The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Frankeleyns Tale.

Here biginneth the Frankeleyns Tale.

In Armorik, that called is Britayne,

730

Ther was a knight that loved and dide his payne

To serve a lady in his beste wyse;

And many a labour, many a greet empryse

He for his lady wroghte, er she were wonne.

For she was oon, the faireste under sonne,

735

And eek therto come of so heigh kinrede,

That wel unnethes dorste this knight, for drede,

Telle hir his wo, his peyne, and his distresse.

(10)

But atte laste, she, for his worthinesse,

And namely for his meke obeysaunce,

740

Hath swich a pitee caught of his penaunce,

That prively she fil of his accord

To take him for hir housbonde and hir lord,

Of swich lordshipe as men han over hir wyves;

And for to lede the more in blisse hir lyves,

745

Of his free wil he swoor hir as a knight,

That never in al his lyf he, day ne night,

Ne sholde up-on him take no maistrye

(20)

Agayn hir wil, ne kythe hir Ialousye,

But hir obeye, and folwe hir wil in al

750

As any lovere to his lady shal;

Save that the name of soveraynetee,

That wolde he have for shame of his degree.

 She thanked him, and with ful greet humblesse

She seyde, ‘sire, sith of your gentillesse

755

Ye profre me to have so large a reyne,

Ne wolde never god bitwixe us tweyne,

As in my gilt, were outher werre or stryf.

(30)

Sir, I wol be your humble trewe wyf,

Have heer my trouthe, til that myn herte breste.’

760

Thus been they bothe in quiete and in reste.

 For o thing, sires, saufly dar I seye,

That frendes everich other moot obeye,

If they wol longe holden companye.

Love wol nat ben constreyned by maistrye;

765

Whan maistrie comth, the god of love anon

Beteth hise winges, and farewel! he is gon!

Love is a thing as any spirit free;

(40)

Wommen of kinde desiren libertee,

And nat to ben constreyned as a thral;

770

And so don men, if I soth seyen shal.

Loke who that is most pacient in love,

He is at his avantage al above.

Pacience is an heigh vertu certeyn;

For it venquisseth, as thise clerkes seyn,

775

Thinges that rigour sholde never atteyne.

For every word men may nat chyde or pleyne.

Lerneth to suffre, or elles, so moot I goon,

(50)

Ye shul it lerne, wher-so ye wole or noon.

For in this world, certein, ther no wight is,

780

That he ne dooth or seith som-tyme amis.

Ire, siknesse, or constellacioun,

Wyn, wo, or chaunginge of complexioun

Causeth ful ofte to doon amis or speken.

On every wrong a man may nat be wreken;

785

After the tyme, moste be temperaunce

To every wight that can on governaunce.

And therfore hath this wyse worthy knight,

(60)

To live in ese, suffrance hir bihight,

And she to him ful wisly gan to swere

790

That never sholde ther be defaute in here.

772. E. auantate (sic).

 Heer may men seen an humble wys accord;

Thus hath she take hir servant and hir lord,

Servant in love, and lord in mariage;

Than was he bothe in lordship and servage;

795

Servage? nay, but in lordshipe above,

Sith he hath bothe his lady and his love;

His lady, certes, and his wyf also,

(70)

The which that lawe of love acordeth to.

And whan he was in this prosperitee,

800

Hoom with his wyf he gooth to his contree,

Nat fer fro Penmark, ther his dwelling was,

Wher-as he liveth in blisse and in solas.

791. E. Heere.   794. E. Thanne.   801. Ln. penmarke; rest Pedmark.

 Who coude telle, but he had wedded be,

The Ioye, the ese, and the prosperitee

805

That is bitwixe an housbonde and his wyf?

A yeer and more lasted this blisful lyf,

Til that the knight of which I speke of thus,

(80)

That of Kayrrud was cleped Arveragus,

Shoop him to goon, and dwelle a yeer or tweyne

810

In Engelond, that cleped was eek Briteyne,

To seke in armes worship and honour;

For al his lust he sette in swich labour;

And dwelled ther two yeer, the book seith thus.

