The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Squyeres Tale

“Ey! Goddes mercy!” sayd our Hoste tho,

“Now such a wyf I pray God keep me fro.

Lo, suche sleightes and subtilitees

In wommen be; for ay as busy as bees

Be thay us seely men for to desceyve,

And from a soth ever a lie thay weyve.

And by this Marchaundes tale it proveth wel.

But douteles, as trewe as eny steele

I have a wyf, though that she pore be;

But of hir tonge a labbyng shrewe is she;

And yit she hath an heep of vices mo.

No care of that; let alle such thinges go.

But wit ye what? in counseil be it seyd,

Me rewith sore I am unto hir tied;

And if I sholde reken every vice,

Which that she hath, i-wis I were too nyce;

And cause why; it shuld reported be

And told to hir by som of this companye,

(By whom it needith not for to declare,

Since wommen connen alle such chaffare);

And eek my witte suffisith nought therto

To tellen al; wherfor my tale is do.”

“Sir Squier, com forth, if that your wille be,
And say us a tale of love, for certes ye
Connen theron as moche as ony man.”

“Nay, sir,” quoth he; “but I wil say as I can
With herty wil, for I wil not rebelle
Against your wille; a tale wil I telle,
Have me excused if that I speke amys;
My wil is good; and thereto my tale is this.”

At Sarray, in the lond of Tartary,
Ther dwelled a kyng that warred agaynst Russy,
Thurgh which ther deyèd many a doughty man;
This nobil kyng was clepèd Cambynskan,
Which in his tyme was of so gret renoun,
That ther was nowher in no regioún
So excellent a lord in alle thing;
Him lakked nought that longèd to a kyng.
In the same secte of which that he was born,
He kept his faith to which that he was sworn;
And therto he was hardy, riche, and wys,
And just and piteous, and of good servyse,
Soth of his word, benign and honurable;
In his coráge as is the centre stable;
Yong, fresch, and strong, of fame désirous,
As eny bachiler of al his hous.
A fair person he was, and fortunát,
And kepte alway so wel his royal estat,
That ther was nowher such another man.
This noble kyng, this Tartre Cambynskan,
Hadde tuo sones by Elcheta his wyf,
Of which the eldest was clepèd Algarsyf,
That other was i-clepèd Camballo.
A doughter had this worthi king also,
That yongest was, and highte Canacee;
But for to telle yow al hir beautee,
It lieth not on my tonge, nor my connyng,
I dar nought undertake so high a thing;
Myn English eek is insufficient,
It moste be an oratour excellent
That knew his termes longyng to that art,
If he shold hir descrybe in eny part;
I am non such, I must speke as I can.

And so bifel it, that this Cambynskan
Hath twenty wynter born his dyademe;
As he was wont fro yer to yer, I deme,
He publisshèd throughout Sarray citee
The fest solemne of his nativitee,
The fifteene day of March, after the yeer.
Phebus the sonne ful joly was and cleer,
For he was nigh his exaltacioun
In Mars his face, and in his mansioun
In Aries, the colerik, the hot signe.
Ful lusty was the wether and benigne,
For which the foules in the sonne sheene,
What for the sesoun and for the yonge greene,
Ful lowde sang in there affeccioun;
They semed have gotten them proteccioun
Agenst the swerd of wynter kene and cold.
This Cambynskan, of which I have you told,
In royal vesture, sittyng on his deys
With dyadem, ful high in his paleys,
And held his fest so solemne and so riche,
That in this worlde was there noon it like.
Of which if I shal tellen al the array,
Than wold it occupie a someres day;
And eek it needith nought for to devyse
Of every cours the ordre and the servýse.
I wol nat tellen of the straunge dishes,
Nor of the swannes, the briddes, and the fishes.
For in that lond, as tellen knightes olde,
Ther is som mete that is ful deyntee holde,
That in this lond men reck of it but smal;
Ther is no man it may reporten al.
I wol not tarien you, for it is pryme,
And for it is no fruyt, but los of tyme,
Unto my purpos I wol have recours.
That so bifelle after the thridde cours,
Whil that the kyng sit thus in his array,
Herkyng his mynstrales that their thinges pleye
Byforn him atte boord deliciously,
In atte halle dore al sodeynly
Ther com a knight upon a steed of bras,
And in his hond a brod myrour of glas;
Upon his thomb he had of gold a ryng,
And by his side a naked swerd hangyng:
And up he rideth to the hye bord.
In al the halle was ther not spake a word,
For mervayl of this knight; him to byholde
Ful busily they watch bothe yong and olde.

