The canterbury tales, p.77
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.77

           Geoffrey Chaucer
 

  Than hadde this preest this sory1349 craft to leere!

  1350 And to the chanoun thus he spak and seide:

  ‘For love of God, that for us alle deide,

  And as I may deserve it unto1352 yow,

  What shal this receit1353 coste? Telleth now!’

  ‘By oure lady,’ quod this chanoun, ‘it is dere,

  1355 I warne yow wel; for save1355 I and a frere,

  In Engelond ther kan no man it make.’

  ‘No fors1357,’ quod he, ‘now, sire, for Goddes sake,

  What shal I paye? Telleth me, I preye.’

  ‘Iwys,’ quod he, ‘it is ful deere, I seye.

  1360 Sire, at o word1360, if that thee list it have,

  Ye shul paye fourty pound, so God me save!

  And nere1362 the freendshipe that ye dide er this

  To me, ye sholde paye moore, iwys.’

  This preest the somme1364 of fourty pound anon

  1365 Of nobles fette1365, and took hem everychon

  To this chanoun for this ilke receit.

  Al his werking nas but fraude and deceit.

  ‘Sire preest,’ he seide, ‘I kepe han no loos1368

  Of my craft, for I wolde it kept were cloos;

  1370 And, as ye love me, kepeth it secree,

  For, and1371 men knewen al my soutiltee,

  By God, they wolden han so greet envye

  To me, bicause of my philosophye,

  I sholde be deed; ther were1374 noon oother weye.’

  1375 ‘God it forbede!’ quod the preest, ‘What sey ye?

  Yet hadde I levere1376 spenden al the good

  Which that I have, and elles wexe I wood1377,

  Than that ye sholden falle in swich mescheef1378.’

  ‘For youre good wil, sire, have ye right good preef1379!’

  1380 Quod the chanoun, ‘and farewel, grant merci!’

  He wente his wey, and nevere the preest him sy1381

  After that day; and whan that this preest sholde

  Maken assay, at swich time as he wolde1383,

  Of this receit, farewel! – it wolde nat be.

  1385 Lo, thus bijaped1385 and bigiled was he!

  Thus maketh he his introduccioun1386

  To bringe folk to hir destruccioun.

  Considereth, sires, how that in ech estaat1388,

  Bitwixe men and gold ther is debaat1389,

  1390 So ferforth1390 that unnethes is ther noon.

  This multiplying blent1391 so many oon

  That, in good feith, I trowe that it be

  The cause grettest of swich scarsetee1393.

  Philosophres speken so mistily1394

  1395 In this craft, that men kan nat come therby1395,

  For any wit1396 that men han nowadayes.

  They mowe wel chiteren1397 as doon thise jayes,

  And in hire termes sette hir lust and peine,1398

  But to hir purpos shul they nevere atteine.

  1400 A man may lightly1400 lerne, if he have aught,

  To multiplye, and bringe his good1401 to naught.

  Lo, swich a lucre1402 is in this lusty game:

  A mannes mirthe it wol turne unto grame1403,

  And empten1404 also grete and hevy purses,

  1405 And maken folk for to purchasen1405 curses

  Of1406 hem that han hir good therto ylent.

  O fy, for shame! – they that han been brent1407,

  Allas, kan they nat flee the fires hete?

  Ye that it use, I rede ye it lete,1409

  1410 Lest ye lese1410 al; for bet than nevere is late.

  Nevere to thrive were to long a date1411;

  Thogh ye prolle ay1412, ye shul it nevere finde.

  Ye been as boold as is Bayard the blinde,

  That blondreth1414 forth, and peril casteth noon.

  1415 He is as boold to renne1415 again a stoon

  As for to goon bisides1416 in the weye.

  So faren ye that multiplye, I seye.

  If that youre eyen kan nat seen aright,

  Looke that youre minde lakke noght his sight;

  1420 For thogh ye looken nevere so brode1420 and stare,

  Ye shul nothing winne on that chaffare1421,

  But wasten al that ye may rape and renne1422.

  Withdrawe the fir, lest it to faste1423 brenne;

  Medleth namoore with that art, I mene,

  1425 For if ye doon, youre thrift1425 is goon ful clene.

  And right as swithe1426 I wol yow tellen here

  What philosophres seyn in this matere.

