The canterbury tales, p.57
The Canterbury Tales,
‘But, sires, o word forgat I in my tale:
920 I have relikes and pardon in my male920
As faire as any man in Engelond,
Whiche were me yeven by the Popes hond.
If any of yow wol, of devocioun,
Offren and han min absolucioun,
925 Com forth anon925, and kneleth here adoun,
And mekely receiveth my pardoun;
Or ellis taketh pardoun as ye wende927,
Al newe and fressh at every miles ende –
So that ye offren, alwey newe and newe929,
930 Nobles or pens whiche that been goode and trewe.
It is an honour to everich931 that is heer
That ye mowe932 have a suffisant pardoner
T’assoille yow in contree as ye ride,
For aventures934 whiche that may bitide.
935 Paraventure935 ther may falle oon or two
Doun of his hors, and breke his nekke atwo936.
Looke, which a seuretee937 is it to yow alle
That I am in youre felaweship yfalle,
That may assoille yow, bothe moore and lasse,
940 Whan that the soule shal fro the body passe.
I rede941 that oure Hooste shal biginne,
For he is moost envoluped942 in sinne.
Com forth, sire Hoost, and offre first anon,
And thow shalt kisse the relikes everychon,
945 Ye, for a grote945! Unbokele anon thy purs.’
‘Nay, nay,’ quod he, ‘thanne have I946 Cristes curs!
Lat be!’ quod he, ‘It shal nat be, so thee’ch947!
Thow woldest make me kisse thin olde breech948,
And swere it were a relik of a seint,
950 Thogh it were with thy fundement950 depeint.
But, by the crois which that Seint Eleine fond951,
I wolde I hadde thy coilons952 in my hond
In stede of relikes or of seintuarye953!
Lat kutte hem of954; I wol thee helpe hem carye.
955 They shul be shrined955 in an hogges toord!’
This Pardoner answerde nat a word;
So wrooth957 he was, no word ne wolde he seye.
‘Now,’ quod oure Hoost, ‘I wol no lenger pleye958
With thee, ne with noon oother angry man.’
960 But right anon the worthy Knight bigan,
Whan that he saugh that al the peple lough961,
‘Namoore of this, for it is right inough!
Sire Pardoner, be glad and murye of cheere963,
And ye, sire Hoost, that been to me so deere,
965 I pray yow that ye kisse the Pardoner.
And Pardoner, I pray thee, drawe thee neer966,
And as we diden, lat us laughe and pleye.’
Anon they kiste, and riden968 forth hir weye.
Heere is ended the Pardoners Tale.
THE SHIPMAN’S TALE
Heere biginneth the Shipmannes Tale.
A marchant whilom1 dwelled at Seint-Denis,
That riche was, for which men helde him wis.
A wif he hadde, of excellent beautee,
And compaignable4 and revelous was she –
5 Which is a thing that causeth moore dispence5
Than worth is al the cheere6 and reverence
That men hem doon at festes and at daunces.
Swiche salutacions and contenaunces8
Passen as dooth a shadwe9 upon the wal.
10 But wo is him that payen moot for al!
The sely11 housbonde, algate he moot paye;
He moot us clothe, and he moot us arraye12,
Al for his owene worship13, richely,
In which array we dauncen jolily14.
15 And if that he noght may15, paraventure,
Or16 ellis list no swich dispence endure,
But thinketh it is wasted and ylost,
Thanne moot another payen for oure cost,
Or lene19 us gold, and that is perilous.
20 This noble marchant heeld a worthy hous,
For which he hadde alday21 so greet repair,
For his largesse22, and for his wif was fair,
That wonder is; but herkneth to my tale!
Amonges alle hise gestes24, grete and smale,
25 Ther was a monk, a fair man and a bold –
I trowe a thritty winter26 he was old –
That evere in oon27 was drawing to that place.
This yonge monk, that was so fair of face,
Aqueinted was so with the goode man29,
30 Sith that hir firste knoweliche30 bigan,
That in his hous as famulier was he
As it is possible any freend to be.