803. Pt. Ln. had; rest hadde.   810. Cm. er (for eek); Pt. om.

 Now wol I stinte of this Arveragus,

815

And speken I wole of Dorigene his wyf,

That loveth hir housbonde as hir hertes lyf.

For his absence wepeth she and syketh,

(90)

As doon thise noble wyves whan hem lyketh.

She moorneth, waketh, wayleth, fasteth, pleyneth;

820

Desyr of his presence hir so distreyneth,

That al this wyde world she sette at noght.

Hir frendes, whiche that knewe hir hevy thoght,

Conforten hir in al that ever they may;

They prechen hir, they telle hir night and day,

825

That causelees she sleeth hir-self, allas!

And every confort possible in this cas

They doon to hir with al hir bisinesse,

(100)

Al for to make hir leve hir hevinesse.

814. E. stynten.

 By proces, as ye knowen everichoon,

830

Men may so longe graven in a stoon,

Til som figure ther-inne emprented be.

So longe han they conforted hir, til she

Receyved hath, by hope and by resoun,

The emprenting of hir consolacioun,

835

Thurgh which hir grete sorwe gan aswage;

She may nat alwey duren in swich rage.

 And eek Arveragus, in al this care,

(110)

Hath sent hir lettres hoom of his welfare,

And that he wol come hastily agayn;

840

Or elles hadde this sorwe hir herte slayn.

 Hir freendes sawe hir sorwe gan to slake,

And preyede hir on knees, for goddes sake,

To come and romen hir in companye,

Awey to dryve hir derke fantasye.

845

And finally, she graunted that requeste;

For wel she saugh that it was for the beste.

842. Cm. preyede; Cp. preyed; E. Hn. preyde; Pt. preiden.

 Now stood hir castel faste by the see,

(120)

And often with hir freendes walketh she

Hir to disporte up-on the bank an heigh,

850

Wher-as she many a ship and barge seigh

Seilinge hir cours, wher-as hem liste go;

But than was that a parcel of hir wo.

For to hir-self ful ofte ‘allas!’ seith she,

‘Is ther no ship, of so manye as I see,

855

Wol bringen hom my lord? than were myn herte

Al warisshed of his bittre peynes smerte.’

851. E. Hn. Seillynge.   852. E. thanne.   855. E. thanne.

 Another tyme ther wolde she sitte and thinke,

(130)

And caste hir eyen dounward fro the brinke.

But whan she saugh the grisly rokkes blake,

860

For verray fere so wolde hir herte quake,

That on hir feet she mighte hir noght sustene.

Than wolde she sitte adoun upon the grene,

And pitously in-to the see biholde,

And seyn right thus, with sorweful sykes colde:

862. E. Thanne.

865

 ‘Eterne god, that thurgh thy purveyaunce

Ledest the world by certein governaunce,

In ydel, as men seyn, ye no-thing make;

(140)

But, lord, thise grisly feendly rokkes blake,

That semen rather a foul confusioun

870

Of werk than any fair creacioun

Of swich a parfit wys god and a stable,

Why han ye wroght this werk unresonable?

For by this werk, south, north, ne west, ne eest,

Ther nis y-fostred man, ne brid, ne beest;

875

It dooth no good, to my wit, but anoyeth.

See ye nat, lord, how mankinde it destroyeth?

An hundred thousand bodies of mankinde

(150)

Han rokkes slayn, al be they nat in minde,

Which mankinde is so fair part of thy werk

880

That thou it madest lyk to thyn owene merk.

Than semed it ye hadde a greet chiertee

Toward mankinde; but how than may it be

That ye swiche menes make it to destroyen,

Whiche menes do no good, but ever anoyen?

885

I wool wel clerkes wol seyn, as hem leste,

By arguments, that al is for the beste,

Though I ne can the causes nat y-knowe.