  Lo, thus seyth Arnold of the Newe Toun1428

  – As his Rosarye maketh mencioun –

  1430 He seyth right thus, withouten any lie:

  ‘Ther may no man mercurye mortifye1431

  But it be with his brother knowleching.’1432

  How be that1433 he which that first seide this thing

  Of philosophres fader was, Hermes;

  1435 He seyth how that the dragon1435, doutelees,

  Ne dieth nat but if that he be slain

  With his brother, and that is for to sayn,

  By the dragon, mercurye, and noon oother

  He understood, and brimstoon1439 by his brother,

  1440 That out of Sol1440 and Luna were ydrawe.

  ‘And therfor,’ seide he – tak heed to my sawe1441 –

  ‘Lat no man bisy him1442 this art for to seche,

  But if that he th’entencioun and speche

  Of philosophres understonde kan.

  1445 And if he do, he is a lewed1445 man;

  For this science and this konning1446’, quod he,

  ‘Is of the secree1447 of secretes, pardee.’

  Also ther was a disciple of Plato

  That on a time seide his maister to

  1450 – As his book Senior wol bere witnesse –

  And this was his demande, in soothfastnesse1451:

  ‘Tel me the name of the privee1452 stoon.’

  And Plato answerde unto him anoon:

  ‘Take the stoon that Titanos men name –’

  1455 ‘Which is that?’ quod he; ‘Magnasia is the same,’

  Seide Plato. ‘Ye, sire? and is it thus?

  This is ignotum per ignocius1457!

  What is Magnasia, good sire, I yow preye?’

  ‘It is a water that is maad, I seye,

  1460 Of elementes foure,’ quod Plato.

  ‘Telle me the roote, good sire,’ quod he tho1461,

  ‘Of that water, if it be youre wille.’

  ‘Nay, nay,’ quod Plato, ‘certein, that I nille1463!

  The philosophres sworn were everychoon

  1465 That they sholde discovere1465 it unto noon,

  Ne in no book it write in no manere,

  For unto Crist it is so leef1467 and deere

  That he wol nat that it discovered be,

  But wher it liketh1469 to his deitee

  1470 Men for t’enspire1470, and eek for to defende

  Whom that him liketh; lo, this is the ende!’

  Thanne conclude I thus, sith that God of hevene

  Ne wol nat that the philosophres nevene1473

  How that a man shal come unto this stoon,

  1475 I rede1475, as for the beste, lat it goon!

  For whoso maketh God his adversarye,

  As for to werken anything1477 in contrarye

  Of his wil, certes, nevere shal he thrive1478,

  Thogh that he multiplye terme of his live.

  1480 And ther a point1480; for ended is my tale.

  God sende every trewe man boote of his bale1481!

  Heere is ended the Chanouns Yemannes Tale.

  THE MANCIPLE’S PROLOGUE

  Heere folweth the Prologe of the Maunciples Tale.

  Woot1 ye nat where ther stant a litel toun

  Which that ycleped2 is Bobbe-up-and-doun,

  Under the Blee, in Caunterbury weye?

  Ther gan oure Hooste for to jape4 and pleye,

&n
bsp; 5 And seide, ‘Sires, what! Dun is in the mire5!

  Is ther no man, for preyere ne for hire6,

  That wol awake oure felawe al bihinde7?

  A theef might him ful lightly robbe and binde.

  Se how he nappeth9! Se how, for cokkes bones,

  10 That he wol falle from his hors atones10!

  Is that a Cook of Londoun, with meschaunce11?

  Do him com forth12; he knoweth his penaunce,

  For he shal telle a tale, by my fey,

  Althogh it be nat worth a botel hey14.

  15 Awake, thow Cook!’ quod he, ‘God yeve thee sorwe!

  What eileth thee to slepe by the morwe16?

  Hastow had fleen17 al night? Or artow dronke?

  Or hastow with som quene18 al night yswonke,

  So that thow mayst nat holden up thin heed?’

  This Cook, that was ful pale and nothing20 reed, 20

  Seide to oure Hoost, ‘So God my soule blesse,

  As ther is falle on me swich hevinesse22 –

  Noot I nat23 why – that me were levere slepe

  Than the beste galoun win24 in Chepe.’

  25 ‘Wel,’ quod the Maunciple, ‘if it may doon ese

  To thee, sire Cook, and to no wight displese

  Which that here rideth in this compaignye,

  And that oure Hoost wol, of his curteisye,

  I wol as now excuse thee of thy tale.

  30 For in good feith, thy visage is ful pale.

  Thine eyen daswen31 eek, as that me thinketh,

  And wel I woot thy breeth ful soure stinketh;

  That sheweth wel thow art nat wel disposed33.

  Of me, certein, thow shalt nat been yglosed34!

