The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer

Group F.

The Squieres Tale.

[The Squire’s Prologue.]

‘Squier, com neer, if it your wille be,

And sey somwhat of love; for, certes, ye

Connen ther-on as muche as any man.’

‘Nay, sir,’ quod he, ‘but I wol seye as I can

5

With hertly wille; for I wol nat rebelle

Agayn your lust; a tale wol I telle.

Have me excused if I speke amis,

My wil is good; and lo, my tale is this.

Here biginneth the Squieres Tale.

(1)

At Sarray, in the land of Tartarye,

10

Ther dwelte a king, that werreyed Russye,

Thurgh which ther deyde many a doughty man.

This noble king was cleped Cambinskan,

Which in his tyme was of so greet renoun

That ther nas no-wher in no regioun

15

So excellent a lord in alle thing;

Him lakked noght that longeth to a king.

As of the secte of which that he was born

(10)

He kepte his lay, to which that he was sworn;

And ther-to be was hardy, wys, and riche,

20

Pitous and Iust, and ever-more y-liche

Sooth of his word, benigne and honurable,

Of his corage as any centre stable;

Yong, fresh, and strong, in armes desirous

As any bacheler of al his hous.

25

A fair persone he was and fortunat,

And kepte alwey so wel royal estat,

That ther was nowher swich another man.

(20)

This noble king, this Tartre Cambinskan

Hadde two sones on Elpheta his wyf,

30

Of whiche the eldeste highte Algarsyf,

That other sone was cleped Cambalo.

A doghter hadde this worthy king also,

That yongest was, and highte Canacee.

But for to telle yow al hir beautee,

35

It lyth nat in my tonge, nin my conning;

I dar nat undertake so heigh a thing.

Myn English eek is insufficient;

(30)

It moste been a rethor excellent,

That coude his colours longing for that art,

40

If he sholde hir discryven every part.

I am non swich, I moot speke as I can.

Heading (after l. 8). So E. Hn. Pt. Hl.   20. Hn. Pietous and Iust and euere moore yliche; E. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. And pitous and Iust alwey yliche (with first syllable deficient).   23. and strong] E. strong and.   35. nin] Cp. Pt. Ln. ne in; Hl. ne.   38. E. I moste, miswritten; Hl. He moste; rest It moste.

 And so bifel that, whan this Cambinskan

Hath twenty winter born his diademe,

As he was wont fro yeer to yeer, I deme,

45

He leet the feste of his nativitee

Don cryen thurghout Sarray his citee,

The last Idus of March, after the yeer.

(40)

Phebus the sonne ful Iory was and cleer;

For he was neigh his exaltacioun

50

In Martes face, and in his mansioun

In Aries, the colerik hote signe.

Ful lusty was the weder and benigne,

For which the foules, agayn the sonne shene,

What for the seson and the yonge grene,

55

Ful loude songen hir affecciouns;

Him semed han geten hem protecciouns

Agayn the swerd of winter kene and cold.

46. Hn. thurghout; rest thurgh.   53. E. Hn. foweles.

(50)

 This Cambinskan, of which I have yow told,

In royal vestiment sit on his deys,

60

With diademe, ful heighe in his paleys,

And halt his feste, so solempne and so riche

That in this world ne was ther noon it liche.

Of which if I shal tellen al tharray,

Than wolde it occupye a someres day;

65

And eek it nedeth nat for to devyse

At every cours the ordre of hir servyse.

I wol nat tellen of hir strange sewes,

(60)

Ne of hir swannes, ne of hir heronsewes.

Eek in that lond, as tellen knightes olde,

70

Ther is som mete that is ful deyntee holde,

That in this lond men recche of it but smal;

Ther nis no man that may reporten al.

I wol nat tarien yow, for it is pryme,

And for it is no fruit but los of tyme;

75

Un-to my firste I wol have my recours.

62. E. Hl. om. ne.   68. E. nor; rest ne.

 And so bifel that, after the thridde cours,

Whyl that this king sit thus in his nobleye,

(70)

Herkninge his minstralles hir thinges pleye

Biforn him at the bord deliciously,

80

In at the halle-dore al sodeynly

Ther cam a knight up-on a stede of bras,

And in his hand a brood mirour of glas.

Upon his thombe he hadde of gold a ring,

And by his syde a naked swerd hanging;

85

And up he rydeth to the heighe bord.

In al the halle ne was ther spoke a word

For merveille of this knight; him to biholde

(80)

Ful bisily ther wayten yonge and olde.

78. E. Hn. mynstrals.   86. E. spoken; Cm. spokyn; rest spoke.

 This strange knight, that cam thus sodeynly,

90

Al armed save his heed ful richely,

Saluëth king and queen, and lordes alle,

By ordre, as they seten in the halle,

With so heigh reverence and obeisaunce

As wel in speche as in contenaunce,

95

That Gawain, with his olde curteisye,

Though he were come ageyn out of Fairye,

Ne coude him nat amende with a word.