(160)

But thilke god, that made wind to blowe,

As kepe my lord! this my conclusioun;

890

To clerkes lete I al disputisoun.

But wolde god that alle thise rokkes blake

Were sonken in-to helle for his sake!

Thise rokkes sleen myn herte for the fere.’

Thus wolde she seyn, with many a pitous tere.

873. Mss. eest, est.   874. MSS. beest, best.   881. E. Thanne.   Pt. cheerte.   882. E. thanne.   887. E. om. ne.   889. Cm. Cp. Pt. this is (this = this is).   890. E. al this: rest om. this.

895

 Hir freendes sawe that it was no disport

To romen by the see, but disconfort;

And shopen for to pleyen somwher elles.

(170)

They leden hir by riveres and by welles,

And eek in othere places delitables;

900

They dauncen, and they pleyen at ches and tables.

 So on a day, right in the morwe-tyde,

Un-to a gardin that was ther bisyde,

In which that they had maad hir ordinaunce

Of vitaille and of other purveyaunce,

905

They goon and pleye hem al the longe day.

And this was on the sixte morwe of May,

Which May had peynted with his softe shoures

(180)

This gardin ful of leves and of floures;

And craft of mannes hand so curiously

910

Arrayed hadde this gardin, trewely,

That never was ther gardin of swich prys,

But-if it were the verray paradys.

The odour of floures and the fresshe sighte

Wolde han maad any herte for to lighte

915

That ever was born, but-if to gret siknesse,

Or to gret sorwe helde it in distresse;

So ful it was of beautee with plesaunce.

(190)

At-after diner gonne they to daunce,

And singe also, save Dorigen allone,

920

Which made alwey hir compleint and hir mone;

For she ne saugh him on the daunce go,

That was hir housbonde and hir love also.

But nathelees she moste a tyme abyde,

And with good hope lete hir sorwe slyde.

903. E. hadde.   906. E. in; rest on.   907. E. hadde.   914. So Cm. (see Group F, l. 396); E. Hn. maked, and om. for to; Cp. Pt. Wold han made ony pensif herte light.

925

 Up-on this daunce, amonges othere men,

Daunced a squyer biforen Dorigen,

That fressher was and Iolyer of array,

(200)

As to my doom, than is the monthe of May.

He singeth, daunceth, passinge any man

930

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

Ther-with he was, if men sholde him discryve,

Oon of the beste faringe man on-lyve;

Yong, strong, right vertuous, and riche and wys,

And wel biloved, and holden in gret prys.

935

And shortly, if the sothe I tellen shal,

Unwiting of this Dorigen at al,

This lusty squyer, servant to Venus,

(210)

Which that y-cleped was Aurelius,

Had loved hir best of any creature

940

Two yeer and more, as was his aventure,

But never dorste he telle hir his grevaunce;

With-outen coppe he drank al his penaunce.

He was despeyred, no-thing dorste he seye,

Save in his songes somwhat wolde he wreye

945

His wo, as in a general compleyning;

He seyde he lovede, and was biloved no-thing.

Of swich matere made he manye layes,

(220)

Songes, compleintes, roundels, virelayes,

How that he dorste nat his sorwe telle,

950

But languissheth, as a furie dooth in helle;

And dye he moste, he seyde, as dide Ekko

For Narcisus, that dorste nat telle hir wo.

In other manere than ye here me seye,

Ne dorste he nat to hir his wo biwreye;

955

Save that, paraventure, som-tyme at daunces,

Ther yonge folk kepen hir observaunces,

It may wel be he loked on hir face

(230)

In swich a wyse, as man that asketh grace;

But no-thing wiste she of his entente.

960

Nathelees, it happed, er they thennes wente,

By-cause that he was hir neighebour,

And was a man of worship and honour,

And hadde y-knowen him of tyme yore,

They fille in speche; and forth more and more

965

Un-to his purpos drough Aurelius,

And whan he saugh his tyme, he seyde thus:

926. Cp. biforen; Hn. Cm. bifore; E. biforn.   939. E. hadde.   941. E. Hn. tellen.   950. E. Cm. a furye; Hn. Pt. a fuyre; Cp. fuyre; Ln. fire.   956. E. Hn. yong.   965. E. Hn. this; rest his.

 ‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘by god that this world made,

(240)

So that I wiste it mighte your herte glade,

I wolde, that day that your Arveragus

970

Wente over the see, that I, Aurelius,

Had went ther never I sholde have come agayn;

For wel I woot my service is in vayn.

My guerdon is but bresting of myn herte;

Madame, reweth upon my peynes smerte;

975

For with a word ye may me sleen or save,

Heer at your feet god wolde that I were grave!

I ne have as now no leyser more to seye;

(250)

Have mercy, swete, or ye wol do me deye!’

She gan to loke up-on Aurelius:

980

‘Is this your wil,’ quod she, ‘and sey ye thus?

Never erst,’ quod she, ‘ne wiste I what ye mente.

But now, Aurelie, I knowe your entente,

By thilke god that yaf me soule and lyf,

Ne shal I never been untrewe wyf

985

In word ne werk, as fer as I have wit:

I wol ben his to whom that I am knit;

Tak this for fynal answer as of me.’

(260)

But after that in pley thus seyde she:

971. E. Hn. Cm. Ln. Hadde.   973. E. Hn. gerdon.   987. E. Hn. Taak.

 ‘Aurelie,’ quod she, ‘by heighe god above,

990

Yet wolde I graunte yow to been your love,

Sin I yow see so pitously complayne;

Loke what day that, endelong Britayne,

Ye remoeve alle the rokkes, stoon by stoon,

That they ne lette ship ne boot to goon —

995

I seye, whan ye han maad the coost so clene

Of rokkes, that ther nis no stoon y-sene,

Than wol I love yow best of any man;

(270)

Have heer my trouthe in al that ever I can.’

993. Cm. remoue; Cp. Ln. remewe; Pt. remeue.   997. E. Thanne.

 ‘Is ther non other grace in yow,’ quod he.

1000

 ‘No, by that lord,’ quod she, ‘that maked me!

For wel I woot that it shal never bityde.

Lat swiche folies out of your herte slyde.

What deyntee sholde a man han in his lyf

For to go love another mannes wyf,

1005

That hath hir body whan so that him lyketh?’

 Aurelius ful ofte sore syketh;

Wo was Aurelie, whan that he this herde,

(280)

And with a sorweful herte he thus answerde:

 ‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘this were an inpossible!

1010

Than moot I dye of sodein deth horrible.’

And with that word he turned him anoon.

Tho come hir othere freendes many oon,

And in the aleyes romeden up and doun,

And no-thing wiste of this conclusioun,

1015

But sodeinly bigonne revel newe

Til that the brighte sonne loste his hewe;

For thorisonte hath reft the sonne his light;

(290)

This is as muche to seye as it was night.

And hoom they goon in Ioye and in solas,

1020

Save only wrecche Aurelius, allas!

He to his hous is goon with sorweful herte;

He seeth he may nat fro his deeth asterte.

Him semed that he felte his herte colde;

Up to the hevene his handes he gan holde,

1025

And on his knowes bare he sette him doun,

And in his raving seyde his orisoun.

For verray wo out of his wit he breyde.

(300)

He niste what he spak, but thus he seyde;

With pitous herte his pleynt hath he bigonne

1030

Un-to the goddes, and first un-to the sonne:

1010. E. Thanne.   1011. Mss. anon, anone.   1012. E. Hn. coome.   1017. Ln. the orizonte;   1025. Cm. kneis; Cp. Pt. knees.

 He seyde, ‘Appollo, god and governour

Of every plaunte, herbe, tree and flour,

That yevest, after thy declinacioun,

To ech of hem his tyme and his sesoun,

1035

As thyn herberwe chaungeth lowe or hye,

Lord Phebus, cast thy merciable yë

On wrecche Aurelie, which that am but lorn.

