The canterbury tales, p.69
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.69

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  Of which Cresus Cirus soore him dradde,2728

  Yet was he caught amiddes al his pride,

  2730 And to be brent2730 men to the fir him ladde;

  But swich a rein doun fro the welkne2731 shadde

  That slow2732 the fir, and made him to escape.

  But2733 to be war no grace yet he hadde,

  Til Fortune on the galwes2734 made him gape.

  2735 Whanne he escaped was, he kan nat stente2735

  For to biginne a newe werre again.

  He wende2737 wel, for that Fortune him sente

  Swich hap2738 that he escaped thurgh the rain,

  That of his foos he mighte nat be slain;

  2740 And eek a swevene2740 upon a night he mette,

  Of which he was so proud and eek so fain

  That in vengeance he al his herte sette.

  Upon a tree he was, as that him thoughte,2743

  Ther Juppiter him wessh,2744 bothe bak and side,

  2745 And Phebus eek a fair towaille2745 him broughte

  To drye him with, and therfore wax2746 his pride.

  And to his doghter, that stood him biside,

  Which that he knew in heigh sentence2748 habounde,

  He bad hire telle him what it signifide,

  2750 And she his dreem bigan right thus expounde:

  ‘The tree’, quod she, ‘the galwes is to mene,

  And Juppiter bitokneth snow and rein,

  And Phebus, with his towaille so clene,

  Tho been the sonnes stremes2754 for to seyn.

  2755 Thou shalt anhanged2755 be, fader, certein.

  Rein shal thee wasshe, and sonne shal thee drye.’

  Thus warned him ful plat2757 and eke ful plein

  His doghter, which that called was Phanye2758.

  Anhanged was Cresus, the proude king;

  2760 His royal trone mighte him nat availle.

  Tragedies noon oother manere thing

  Ne kan in singing crye ne biwaille

  But that Fortune alwey wole assaille

  With unwar strook2764 the regnes that been proude;

  2765 For whan men trusteth hire, thanne wol she faille2765,

  And covere hire brighte face with a clowde.

  Heere stinteth the Knight the Monk of his Tale.


  The Prologe of the Nonnes Preestes Tale.

  ‘Ho!’ quod the Knight, ‘good sire, namoore of this!

  That ye han seid is right inow, iwys2768,

  And muchel moore, for litel hevinesse2769

  2770 Is right inow to muche folk, I gesse.

  I seye for me, it is a greet disese2771

  Wheras men han been in greet welthe and ese,

  To heeren of hir sodein fal, allas!

  And the contrarye is joye and greet solas2774,

  2775 As whan a man hath been in povre estaat,

  And climbeth up and wexeth fortunat2776,

  And there abideth in prosperitee.

  Swich thing is gladsom2778, as it thinketh me,

  And of swich thing were goodly for to telle.’

  2780 ‘Ye,’ quod oure Hooste, ‘by Seint Poules belle,

  Ye seye right sooth! This Monk, he clappeth loude2781;

  He spak how Fortune covered with a cloude

  I noot nat2783 what, and also of a tragedye –

  Right now ye herde; and, pardee, no remedye

  2785 It is for to biwaille ne compleine2785

  That that is doon, and als2786 it is a peine,

  As ye han seid, to heere of hevinesse.

  ‘Sire Monk, namoore of this, so God yow blesse!

  Youre tale anoyeth2789 al this compaignye.

  2790 Swich talking is nat worth a boterflye,

  For therinne is ther no desport2791 ne game.

  Wherfore, sire Monk, daun Piers by youre name,

  I prey yow hertely, telle us somwhat elles;

  For sikerly, nere clinking2794 of youre belles,

  2795 That on youre bridel hange on every side,

  By hevene king, that for us alle dide2796,

  I sholde er this have fallen doun for sleep,

  Althogh the slough2798 hadde nevere ben so deep.

  Thanne hadde2799 youre tale al be toold in vein!

  2800 For certeinly, as that thise clerkes seyn,

  Whereas a man may have noon audience2801,

  Noght helpeth it2802 to tellen his sentence.

  And wel I woot, the substaunce2803 is in me,

  If any thing shal wel reported be.

  2805 Sire, sey somwhat of2805 hunting, I yow preye.’

  ‘Nay,’ quod this Monk, ‘I have no lust2806 to pleye.

  Now lat another telle, as I have toold.’

  Thanne spak oure Hoost with rude2808 speche and boold,

  And seide unto the Nonnes Preest anon:

  2810 ‘Com neer, thow Preest; com hider, thow Sire John!