(90)

And after this, biforn the heighe bord,

He with a manly voys seith his message,

100

After the forme used in his langage,

With-outen vyce of sillable or of lettre;

And, for his tale sholde seme the bettre,

Accordant to his wordes was his chere,

As techeth art of speche hem that it lere;

105

Al-be-it that I can nat soune his style,

Ne can nat climben over so heigh a style,

Yet seye I this, as to commune entente,

(100)

Thus muche amounteth al that ever he mente,

If it so be that I have it in minde.

91. E. Saleweth; Hn. Cm. Salueth; rest salued.   96. E. Cm. comen.   105. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. it; E. Hn. Cm. omit.

110

 He seyde, ‘the king of Arabie and of Inde,

My lige lord, on this solempne day

Saluëth yow as he best can and may,

And sendeth yow, in honour of your feste,

By me, that am al redy at your heste,

115

This stede of bras, that esily and wel

Can, in the space of o day naturel,

This is to seyn, in foure and twenty houres,

(110)

Wher-so yow list, in droghte or elles shoures,

Beren your body in-to every place

120

To which your herte wilneth for to pace

With-outen wem of yow, thurgh foul or fair;

Or, if yow list to fleen as hye in the air

As doth an egle, whan him list to sore,

This same stede shal bere yow ever-more

125

With-outen harm, til ye be ther yow leste,

Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste;

And turne ayeyn, with wrything of a pin.

(120)

He that it wroghte coude ful many a gin;

He wayted many a constellacioun

130

Er he had doon this operacioun;

And knew ful many a seel and many a bond.

110. E. Hn. Arabe.   113, 114. E. feeste, heeste.   115. E. Hn. weel.   116. E. natureel.   123. E. whan þat; rest omit þat.

 This mirour eek, that I have in myn hond,

Hath swich a might, that men may in it see

Whan ther shal fallen any adversitee

135

Un-to your regne or to your-self also;

And openly who is your freend or foo.

And over al this, if any lady bright

(130)

Hath set hir herte on any maner wight,

If he be fals, she shal his treson see,

140

His newe love and al his subtiltee

So openly, that ther shal no-thing hyde.

Wherfor, ageyn this lusty someres tyde,

This mirour and this ring, that ye may see,

He hath sent to my lady Canacee,

145

Your excellente doghter that is here.

138. E. Pt. in; rest on. 144. E. vn-to; Cm. on-to; rest to.

 The vertu of the ring, if ye wol here,

Is this; that, if hir lust it for to were

(140)

Up-on hir thombe, or in hir purs it bere,

Ther is no foul that fleeth under the hevene

150

That she ne shal wel understonde his stevene,

And knowe his mening openly and pleyn,

And answere him in his langage ageyn.

And every gras that groweth up-on rote

She shal eek knowe, and whom it wol do bote,

155

Al be his woundes never so depe and wyde.

 This naked swerd, that hangeth by my syde,

Swich vertu hath, that what man so ye smyte,

(150)

Thurgh-out his armure it wol kerve and byte,

Were it as thikke as is a branched ook;

160

And what man that is wounded with the strook

Shal never be hool til that yow list, of grace,

To stroke him with the platte in thilke place

Ther he is hurt: this is as muche to seyn,

Ye mote with the platte swerd ageyn

165

Stroke him in the wounde, and it wol close;

This is a verray sooth, with-outen glose,

It failleth nat whyl it is in your hold.'

158. E. wol hym; rest omit hym.   160. E. a; Cm. that; rest the.   162. Hn. platte; rest plat (see 164).   E. Cm. that; rest thilke.   164. E. Cm. Pt. plat; rest platte.   165. E. Cm. Strike; rest Stroke.

(160)

 And whan this knight hath thus his tale told,

He rydeth out of halle, and doun he lighte.

170

His stede, which that shoon as sonne brighte,

Stant in the court, as stille as any stoon.

This knight is to his chambre lad anon,

And is unarmed and to mete y-set.

171. Hl. as stille; rest om. as.   173. E. vn-to; the rest to.

 The presentes ben ful royally y-fet,

175

This is to seyn, the swerd and the mirour,

And born anon in-to the heighe tour

With certeine officers ordeyned therfore;

(170)

And un-to Canacee this ring was bore

Solempnely, ther she sit at the table.

180

But sikerly, with-outen any fable,

The hors of bras, that may nat be remewed,

It stant as it were to the ground y-glewed.

Ther may no man out of the place it dryve

For noon engyn of windas or polyve;

185

And cause why, for they can nat the craft.

And therefore in the place they han it laft

Til that the knight hath taught hem the manere

(180)

To voyden him, as ye shal after here.