(310)

Lo, lord! my lady hath my deeth y-sworn

With-oute gilt, but thy benignitee

1040

Upon my dedly herte have som pitee!

For wel I woot, lord Phebus, if yow lest,

Ye may me helpen, save my lady, best.

Now voucheth sauf that I may yow devyse

How that I may been holpe and in what wyse.

1035. E. Hn. or; rest and.    Pt. hie; E. Hn. Cp. heighe; Cm. hyghe; Ln. hihe.   1036. Pt. ye; Cm. lye; E. Hn. Cp. eighe; Ln. eyhe.   1037. E.om. that.   1044. E. holpen.

1045

 Your blisful suster, Lucina the shene,

That of the see is chief goddesse and quene,

Though Neptunus have deitee in the see,

(320)

Yet emperesse aboven him is she:

Ye knowen wel, lord, that right as hir desyr

1050

Is to be quiked and lightned of your fyr,

For which she folweth yow ful bisily,

Right so the see desyreth naturelly

To folwen hir, as she that is goddesse

Bothe in the see and riveres more and lesse.

1055

Wherfore, lord Phebus, this is my requeste —

Do this miracle, or do myn herte breste —

That now, next at this opposicioun,

(330)

Which in the signe shal be of the Leoun,

As preyeth hir so greet a flood to bringe,

1060

That fyve fadme at the leeste it overspringe

The hyeste rokke in Armorik Briteyne;

And lat this flood endure yeres tweyne;

Than certes to my lady may I seye:

“Holdeth your heste, the rokkes been aweye.”

1045. E. Lucina, glossed i. luna.   1048. E. Emperisse.   1050. Hn. lighted; Cm. lyghtenyd.   1063. E. Hn. Cm. Cp. Thanne.

1065

 Lord Phebus, dooth this miracle for me;

Preye hir she go no faster cours than ye;

I seye, preyeth your suster that she go

(340)

No faster cours than ye thise yeres two.

Than shal she been evene atte fulle alway,

1070

And spring-flood laste bothe night and day.

And, but she vouche-sauf in swiche manere

To graunte me my sovereyn lady dere,

Prey hir to sinken every rok adoun

In-to hir owene derke regioun

1075

Under the ground, ther Pluto dwelleth inne,

Or never-mo shal I my lady winne.

Thy temple in Delphos wol I barefoot seke;

(350)

Lord Phebus, see the teres on my cheke,

And of my peyne have som compassioun.’

1080

And with that word in swowne he fil adoun,

And longe tyme he lay forth in a traunce.

1069. E. Hn. Cm. Cp. Thanne.   1074. E. Hn. dirke.   1078. E. teeris.

 His brother, which that knew of his penaunce,

Up caughte him and to bedde he hath him broght.

Dispeyred in this torment and this thoght

1085

Lete I this woful creature lye;

Chese he, for me, whether he wol live or dye.

1086. E. wheither.

 Arveragus, with hele and greet honour,

(360)

As he that was of chivalrye the flour,

Is comen hoom, and othere worthy men.

1090

O blisful artow now, thou Dorigen,

That hast thy lusty housbonde in thyne armes,

The fresshe knight, the worthy man of armes,

That loveth thee, as his owene hertes lyf.

No-thing list him to been imaginatyf

1095

If any wight had spoke, whyl he was oute,

To hire of love; he hadde of it no doute.

He noght entendeth to no swich matere,

(370)

But daunceth, Iusteth, maketh hir good chere;

And thus in Ioye and blisse I lete hem dwelle,

1100

And of the syke Aurelius wol I telle.

1096. Cp. Pt. Ln. ther-of (for of it).   1100. E. Cm. I wol (wele) yow; rest wol (wil) I.

 In langour and in torment furious

Two yeer and more lay wrecche Aurelius,

Er any foot he mighte on erthe goon;

Ne confort in this tyme hadde he noon,

1105

Save of his brother, which that was a clerk;

He knew of al this wo and al this werk.

