The canterbury tales, p.51
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.51

           Geoffrey Chaucer
Unwiting of936 this Dorigen at al,

  This lusty937 squier, servant to Venus,

  Which that ycleped was Aurelius,

  Hadde loved hire best of any creature

  940 Two yeer and moore, as was his aventure940,

  But nevere dorste he telle hire his grevance941;

  Withouten coppe he drank al his penance.942

  He was despeired; nothing dorste he seye,

  Save in his songes somwhat wolde he wreye944

  945 His wo, as in a general compleining945.

  He seide he lovede, and was biloved nothing946.

  Of swich matere made he many layes,

  Songes, compleintes, roundels, virelayes948,

  How that he dorste949 nat his sorwe telle,

  950 But langwisseth950 as a Furye dooth in helle;

  And die he moste, he seide, as dide Ekko

  For Narcisus, that dorste nat telle hir wo.

  In oother manere than ye heere me seye

  Ne dorste he nat to hire his wo biwreye954;

  955 Save that, paraventure955, somtime at daunces,

  Ther yonge folk kepen hir observaunces956,

  It may wel be he looked on hir face

  In swich a wise as man that asketh grace,

  But nothing wiste959 she of his entente.

  960 Nathelees it happed, er they thennes wente,

  Bicause that he was hir neighebour,

  And was a man of worship962 and honour,

  And hadde yknowen him of time yoore963,

  They fille in speche, and forth moore and moore

  965 Unto his purpos drough965 Aurelius.

  And whan he saugh his time, he seide thus:

  ‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘by God that this world made,

  So that968 I wiste it mighte youre herte glade,

  I wolde that day that youre Arveragus

  970 Wente over the see, that I, Aurelius,

  Hadde went ther nevere I sholde have come again.

  For wel I woot my service is in vain;

  My gerdon973 is but bresting of min herte.

  Madame, reweth974 upon my peines smerte,

  975 For with a word ye may me sleen975 or save.

  Here at youre feet God wolde that I were grave976!

  I ne have as now no leiser977 moore to seye;

  Have mercy, swete, or ye wol do me deye978.’

  She gan to looke upon Aurelius.

  980 ‘Is this youre wil,’ quod she, ‘and sey ye thus?

  Nevere erst’, quod she, ‘ne wiste I what ye mente.

  But now, Aurelie, I knowe youre entente,

  By thilke God that yaf me soule and lif,

  Ne shal I nevere been untrewe wif

  985 In word ne werk, as fer as I have wit;985

  I wol been his to whom that I am knit.

  Taak this for final answere as of me.’

  But after that in pleye thus seide she:

  ‘Aurelie,’ quod she, ‘by heighe God above,

  990 Yet wolde I graunte yow to been youre love,

  Sin I yow se so pitously991 complaine.

  Looke what day that endelong992 Britaine

  Ye remoeve alle the rokkes, stoon by stoon,

  That they ne lette ship994 ne boot to goon –

  995 I seye, whan ye han maad the coost so clene995

  Of rokkes, that ther nis no stoon ysene –

  Thanne wol I love yow best of any man.

  Have heer my trouthe, in al that evere I kan.’

  ‘Is there noon oother grace in yow?’ quod he.

  1000 ‘No, by that Lord’, quod she, ‘that maked me,

  For wel I woot that it shal nevere bitide1001.

  Lat swiche folies out of youre herte slide!

  What deintee1003 sholde a man han in his lif

  For to go love another mannes wif,

  1005 That hath hir body whan so that him liketh?’

  Aurelius ful ofte soore siketh1006;

  Wo was Aurelie, whan that he this herde,

  And with a sorweful herte he thus answerde:

  ‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘this were an inpossible1009!

  1010 Thanne moot11010 I die of sodein deth horrible.’

  –And with that word1011 he turned him anon.

  Tho coome1012 hir othere freendes many oon,

  And in the aleyes1013 romeden up and doun,

  And nothing wiste of this conclusioun1014.

  1015 But sodeinly bigonne revel newe,

  Til that the brighte sonne loste his hewe1016,

  For th’orisonte1017 hath reft the sonne his light –

  This is as muche to seye as it was night.

  And hoom they goon, in joye and in solas,

  1020 Save oonly wrecche Aurelius, allas!

  He to his hous is goon, with sorweful herte.

  He seeth he may nat from his deeth asterte1022;

  Him semed that he felte his herte colde.