This straunge knight that cam thus sodeynly,
Al armèd save his heed ful richely,
Saluted hath the kyng, and lordes alle
By ordre, as they seten in the halle,
With so high reverens and óbservaúnce,
As wel in speche as in his countynaunce,
That Gaweyn with his olde curtesye,
Though he were come again out of fayrye,
Coude not amende it, no not with a word.
And after this, biforn the highe bord
He with a manly vois sayd his messáge,
After the forme he used in his langáge,
Withouten fault of sillabil or letter.
And for his tale shulde seme the better,
Accordaunt to his wordes was his look,
As clerkes use who techen by the book.
Al be it that I can nat given his style,
Nor can nat clymben over so high a style,
Yit say I this, this was his hole intente,
Thus moche amounteth al that ever he ment,
If it so be that I have it in mynde.

He sayd: “The kyng of Arraby and Ynde,
My liege lord, on this solemne day
Saluteth you as he best can or may;
He sendeth you, in honour of your feste,
By me, that redy am at al his heste,
This steede of bras, that esily and wel
Can in the space of one day naturel,
(This is to say, in four and twenty houres)
Wher- so you wil, in droughte or else in shoures,
Beren your body into every place,
To whiche your herte willeth for to pace,
Withouten hurt of you, thurgh foul and fair.
Or if you lust to flee as high in the air
As doth an egle, when him list to soar,
This same steede shal bere you evermore
Withouten harm, til ye be where you liste,
(Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste),
And torne agein, with twisting of a pyn.
He that it wrought knew many a fair engine;
He watchèd many a constellacioun,
Ere he hadde done this operacioun,
And knew ful many a seal and many a bond.

“This mirour eek, that I have in myn hond,
Hath such a mighte, that men may in it see
When ther shal falle eny adversitee
Unto your realm, or to yourself also,
And openly, who is your frend or fo.
And over al this, if eny lady bright
Hath set hir hert on eny maner wight,
If he be fals, she shal his tresoun see,
His newe love, and his subtilitee,
So openly, that ther shal nothing hyde.
Wherfor to fitte this lusty somer tyde
This mirour and this ryng, that ye may see,
He hath sent to my lady Canacee,
Your excellente doughter that is heere.

“The vertu of this ryng, if ye wil heere,
Is this, that who-so lust it for to were
Upon hir thomb, or in hir purs to bere,
Ther is on foul that fleeth under the sky,
That she shal not at ful perceyve his cry,
And know his menyng openly and pleyn,
And answer him in his langáge ageyn;
And every gras that groweth in the ground
She shal eek knowe, when it wil hele a wound,
Although it be never so deep and wyde.

“This naked swerd, that hangeth by my side,
Such vertu hath, that if a man ye smyte,
Thurghout his armur it wol kerve and byte,
Were it as thikke as is a braunchèd oke;
And what man is i-wounded with the stroke
Shal never be hool, til that you of youre grace
Strok him with this same blade in that same place
Where he is hurt; this is as moch to sey,
Ye muste with the platte swerd agayn
Stroke him upon the wound, and it wil close.
This is the verray soth withouten glose,
It failleth nought, whil it is in your hold.”

