The canterbury tales, p.47
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.47

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  I yeve it up! But sith I swoor min ooth

  That I wolde graunten him his sighte agein,

  My word shal stonde, I warne yow certein.

  2315 I am a king; it sit me noght2315 to lie.’

  ‘And I,’ quod she, ‘a queene of faierye!

  Hir answere shal she have, I undertake.

  Lat us namoore wordes herof make;

  For sothe, I wol no lenger yow contrarye2319.’

  2320 Now lat us turne again to Januarye,

  That in the gardin with his faire May

  Singeth ful murier2322 than the papejay,

  ‘Yow love I best, and shal, and oother noon.’

  So longe aboute the aleyes2324 is he goon

  2325 Til he was come agains2325 thilke pirie

  Wheras this Damian sitteth ful mirye2326,

  An heigh among the fresshe leves grene.

  This fresshe May, that is so bright and shene2328,

  Gan for to sike2329, and seide, ‘Allas, my side!

  2330 Now sire,’ quod she, ‘for aught that may bitide,

  I moste han of the peris2331 that I se,

  Or I moot die; so sore longeth me2332

  To eten of the smale peris grene.

  Help, for hir love that is of hevene queene!

  2335 I telle yow wel, a womman in my plit2335

  May han to fruit so gret an appetit

  That she may dien but2337 she of it have.’

  ‘Allas!’ quod he, ‘that I nadde here a knave2338

  That koude climbe! Allas, allas!’ quod he,

  2340 ‘For I am blind.’ ‘Ye, sire, no fors2340,’ quod she;

  ‘But wolde ye vouchesauf2341, for Goddes sake,

  The pirie inwith youre armes for to take –

  For wel I woot that ye mistruste me –

  Thanne sholde I climbe wel inow2344,’ quod she,

  2345 ‘So2345 I my foot mighte sette upon youre bak.’

  ‘Certes,’ quod he, ‘theron shal be no lak,

  Mighte I yow helpen with min herte-blood.’

  He stoupeth doun, and on his bak she stood,

  And caughte hir by a twiste2349, and up she goth –

  2350 Ladies, I pray yow that ye be nat wroth;

  I kan nat glose2351, I am a rude man –

  And sodeinly anon this Damian

  Gan pullen up2353 the smok and in he throng.

  And whan that Pluto saugh this grete wrong,

  2355 To Januarye he yaf again his sighte,

  And made him see as wel as evere he mighte.

  And whan that he hadde caught his sighte again2357,

  Ne was ther nevere man of thing so fain.

  But on his wif his thoght was everemo;

  2360 Up to the tree he caste his eyen two,

  And saugh that Damian his wif had dressed2361

  In swich manere, it may nat ben expressed,

  But if I wolde speke uncurteisly2363.

  And up he yaf2364 a roring and a cry,

  2365 As doth the moder whan the child shal die.

  ‘Out, help! allas! harrow!’ he gan to crye,

  ‘O stronge2367 lady stoore, what dostow?’

  And she answerde, ‘Sire, what eileth yow2368?

  Have pacience and reson in youre minde.

  2370 I have yow holpe2370 on bothe youre eyen blinde;

  Up peril of my soule, I shal nat lien,

  As me was taught, to heele2372 with youre eyen,

  Was nothing bet2373 to make yow to se,

  Than strugle with a man upon a tree.

  2375 God woot, I dide it in ful good entente.’

  ‘Strugle!’ quod he, ‘ye, algate2376 in it wente!

  God yeve2377 yow bothe on shames deth to dien!

  He swived2378 thee, I saw it with mine eyen,

  And ellis be I hanged by the hals2379!’

  2380 ‘Thanne is’, quod she, ‘my medicine fals;

  For certeinly, if that ye mighte se,

  Ye wolde nat seyn thise wordes unto me.

  Ye han som glimsinge2383, and no parfit sighte.’

  ‘I se’, quod he, ‘as wel as evere I mighte,

  2385 Thonked be God, with bothe mine eyen two!

  And by my trouthe, me thoughte he dide thee so.’

  ‘Ye maze2387, maze, goode sire,’ quod she,

  ‘This thank have I for2388 I have maad yow se!

  Allas,’ quod she, ‘that evere I was so kinde!’

  2390 ‘Now, dame,’ quod he, ‘lat al passe out of minde.

  Com doun, my lief2391, and if I have missaid,

  God helpe me so as I am ivele apaid2392.