And for as muchel as this goode man,
And eek this monk of which that I bigan,
35 Were bothe two yborn in o35 village,
The monk him claimeth as for cosinage36,
And he again; he seyth nat ones nay,
But was as glad therof as fowel38 of day,
For to his herte it was a gret plesaunce39.
40 Thus been they knit with eterne alliaunce,
And ech of hem gan oother for t’assure
Of bretherhede whil that hir lif may dure42.
Free43 was daun John, and manly of dispence
As in that hous, and ful of diligence
45 To45 doon plesaunce, and also greet costage.
He nat forgat to yeve the leeste page46
In al that hous, but after47 hir degree;
He yaf the lord, and sith48 al his meinee,
Whan that he com, som manere honeste49 thing.
50 For which they were as glad of his coming
As fowel is fain51 whan that the sonne up riseth.
Namoore of this as now, for it suffiseth.
But so bifel, this marchant on a day
Shoop him54 to make redy his array
55 Toward the toun of Brugges for to fare55,
To byen there a porcioun of ware56;
For which he hath to Paris sent anon
A messager, and preyed hath daun John
That he sholde come to Seint-Denis and pleye59
60 With him and with his wif a day or tweye,
Er he to Brugges wente, in alle wise61.
This noble monk of which I yow devise62
Hath of his abbot, as him list63, licence,
Bicause he was a man of heigh prudence
65 And eek an officer65, out for to ride,
To seen hir graunges66 and hir bernes wide;
And unto Seint-Denis he comth anon.
Who was so welcome as my lord daun John,
Oure deere cosin, ful of curteisye?
70 With him broghte he a jubbe70 of malvesye,
And eek another, ful of fin vernage71,
And volatil72, as ay was his usage.
And thus I lete73 hem ete and drinke and pleye,
This marchant and this monk, a day or tweye.
75 The thridde day this marchant up ariseth,
And76 on his nedes sadly him aviseth,
And up into his countour-hous77 goth he,
To rekene with himself, wel may be,
Of thilke79 yeer how that it with him stood,
80 And how that he despended hadde his good,
And if that he encressed were81 or noon.
Hise bookes and hise bagges many oon
He leyth biforn him on his counting-bord83.
Ful riche was his tresor and his hord,
85 For which ful faste his countour-dore he shette;
And eek he nolde86 that no man sholde him lette
Of his acountes for the mene-time.
And thus he sit88 til it was passed prime.
Daun John was risen in the morwe also,
90 And in the gardin walketh to and fro,
And hath his thinges91 seid ful curteisly.
This goode wif cam walking prively
Into the gardin ther93 he walketh softe,
And him salueth94, as s
95 A maide95 child cam in hir compaignye,
Which as hir list she96 may governe and gye,
For yet under the yerde97 was the maide.
‘O deere cosin min, daun John,’ she saide,
‘What eileth99 yow, so rathe for to rise?’
100 ‘Nece,’ quod he, ‘it oghte inow suffise
Five houres for to slepe upon a night,
But it were for an old102 apalled wight,
As been thise wedded men, that lie and dare103,
As in a forme104 sit a wery hare
105 Were105 al forstraught with houndes grete and smale.
But deere nece, why be ye so pale?
I trowe, certes, that oure goode man107
Hath yow laboured108 sith the night bigan,
That yow were nede to resten hastily.’
110 And with that word he lough110 ful mirily,
And of his owene thoght he wex111 al reed.
This faire wif gan for to shake hir heed,
And seide thus: ‘Ye, God woot al!’ quod she.
‘Nay, cosin min, it stant nat so114 with me!
115 For, by that God that yaf me soule and lif,
In al the reawme116 of France is ther no wif
That lasse lust117 hath to that sory pley;
For I may singe “allas!” and “weilawey
That I was born!”; but to no wight’, quod she,
120 ‘Dar I nat telle how that it stant with me.
Wherfore I thinke out of this lande to wende121,
Or elles of myself to make an ende,
So ful am I of drede and eek of care123.’
This monk bigan upon this wif to stare,
125 And seide, ‘Allas, my nece, God forbede
That ye for any sorwe or any drede
Fordo127 youreself; but telleth me youre grief.