And when this knight thus hadde his tale told,
He rid out of the halle, and doun he light.
His steede, which that shon as sonne bright,
Stant in the court as stille as eny stoon.
This knight is to his chambre lad anon,
And is unarmèd, and mete before him leyd.
These presents be ful carefully conveyd,
This is to sayn, the swerd and the myrrour,
And born anon unto the highe tour,
With certein officers ordeynd therfore;
And unto Canacee the ryng is bore
Solemnely, where she syt atte table;
But certeynly, withouten eny fable,
The hors of bras,- that may nat be removed,
It stant, as it were to the ground i-glewed;
Ther may no man it dryve out of the place
For no engyn of pulley or windlas;
And cause why, for they know nought the craft,
And therfor in the place they have it laft,
Til that the knight hath taught them the manére
To moven him, as ye shul after heere.

Greet was the pres that swarmèd to and fro
To gapen on this hors that stondeth so;
For it so hihe was, and brod long,
So wel proporcionèd for to be strong,
Right as it were a steed of Lumbardye;
Therto so horsly, and so quyk of eye,
As it a gentil Poyleys courser were;
For certes, fro his tayl unto his eere
Nature nor arte coude him nought amende
In no degree, as al the pepel wende.
But evermore their moste wonder was,
How that it coude go, and was of bras;
It was of fayry, as the peple semed.
Diverse peple diversly they demed;
As many hedes, so many wittes keen.
They murmurèd, as doth a swarm of been,
And made gesse after their fantasies,
Rehersyng of the olde poetries,
And seyden it was i-like the Pegasee,
The hors that hadde wynges for to flee;
Or elles it was the Grekissh hors Synon,
That broughte Troye to destruccioún,
As men may in the olde stories rede.
“Myn hert,” quoth one, “is evermore in drede,
I trow som men of armes be therinne,
That shapen them this citee for to wynne;
It were right good that al such thing were knowe.”
Another wispered to his felaw lowe,
And sayde: “He lieth, for it is rather lik
An ápparénce made by som magik,
As jugglours pleyen at the festes grete.”
Of sondry thoughtes thus they jangle and trete,
As comun peple demen comunly
Of thinges that be made more subtily
Than they can in their lernyng comprehende,
They deemen gladly to the badder ende.
And som of them wondred on the mirroúr,
That born was up into the maister tour,
How men might in it suche thinges see.
Another answerd, and sayd, it might wel be
Al naturelly by composicioúns
Of angles, and of high reflexiouns;
And sayde that in Rome was such a one.
They speeke of Alocen and Vitilyon,
And Aristotle, that writen in their lyves
Of queynte myrrours and of perspectyves,
As knowen they that have their bokes herd.
And other folk have wondred on the swerd,
That wolde passe thorughout every thing;
And fel in speche of Thelophus the kyng,
And of Achilles for his queynte steel,
For he coude with hit bothe kille and hele,
Right in such wyse as men may with the swerd,
Of which right now ye have your-selven herd.
They speken of sondry hardyng of metál,
And speken of medicines therwithal,
And how and when it shulde harded be,
Which is unknowe however unto me.
Then speeken they of Canacées ryng,
And seyden alle, that such a wonder thing
Of craft of rynges herd they never noon,
Sauf that he, Moyses, and kyng Salamon
Hadden a name of connyng in such art.
Thus sey the peple, and drawen them apart.
But nontheles som seiden that it was
A wonder thing to make of ashes glas,
And yit are asshes nought y-like to glas,
But that they knowe so it made was;
Therfor cesseth their janglyng and their wonder.
And sore wondered som of cause of thonder,
On ebbe and flood, on gossomer, and on myst,
And on alle thing, til that the cause is wist,
Thus janglen they, and demen and devyse,
Til that the kyng gan fro his bord arise.

Phebus hath laft the angle merydyonal,
And yit ascendyng was the beste roial,
The gentil Lyoun, with his Aldiran.
Whan that this Tartre Kyng, this Cambynskan,
Ros fro his bord, wher as he sat ful hye;
Biforn him goth ful lowde menstralcye,
Til he cam to his chambre of ornaments,
Where as ther were divers instruments
That is y-like an heven for to heere.