For to non other creature certeyn

(380)

Of this matere he dorste no word seyn.

Under his brest he bar it more secree

1110

Than ever dide Pamphilus for Galathee.

His brest was hool, with-oute for to sene,

But in his herte ay was the arwe kene.

And wel ye knowe that of a sursanure

In surgerye is perilous the cure,

1115

But men mighte touche the arwe, or come therby.

His brother weep and wayled prively,

Til atte laste him fil in remembraunce,

(390)

That whyl he was at Orliens in Fraunce,

As yonge clerkes, that been likerous

1120

To reden artes that been curious,

Seken in every halke and every herne

Particuler sciences for to lerne,

He him remembred that, upon a day,

At Orliens in studie a book he say

1125

Of magik natural, which his felawe,

That was that tyme a bacheler of lawe,

Al were he ther to lerne another craft,

(400)

Had prively upon his desk y-laft;

Which book spak muchel of the operaciouns,

1130

Touchinge the eighte and twenty mansiouns

That longen to the mone, and swich folye,

As in our dayes is nat worth a flye;

For holy chirches feith in our bileve

Ne suffreth noon illusion us to greve.

1135

And whan this book was in his remembraunce,

Anon for Ioye his herte gan to daunce,

And to him-self he seyde prively:

(410)

‘My brother shal be warisshed hastily;

For I am siker that ther be sciences,

1140

By whiche men make diverse apparences

Swiche as thise subtile tregetoures pleye.

For ofte at festes have I wel herd seye,

That tregetours, with-inne an halle large,

Have maad come in a water and a barge,

1145

And in the halle rowen up and doun.

Somtyme hath semed come a grim leoun;

And somtyme floures springe as in a mede;

(420)

Somtyme a vyne, and grapes whyte and rede;

Somtyme a castel, al of lym and stoon;

1150

And whan hem lyked, voyded it anoon.

Thus semed it to every mannes sighte.

1101. E. Hn. Cm. furyus.   1109. E. Hn. baar.   1118. Cm. whil; rest whiles.   Ln. Cp. Pt. Orliaunce.   1125. E. natureel.   1129. Pt. om. the (which seems better).   1140. E. whee(!); for whiche.   1141. Cm tregettourys; Cp. tregetoures; rest tregetours.   1147, 8. Cp. Pt. Ln. omit these two lines.   1150. E. Cm. Ln. hym; rest hem.

 Now than conclude I thus, that if I mighte

At Orliens som old felawe y-finde,

That hadde this mones mansions in minde,

1155

Or other magik naturel above,

He sholde wel make my brother han his love.

For with an apparence a clerk may make

(430)

To mannes sighte, that alle the rokkes blake

Of Britaigne weren y-voyded everichon,

1160

And shippes by the brinke comen and gon,

And in swich forme endure a day or two;

Than were my brother warisshed of his wo.

Than moste she nedes holden hir biheste,

Or elles he shal shame hir atte leste.’

1152. E. thanne.   1155. E. natureel.   1161. E. Hn. Pt. enduren.   Hn. Cm. day; E. wowke; Cp. Pt. Ln. yeer.   1162, 3. E. Thanne.

1165

 What sholde I make a lenger tale of this?

Un-to his brotheres bed he comen is,

And swich confort he yaf him for to gon

(440)

To Orliens, that he up stirte anon,

And on his wey forthward thanne is he fare,

1170

In hope for to ben lissed of his care.

 Whan they were come almost to that citee,

But-if it were a two furlong or three,

A yong clerk rominge by him-self they mette,

Which that in Latin thriftily hem grette,

1175

And after that he seyde a wonder thing:

‘I knowe,’ quod he, ‘the cause of your coming’;

And er they ferther any fote wente,

(450)

He tolde hem al that was in hir entente.

 This Briton clerk him asked of felawes

1180

The whiche that he had knowe in olde dawes;

And he answerde him that they dede were,

For which he weep ful ofte many a tere.

