The canterbury tales, p.50
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.50
 

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  Heere folwen the wordes of the Frankelein to the Squier and the wordes of the Hoost to the Frankelein.

  ‘In feith, Squier, thow hast thee wel yquit673

  And gentilly; I preise wel thy wit674,’

  675 Quod the Frankelein, ‘consideringe thy youthe,

  So feelingly676 thow spekest, sire, I allowthe!

  As to my doom677, ther is noon that is heere

  Of eloquence that shal be thy peere678,

  If that thow live; God yeve679 thee good chaunce,

  680 And in vertu sende thee continuance,

  For of thy speche I have gret deintee.681

  I have a sone, and by the Trinitee,

  I hadde levere than twenty pound worth lond,683

  Thogh it right now were fallen in min hond,

  685 He were a man of swich discrecioun

  As that ye ben. Fy on possessioun686,

  But if687 a man be vertuous withal!

  I have my sone snibbed688, and yit shal,

  For he to vertu listeth nat entende689,

  690 But for to pleye at dees690, and to despende

  And lese691 al that he hath, is his usage.

  And he hath levere talken with a page692

  Than to commune with any gentil wight,

  Wher he mighte lerne gentillesse aright.’

  695 ‘Straw for youre gentillesse!’ quod oure Hoost.

  ‘What, Frankelein! pardee sire, wel thow woost696

  That ech of yow moot tellen atte leste

  A tale or two, or breken his biheste698.’

  ‘That knowe I wel, sire,’ quod the Frankelein,

  700 ‘I prey yow, haveth me nat in desdein700,

  Thogh to this man I speke a word or two.’

  ‘Telle on thy tale, withouten wordes mo!’

  ‘Gladly, sire Hoost,’ quod he, ‘I wol obeye

  Unto youre wil; now herkneth what I seye.

  705 I wol yow nat contraryen705 in no wise,

  As fer as that my wittes706 wol suffise.

  I prey to God that it may plesen yow;

  Thanne woot I wel that it is good inow.’

  THE FRANKLIN’S PROLOGUE

  The Prologe of the Frankeleins Tale.

  Thise olde gentil Britons709 in hir dayes

  710 Of diverse aventures710 maden layes,

  Rymeyed711 in hir firste Briton tonge,

  Whiche layes with hir instrumentz they songe,

  Or elles redden713 hem for hir plesaunce;

  And oon of hem have I in remembraunce714,

  715 Which I shal seyn with good wil, as I kan.

  But sires, bicause I am a burel man716,

  At my biginning first I yow biseche,

  Have me excused of my rude718 speche.

  I lerned nevere rethorik, certein;

  720 Thing that I speke, it moot720 be bare and plein.

  I sleep721 nevere on the mount of Parnaso,

  Ne lerned Marcus Tullius Scithero.

  Colours723 ne knowe I none, withouten drede,

  But swich colours as growen in the mede724,

  725 Or ellis swiche as men dye or peinte.

  Colours of rethorik ben to me queinte726;

  My spirit feeleth727 nat of swich matere.

  But if yow list, my tale shul ye heere.

  THE FRANKLIN’S TALE

  Heere biginneth the Frankeleins Tale.

  In Armorik, that called is Britaine,

  730 Ther was a knight that loved and dide his paine730

  To serve a lady in his beste wise731.

  And many a labour, many a gret emprise732

  He for his lady wroghte733 er she were wonne;

  For she was oon the faireste under sonne734,

  735 And eek therto come of so heigh kinrede

  That wel unnethes736 dorste this knight, for drede,

  Telle hire his wo, his peine, and his distresse.

  But atte laste she, for his worthinesse738,

  And namely739 for his meke obeisaunce,

  740 Hath swich a pitee caught of his penaunce740

  That prively741 she fel of his acord

  To take him for hir housbonde and hir lord,

  Of swich lordshipe as men han over hir wives.

  And for to lede the moore in blisse hir lives,

  745 Of his fre wil he swoor hire as a knight

  That nevere in al his lif he, day ne night,

  Ne sholde upon him take no maistrye747

  Again hir wil, ne kithe748 hire jalousye,

  But hire obeye, and folwe hir wil in al,

  750 As any lovere to his lady shal;

  Save that the name of soverainetee,

  That wolde he have, for shame of his degree.