  Up to the hevene his handes he gan holde,

  1025 And on his knowes1025 bare he sette him doun,

  And in his raving seide his orisoun1026.

  For verray wo out of his wit he breide1027;

  He niste what he spak, but thus he seide.

  With pitous herte his pleint1029 hath he bigonne

  1030 Unto the goddes, and first unto the sonne.

  He seide, ‘Appollo, god and governour1031

  Of every plaunte, herbe, tree, and flour,

  That yevest, after thy declinacioun1033,

  To ech of hem his time and his sesoun,

  1035 As thin herberwe1035 chaungeth, lowe or heighe,

  Lord Phebus, cast thy merciable1036 eighe

  On wrecche Aurelie, which that am but lorn1037!

  Lo, lord, my lady hath my deeth ysworn

  Withouten gilt, but1039 thy benignitee

  1040 Upon my dedly1040 herte have som pitee.

  For wel I woot, lord Phebus, if yow lest1041,

  Ye may me helpen, save my lady, best.

  Now voucheth sauf1043 that I may yow devise

  How that I may been holpe1044, and in what wise.

  1045 ‘Youre blisful suster, Lucina the shene1045,

  That of the see is chief goddesse and queene,

  (Thogh Neptunus have deitee1047 in the see,

  Yet emperesse aboven him is she),

  Ye knowen wel, lord, that right as hir desir

  1050 Is to be quiked1050 and lighted of youre fir,

  For which she folweth yow ful bisily1051,

  Right so the see desireth naturelly

  To folwen hire, as she that is goddesse

  Bothe in the see and rivers, moore and lesse1054.

  1055 Wherfore, lord Phebus, this is my requeste –

  Do this miracle, or do min herte breste1056 –

  That now next at this opposicioun1057,

  Which in the signe shal be of the Leoun1058,

  As preyeth hire1059 so greet a flood to bringe

  1060 That five fadme1060 at the leeste it overspringe

  The hyeste rok in Armorik Britaine,

  And lat this flood endure yeres twaine1062.

  Thanne, certes, to my lady may I seye,

  “Holdeth youre heste1064; the rokkes been aweye.”

  1065 ‘Lord Phebus, dooth this miracle for me:

  Prey hire she go no faster cours than ye.

  I seye, preyeth youre suster that she go

  No faster cours than ye thise yeres two.

  Thanne shal she been evene1069 at the fulle alway,

  1070 And spring flood1070 lasten bothe night and day.

  And but she vouchesauf1071 in swich manere

  To graunte me my soverein lady deere,

  Pray hire to sinken every rok adoun

  In to hir owene dirke1074 regioun

  1075 Under the ground, ther Pluto dwelleth inne,

  Or neveremo shal I my lady winne.

  Thy temple in Delphos wol I barfoot seke.

  Lord Phebus, se the teeris on my cheke,
r />   And of my peine have som compassioun!’

  1080 And with that word in swowne1080 he fil adoun,

  And longe time he lay forth in a traunce.

  His brother, which that knew of his penaunce1082,

  Up caughte him, and to bedde he hath him broght.

  Dispeired1084 in this torment and this thoght

  1085 Lete1085 I this woful creature lie;

  Chese he1086, for me, wher he wol live or die!

  Arveragus, with heele1087 and greet honour,

  As he that was of chivalrye the flour,

  Is comen hom, and othere worthy men.

  1090 O blisful artow now, thow Dorigen,

  That hast thy lusty1091 housbonde in thin armes,

  The fresshe knight, the worthy man of armes,

  That loveth thee as his owene hertes lif!

  Nothing list him to been imaginatif1094

  1095 If any wight hadde spoke, whil he was oute,

  To hire of love; he hadde of it no doute1096.

  He noght entendeth to1097 no swich matere,

  But daunceth, justeth, maketh hir good cheere1098.

  And thus in joye and blisse I lete hem dwelle,

  1100 And of the sike Aurelius wol I telle.

  In langour1101 and in torment furius

  Two yeer and moore lay wrecche Aurelius,

  Er any foot he mighte on erthe gon.

  Ne confort in this time hadde he noon,

  1105 Save of1105 his brother, which that was a clerk.

  He knew of al this wo and al this werk;

  For to noon oother creature, certein,

  Of this matere he dorste no word seyn.