178. E. Cm. this; rest the.   184. E. ne; rest or.

 Greet was the prees, that swarmeth to and fro,

190

To gauren on this hors that stondeth so;

For it so heigh was, and so brood and long,

So wel proporcioned for to ben strong,

Right as it were a stede of Lumbardye;

Ther-with so horsly, and so quik of yë

195

As it a gentil Poileys courser were.

For certes, fro his tayl un-to his ere,

Nature ne art ne coude him nat amende

(190)

In no degree, as al the peple wende.

But evermore hir moste wonder was,

200

How that it coude goon, and was of bras;

It was of Fairye, as the peple semed.

Diverse folk diversely they demed;

As many hedes, as many wittes ther been.

They murmureden as dooth a swarm of been,

205

And maden skiles after hir fantasyes,

Rehersinge of thise olde poetryes,

And seyden, it was lyk the Pegasee,

(200)

The hors that hadde winges for to flee;

Or elles it was the Grekes hors Synon,

210

That broghte Troye to destruccion,

As men may in thise olde gestes rede,

‘Myn herte,’ quod oon, ‘is evermore in drede;

I trowe som men of armes been ther-inne,

That shapen hem this citee for to winne.

215

It were right good that al swich thing were knowe.’

Another rowned to his felawe lowe,

And seyde, ‘he lyeth, it is rather lyk

(210)

An apparence y-maad by som magyk,

As Iogelours pleyen at thise festes grete.’

220

Of sondry doutes thus they Iangle and trete,

As lewed peple demeth comunly

Of thinges that ben maad more subtilly

Than they can in her lewednes comprehende;

They demen gladly to the badder ende.

189. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. swarmed.   195. E. Poilleys.   200. E. go.   201. E. Hn. a; Cm. as; rest of.    E. Cm. al the; rest omit al.   202. they] Hn. Cp. Pt. han; Ln. haue.   203. E. heddes; Hn. heuedes; Cp. heedes; rest hedes (hedis).   Hl. om. ther.   206. thise] Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. the.   207. E. that it; rest omit that.   211. Hl. may; rest omit.   217. E. Cm. it; rest for it.   223. E. lewednesse; Hl. lewednes.

225

 And somme of hem wondred on the mirour,

That born was up in-to the maister-tour,

How men mighte in it swiche thinges see.

(220)

Another answerde, and seyde it mighte wel be

Naturelly, by composiciouns

230

Of angles and of slye reflexiouns,

And seyden, that in Rome was swich oon.

They speken of Alocen and Vitulon,

And Aristotle, that writen in hir lyves

Of queynte mirours and of prospectyves,

235

As knowen they that han hir bokes herd.

226. E. hye; Cm. hyghe; rest maister.

 And othere folk han wondred on the swerd

That wolde percen thurgh-out every-thing;

(230)

And fille in speche of Thelophus the king,

And of Achilles with his queynte spere,

240

For he coude with it bothe hele and dere,

Right in swich wyse as men may with the swerd

Of which right now ye han your-selven herd.

They speken of sondry harding of metal,

And speke of medicynes ther-with-al,

245

And how, and whanne, it sholde y-harded be;

Which is unknowe algates unto me.

239. E. Cm. with; rest for.

 Tho speke they of Canaceës ring,

(240)

And seyden alle, that swich a wonder thing

Of craft of ringes herde they never non,

250

Save that he, Moyses, and king Salomon

Hadde a name of konning in swich art.

Thus seyn the peple, and drawen hem apart.

But nathelees, somme seyden that it was

Wonder to maken of fern-asshen glas,

255

And yet nis glas nat lyk asshen of fern;

But for they han y-knowen it so fern,

Therfore cesseth her Iangling and her wonder.

(250)

As sore wondren somme on cause of thonder,

On ebbe, on flood, on gossomer, and on mist,

260

And alle thing, til that the cause is wist.

Thus Iangle they and demen and devyse,

Til that the king gan fro the bord aryse.

251. All Hadde (Had).   256. Hl. i-knowen; rest knowen.   260. E. Hl. on alle; rest om. on.   262. E. Hn. the bord; rest his bord.

 Phebus hath laft the angle meridional,

And yet ascending was the beest royal,

265

The gentil Leon, with his Aldiran,

Whan that this Tartre king, this Cambynskan,

Roos fro his bord, ther that he sat ful hye.

(260)

Toforn him gooth the loude minstralcye,

Til he cam to his chambre of parements,

270

Ther as they sownen diverse instruments,

That it is lyk an heven for to here.

Now dauncen lusty Venus children dere,

For in the Fish hir lady sat ful hye,

And loketh on hem with a freendly yë.

265. Hn. Aldiran; Hl. adryan; rest Aldrian.   266. Hl. repeats this; rest omit 2nd this.   269, 270. E. parementz, Instrumentz.   271. Hl. Ln. heuen; rest heuene.

275

 This noble king is set up in his trone.

This strange knight is fet to him ful sone,

And on the daunce he gooth with Canacee.

(270)

Heer is the revel and the Iolitee

That is nat able a dul man to devyse.