Now dauncen lusty Venus children deere;
For in the fissh their lady sat ful hy,
And loketh on them with a friendly eye.
This noble kyng is set upon his trone;
This straunge knight is brought to him ful sone,
And in the daunce he gan with Canacee.
Here is the revel and the jolytee,
That is not able a dul man to devyse;
He most have knowen love and his servise,
And be a festly man, as fresch as May,
That shulde you devyse such array.
Who coude telle you the forme of daunce
So uncouth, and so fresche countinaunce,
Such subtil lokyng of dissemblyngs,
For drede of jalous folk apperceyvynges?
No man but Launcelot, and he is deed.
Therfor I passe over al this lustyheed,
I say no more, but in this jolynesse
I lete them, til men to soper presse.
The styward bad them bring the spicerie
And eek the wyn, in al this melodye;
Thes usshers and thes squyers be agon,
The spices and the wyn is come anon;
They eet and drank, and when this had an ende,
Unto the temple, as resoun was, they wende;
The servise doon, they soupen al by day.
What needeth to rehersen their array?
Ech man wel knoweth, that a kynges feste
Hath plentee, to the lest and to the best,
And deyntees mo than be in my knowyng.
And after souper goth this noble kyng
To see this hors of bras, with al his route
Of lordes and of ladyes him aboute.
Swich wondryng was ther on this hors of bras,
That since the grete siege of Troye was,
When as men wondred on an hors also,
There was not such a wondryng y-knowe.
But fynally the kyng askèd the knight
The vertu of this courser, and the might,
And prayd him tellen of his governaúnce.
The hors anon gan for to trippe and daunce,
Whan that the knight leyd hand upon his rayne,
And sayde, “Sir, ther is nomore to sayne,
But whan you lust to ryden any where,
Ye muste trille a pyn that stant in his ere,
Which I shal tellen you bitwen us two,
Ye moste namen him to what place also,
Or what countree you luste for to ryde.
And when ye come where you wil abyde,
Bid him descende, and trille another pynne,
(For therin lieth the efect of the engin)
And he wil doun descend and do your wille,
And in that place he wol abyde still;
Though al the world had the contráry swore,
He shal nat thence be taken or i-bore.
Or if you lust to bid him quickly goon,
Trille this pyn, and he wil vanyssh anon
Out of the sight of every maner wight,
And come agein, be it by day or night,
When that you lust to clepen him agayn
In such a gyse, right as I shal yow sayn
Bitwixe you and me, and therfor so,
Byd when you lust, ther is nomor to do.”
Enformèd when the kyng was of the knight,
And had conceyvèd in his wit aright
The maner and the forme of al this thing,
Ful glad and blith, this noble doughty kyng
Repeyryng to his revel, as biforn,
The bridel is unto the tour i-born,
And kept among his jewels leef and deere;
The hors vanysht, I know not the manére,
Out of their sight, ye get nomore of me;
But thus I lete him in his jolitee
This Cambinskan his lordes al festeynge,
Til atte laste the day bigan to sprynge.

Incipit Secunda Pars

The norice of digestioun, the sleep,
Gan to them wynk, and bad of him take keep,
That mirthe and labour wol have eche his reste;
And with a yawning mouth he them alle keste,
And sayd, that it was tyme to lye doun,
For blood was in his dominacioun:
“Cherish the blode, natúres frend,” quoth he.
They thanken him gapyng, by two and thre,
And every wight gan drawe him to his rest,
As sleep them bad; they took it for the best.
Their dremes shal not now be told for me;
Ful were their heedes of fumositee,
That causeth dream, of which ther is no charge.
They slepen til that it was prime large,
The moste part, but it were Canacee;
She was ful mesurable, as wommen be.
For of hir fader hadde she take hir leve
To go to reste, soon after it was eve;
Her liste not awearied for to be,
Nor on the morwe uncomely for to see;
And kept hir firste sleep, and then awook.
For such a joye she in hire herte took,
Bothe of hir queynte ryng, and hir myrróur,
That twenty tyme chaungèd hir coloúr;
And in hir sleep, from that impressioún
Of hir myrroúr, she had a visioún.
Wherfor, ere that the sonne gan up glyde,
She clepèd upon her wommen beside,
And sayde, that she wolde for to ryse.
These olde wommen, that be gladly wise,
Thus to their maystresse, answered her anon,
And sayd, “Madame, whider wold ye gon
Thus erly? for the folk ben alle in reste.”
“I wil,” quoth she, “aryse, for me leste
No longer for to slepe, and walke aboute.”
Her wommen clepeth others a gret route,
And up they risen togider, a ten or twelve.
Up ryseth fresshe Canacee hir selve,
As rody and bright, as is the yonge sonne
That in the ram is ten degrees i-ronne;
No higher was he, whan she redy was;
And forth she walkèd esily a pace,
Arayèd after the lusty sesoun hot
Lightly for to play, and walke on foote,
With fyve or six of al her compaignie;
And in a glade far in the park goth she.
The vapour, which that up the erthe shedde,
Maketh the sonne seme brood and red;
But natheles, it was so fair a sight,
That it made alle their hertes to be light,
What for the sesoun, what for the mornynge,
And for the foules that she herde synge.
For right anon she wiste what they ment
Right by their song, and knew al their entent.