  35 Se how he ganeth35, lo, this dronken wight,

  As thogh he wolde swolwe36 us anon-right.

  Hoold cloos thy mouth, man, by thy fader kin!

  The devel of helle sette his foot therin!

  Thy cursed breeth infecte wol us alle.

  40 Fy, stinking swin, fy! Foule moot thee falle40!

  A, taketh hede, sires, of this lusty41 man!

  Now, swete sire, wol ye justen atte fan42?

  Therto me thinketh ye been wel yshape43!

  I trowe that ye dronken han win-ape44,

  45 And that is whan men pleyen with a straw.’

  And with this speche the Cook wax wrooth and wraw46

  And on the Manciple he gan nodde47 faste

  For lakke of speche, and doun the hors him caste48,

  Wheras49 he lay til that men up him took.

  50 This was a fair chivachee50 of a cook!

  Allas, he nadde yholde him by his ladel!

  And, er that he again were52 in his sadel,

  Ther was gret showving53, bothe to and fro,

  To lifte him up, and muchel care and wo54,

  55 So unweldy was this sory palled goost.55

  And to the Manciple thanne spak oure Hoost:

  ‘Bicause drinke hath dominacioun

  Upon this man, by my savacioun,

  I trowe he lewedly59 wolde telle his tale.

  60 For, were it win or old or moisty60 ale

  That he hath dronke, he speketh in his nose,

  And fneseth62 faste, and eek he hath the pose.

  He hath also to do moore than inow63

  To kepe him and his capul64 out of the slow;

  65 And if he falle from his capul eftsoone65,

  Thanne shal we alle have inow to doone66

  In liftinge up his hevy dronken cors67.

  Telle on thy tale; of him make I no fors68.

  – But yet, Manciple, in feith, thow art to nice69

  70 Thus openly repreve him of70 his vice.

  Another day he wole, paraventure,

  Reclaime thee72, and bringe thee to lure.

  I mene, he speke wole of smale73 thinges,

  As for to pinchen at thy rekeninges,

  75 That were nat honeste, if it cam to preef.’

  ‘No,’ quod the Manciple, ‘that were a gret mescheef76!

  So mighte he lightly77 bringe me in the snare.

  Yet hadde I levere payen for the mare

  Which he rit79 on, than he sholde with me strive.

  80 I wol nat wrathe80 him, also mote I thrive!

  That that I spak, I seide it in my bourde81.

  And wite ye what? I have here in a gourde82

  A draghte of win, ye, of a ripe grape,

  And right anon ye shul seen a good jape.

  85 This Cook shal drinke therof, if that I may;

  Up peine of deeth, he wol nat seye me nay.’

  And certeinly, to tellen as it was,

  Of this vessel the Cook drank faste88 – allas!

  What neded it? He drank inow biforn!

  90 And whan he hadde pouped90 in this horn,

  To the Manciple he took the gourde again;91

  And of that drinke the Cook was wonder fain92,

  And thanked him, in swich wise as he koude.

  Thanne gan oure Hoost to laughen wonder94 loude,

  95 And seide, ‘I se wel, it is necessarye,

  Where that96 we goon, good drinke we with us carye,

  For that wol turne rancour and disese97

  T’acord and love, and many a wrong appese98.

  ‘O Bacus99, yblessed be thy name,

  100 That so kanst turnen ernest into game!

  Worship101 and thank be to thy deitee!

  Of that matere ye gete namoore of me;

  Telle on thy tale, Manciple, I the preye103.’

  ‘Wel, sire,’ quod he, ‘now herkneth what I seye.’

  THE MANCIPLE’S TALE

  Heere biginneth the Maunciples Tale of the crowe.

  105 Whan Phebus105 dwelled here in this erthe adoun,

  As olde bookes maken mencioun,

  He was the mooste lusty bachiler107

  In al this world, and eek the beste archer.

  He slow Phitoun, the serpent, as he lay

  110 Slepinge again the sonne110 upon a day.

  And many another noble worthy dede

  He with his bowe wroghte112, as men may rede.

  Pleyen he koude on every minstralcye113,

  And singen that114 it was a melodye

  115 To heren of his clere vois the soun.

  Certes, the king of Thebes, Amphioun,

  That with his singing walled that citee

  Koude nevere singen half so wel as he.

  Therto119 he was the semelieste man

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

  What nedeth it hise fetures121 to discrive?

  – For in this world was noon so fair on live122.

  He was therwith123 fulfild of gentillesse,

  Of honour, and of parfit worthinesse124.

 
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