280

He moste han knowen love and his servyse,

And been a festlich man as fresh as May,

That sholde yow devysen swich array.

275. E. Cm. vp in; rest vp on.

 Who coude telle yow the forme of daunces,

So uncouthe and so fresshe contenaunces,

285

Swich subtil loking and dissimulinges

For drede of Ialouse mennes aperceyvinges?

No man but Launcelot, and he is deed.

(280)

Therefor I passe of al this lustiheed;

I seye na-more, but in this Iolynesse

290

I lete hem, til men to the soper dresse.

288. E. Hn. of; rest ouer.

 The styward bit the spyces for to hye,

And eek the wyn, in al this melodye.

The usshers and the squyers ben y-goon;

The spyces and the wyn is come anoon.

295

They ete and drinke; and whan this hadde an ende,

Un-to the temple, as reson was, they wende.

291. Hl. the; rest omit.

 The service doon, they soupen al by day.

(290)

What nedeth yow rehercen hir array?

Ech man wot wel, that at a kinges feeste

300

Hath plentee, to the moste and to the leeste,

And deyntees mo than been in my knowing.

At-after soper gooth this noble king

To seen this hors of bras, with al the route

Of lordes and of ladyes him aboute.

298. E. me; the rest yow.   299. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. that at; E. Cm. Hl. om. at.   300. Hath (so; for Is; cf. French il y a.)   303. E. Cm. the; Hl. his; rest a.

305

 Swich wondring was ther on this hors of bras

That, sin the grete sege of Troye was,

Ther-as men wondreden on an hors also,

(300)

Ne was ther swich a wondring as was tho.

But fynally the king axeth this knight

310

The vertu of this courser and the might,

And preyede him to telle his governaunce.

311. Cm. preyede; Hn. preyed; E. preyde.

 This hors anoon bigan to trippe and daunce,

Whan that this knight leyde hand up-on his reyne,

And seyde, ‘sir, ther is na-more to seyne,

315

But, whan yow list to ryden any-where,

Ye moten trille a pin, stant in his ere,

Which I shall telle yow bitwix vs two.

(310)

Ye mote nempne him to what place also

Or to what contree that yow list to ryde.

320

And whan ye come ther as yow list abyde,

Bidde him descende, and trille another pin,

For ther-in lyth the effect of al the gin,

And he wol doun descende and doon your wille;

And in that place he wol abyde stille,

325

Though al the world the contrarie hadde y-swore;

He shal nat thennes ben y-drawe ne y-bore.

Or, if yow liste bidde him thennes goon,

(320)

Trille this pin, and he wol vanishe anoon

Out of the sighte of every maner wight,

330

And come agayn, be it by day or night,

When that yow list to clepen him ageyn

In swich a gyse as I shal to yow seyn

Bitwixe yow and me, and that ful sone.

Ryde whan yow list, ther is na-more to done.’

317. E. Hn. Cm. yow telle; rest telle yow.   322. E. ther; Cm. theere; rest ther-inne, ther-in.   324. Cp. Hl. abyde; Hn. abiden; Pt. Ln. abide; E. Cm. stonde; see l. 320.   326. E. Hn. nor; the rest ne.   327. Cp. liste; Ln. luste; Hl. lust to; Cm. wit; E. Hn. Pt. list.   330. Hl. by; rest omit.

335

 Enformed whan the king was of that knight,

And hath conceyved in his wit aright

The maner and the forme of al this thing,

(330)

Thus glad and blythe, this noble doughty king

Repeireth to his revel as biforn.

340

The brydel is un-to the tour y-born,

And kept among his Iewels leve and dere.

The hors vanisshed, I noot in what manere,

Out of hir sighte; ye gete na-more of me.

But thus I lete in lust and Iolitee

345

This Cambynskan his lordes festeyinge,

Til wel ny the day bigan to springe.

338. E. Cm. Thus; rest Ful.   E. Cm. omit doughty.   341. E. Iueles.

Explicit prima pars. Sequitur pars secunda.

The norice of digestioun, the slepe,

(340)

Gan on hem winke, and bad hem taken kepe,

That muchel drink and labour wolde han reste;

350

And with a galping mouth hem alle he keste,

And seyde, ‘it was tyme to lye adoun,

For blood was in his dominacioun;

Cherissheth blood, natures freend,’ quod he.

They thanken him galpinge, by two, by three,

355

And every wight gan drawe him to his reste,

As slepe hem bad; they toke it for the beste.

Hir dremes shul nat been y-told for me;

(350)

Ful were hir hedes of fumositee,

That causeth dreem, of which ther nis no charge.

360

They slepen til that it was pryme large,

The moste part, but it were Canacee;

She was ful mesurable, as wommen be.

For of hir fader hadde she take leve

To gon to reste, sone after it was eve;

365

Hir liste nat appalled for to be,

Nor on the morwe unfestlich for to see;

And slepte hir firste sleep, and thanne awook.