The knotte, why that every tale is told,
If it be taryed til delighte be cold
Of them that have it listned over long,
The savour passeth by, the longer the song,
For fulsomnes of his prolixitee:
And by this same resoun thinketh me
I shulde to the knotte condescende,
And maken of hir walkynge sone an ende.
Amyddes a tree for-drye, as whit as chalk,
As Canacee was pleyyng in hir walk,
There sat a faukoun over hir heed ful hye,
That with a piteous vois bigan to crye,
That al the woode resownèd of hir cry,
I-beten had she hirself so piteously
With bothe hir wynges, til the reede blood
Ran al along the tree, wheron she stood.
And ever the same she cried and she shrieked,
And with hir bek hir selven so she pricked,
There is no tigre nor no cruel beste,
That dwelleth eyther in wood, or in foréste,
Wold not have wept, if wepen that he coude,
For sorrow of hir, she shrieked alway so lowde.
For ther was never yit no man on lyve,
If that he coude a faukoun wele discrive,
That herd of such another in fairnesse
As wel in plumage, as in gentillesse
Of shap, in al that might i-rekened be.
A faukoun peregryn then semède she
O distant lond; and ever as she stood,
She swownede now and now for lak of blood,
Til wel nigh is she fallen fro the tre.
This faire kynges doughter, Canacee,
That on hir fynger bar the queynte ryng,
Thurgh which she understood wel every thing
That eny foul may in his language sayn,
And coude him answer in his tong agayn,
Hath understonde what this faukoun seyde,
And she wel nigh for pitee almost deyde.
And to the tree she goth ful hastily,
And on this faukoun loketh piteously,
And held hir lappe abrod, for wel she knew
The faukoun moste falle fro the bough,
When that it swownede next, for lak of blood.
A longe while to wayten thus she stood,
Til atte last she spak in this manére
Unto the hauk, as ye shal after heere.
“What is the cause, if it be for to telle,
That ye be in that furious peyne of helle?”
Quoth Canacee unto this hauk above;
“Is this for sorwe of deth, or elles love?
For as I trowe, these be causes tuo
That causen most a gentil herte wo.
Of other harm it needeth nought to speke,
For ye upon yourselven vengaunce wreke;
Which proveth wel, that either ire or drede
Must be the reson of your cruel dede,
Since that I see no other wight you chace.
For love of God, so do your selve grace.
Or what maye be your helpe? for west nor este
I never saw ere now no bryd or beste,
That ferde with him-self so piteously.
Ye sle me with your sorwe so verrily,
I have of you so gret compassioún.
For Goddes love, com fro the tree adoun;
And as I am a kynges doughter trewe,
If that I verrayly the cause knewe
Of your disese, if it lay in my might,
I wold amenden it, ere that it wer nyght,
So wisly help me grete God of al.
And herbes right enow I fynde shal,
To helen al your hurtes hastyly.”
Then shrieked this faukoun more piteously
Than ever she did, and fil to ground anon,
And lay aswowne, deed as eny stoon,
Til Canacee hath in hir lap y-take,
Unto that tyme she gan of swowne awake;
And after that she reysèd up her heede,
Right in hir haukes langage thus she sayde.
“That pitee renneth sone in gentil herte
(Felyng his likenesse in anothers smerte)
Is provèd alday, as men may it see,
As wel by werk as by auctoritee;
For gentil herte kepeth gentillesse.
I see wel, that ye have on my distrésse
Compassioun, my faire Canacee,
Of verray wommanly benignitee,
That nature in your principles hath set.
Not in the hope that ye may somwhat gette,
But for to obeye unto your herte free,
And for to maken othere beware by me,
As by the whelp chastised is the lyon;
And for that cause and that conclusioún,
Whiles that I have a leisure and a space,
Myn harm I wil confessen ere I pace.”
And while she ever of hir sorrow tolde,
That other wept, as she to water wolde,
Til that the faucoun bad her to be stille,
And with a sighe thus she told her fille.