  Telle us swich thing as may oure hertes glade2811.

  Be blithe, though thow ride upon a jade2812!

  What though thin hors be bothe foul2813 and lene?

  If he wol serve thee, rekke nat a bene2814!

  2815 Looke2815 that thin herte be murye everemo.’

  ‘Yis, sire,’ quod he, ‘yis, Hoost, so mote I go,

  But I be2817 murye, iwys, I wol be blamed.’

  And right anon his tale he hath attamed2818.

  And thus he seide unto us everychon,

  2820 This sweete Preest, this goodly man, Sire John.


  Heere biginneth the Nonnes Preestes Tale of the cok and hen, Chauntecleer and Pertelote.

  A povre widwe, somdel stape2821 in age,

  Was whilom2822 dwellinge in a narwe cotage,

  Biside a grove, stonding in a dale.

  This widwe of which I telle yow my tale,

  2825 Sin thilke day that she was last a wif,

  In pacience ladde a ful simple lif,

  For litel was hire catel2827 and hire rente.

  By housbondrye, of swich as God hire sente,

  She foond2829 hireself, and eek hire doghtren two.

  2830 Thre large sowes hadde she and namo,

  Thre kyn2831, and eek a sheep that highte Malle.

  Ful sooty was hire bour2832 and eek hire halle,

  In which she eet ful many a sklendre2833 meel.

  Of poinaunt2834 sauce hir neded never a deel;

  2835 No deintee2835 morsel passed thurgh hir throte.

  Hir diete was acordant to hir cote2836.

  Repleccioun2837 ne made hire nevere sik;

  Attempree2838 diete was al hir physik,

  And excercise, and hertes suffisaunce2839.

  2840 The goute lette hire nothing for to daunce,2840

  N’apoplexye shente nat2841 hir heed.

  No win ne drank she, neither whit ne reed.

  Hir bord was served moost with whit and blak –

  Milk and broun breed, in which she foond no lak2844,

  2845 Seind2845 bacoun, and somtime an ey or tweye,

  For she was, as it were, a maner deye2846.

  A yeerd2847 she hadde, enclosed al aboute

  With stikkes2848, and a drye dich withoute,

  In which she hadde a cok heet2849 Chauntecleer.

  2850 In al the land, of crowing nas his peer2850;

  His vois was murier2851 than the mirye orgon

  On masse-dayes that in the chirche gon.

  Wel sikerer2853 was his crowing in his logge

  Than is a clokke or an abbey orlogge2854.

  2855 By nature he knew ech ascencioun

  Of th’equinoxial2856 in thilke toun;

  For whan degrees fiftene were ascended,

  Thanne krew he, that it mighte nat ben amended2858.

  His comb was redder than the fin coral,

  2860 And batailled2860 as it were a castel wal.

  His bile2861 was blak, and as the jeet it shoon;

  Lik asure28
62 were hise legges and his toon;

  Hise nailes whitter than the lilye flour,

  And lik the burned2864 gold was his colour.

  2865 This gentil cok hadde in his governaunce2865

  Sevene hennes, for to doon al his plesaunce2866,

  Whiche were hise sustres and his paramours2867,

  And wonder2868 like to him, as of colours;

  Of whiche the faireste hewed2869 on hire throte

  2870 Was cleped faire damoisele2870 Pertelote.

  Curteis she was, discreet, and debonaire2871,

  And compaignable, and bar hirself so faire2872

  Sin thilke day that she was seven night oold,2874

  That trewely she hath the herte in hoold

  2875 Of Chauntecleer, loken2875 in every lith.

  He loved hire so that wel was him therwith2876.

  But swich a joye was it to here hem singe,

  Whan that the brighte sonne gan to springe2878,

  In swete acord, ‘My leef is faren in londe’2879.

  2880 – For thilke time, as I have understonde,

  Beestes and briddes kouden speke and singe.

  And so bifel, that in a daweninge2882,

  As Chauntecleer among hise wives alle

  Sat on his perche, that was in the halle,

  2885 And next him sat this faire Pertelote,

  This Chauntecleer gan gronen2886 in his throte,

  As man that in his dreem is drecched soore2887.

  And whan that Pertelote thus herde him rore,

  She was agast2889, and seide, ‘Herte deere,

  2890 What eileth yow, to grone in this manere?

  Ye ben a verray slepere! fy, for shame!’

  And he answerde and seide thus: ‘Madame,

  I prey yow that ye take it nat agrief2893.