(360)

For swich a Ioye she in hir herte took

Both of hir queynte ring and hir mirour,

370

That twenty tyme she changed hir colour;

And in hir slepe, right for impressioun

Of hir mirour, she hadde a visioun.

Wherfore, er that the sonne gan up glyde,

She cleped on hir maistresse hir bisyde,

375

And seyde, that hir liste for to ryse.

358. E. heddes; Cm. heedys.   366. Hn. Cm. Nor; E. Hl. Ne; Cp. Pt. Ln. For [for Nor].   372. E. Avisioun; rest a visioun.

 Thise olde wommen that been gladly wyse,

As is hir maistresse, answerde hir anoon,

(370)

And seyde, ‘madame, whider wil ye goon

Thus erly? for the folk ben alle on reste.'

380

‘I wol,’ quod she, ‘aryse, for me leste

No lenger for to slepe, and walke aboute.’

377. E. omits is.   379. E. Hn. on; Cm. at; rest in.

 Hir maistresse clepeth wommen a gret route,

And up they rysen, wel a ten or twelve;

Up ryseth fresshe Canacee hir-selve,

385

As rody and bright as dooth the yonge sonne,

That in the Ram is four degrees up-ronne;

Noon hyer was he, whan she redy was;

(380)

And forth she walketh esily a pas,

Arrayed after the lusty seson sote

390

Lightly, for to pleye and walke on fote;

Nat but with fyve or six of hir meynee;

And in a trench, forth in the park, goth she.

The vapour, which that fro the erthe glood,

Made the sonne to seme rody and brood;

395

But nathelees, it was so fair a sighte

That it made alle hir hertes for to lighte,

What for the seson and the morweninge,

(390)

And for the foules that she herde singe;

For right anon she wiste what they mente

400

Right by hir song, and knew al hir entente.

382. E. Hn. an; Cm. Hl. a.   386. E. Cm. foure (rightly); Hn. 4; rest ten.

 The knotte, why that every tale is told,

If it be taried til that lust be cold

Of hem that han it after herkned yore,

The savour passeth ever lenger the more,

405

For fulsomnesse of his prolixitee.

And by the same reson thinketh me,

I sholde to the knotte condescende,

(400)

And maken of hir walking sone an ende.

 Amidde a tree fordrye, as whyt as chalk,

410

As Canacee was pleying in hir walk,

Ther sat a faucon over hir heed ful hye,

That with a pitous voys so gan to crye

That all the wode resouned of hir cry.

Y-beten hath she hir-self so pitously

415

With bothe hir winges, til the rede blood

Ran endelong the tree ther-as she stood.

And ever in oon she cryde alwey and shrighte,

(410)

And with hir beek hir-selven so she prighte,

That ther nis tygre, ne noon so cruel beste,

420

That dwelleth either in wode or in foreste

That nolde han wept, if that he wepe coude,

For sorwe of hir, she shrighte alwey so loude.

For ther nas never yet no man on lyve —

If that I coude a faucon wel discryve —

425

That herde of swich another of fairnesse,

As wel of plumage as of gentillesse

Of shap, and al that mighte y-rekened be.

(420)

A faucon peregryn than semed she

Of fremde land; and evermore, as she stood,

430

She swowneth now and now for lakke of blood,

Til wel neigh is she fallen fro the tree.

409. E. fordryed; Cm. fordreyed; but Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. for-drye; Hl. for-druye.   414. E. Cm. hath; rest hadde (had).   416. E. Cm. omit as.   419, 420. E. Hn. Pt. beest, forest; rest beste, foreste.   420. E. Hn. outher; rest eyther.   421. E. Pt. she; the rest he.   423. So Cp. Hl.; E. Hn. Cm. neuere man yet; Pt. Ln. neuere yit man.

 This faire kinges doghter, Canacee,

That on hir finger bar the queynte ring,

Thurgh which she understood wel every thing

435

That any foul may in his ledene seyn,

And coude answere him in his ledene ageyn,

Hath understonde what this faucon seyde,

(430)

And wel neigh for the rewthe almost she deyde.

And to the tree she gooth ful hastily,

440

And on this faucon loketh pitously,

And heeld hir lappe abrood, for wel she wiste

The faucon moste fallen fro the twiste,

When that it swowned next, for lakke of blood.

A longe while to wayten hir she stood

445

Till atte laste she spak in this manere

Un-to the hauk, as ye shul after here.

433. E. Hn. baar.   435. E. fowel.   438. Hl. rewthe; Ln. reuthe; rest routhe.

 ‘What is the cause, if it be for to telle,

(440)

That ye be in this furial pyne of helle?’

Quod Canacee un-to this hauk above.

450

'Is this for sorwe of deeth or los of love?

For, as I trowe, thise ben causes two

That causen moost a gentil herte wo;

Of other harm it nedeth nat to speke.