  But by my fader soule, I wende have seyn2393

  How that this Damian hadde by thee lein,

  2395 And that thy smok hadde lein upon thy brest.’

  ‘Ye, sire,’ quod she, ‘ye may wene as yow lest.

  But sire, a man that waketh out of his sleep,

  He may nat sodeinly wel taken keep

  Upon a thing, ne seen it parfitly,

  2400 Til that he be adawed2400 verraily.

  Right so a man that longe hath blind ybe

  Ne may nat sodeinly so wel ise2402

  First whan his sighte is newe come agein,

  As he that hath a day or two yseyn2404.

  2405 Til that youre sighte ysatled2405 be a while,

  Ther may ful many a sighte yow bigile2406.

  Beth war, I prey yow, for by hevene king,

  Ful many a man weneth to se a thing,

  And it is al another than it semeth.

  2410 He that misconceiveth2410, he misdemeth.’

  – And with that word, she leep2411 doun fro the tree.

  This Januarye, who is glad but he?

  He kisseth hire and clippeth2413 hire ful ofte,

  And on hir wombe he stroketh hire ful softe,

  2415 And to his palais hom he hath hire lad.

  Now goode men, I pray yow to be glad;

  Thus endeth here my tale of Januarye;

  God blesse us, and his moder Seinte Marye!

  Heere is ended the Marchantes Tale of Januarye.


  ‘Ey, Goddes mercy,’ seide oure Hooste tho,

  2420 ‘Now swich a wif I prey God kepe me fro!

  Lo, whiche sleightes2421 and subtilitees

  In wommen ben; for ay as bisy as bees

  Ben they, us sely2423 men for to deceive.

  And from a sooth evere wol they weive2424;

  2425 By this Marchauntes tale it preveth weel2425.

  But doutelees, as trewe as any steel

  I have a wif, thogh that she poore be.

  But of hir tonge a labbing2428 shrewe is she;

  And yit she hath an heep of vices mo.

  2430 Therof no fors2430 – lat alle swiche thinges go!

  But wite ye2431 what? – in conseil be it seid –

  Me reweth soore2432 I am unto hire teid.

  For, and I sholde2433 rekenen every vice

  Which that she hath, ywis I were to nice2434.

  2435 And cause why? It sholde reported be,

  And toold to hire, of somme2436 of this meinee –

  Of whom, it nedeth nat for to declare,

  Sin wommen konnen outen swich chaffare2438.

  And eek my wit suffiseth nat therto2439

  2440 To tellen al; wherfore my tale is do2440.’


  ‘Squier, com neer, if it youre wille be,

  And sey somwhat of love, for certes ye

  Konnen theron3 as muche as any man.’

  ‘Nay, sire,’ quod he, ‘but I wol seye as I kan

  5 With hertly5 wil, for I wol nat rebelle

  Again youre lust6; a tale wol I telle.

  Have me excused, if I speke amis.

  My wil is good; and lo, my tale is this.’


  Heere biginneth the Squieres Tale.

  At Sarray, in the land of Tartarye,
  10 Ther dwelte a king that werreyed10 Russie,

  Thurgh which ther deide many a doghty11 man.

  This noble king was cleped Cambiuskan,

  Which13 in his time was of so greet renoun

  That ther was nowher in no regioun

  15 So excellent a lord in alle thing.

  Him lakked noght that longeth to16 a king.

  As of17 the secte of which that he was born,

  He kepte his lay18 to which that he was sworn;

  And therto19 he was hardy, wis, and riche,

  20 And pietous20 and just alwey iliche,

  Sooth21 of his word, benigne and honurable,

  Of his corage as any centre stable22,

  Yong, fressh, and strong, in armes desirous23

  As any bachiler24 of al his hous.

  25 A fair persone he was, and fortunat,

  And kepte26 alwey so wel royal estat

  That ther was nowher swich another man.

  This noble king, this Tartre Cambiuskan,

  Hadde two sones on Elpheta his wif;

  30 Of whiche the eldeste highte30 Algarsif,

  That oother sone was cleped31 Cambalo.

  A doghter hadde this worthy king also,

  That yongest was, and highte Canacee.

  But for to telle yow al hir beautee,

  35 It lith35 nat in my tonge n’in my konning.

  I dar nat undertake so heigh a thing;

  Min Englissh eek is insufficient.

  It moste been38 a rethor excellent,

  That koude hise colours39 longing for that art,

  40 If he sholde hire discriven40 every part.

  I am noon swich; I moot speke as I kan.