  Under his brest he baar it moore secree1109

  1110 Than evere dide Pamphilus for Galathee.

  His brest was hool, withoute1111 for to sene,

  But in his herte ay was the arwe1112 kene;

  And wel ye knowe that of a sursanure1113

  In surgerye is perilous the cure

  1115 But1115 men mighte touche the arwe, or come therby.

  His brother weep1116 and wailed prively,

  Til at the laste him fil in remembraunce

  That whiles he was at Orliens in Fraunce –

  As yonge clerkes, that been likerous1119

  1120 To reden artes that been curious1120,

  Seken in every halke and every herne1121

  Particuler1122 sciences for to lerne –

  He him remembred that, upon a day,

  At Orliens in studye1124 a book he say

  1125 Of magik naturel1125, which his felawe

  That was that time a bacheler of lawe,

  Al were he1127 ther to lerne another craft,

  Hadde prively upon his desk ylaft.

  Which book spak muchel of the operaciouns

  1130 Touchinge the eighte and twenty mansiouns1130

  That longen to the moone, and swich folye

  As in oure dayes is nat worth a flye;

  For holy chirches feith in oure bileve

  Ne suffreth1134 noon illusioun us to greve.

  1135 And whan this book was in his remembraunce,

  Anon for joye his herte gan to daunce,

  And to himself he seide prively:

  ‘My brother shal be warisshed1138 hastily;

  For I am siker1139 that ther be sciences

  1140 By whiche men make diverse apparences1140,

  Swiche as thise subtile tregetoures1141 pleye.

  For ofte at festes have I wel herd seye

  That tregetours withinne an halle large

  Have maad come in a water and a barge1144,

  1145 And in the halle rowen up and doun.

  Somtime hath semed come a grim leoun,

  And somtime floures springe as in a mede,

  Somtime a vine and grapes white and rede,

  Somtime a castel, al of lim1149 and stoon,

  1150 And whan hem liked, voided1150 it anoon;

  Thus semed it to every mannes sighte.

  ‘Now thanne conclude I thus, that if I mighte

  At Orliens som old felawe ifinde

  That hadde thise moones mansions in minde,

  1155 Or oother magik naturel above1155,

  He sholde wel make my brother han his love.

  For with an apparence a clerk may make,

  To mannes sighte, that alle the rokkes blake

  Of Britaigne were yvoided1159 everychon,

  1160 And shippes by the brinke come and gon,

  And in swich forme endure a wowke1161 or two.

  Thanne were1162 my brother warisshed of his wo;

  Thanne moste she nedes holden hir biheste1163,

  Or ellis he shal shame hire at the leeste.’

  1165 What1165 sholde I make a lenger tale of this?

  Unto his brotheres bed he comen is,

  And swich confort he yaf him for to gon

  To Orliens, that he up stirte1168 anon,

  And on his wey forthward thanne is he fare1169,

  1170 In hope for to been lissed1170 of his care.

  Whan they were come almoost to that citee,

  But if it were a two furlong or thre,

  A yong clerk, roming by himself, they mette,

  Which that in Latin thriftily1174 hem grette,

  1175 And after that he seide a wonder thing:

  ‘I knowe’, quod he, ‘the cause of youre coming.’

  And er they ferther any foote wente,

  He tolde hem al that was in hir entente1178.

  This Britoun clerk him asked of1179 felawes

  1180 The whiche that he hadde knowe in olde dawes1180,

  And he answerde him that they dede were,

  For which he weep ful ofte many a teere.

  Doun of his hors Aurelius lighte1183 anon,

  And with this magicien forth is he gon

  1185 Hom to his hous, and made hem wel at ese.

  Hem lakked no vitaille that mighte hem plese;

  So wel arrayed1187 hous as ther was oon

  Aurelius in his lif saw nevere noon.

  He shewed him, er he wente to sopeer1189,

  1190 Forestes, parkes, ful of wilde deer;

  Ther saw he hertes with hir hornes hye,

  The gretteste that evere were seyn with eye.

  He saw of hem an hundred slain with houndes,

  And somme with arwes blede of bittre woundes.

  1195 He saw, whan voided1195 were thise wilde deer,

  Thise fauconers1196 upon a fair river,

  That with hir haukes han the heron slain.

  Tho saugh he knightes justing in a plain;

  And after this he dide him swich plesaunce1199

  1200 That he him shewed his lady on a daunce,

  On which himself he daunced, as him thoughte.

  And whan this maister that this magik wroughte

  Saugh it was time, he clapte his handes two,

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