For ye your-self upon your-self yow wreke,

455

Which proveth wel, that either love or drede

Mot been encheson of your cruel dede,

Sin that I see non other wight yow chace.

(450)

For love of god, as dooth your-selven grace

Or what may ben your help; for west nor eest

460

Ne sey I never er now no brid ne beest

That ferde with him-self so pitously.

Ye sle me with your sorwe, verraily;

I have of yow so gret compassioun.

For goddes love, com fro the tree adoun;

465

And, as I am a kinges doghter trewe,

If that I verraily the cause knewe

Of your disese, if it lay in my might,

(460)

I wolde amende it, er that it were night,

As wisly helpe me gret god of kinde!

470

And herbes shal I right y-nowe y-finde

To hele with your hurtes hastily.’

448. E. Hn. pyne; rest peyne.   449. E. the; rest this.   452. E. causeth; rest causen.   455. E. Hn. outher; rest either.   459, 460. E. Hn. Est, beest; Cp. est, best; Cm. est, beste; rest este, beste.   463. E. passioun; rest compassioun.   469. E. the grete; rest omit the.

 Tho shrighte this faucon more pitously

Than ever she dide, and fil to grounde anoon,

And lyth aswowne, deed, and lyk a stoon,

475

Til Canacee hath in hir lappe hir take

Un-to the tyme she gan of swough awake.

And, after that she of hir swough gan breyde,

(470)

Right in hir haukes ledene thus she seyde:—

‘That pitee renneth sone in gentil herte,

480

Feling his similitude in peynes smerte,

Is preved al-day, as men may it see,

As wel by werk as by auctoritee;

For gentil herte kytheth gentillesse.

I see wel, that ye han of my distresse

485

Compassioun, my faire Canacee,

Of verray wommanly benignitee

That nature in your principles hath set.

(480)

But for non hope for to fare the bet,

But for to obeye un-to your herte free,

490

And for to maken other be war by me,

As by the whelp chasted is the leoun,

Right for that cause and that conclusioun,

Whyl that I have a leyser and a space,

Myn harm I wol confessen, er I pace.’

495

And ever, whyl that oon hir sorwe tolde,

That other weep, as she to water wolde,

Til that the faucon bad hir to be stille;

(490)

And, with a syk, right thus she seyde hir wille.

472. Hn. Cp. Pt. yet moore; E. Cm. moore yet; Hl. Ln. more.   477. Cm. swow a-breyde.   481. E. Hl. omit it.   484. E. Cm. omit that.   487. E. yset; Cm. I-set; the rest set, sette.   489. E. omits to.   491. E. Hn. chasted; rest chastysed; I should propose to read is chasted; but authority is lacking.   492. So Hl.; rest and for that.   498. E. Hn. wille; rest tille (!)

 ‘Ther I was bred (allas! that harde day!)

500

And fostred in a roche of marbul gray

So tendrely, that nothing eyled me,

I niste nat what was adversitee,

Til I coude flee ful hye under the sky.

Tho dwelte a tercelet me faste by,

505

That semed welle of alle gentillesse;

Al were he ful of treson and falsnesse,

It was so wrapped under humble chere,

(500)

And under hewe of trouthe in swich manere,

Under plesance, and under bisy peyne,

510

That no wight coude han wend he coude feyne,

So depe in greyn he dyed his coloures.

Right as a serpent hit him under floures

Til he may seen his tyme for to byte,

Right so this god of love, this ypocryte,

515

Doth so his cerimonies and obeisaunces,

And kepeth in semblant alle his observances

That sowneth in-to gentillesse of love.

(510)

As in a toumbe is al the faire above,

And under is the corps, swich as ye woot,

520

Swich was this ypocryte, bothe cold and hoot,

And in this wyse he served his entente,

That (save the feend) non wiste what he mente.

Til he so longe had wopen and compleyned,

And many a yeer his service to me feyned,

525

Til that myn herte, to pitous and to nyce,

Al innocent of his crouned malice,

For-fered of his deeth, as thoughte me,

(520)

Upon his othes and his seuretee,

Graunted him love, on this condicioun,

530

That evermore myn honour and renoun

Were saved, bothe privee and apert;

This is to seyn, that, after his desert,

I yaf him al myn herte and al my thoght —

God woot and he, that otherwyse noght —

535

And took his herte in chaunge for myn for ay.

But sooth is seyd, gon sithen many a day,

“A trew wight and a theef thenken nat oon.”

(530)

And, whan he saugh the thing so fer y-goon,

That I had graunted him fully my love,

540

In swich a gyse as I have seyd above,

And yeven him my trewe herte, as free

As he swoor he his herte yaf to me;

Anon this tygre, ful of doublenesse,

Fil on his knees with so devout humblesse,

545

With so heigh reverence, and, as by his chere,

So lyk a gentil lovere of manere,

So ravisshed, as it semed, for the Ioye,

(540)

That never Iason, ne Parys of Troye,

Iason? certes, ne non other man,

550

Sin Lameth was, that alderfirst bigan

To loven two, as writen folk biforn,

Ne never, sin the firste man was born,

Ne coude man, by twenty thousand part,

Countrefete the sophimes of his art;

555

Ne were worthy unbokele his galoche,

Ther doublenesse or feyning sholde approche,

Ne so coude thanke a wight as he did me!