Paraventure I may in youre meschief128
Conseille or helpe, and therfore telleth me
130 Al youre anoy130, for it shal been secree.
For on my portehors131 I make an oth,
That nevere in my lif, for lief ne loth132,
Ne shal I of no conseil133 yow biwreye.’
‘The same again to yow’, quod she, ‘I seye.
135 By God and by this portehors I swere135,
Thogh men me wolde al into peces tere,
Ne shal I nevere, for to gon137 to helle,
Biwreye a word of thing that ye me telle,
Nat for no cosinage139 ne alliance,
140 But verraily for love and affiance140.’
Thus been they sworn, and herupon141 they kiste,
And ech of hem tolde oother what hem liste142.
‘Cosin,’ quod she, ‘if that I hadde a space143 –
As I have noon, and namely in this place –
145 Thanne wolde I telle a legende of my lif,
What I have suffred sith I was a wif
With min housbonde, al be he147 youre cosin.’
‘Nay,’ quod this monk, ‘by God and Seint Martin,
He is namore cosin unto me
150 Than is this leef that hangeth on the tree!
I clepe151 him so, by Seint Denis of Fraunce,
To have the moore cause of aqueintaunce
Of yow, which I have loved specially
Aboven alle wommen, sikerly154;
155 This swere I yow on my professioun155.
Telleth youre grief, lest that he come adoun,
And hasteth yow, and goth youre wey anon.’
‘My deere love,’ quod she, ‘O my daun John,
Ful lief were me159 this conseil for to hide,
160 But out it moot; I may namoore abide160.
Min housbonde is to me the worste man
That evere was sith that the world bigan!
But sith I am a wif, it sit nat163 me
To tellen no wight of oure privetee164,
165 Neither abedde, ne in noon oother place.
God shilde166 I sholde it tellen, for his grace!
A wif ne shal nat seyn of hir housbonde
But al honour, as I kan understonde.
Save unto yow thus muche I tellen shal:
170 As help me God, he is noght worth at al
In no degree the value of a flye.
But yet me greveth172 moost his nigardye!
And wel ye woot173, that wommen naturelly
Desiren thinges sixe, as wel as I:
175 They wolde that hir housbondes sholde be
Hardy176, and wise, and riche, and therto free,
And buxom177 unto his wif, and fressh abedde.
But by that ilke Lord that for us bledde,
For his honour, myself for to arraye179,
180 A180 Sonday next I moste nedes paye
An hundred frankes181, or ellis am I lorn.
Yet were me levere182 that I were unborn
Than me were doon a sclaundre or vileinye.
And if min housbonde eek it mighte espye,
185 I nere but lost185; and therfore I yow preye,
Lene me this somme, or ellis moot I deye.
Daun John, I seye, lene me thise hundred frankes;
Pardee, I wol noght faille yow my thankes188,
If that yow list to doon that I yow praye.
190 For at a certein day I wol yow paye,
And doon to yow what plesaunce191 and servise
That I may doon, right as yow list devise192.
And but I do193, God take on me vengeance
As foul as evere hadde Geneloun of France!’
195 This gentil195 monk answerde in this manere:
‘Now trewely, min owene lady deere,
I have’, quod he, ‘on yow so greet a routhe197
That I yow swere and plighte yow my trouthe
That, whan youre housbond is to Flaundres fare199,
200 I wol delivere yow out of this care200,
For I wol bringe yow an hundred frankes.’
And with that word he caughte hire by the flankes,
And hire embraceth harde, and kiste hire ofte.
‘Goth now youre wey,’ quod he, al stille and softe,
205 ‘And lat us dine as soone as that ye may,
For by my chilindre206 it is prime of day.
Goth now, and beth as trewe as I shal be.’
‘Now, elles God forbede, sire,’ quod she;
And forth she goth, as jolif209 as a pie,
210 And bad the cokes that they sholde hem hie210,
So that men mighte dine, and that anon.
Up to hir housbonde is this wif ygon,
And knokketh at his countour213 boldely.
‘Qui la?’ quod he. ‘Peter, it am I!’
215 Quod she; ‘What, sire, how longe wol ye faste?
How longe time wol ye rekene and caste216
Youre sommes, and youre bokes and youre thinges217?
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