  And so bifel, that whan this Cambiuskan

  Hath twenty winter born43 his diademe,

  As he was wont fro yeer to yeer, I deme,

  45 He leet45 the feste of his nativitee

  Doon crien thurghout Sarray his citee,

  The laste Idus of March47, after the yeer.

  Phebus the sonne ful jolif48 was and cleer,

  For he was ny49 his exaltacioun,

  50 In Martes face50, and in his mansioun

  In Aries, the colerik51 hote signe.

  Ful lusty52 was the weder and benigne,

  For whiche the foweles again53 the sonne shene –

  What for the sesoun and the yonge grene54 –

  55 Ful loude55 songen hir affeccions.

  Hem semed han geten hem56 proteccions

  Again the swerd of winter, kene and cold.

  This Cambiuskan, of which I have yow told,

  In royal vestiment sit on his deis,

  60 With diademe, ful hye in his paleis,

  And halt61 his feste, so solempne and so riche

  That in this world ne was ther noon it liche62.

  Of which if I shal tellen al th’array,

  Thanne wolde it occupye a someres day;

  65 And eek it nedeth nat for to devise65

  At every cours the ordre of hir servise.

  I wol nat tellen of hir straunge sewes67,

  Ne of hir swannes, n’of hir heronsewes68.

  Eek in that land, as tellen knightes olde,

  70 Ther is som mete that is ful deintee holde70

  That in this land men recche of it but smal71.

  Ther nis no man that may reporten al;

  I wol nat taryen73 yow, for it is prime,

  And for it is no fruit74, but los of time;

  75 Unto my firste75 I wol have my recours.

  And so bifel that, after the thridde cours,

  Whil that this king sit thus in his nobleye77,

  Herkninge his minestrals hir thinges78 pleye

  Biforn him at the bord deliciously79,

  80 In at the halle-dore al sodeinly

  Ther cam a knight upon a steede of bras,

  And in his hand a brood mirour of glas;

  Upon his thombe he hadde of gold a ring,

  And by his side a naked swerd hanging,

  85 And up he rideth to the heighe bord85.

  In al the halle ne was ther spoke a word

  For merveille of this knight; him to biholde

  Ful bisily88 they waiten, yonge and olde.

  This straunge knight, that cam thus sodeinly,

  90 Al armed, save his heed, ful richely,

  Salueth91 king and queene and lordes alle,

  By ordre, as they seten92 in the halle,

  With so heigh reverence and obeisaunce,

  As wel in speche as in his contenaunce94,

  95 That Gawain, with his olde curteisye,

  Thogh he were come again out of fairye96,

  Ne koude him nat amende97 with a word.

  And after this, biforn the hye bord,

  He with a manly vois seide his message,

  100 After100 the forme used in his langage,

  Withouten vice101 of sylable or of lettre.

  And for102 his tale sholde seme the bettre,

  Acordant to his wordes was his cheere103,

  As techeth art of speche hem that it leere104.

  105 Albeit that I kan nat sowne105 his style,

  Ne kan nat climben over so heigh a stile,

  Yet seye I this: as to commune entente107,

  Thus muche amounteth al that evere108 he mente –

  If it be so that I have it in minde.

  110 He seide, ‘The king of Arabe and of Inde,

  My lige111 lord, on this solempne day

  Salueth yow as he best kan and may112,

  And sendeth yow, in honour of youre feste,

  By me, that am al redy at youre heste114,

  115 This steede of bras, that esily and weel

  Kan in the space of o day naturel116 –

  This is to seyn, in foure and twenty houres –

  Wherso yow list118, in droghte or ellis shoures,

  Beren youre body into every place

  120 To which youre herte wilneth120 for to pace,

  Withouten wem121 of yow, thurgh foul or fair.

  Or if yow list to flee122 as hye in th’air

  As dooth an egle whan him list to soore123,

  This same steede shal bere yow everemoore124,

  125 Withouten harm, til ye be ther yow leste125,

  Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste,

  And turne again127 with writhing of a pin.

  He that it wroghte koude ful many128 a gin;

  He waited129 many a constellacioun

  130 Er he hadde doon this operacioun,

  And knew ful many a seel131 and many a bond.

  ‘This mirour eek, that I have in my hond,

  Hath swich a might133 that men may in it see

  Whan ther shal fallen any adversitee

  135 Unto youre regne135, or to youreself also,

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