(550)

His maner was an heven for to see

Til any womman, were she never so wys;

560

So peynted he and kembde at point-devys

As wel his wordes as his contenaunce.

And I so lovede him for his obeisaunce,

And for the trouthe I demed in his herte,

That, if so were that any thing him smerte,

565

Al were it never so lyte, and I it wiste,

Me thoughte, I felte deeth myn herte twiste.

And shortly, so ferforth this thing is went,

(560)

That my wil was his willes instrument;

This is to seyn, my wil obeyed his wil

570

In alle thing, as fer as reson fil,

Keping the boundes of my worship ever.

Ne never hadde I thing so leef, ne lever,

As him, god woot! ne never shal na-mo.

499. E. Cm. That; rest Ther.   508. Mss. trouthe, trowthe.   510. E. I ne; Cm. I not; rest no wight.   511. E. Hn. Cp. Hl. colours.   512. hit] Hl. hut; Ln. hideth.   516. Pronounced kep’th.   520. E. the; the rest this.   526. Hl. crouned; Hn. Cp. Pt. crowned; E. coronned.   529. Mss. vp-on (for on).   533. Cm. Ln. Hl. and al; rest omit al.   535. E. for myn; rest of myn.   537. Hl. Pt. trew; rest trewe.   542. All yaf his herte.   545. Only Cm. om. and.   548. E. Cm. Troilus; rest Iason.   551. Cm. wrytyn; rest writen.   555. E. vnbokelen.   557. E. Cp. dide; Cm. dede; rest did.   562. E. Cm. omit so.   572. E. Hn. lief; Ln. lefe; rest leef.

 This lasteth lenger than a yeer or two,

575

That I supposed of him noght but good.

But fynally, thus atte laste it stood,

That fortune wolde that he moste twinne

(570)

Out of that place which that I was inne.

Wher me was wo, that is no questioun;

580

I can nat make of it discripcioun;

For o thing dar I tellen boldely,

I knowe what is the peyne of deth ther-by;

Swich harm I felte for he ne mighte bileve.

So on a day of me he took his leve,

585

So sorwefully eek, that I wende verraily

That he had felt as muche harm as I,

Whan that I herde him speke, and saugh his hewe.

(580)

But nathelees, I thoughte he was so trewe,

And eek that he repaire sholde ageyn

590

With-inne a litel whyle, sooth to seyn;

And reson wolde eek that he moste go

For his honour, as ofte it happeth so,

That I made vertu of necessitee,

And took it wel, sin that it moste be.

595

As I best mighte, I hidde fro him my sorwe,

And took him by the hond, seint Iohn to borwe,

And seyde him thus: “lo, I am youres al;

(590)

Beth swich as I to yow have been, and shal.”

What he answerde, it nedeth noght reherce,

600

Who can sey bet than he, who can do werse?

Whan he hath al wel seyd, thanne hath he doon.

“Therfor bihoveth him a ful long spoon

That shal ete with a feend,” thus herde I seye.

So atte laste he moste forth his weye,

605

And forth he fleeth, til he cam ther him leste.

Whan it cam him to purpos for to reste,

I trowe he hadde thilke text in minde,

(600)

That “alle thing, repairing to his kinde,

Gladeth him-self”; thus seyn men, as I gesse;

610

Men loven of propre kinde newfangelnesse,

As briddes doon that men in cages fede.

For though thou night and day take of hem hede,

And strawe hir cage faire and softe as silk,

And yeve hem sugre, hony, breed and milk,

615

Yet right anon, as that his dore is uppe,

He with his feet wol spurne adoun his cuppe,

And to the wode he wol and wormes ete;

(610)

So newefangel been they of hir mete,

And loven novelryes of propre kinde;

620

No gentillesse of blood [ne] may hem binde.

So ferde this tercelet, allas the day!

Though he were gentil born, and fresh and gay,

And goodly for to seen, and humble and free,

He saugh up-on a tyme a kyte flee,

625

And sodeynly he loved this kyte so,

That al his love is clene fro me ago,

And hath his trouthe falsed in this wyse;

(620)

Thus hath the kyte my love in hir servyse,

And I am lorn with-outen remedye!’

630

And with that word this faucon gan to crye,

And swowned eft in Canaceës barme.

585. Cp. om. that.   601. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. wel seyd; Cm. I-seyd; E. seyd.   602. E. Hn. Cm. hire; rest him.   616. Hl. has here lost 8 leaves, to 1. 1223.   619. E. nouelrie; the rest have the plural, except Ln. none leueres, a corruption of nouelries.   620. I supply ne.   622. Hn. and fressh; rest omit and.   623. E. Hn. goodlich; rest goodly.   E. Pt. om. and before humble.

