The canterbury tales, p.49
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.49

           Geoffrey Chaucer
The savour passeth, ever lenger the moore,

  405 For fulsomnesse405 of his prolixitee.

  And by the same reson, thinketh me406,

  I sholde to the knotte condescende407,

  And maken of hir walking soone an ende.

  Amidde a tree, for drye409 as whit as chalk,

  410 As Canacee was pleyinge in hir walk,

  Ther sat a fawkon411 over hir heed ful hye,

  That with a pitous vois so gan to crye412

  That al the wode resowned of413 hir cry.

  Ybeten hadde she hirself so pitously

  415 With bothe hir winges, til the rede blood

  Ran endelong416 the tree theras she stood.

  And evere in oon she cride alwey and shrighte417,

  And with hir beek418 hirselven so she prighte

  That ther nis tigre ne so cruel beest

  420 That dwelleth outher420 in wode or in forest

  That nolde421 han wept, if that he wepe koude,

  For sorwe of hire, she shrighte alwey so loude.

  For ther nas nevere man yet on live423 –

  If that I koude a faukon wel discrive –

  425 That herde of swich another of fairnesse,

  As wel of plumage as of gentillesse426

  Of shap, of al that mighte yrekened427 be.

  A faukon peregrin428 thanne semed she,

  Of fremde429 land; and everemoore, as she stood,

  430 She swowned now and now430 for lakke of blood,

  Til wel neigh is she fallen fro the tree.

  This faire kinges doghter, Canacee,

  That on hir finger baar433 the queinte ring

  Thurgh which she understood wel everything

  435 That any fowl may in his ledene435 sayn,

  And koude answere him in his ledene again,

  Hath understonden what this faukon seide,

  And wel neigh for the routhe438 almoost she deide.

  And to the tree she goth ful hastily,

  440 And on this faukon looketh pitously440,

  And heeld hir lappe abrood441, for wel she wiste

  The faukon moste fallen fro the twiste442

  Whan that it swowned next, for lakke of blood.

  A longe while to waiten hir444 she stood,

  445 Til at the laste she spak in this manere

  Unto the hauk, as ye shal after heere:

  ‘What is the cause, if it be for to telle,

  That ye been in this furial pine of helle448?’

  Quod Canacee unto this hauk above.

  450 ‘Is this for sorwe of deeth or los of love? –

  For as I trowe, thise been causes two

  That causen moost a gentil herte wo452.

  Of oother harm it nedeth nat to speke,

  For ye yourself upon yourself yow wreke454,

  455 Which proveth wel that outher ire or drede

  Moot been encheson456 of youre cruel dede,

  Sin that I se noon oother wight yow chace457.

  For love of God, as dooth yourselven grace458,

  Or what may been youre help? – for west nor est

  460 Ne saw I nevere er now no brid ne beest

  That ferde with himself461 so pitously.

  Ye sleen462 me with youre sorwe, verraily,

  I have of yow so greet compassioun.

  For Goddes love, com fro the tree adoun,

  465 And as I am a kinges doghter trewe,

  If that I verraily the cause knewe

  Of youre disese467, if it laye in my might,

  I wolde amende468 it, er that it were night,

  As wysly helpe me grete God of kinde469!

  470 And herbes shal I right inowe470 ifinde,

  To heele with youre hurtes hastily.’

  Tho shrighte this faukon yet moore pitously472

  Than ever she dide, and fil to ground anon,

  And lith aswowne474, deed and lik a ston,

  475 Til Canacee hath in hir lappe hir take,

  Unto the time she gan of swow476 awake.

  And after that she of hir swow gan breide477,

  Right in hir haukes ledene thus she seide:

  ‘That pitee renneth soone in gentil herte,

  480 Feelinge his similitude in peines smerte,480

  Is preved alday481, as men may it see,

  As wel by werk482 as by auctoritee,

  For gentil herte kitheth gentillesse483.

  I se wel that ye han of my distresse

  485 Compassion, my faire Canacee,

  Of verray wommanly benignitee486

  That Nature in youre principles hath set.

  But for noon hope for to fare the bet488,

  But for t’obeye unto youre herte free489,

  490 And for to maken othere be war490 by me,

  As491 by the whelp is chasted the leoun,

  Right for that cause and that conclusioun492,

  Whil that I have a leiser493 and a space494,

  Min harm I wol confessen, er I pace.’