  She thanked him, and with ful gret humblesse

  She seide, ‘Sire, sith754, of youre gentilesse,

  755 Ye profre me to have so large a reine755,

  Ne wolde nevere God bitwix us tweine756,

  As in my gilt757, were outher werre or strif.

  Sire, I wol be youre humble trewe wif;

  Have heer my trouthe759, til that min herte breste.’

  760 Thus been they bothe in quiete and in reste.

  For o thing, sires, saufly761 dar I seye,

  That freendes everich762 oother moot obeye,

  If they wol longe holden compaignye.

  Love wol nat be constreined by maistrye764;

  765 Whan maistrye comth, the God of Love anon

  Beteth hise winges, and farwel, he is gon!

  Love is a thing as any spirit free.

  Wommen, of kinde768, desiren libertee,

  And nat to been constreined as a thral,

  770 And so doon men, if I sooth seyen shal.

  Looke who that is moost pacient in love,

  He is at his avantage al above.

  Pacience is an heigh vertu, certein,

  For it venquisseth774, as thise clerkes seyn,

  775 Thinges that rigour sholde nevere atteine775.

  For every word men may nat chide or pleine776;

  Lerneth to suffre, or elles, so moot I gon777,

  Ye shul it lerne, wherso ye wole or non778.

  For in this world, certein, ther no wight is,

  780 That he ne dooth or seyth somtime amis780.

  Ire, siknesse, or constellacioun,

  Win, wo, or chaunging of complexioun782

  Causeth ful ofte to doon amis or speken.

  On every wrong a man may nat be wreken784;

  785 After785 the time moste be temperaunce

  To every wight that kan on786 governaunce.

  And therfore hath this wise, worthy knight,

  To live in ese, suffraunce788 hire bihight,

  And she to him ful wysly789 gan to swere

  790 That nevere sholde ther be defaute790 in here.

  Heere may men seen an humble, wis acord!

  Thus hath she take hir servant and hir lord –

  Servant in love, and lord in mariage;

  Thanne was he bothe in lordshipe and servage.

  795 Servage? – nay, but in lordshipe above,

  Sith he hath bothe his lady and his love;

  His lady, certes, and his wif also,

  The which that lawe of love acordeth to798.

  And whan he was in this prosperitee,

  800 Hom with his wif he gooth to his contree,

  Nat fer fro Penmark, ther801 his dwelling was,

  Wheras he liveth in blisse and in solas802.

  Who koude telle, but803 he hadde wedded be,

  The joye, the ese, and the prosperitee

  805 That is bitwix an housbonde and his wif?

  A yeer and moore lasted this blisful lif,

  Til that the knight of which I speke of thus,

  That of Kairrud was cleped808 Arveragus,

  Shoop him809 to goon and dwelle, a yeer or twaine,

  810 In Engelond, that cleped was eek Britaine,

  To seke in armes worship811 and honour,

&nbs
p; For al his lust812 he sette in swich labour,

  And dwelled ther two yeer; the book seyth thus.

  Now wol I stinte of814 this Arveragus,

  815 And speke I wole of Dorigene his wif,

  That loveth hir housbonde as hir hertes lif.

  For his absence wepeth she and siketh817,

  As doon thise noble wives whan hem liketh818.

  She moorneth, waketh, waileth, fasteth, pleineth819;

  820 Desir of his presence hir so destreineth820

  That al this wide world she set at noght821.

  Hir freendes, whiche that knewe hir hevy822 thoght,

  Conforten823 hire in al that ever they may.

  They prechen hire, they telle hire, night and day,

  825 That causelees she sleeth825 hirself, allas!

  And every confort possible in this cas

  They doon to hire, with al hir bisinesse827,

  Al for to make hire leve hir hevinesse.

  By proces, as ye knowen everychoon,

  830 Men may so longe graven830 in a stoon

  Til som figure therinne emprented be.

  So longe han they conforted hire til she

  Received hath, by hope and by resoun833,

  Th’emprenting of hir834 consolacioun,

  835 Thurgh which hir grete sorwe gan aswage;

  She836 may nat alwey duren in swich rage.

  And eek Arveragus, in al this care,

  Hath sent hire lettres hom of his welfare,

  And that he wol come hastily again;

  840 Or ellis hadde840 this sorwe hir herte slain.

  Hir freendes sawe hir sorwe gan to slake841,

  And preyede hire on knees, for Goddes sake,

  To come and romen hire843 in compaignye,

  Awey to drive hir derke fantasye844.