 Greet was the sorwe, for the haukes harme,

That Canacee and alle hir wommen made;

They niste how they mighte the faucon glade.

635

But Canacee hom bereth hir in hir lappe,

And softely in plastres gan hir wrappe,

Ther as she with hir beek had hurt hir-selve.

(630)

Now can nat Canacee but herbes delve

Out of the grounde, and make salves newe

640

Of herbes precious, and fyne of hewe,

To helen with this hauk; fro day to night

She dooth hir bisinesse and al hir might.

And by hir beddes heed she made a mewe,

And covered it with veluëttes blewe,

645

In signe of trouthe that is in wommen sene.

And al with-oute, the mewe is peynted grene,

In which were peynted alle thise false foules,

(640)

As beth thise tidifs, tercelets, and oules,

Right for despyt were peynted hem bisyde,

650

And pyes, on hem for to crye and chyde.

632, 633. E. Hn. Cp. barm, harm; rest barme, harme.   639. E. Hn. saues; the rest salues.   642. E. hire fulle; the rest al hir.   644. Slo. velowetys.   647. E. ther were ypeynted; rest were peynted.   648. E. Hn. tidyues; Ln. tideues; rest tidifs.   649, 650. Transposed by Tyrwhitt.   650. And] Cp. Pt. Ln. om.

 Thus lete I Canacee hir hauk keping;

I wol na-more as now speke of hir ring,

Til it come eft to purpos for to seyn

How that this faucon gat hir love ageyn

655

Repentant, as the storie telleth us,

By mediacioun of Cambalus,

The kinges sone, of whiche I yow tolde.

(650)

But hennes-forth I wol my proces holde

To speke of aventures and of batailles,

660

That never yet was herd so grete mervailles.

657. Slo. Ln. whiche; rest which.   Hn. of which I to yow tolde.

 First wol I telle yow of Cambynskan,

That in his tyme many a citee wan;

And after wol I speke of Algarsyf,

How that he wan Theodora to his wyf,

665

For whom ful ofte in greet peril he was,

Ne hadde he ben holpen by the stede of bras;

And after wol I speke of Cambalo,

(660)

That faught in listes with the bretheren two

For Canacee, er that he mighte hir winne.

670

And ther I lefte I wol ageyn biginne.

664. E. Theodera.

Explicit secunda pars. Incipit pars tercia.

[T. om.

Appollo whirleth up his char so hye,

[T. om.

Til that the god Mercurius hous the slye —

      .       .       .       .       .       .

672. Here the Mss. fail. Ln. has 8 spurious lines in place of ll. 671, 672.

Here folwen the wordes of the Frankelin to the Squier, and the wordes of the Host to the Frankelin.

‘In feith, Squier, thou hast thee wel y-quit,

And gentilly I preise wel thy wit,’

675

Quod the Frankeleyn, ‘considering thy youthe,

So feelingly thou spekest, sir, I allow the!

As to my doom, there is non that is here

Of eloquence that shal be thy pere,

If that thou live; god yeve thee good chaunce,

680

And in vertu sende thee continuaunce!

For of thy speche I have greet deyntee.

(10)

I have a sone, and, by the Trinitee,

I hadde lever than twenty pound worth lond,

Though it right now were fallen in myn hond,

685

He were a man of swich discrecioun

As that ye been! fy on possessioun

But-if a man be vertuous with-al.

I have my sone snibbed, and yet shal,

For he to vertu listeth nat entende;

690

But for to pleye at dees, and to despende,

And lese al that he hath, is his usage.

(20)

And he hath lever talken with a page

Than to comune with any gentil wight

Ther he mighte lerne gentillesse aright.’—

Heading. So E.; Hn. The prologe of the Marchauntes tale.   676. E. allowethe; Hn. allowthe.   689. E. listneth; rest listeth, lusteth.

695

 ‘Straw for your gentillesse,’ quod our host;

‘What, frankeleyn? pardee, sir, wel thou wost

That eche of yow mot tellen atte leste

A tale or two, or breken his biheste.’

695, 696. Laud 600 has host, wost; E. Hn. Pt. hoost, woost.

 ‘That knowe I wel, sir,’ quod the frankeleyn;

700

‘I prey yow, haveth me nat in desdeyn

Though to this man I speke a word or two.’

(30)

 ‘Telle on thy tale with-outen wordes mo.’

‘Gladly, sir host,’ quod he, ‘I wol obeye

Un-to your wil; now herkneth what I seye.

705

I wol yow nat contrarien in no wyse

As fer as that my wittes wol suffyse;

I prey to god that it may plesen yow,

Than woot I wel that it is good y-now.’

[The Frankleyn's Prologue follows immediately; see p. 482.]

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