is to seyn, bothe oon and two and thre.”

  And to the firste knight right thus spak he:

  “I dampned2037 thee; thou most algate be deed.

  And thow also most nedes2038 lese thin heed,

  For thow art cause why thy felawe deyth.”

  2040 And to the thridde knight right thus he seyth:

  “Thow hast nat doon that I comanded thee” –

  And thus he dide do sleen hem2042 alle thre.

  ‘Irous Cambises was eek dronkelewe2043,

  And ay delited him to been a shrewe2044.

  2045 And so bifel, a lord of his meinee2045,

  That loved vertuous moralitee,

  Seide on a day bitwix hem two right thus:

  ‘ “A lord is lost if he be vicious,

  And dronkenesse is eek a foul record2049

  2050 Of any man, and namely in a lord.

  Ther is ful many an eighe2051 and many an ere

  Awaiting on2052 a lord, and he noot where.

  For Goddes love, drink moore attemprely2053!

  Win maketh man to lesen2054 wrecchedly

  2055 His minde, and eek his limes2055 everychon.”

  ‘ “The revers shaltow se,” quod he, “anon,

  And preve it by thin owene experience,

  That win ne dooth to folk no swich offence2058.

  Ther is no win bireveth me my might

  2060 Of hond ne foot, ne of mine eyen sight.”

  And for despit2061 he drank ful muchel moore

  An hundred part2062 than he hadde doon bifore.

  And right anon this irous cursed wrecche

  Leet this knightes sone bifore him fecche2064,

  2065 Comandinge him he sholde bifore him stonde,

  And sodeinly he took his bowe in honde,

  And up the streng2067 he pulled to his ere,

  And with an arwe he slow2068 the child right there.

  “Now wheither have I2069 a siker hand or noon?”

  2070 Quod he. “Is al my might and minde agoon?

  Hath win bireved me min eyen sight?”

  ‘What sholde I telle th’answere of the knight?

  His sone was slain; ther is namoore to seye.

  Beth war2074, therfore, with lordes how ye pleye.

  2075 Singeth “Placebo2075”, and “I shal if I kan”,

  But if2076 it be unto a povre man.

  To a povre man men sholde his vices telle,

  But nat to a lord, thogh he sholde go to helle.

  ‘Lo, irous Cirus, thilke Percien2079,

  2080 How he destroyed the river of Gisen,

  For that an hors of his was dreint2081 therinne,

  Whan that he wente Babiloine to winne2082.

  He made that the river was so smal

  That wommen mighte wade it overal.

  2085 Lo, what seide he that so wel teche kan2085:

  “Ne be no felawe to an irous man,

  Ne with no wood man walke by the weye

  Lest thee repente; I wol no ferther seye.”

  ‘Now, Thomas, leeve brother, leve thin ire.

  2090 Thow shalt me finde as just as is a squire2090.

  Hoold nat the develes knif ay at thin herte –

  Thin angre dooth thee al to soore smerte2092 –

  But shewe to me al thy confessioun.’2093

  ‘Nay,’ quod the sike man, ‘by Seint Simoun,

  2095 I have be shriven2095 this day at my curat.

  I have him toold al hoolly2096 min estat;

  Nedeth namoore to speke of it, seyth he,

  But if me list2098, of min humilitee.’

  ‘Yif me thanne of thy gold to make oure cloistre,’

  2100 Quod he, ‘for many a muscle2100 and many an oystre,

  Whan othere men han been ful wel at eise2101,

  Hath been oure foode, oure cloistre for to reise2102.

  And yet, God woot, unnethe2103 the fundement

  Parfourmed2104 is, ne of oure pavement

  2105 Nis nat a tile yet withinne oure wones2105.

  By God, we owen fourty pound for stones!

  Now help, Thomas, for him that harwed2107 helle,

  Or ellis mote we oure bookes selle.

  And if yow lakke oure predicacioun2109,

  2110 Thanne gooth the world al to destruccioun.

  For whoso fro this world wolde us bireve2111,

  So God me save, Thomas, by youre leve,

  He wolde bireve out of this world the sonne2113.

  For who kan teche and werchen2114 as we konne?

  2115 And that is nat of litel time,’ quod he,

  ‘But sith Elie was, or Elise2116,

  Han freres been, that finde I of record2117,

  In charitee, ythanked be oure Lord!

  Now, Thomas, help, for seinte charitee!’

  2120 And doun anon he set him on his knee2120.

  This sike man wex wel neigh wood2121 for ire;

  He wolde that the frere hadde been afire,

  With his false dissimulacioun.

  ‘Swich thing as is in my possessioun,’

  2125 Quod he, ‘that may I yeven, and noon oother.

  Ye sey me thus, how that I am youre brother?’

  ‘Ye, certes,’ quod the frere, ‘trusteth wel;

  I took oure dame2128 oure lettre with oure seel.’

  ‘Now wel,’ quod he, ‘and somwhat shal I yeve

  2130 Unto youre holy covent whil I live.

  And in thin ha
nd thow shalt it han anon –

  On this condicioun, and oother noon:

  That thow departe it2133 so, my deere brother,

  That every frere have as muche as oother.

  2135 This shaltow swere, on thy professioun2135,

  Withouten fraude or cavelacioun2136.’

  ‘I swere it,’ quod this frere, ‘upon my feith!’

  And therwithal2138 his hand in his he leyth.

  ‘Lo here my feith; in me shal be no lak2139.’

  2140 ‘Now thanne, put in thin hand doun by my bak,’

  Seide this man, ‘and grope wel bihinde,

  Binethe my buttok; ther shaltow finde

  A thing that I have hid in privetee2143.’