“Where I was bred, (allas that same day!)
And fostred on a rock of marble gray
So tendrely, that nothing eylèd me,
I knewe not what was adversitee,
Til I coude flee ful high under the sky.
Tho dwelled a tercelet me faste by,
That semèd welle of alle gentillesse;
But he was ful of tresoun and falsnesse,
It was i-wrappèd under humble cheere,
And under hewe of trouthe in such manére,
Under plesaúnce, and under besy peyne,
That no wight wende that he coude feyne,
So deep in greyn he deyèd his coloúrs.
Right as a serpent hides him under floúres
Til he may see his tyme for to byte:
Right so this god of loves ypocrite
Doth so his sermons and his óbservaúnce,
Under subtil coloúr and ácqueyntaúnce,
That sowneth like the gentilesse of love.
As in a tombe is al the faire above,
And under is the corps, whiche that ye wot;
Such was this ipocrite, bothe cold and hot,
And in this wise he servèd his entent,
That, sauf the Feend, noon wiste what he ment.
Til he so long had wepèd and compleynèd,
And many a yeer his service to me feynèd,
Til that myn hert, too piteous and too nyce,
Al innocent of his cruel malíce,
Al fereful of his deth, as thoughte me,
Upon his othes and his securitee,
Graunted him love, on this condicioún,
That evermo myn honour and my renoun
Were savèd, both open and secretly;
This is to sayn, that, afte his love to me,
I gaf him al myn hert and al my thought,
(Got wot, and he, that else I gaf him nought)
And took his hert in chaunge of myn for ay,
But soth is sayd, it hath been many a day,
A true wight and a theef thenketh nought one.
And when he saw the thyng so far i-goon,
That I had graunted him fully my love,
In such a wyse as I have sayd above,
And geven him my trewe hert as free
As he swor that he gaf his herte to me,
Anon this tigre, ful of doublenesse,
Fil on his knees with gret dévoutenésse,
With so high reverence, as by his chere,
So lyk a gentil lover in manére,
So ravyshèd, as it semède, for joye,
That never Jason, ne Parys of Troye,
Jason? no, certes, ne non other man,
Since Lameth was, that first of al bygan
To loven two, as writen folk bifore,
Nor never since the firste man was bore,
Ne coude man by twenty thousand part
Contrefete the sophism of his art;
Nor worthy were to unbokel his galoshe,
When doublenes of feynyng shold approche,
Ne so coude thank a wight, as he did me.
His maner was an heven for to see
To eny womman, were she never so wys;
So peynteth he and combeth poynt devys,
As wel his wordes, as his continaunce.
And I so loved him for his óbeisaúnce,
And for the trouthe I demèd in his herte,
That if so were that eny thing him smerte,
Al were it never so litel, and I it wist,
Me thought I felte deth at myn hert twist.
And shortly, so ferforth this thing is went,
That my wil was his willes instrument;
This is to say, my wille obeied his wille
In alle thing, as fer as resoun fille,
Kepyng the boundes of my honour ever;
Nor never had I thing so leef, ne lever,
As him, God wot, nor never shal nomo.
This laste lenger than a yeer or two,
That I supposèd of him nought but good.
But fynally, atte laste thus it stood,
That fortune wolde that he moste go
Out of the place in which that I was tho.
Whether me was wo, it is no questioun;
I can nat make of it descripcioun.
For one thing dare I telle boldely,
I know what is the peyne of deth, therby,
Which harm I felt, for he ne mighte byleve.
So on a day of me he took his leve,
So sorrowful eek, that I wened verryly,
That he had felèd as moche sorrow as I,
When that I herd him speke, and saw his hewe.