  845 And finally she graunted that requeste,

  For wel she saw that it was for the beste.

  Now stood hir castel faste by847 the see,

  And often with hir freendes walketh she,

  Hir to disporte849, upon the bank an heigh,

  850 Wheras she many a ship and barge850 seigh,

  Seillinge851 hir cours, wheras hem liste go.

  But thanne was that a parcel852 of hir wo,

  For to hirself ful ofte ‘Allas!’ seyth she,

  ‘Is ther no ship, of so manye as I se,

  855 Wol bringen hom my lord? Thanne were min herte

  Al warisshed856 of hise bittre peines smerte.’

  Another time there wolde she sitte and thinke,

  And caste hir eyen dounward fro the brinke.

  But whan she seigh the grisly rokkes blake,

  860 For verray fere so wolde hir herte quake860,

  That on hir feet she mighte hir noght sustene.

  Thanne wolde she sitte adoun upon the grene,

  And pitously863 in to the see biholde,

  And seyn right thus, with sorweful sikes864 colde:

  865 ‘Eterne God, that thurgh thy purveiance865

  Ledest the world by certein governance866,

  In idel867, as men seyn, ye nothing make.

  But, Lord, thise grisly feendly rokkes blake,

  That semen rather a foul confusioun

  870 Of werk than any fair creacioun

  Of swich a parfit wis God and a stable871,

  Why han ye wroght this werk unresonable?

  For by this werk, south, north, ne west ne est,

  Ther nis yfostred874 man ne brid ne beest.

  875 It doth no good, to my wit, but anoyeth875.

  Se ye nat, Lord, how mankinde it destroyeth?

  An hundred thousand bodies of mankinde

  Han rokkes slain, al be they nat in minde;

  Which mankinde is so fair part of thy werk

  880 That thow it madest lik to thin owene merk880.

  Thanne semed it ye hadde a greet chiertee881

  Toward mankinde; but how thanne may it be

  That ye swich menes make it to destroyen?

  –Whiche menes do no good, but evere anoyen.

  885 I woot wel, clerkes wol seyn as hem leste,

  By argumentz, that al is for the beste,

  Thogh I ne kan the causes nat iknowe.

  But thilke God that made wind to blowe

  As kepe my lord! – this my conclusioun.

  890 To clerkes lete890 I al disputisoun.

  But wolde God that alle thise rokkes blake

  Were sonken892 into helle, for his sake.

  Thise rokkes sleen min herte for the feere!’

  – Thus wolde she seyn, with many a pitous teere.

  895 Hir freendes sawe that it was no disport895

  To romen by the see, but disconfort896,

  And shopen897 for to pleyen somwher elles.

  They leden hire by rivers and by welles,

  And eek in othere places delitables899;

  900 They dauncen, and they pleyen at ches900 and tables.

  So on a day, right in the morwe-tide901,

  Unto a gardin that was therbiside,

  In which that they hadde maad hir ordinance903

  Of vitaille904 and of oother purveiance,

  905 They goon and pleye hem al the longe day.

  And this was on the sixte morwe of May,

  Which May hadde peinted with his softe shoures

  This gardin, ful of leves and of floures;

  And craft of mannes hond so curiously909

  910 Arrayed910 hadde this gardin, trewely,

  That nevere was ther gardin of swich pris911,

  But if912 it were the verray Paradis.

  The odour of floures and the fresshe sighte

  Wolde han maked any herte lighte914

  915 That evere was born, but if915 to greet siknesse

  Or to greet sorwe helde it in distresse,

  So ful it was of beautee with plesaunce.

  At after-diner gonne they to daunce

  And singe also, save Dorigen allone,

  920 Which made alwey920 hir compleint and hir mone,

  For she ne saugh him on the daunce go

  That was hir housbonde and hir love also.

  But nathelees she moste a time abide923,

  And with good hope lete hir sorwe slide924.

  925 Upon this daunce, amonges othere men,

  Daunced a squier bifore Dorigen,

  That fressher was and jolier of array927,

  As to my doom928, than is the monthe of May.

  He singeth, daunceth, passing929 any man

  930 That is, or was, sith that the world bigan.

  Therwith he was, if men sholde him discrive,

  Oon of the beste faringe man on live;932

  Yong, strong, right vertuous, and riche, and wis,

  And wel biloved, and holden in gret pris934.

  935 And shortly, if the sothe935 I tellen shal,

 
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