  ‘A!’ thoghte this frere, ‘that shal go with me!’

  2145 And doun his hand he launcheth2145 to the clifte,

  In hope for to finde there a yifte.

  And whan this sike man felte this frere

  Aboute his tuwel2148 grope there and heere,

  Amidde his hand he leet2149 the frere a fart.

  2150 Ther nis no capul2150 drawing in a cart

  That mighte han late2151 a fart of swich a soun.

  The frere up stirte2152 as dooth a wood leoun.

  ‘A, false cherl!’ quod he, ‘for Goddes bones,

  This hastow for despit doon for the nones!

  2155 Thow shalt abye2155 this fart, if that I may!’

  His meinee2156, which that herden this affray,

  Cam leping in and chaced out the frere,

  And forth he gooth with a ful angry cheere2158,

  And fette his felawe theras lay his stoor.2159

  2160 He looked as it were a wilde boor;

  He grinte2161 with his teeth, so was he wrooth.

  A sturdy paas2162 doun to the court he gooth,

  Wheras ther woned2163 a man of greet honour,

  To whom that he was alwey confessour;

  2165 This worthy man was lord of that village.

  This frere cam as he were in a rage

  Whereas this lord sat eting at his bord2167.

  Unnethes2168 mighte the frere speke a word,

  Til atte laste he seide, ‘God yow see2169!’

  2170 This lord gan looke, and seide, ‘Benedicitee!

  What, Frere John, what maner world is this2171?

  I se wel that somthing ther is amis.

  Ye loken as the wode were ful of thevis!

  Sit doun anon, and tel me what youre grief2174 is,

  2175 And it shal been amended, if I may.’

  ‘I have’, quod he, ‘had a despit2176 today,

  God yelde yow, adoun in youre village,

  That in this world is noon so povre a page

  That he nolde have abhominacioun2179

  2180 Of that2180 I have received in youre toun.

  And yet ne greveth me nothing so soore

  As that this olde cherl with lokkes hoore2182

  Blasphemed hath oure hooly covent eke.’

  ‘Now, maister,’ quod this lord, ‘I yow biseke –’

  2185 ‘No maister, sire,’ quod he, ‘but servitour2185;

  Thogh I have had in scole2186 that honour,

  God liketh nat that “Raby2187” men us calle,

  Neither in market, ne in youre large halle.’

  ‘No force2189,’ quod he, ‘but tel me al youre grief.’

  2190 ‘Sire,’ quod this frere, ‘an odious meschief2190

  This day bitid is2191 to min ordre and me,

  And so, per consequens2192, to ech degree

  Of Holy Chirche, God amende it soone!’

  ‘Sire,’ quod the lord, ‘ye woot what is to doone2194.

  2195 Distempre yow noght2195; ye be my confessour.

  Ye been the salt of th’erthe and the savour;

  For Goddes love, youre pacience ye holde.

  Tel me youre grief.’ And he anon him tolde

  As ye han herd biforn – ye woot wel what.

  2200 The lady of the hous ay stille2200 sat

  Til she hadde herd what the frere saide.

  ‘Ey, Goddes moder,’ quod she. ‘blisful maide!

  Is ther aught elles? Tel me feithfully.’

  ‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘how thinketh yow therby2204?’

  2205 ‘How that me thinketh?’ quod she. ‘So God me spede2205,

  I seye a cherl2206 hath doon a cherles dede.

  What sholde I seye? God lat him nevere thee2207!

  His sike heed is ful of vanitee.

  I holde him in a manere frenesye.’2209

  2210 ‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘by God I shal nat lie,

  But I on oother wise may be wreke2211,

  I shal diffame2212 him overal wher I speke,

  The false blasphemour that charged me

  To parte2214 that wol nat departed be,

  2215 To every man iliche2215, with meschaunce!’

  The lord sat stille as he were in a traunce,

  And in his herte he rolled up and doun:

  ‘How hadde this cherl imaginacioun2218

  To shewe swich a probleme to the frere?

  2220 Nevere erst er now2220 herde I of swich matere;

  I trowe the devel putte it in his minde!

  In ars-metrik2222 shal ther no man finde

  Biforn this day of swich a questioun.

  Who sholde make a demonstracioun2224

  2225 That every man sholde han ilike his part2225

  As of the soun or savour of a fart?

  O nice2227 proude cherl, I shrewe his face!

  Lo, sires,’ quod the lord, ‘with harde grace2228,

  Who evere herde of swich a thing er now?

  2230 To every man ilike – tel me how!

  It is an inpossible2231, it may nat be.

  Ey, nice cherl, God lat him nevere thee!

  The rumbling of a fart, and every soun,

  Nis but of eir2234 reverberacioun,

  2235 And evere2235 it wasteth lite and lite awey.

  Ther nis no man kan demen2236, by my fey,

  If that it were departed equally.

  What, lo my cherl, lo yet how shrewedly2238

  Unto my confessour today he spak!

  2240 I holde him certein a demoniak2240.

  Now ete youre mete, and lat the cherl go pleye2241;

  Lat him go hange himself, a devel weye2242!’

  The wordes of the lordes squier and his kervere for departinge of the fart on twelve.

  Now stood the lordes squier at the bord,

  That carf2244 his mete, and herde word by word

  2245 Of alle thing of which I have yow said.

  ‘My lord,’ quod he, ‘be ye nat ivele apaid2246;

  I koude telle, for a gowne-clooth2247,

  To yow, sire frere, so2248 ye be nat wrooth,

  How that this fart sholde evene ydeled2249 be

  2250 Among youre covent, if it liked me2250.’

  ‘Tel,’ quod the lord, ‘and thow shalt have anon

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