  495 And evere whil that oon495 hir sorwe tolde,

  That oother weep, as she to water496 wolde,

  Til that the faukon bad hire to be stille497;

  And with a sik498 right thus she seide hir wille.

  ‘Ther499 I was bred – allas, that ilke day! –

  500 And fostred in a roche500 of marbul gray,

  So tendrely that nothing eiled501 me,

  I niste nat502 what was adversitee

  Til I koude fle503 ful hye under the sky.

  Tho dwelte a tercelet504 me faste by,

  505 That semed welle505 of alle gentillesse.

  Al were he ful of treson and falsnesse,

  It was so wrapped under humble cheere507

  And under hewe508 of trouthe in swich manere,

  Under plesaunce, and under bisy peine509,

  510 That no wight wolde han wend510 he koude feine,

  So depe in grein he dyed his colours511.

  Right as a serpent hit512 him under floures

  Til he may se his time for to bite,

  Right so this God of Loves ypocrite

  515 Dooth so his cerimonies and obeisaunces,515

  And kepeth in semblaunt alle hise observaunces

  That sownen into517 gentilesse of love.

  As in a tombe is al the faire518 above,

  And under is the corps, swich as ye woot,

  520 Swich was this ypocrite, bothe cold and hoot.

  And in this wise he served his entente521,

  That, save the feend522, noon wiste what he mente,

  Til he so longe hadde wopen523 and compleined,

  And many a yeer his service to me feined,

  525 Til that min herte, to pitous and to nice525,

  Al innocent of his corouned526 malice,

  Forfered527 of his deeth, as thoughte me,

  Upon his othes and his seuretee528

  Graunted him love, on this condicioun:

  530 That everemo530 min honour and renoun

  Were saved, bothe privee and apert531.

  This is to seyn, that after532 his desert

  I yaf him al min herte and al my thoght –

  God woot, and he, that ootherwise noght –

  535 And took his herte in chaunge of535 min for ay.

  ‘But sooth is seid, goon sithen many a day536,

  A trewe wight537 and a theef thenken nat oon.

  And whanne he saw the thing so fer ygon

  That I hadde graunted him fully my love,

  540 In swich a gise540 as I have seid above,

  And yeven him my trewe herte as fre541

  As he swoor he yaf his herte to me,

  Anoon this tigre, ful of doublenesse,

  Fil on his knees, with so devout humblesse,

  545 With so heigh545 reverence, and, as by his cheere,

  So lik a gentil lovere of manere,

  So ravisshed547, as it semed, for the joye

  That nevere Jason ne Paris of Troye –

  Jason? certes, n
e noon oother man

  550 Sin Lameth was, that alderfirst550 bigan

  To loven two, as writen551 folk biforn –

  Ne nevere, sin the firste man was born,

  Ne koude man by twenty thousand part553

  Countrefete554 the sophimes of his art,

  555 Ne were worthy unbokele555 his galoche,

  Ther doublenesse or feining sholde approche556,

  Ne so koude thanke a wight as he did me!

  His manere was an hevene for to see

  Til559 any womman, were she never so wis;

  560 So peinted he and kembde560 at point devis

  As wel his wordes as his contenaunce.

  ‘And I so loved him for his obeisaunce562,

  And for the trouthe I demed563 in his herte,

  That if so were that anything him smerte564,

  565 Al were it never so lite565, and I it wiste,

  Me thoughte I felte deeth min herte twiste566.

  And shortly, so ferforth567 this thing is went,

  That my wil was his willes instrument;

  This is to seyn, my wil obeyed his wil

  570 In alle thing, as fer as reson fil570,

  Kepinge the boundes of my worship571 evere,

  Ne nevere hadde I thing so lief572, ne levere,

  As him, God woot, ne nevere shal namo573.

  ‘This laste574 lenger than a yeer or two,

  575 That I supposed of him noght but good.

  But finally, thus at the laste it stood,

  That Fortune wolde that he moste twinne577

  Out of that place which that I was inne.

  Wher me was wo579, that is no questioun;

  580 I kan nat make of it discripcioun580,

  For o581 thing dar I tellen boldely,

  I knowe what is the peine of deeth therby582.

  Swich harm I felte, for he ne mighte bileve583.