But nonetheles, I thought he was so trewe,
And eek that he shuld soon repeire ageyn
Withinne a litel while, soth to seyn,
And resoun wold eek that he moste go
For his honour, as oft it happeth so.
Then I made vertu of necessitee,
And took it wel, since that it moste be.
As I best might, I hid from him my sorrow,
And took him by the hand, seint Johan to borrow,
And sayde thus: “Lo, I am youres al,
Be such as I have been to you and shal.”
What he answerd, it needeth nat to reherse:
Who can say bet than he, who can do werse?
When he hath al wel sayd, then hath he don.
Therfor bihoveth him a ful long spoon,
That shal ete with a feend; thus herd I say.
So atte last he moste forth his way.
And forth he fleeth, til he cam where him liste.
When it cam him to purpos for to reste,
I trow he hadde that same text in mynde,
That alle thing repeyryng to his kynde
Gladeth himself: thus sey men, as I gesse;
Men loven naturally newefangilnesse,
As birddes do, that men in cages feed.
For though thou night and day take of them heede,
And straw their cage faire and soft as silk,
And geve hem sugre, hony, breed, and mylk,
Yet right anon when that his dore is uppe,
He with his feet wil sporne doun his cuppe,
And to the woode he wil, and wormes ete;
So newefangled be thei in their mete,
And loven novelties of their owne kinde;
No gentilesse of bloode may them bynde.
So ferde this tercelet, allas the day!
Though he were gentil born, and fresshe, and gay,
And goodly for to see, and humble, and free,
He saw upon a tyme a kyte flee,
And sodeinly he loved thys kyte so,
That al his love is clene fro me go;
And hath his trouthe falsèd in this wyse.
Thus hathe the kite my love in hire servíse,
And I am lost withoute remedye.”
And with that word this faukon gan to crye,
And swounéd eft on Canacées arm.
Gret was the sorwe for the haukes harm,
That Canacee and alle hire wommen made;
They knew not how they mighte the fawkon glade.
But Canacee her bereth in her lappe,
And softely in plastres gan her wrappe,
Wher as she with her beek hath hurt her selve.
Now Canacee bigan the herbes delve
Out of the grounde, and maken salves newe
Of herbes precious and fyn of hewe,
To hele the hauk; and thus fro day to nyght
She doth her besynesse, and al her myght.
And made a cage by hir beddes-heed,
And it with blewe veluettes coverèd,
In signe of trouthe that is in wommen seene;
And al withoute the cage is peynted greene,
In which were peynted alle these false fowles,
As be these finches, tercelettes, and owles;
And magpies, on them for to crye and chyde,
Right for despyte were peynted them bysyde.

Thus leve I Canacee her hawk keeping.
I wil nomore as nowe speke of hir ryng,
Til it come eft to purpos for to seyn,
How that this faukon gat her love ageyn
Repentaunt, as the storie telleth us,
By mediacioun of Camballus
The kinges sone, of which that I you tolde;
But henceforth I wol my proces holde
To speke of áventúres, and of bataílles,
That yet was never herde so gret mervaílles.
First wil I telle you of Kambynskan,
That in his tyme many a cite wan;
And after wol I speke of Algarsif,
How that he wan Theodora to his wyf.
For which ful ofte in grete peril he was,
Hadde he not ben holpen by the hors of bras.
And after wil I speken of Camballo,
That faught in listes with the bretheren two
For Canacee, ere that he might hir wynne,
And where I lefte I wil ageyn bygynne.
Apollo whirleth up his car so hye
Til that the God Mercurius hous the slye

This tale was never finished.

Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37