  By God, me mette2894 I was in swich meschief

  2895 Right now, that yet min herte is soore afright2895!

  Now God’, quod he, ‘my swevene recche aright,2896

  And kepe my body out of foul prisoun!

  Me mette how that I romed up and doun

  Withinne oure yeerd, whereas I say2899 a beest

  2900 Was lik an hound, and wolde han maad areest2900

  Upon my body, and han had me deed.

  His colour was bitwixe yelow and reed,

  And tipped was his tail and bothe hise eris

  With blak, unlik the remenaunt2904 of hise heris.

  2905 His snowte smal, with glowing eyen tweye.

  – Yet2906 of his look for fere almoost I deye!

  This caused me my groning, doutelees.’

  ‘Avoy2908!’ quod she, ‘fy on yow, hertelees!

  Allas!’ quod she, ‘for, by that God above,

  2910 Now han ye lost min herte and al my love!

  I kan nat love a coward, by my feith!

  For certes, whatso2912 any womman seyth,

  We alle desiren, if it mighte be,

  To han housbondes hardy2914, wise, and fre,

  2915 And secree2915, and no nigard, ne no fool,

  Ne him that is agast of every tool2916,

  Ne noon avauntour2917, by that God above!

  How dorste ye seyn for shame unto youre love

  That any thing mighte make yow aferd2919?

  2920 Have ye no mannes herte, and han a berd?

  Allas,2921 and konne ye ben agast of swevenis?

  Nothing, God woot, but vanitee in swevene is.

  Swevenes engendren of2923 replexions,

  And ofte of fume2924, and of complexions,

  2925 Whan humours2925 ben to habundant in a wight.

  Certes, this dreem which ye han met to-night

  Comth of the grete superfluitee

  Of youre rede colera2928, pardee,

  Which causeth folk to dreden in hir dremes

  2930 Of arwes2930, and of fir with rede lemes,

  Of rede bestes, that they wol hem bite,

  Of contek2932, and of whelpes grete and lite

  – Right as the humour of malencolye

  Causeth ful many a man in sleep to crye

  2935 For fere of blake beres, or boles2935 blake,

  Or elles blake develes wol hem take.

  Of othere humours koude I telle also,

  That werken many a man in sleep ful wo2938,

  But I wol passe as lightly as I kan.

  2940 ‘Lo, Catoun, which that was so wis a man,

  Seide he nat thus, “Ne do no fors of2941 dremes”?

  Now, sire,’ quod she, ‘whan we fle fro the bemes,

  For Goddes love, as taak som laxatif!

  Up2944 peril of my soule and of my lif,

  2945 I conseille2945 yow the beste, I wol nat lie,

  That bothe of colere and of malencolye

  Ye purge yow; and for ye shal nat tarye,

  Thogh in this toun is noon apothecarye,

  I shal myself to herbes techen2949 yow

  2950 That shul ben for youre heele2950 and for youre prow.

  And in oure yerd tho2951 herbes shal I finde,

  The whiche han of hire propretee by kinde2952

  To purge yow binethe and eek above2953.

  Foryet nat this, for Goddes owene love!

  2955 Ye ben ful colerik of complexioun;2955

  Ware2956 the sonne in his ascensioun

  Ne finde yow nat replet of2957 humours hote!

  And if it do, I dar wel leye a grote2958

  That ye shul have a fevere terciane2959,

  2960 Or an agu2960 that may be youre bane.

  A day or two ye shul have digestives2961

  Of wormes, er ye take youre laxatives,

  Of lauriol2963, centaure, and fumetere,

  Or elles of ellebor2964 that groweth there,

  2965 Of katapuce2965, or of gaitris beryis,

  Of herbe yve2966 growing in oure yerd, ther merye is.

  Pekke hem up right as they growe and ete hem in!

  By mirye, housbonde, for youre fader kin2968!

  Dredeth no dreem – I kan sey yow namoore.’

  2970 ‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘graunt merci2970 of youre loore!

  But nathelees, as touching daun Catoun,

  That hath of wisdom swich a gret renoun,

  Though that he bad no dremes for to drede,

  By God! men may in olde bokes rede

  2975 Of many a man moore of auctoritee2975

  Than evere Catoun was, so mote I thee2976,

  That al the revers2977 seyn of his sentence,

  And han wel founden by experience

  That dremes ben significaciouns2979

  2980 As wel of joye as tribulaciouns

  That folk enduren in this lif present.

  Ther nedeth make of this noon argument;

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