  ‘So on a day of me he took his leve,

  585 So sorwefully eek, that I wende verraily585

  That he hadde felt as muche harm as I,

  Whan that I herde him speke and saw his hewe587.

  But nathelees, I thoughte he was so trewe,

  And eek that he repeire589 sholde again

  590 Withinne a litel while, sooth to sayn –

  And reson wolde591 eek that he moste go

  For his honour, as ofte happeth so592 –

  That I made vertu of necessitee593,

  And took it wel, sin that it moste594 be.

  595 As I best mighte595, I hidde from him my sorwe,

  And took him by the hand, Seint John to borwe596,

  And seide him thus: “Lo, I am youres al.

  Beth swich as I to yow have been and shal.”

  What he answerde, it nedeth nat reherse599.

  600 Who kan seyn bet than he? Who kan doon600 werse?

  Whan he hath al wel seid, thanne hath he doon!

  Therfore bihoveth hire602 a ful long spoon

  That shal ete with a feend; thus herde I seye.

  So at the laste he moste forth his weye604,

  605 And forth he fleeth, til he cam ther him leste605

  Whan it cam him to purpos606 for to reste.

  ‘I trowe he hadde thilke text in minde

  That “alle thing repeiring to his kinde608

  Gladeth himself609” – thus seyn men, as I gesse.

  610 Men loven of propre kinde610 newfangelnesse,

  As briddes doon that men in cages fede;

  For though thow night and day take of hem hede,

  And strawe613 hir cage faire and softe as silk,

  And yeve hem sugre614, hony, breed, and milk,

  615 Yet, right anon as615 that his dore is uppe,

  He with his feet wol sporne616 adoun his cuppe,

  And to the wode he wole617 and wormes ete.

  So newefangel been they of hir mete618,

  And love novelries619 of propre kinde;

  620 No gentilesse620 of blood ne may hem binde.

  ‘So ferde621 this tercelet, allas the day!

  Thogh he were gentil born622, and fressh and gay,

  And goodlich623 for to seen, and humble and free,

  He saw upon a time a kite flee624,

  625 And sodeinly he loved this kite so

  That al his love is clene626 fro me ago,

  And hath his trouthe falsed627 in this wise.

  Thus hath the kite my love in hir servise,

  And I am lorn629 withouten remedye!’

  630 And with that word this faukon gan to crye630,

  And swowned eft631 in Canacees barm.

  Greet was the sorwe for the haukes harm

  That Canacee and alle hir wommen made.

  They niste634 how they mighte the faukon glade;

  635 But Canacee hom bereth hire in hir lappe,

  And softely in plastres636 gan hir wrappe,

  Theras637 she with hir beek hadde hurt hirselve.

  Now kan nat Canacee but638 herbes delve

  Out of the ground, and maken saves639 newe

  640 Of herbes preciouse and fin of hewe

  To heelen with this hauk; fro day to night

  She dooth hir bisinesse and al hir might.

  And by hir beddes heed she made a mewe643,

  And covered it with veluettes644 blewe,

  645 In signe of trouthe that is in wommen sene.

  And al withoute646 the mewe is peinted grene,

  In which were peinted alle thise false fowles,

  As been thise tidives648, tercelettes, and owles,

  And pies649, on hem for to crye and chide,

  650 Right for despit were peinted hem biside.

  Thus lete I Canacee hir hauk keping.

  I wol namoore as now652 speke of hir ring

  Til it come eft to purpos653 for to seyn

  How that this faukon gat hir love agein

  655 Repentant, as the storye telleth us,

  By mediacioun of Cambalus,

  The kinges sone of which that657 I yow tolde.

  But hennesforth I wol my proces658 holde,

  To speke of aventures and of batailles,

  660 That nevere yet was herd so grete mervailles.

  First wol I telle yow of Cambiuskan,

  That in his time many a citee wan662;

  And after wol I speke of Algarsif,

  How that he wan Theodora to wif664,

  665 For whom ful ofte in greet peril he was,

  Nadde he been holpen666 by the steede of bras;

  And after wol I speke of Cambalo,

  That faught in listes with the bretheren two

  For Canacee, er that he mighte hir winne.

  670 And ther I lefte, I wol ayein biginne.

  [Part Three]

  Appollo whirleth up his chaar671 so hye,

  Til that the god Mercurius hous672, the slye –


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