 Doun of his hors Aurelius lighte anon,

And forth with this magicien is he gon

1185

Hoom to his hous, and made hem wel at ese.

Hem lakked no vitaille that mighte hem plese;

So wel arrayed hous as ther was oon

(460)

Aurelius in his lyf saugh never noon.

1184. E. Hn. Cm. put forth before is.   1185. E. Hn. maden.

 He shewed him, er he wente to sopeer,

1190

Forestes, parkes ful of wilde deer;

Ther saugh he hertes with hir homes hye,

The gretteste that ever were seyn with yë.

He saugh of hem an hondred slayn with houndes,

And somme with arwes blede of bittre woundes.

1195

He saugh, whan voided were thise wilde deer,

Thise fauconers upon a fair river,

That with hir haukes han the heron slayn.

1191-1196. Cp. Pt. Ln. omit six lines.    1192. Cm. Iye; E. Hn. eye.

(470)

 Tho saugh he knightes Iusting in a playn;

And after this, he dide him swich plesaunce,

1200

That he him shewed his lady on a daunce

On which him-self he daunced, as him thoughte.

And whan this maister, that this magik wroughte,

Saugh it was tyme, he clapte his handes two,

And farewel! al our revel was ago.

1205

And yet remoeved they never out of the hous,

Whyl they saugh al this sighte merveillous,

But in his studie, ther-as his bookes be,

(480)

They seten stille, and no wight but they three.

 To him this maister called his squyer,

1210

And seyde him thus: ‘is redy our soper?

Almost an houre it is, I undertake,

Sith I yow bad our soper for to make,

Whan that thise worthy men wenten with me

In-to my studie, ther-as my bookes be.’

1215

 ‘Sire,’ quod this squyer, ‘whan it lyketh yow,

It is al redy, though ye wol right now.’

‘Go we than soupe,’ quod he, ‘as for the beste;

(490)

This amorous folk som-tyme mote han reste.’

1216. E. though; Hn. thogh.   1217. E. Hn. Cm. thanne.   1218. E. Hn. hir reste; rest om. hir.

 At-after soper fille they in tretee,

1220

What somme sholde this maistres guerdon be,

To remoeven alle the rokkes of Britayne,

And eek from Gerounde to the mouth of Sayne.

1220. E. Hn. Cm. gerdoun.   1221. Cm. remeuyn; Cp. remewe; Ln. remoue].

 He made it straunge, and swoor, so god him save,

Lasse than a thousand pound he wolde nat have,

1225

Ne gladly for that somme he wolde nat goon.

1224. Here Hl. begins again.

 Aurelius, with blisful herte anoon,

Answerde thus, ‘fy on a thousand pound!

(500)

This wyde world, which that men seye is round,

I wolde it yeve, if I were lord of it.

1230

This bargayn is ful drive, for we ben knit.

Ye shal be payed trewely, by my trouthe!

But loketh now, for no necligence or slouthe,

Ye tarie us heer no lenger than to-morwe.’

‘Nay,’ quod this clerk, ‘have heer my feith to borwe.’

1235

 To bedde is goon Aurelius whan him leste,

And wel ny al that night he hadde his reste;

What for his labour and his hope of blisse,

(510)

His woful herte of penaunce hadde a lisse.

 Upon the morwe, whan that it was day,

1240

To Britaigne toke they the righte way,

Aurelius, and this magicien bisyde,

And been descended ther they wolde abyde;

And this was, as the bokes me remembre,

The colde frosty seson of Decembre.

1241. So all; see 1184.   1243. E. Hn. thise; Hl. these; rest the.

1245

 Phebus wex old, and hewed lyk latoun,

That in his hote declinacioun

Shoon as the burned gold with stremes brighte;

(520)

But now in Capricorn adoun he lighte,

Wher-as he shoon ful pale, I dar wel seyn.

1250

The bittre frostes, with the sleet and reyn,

Destroyed hath the grene in every yerd.

Ianus sit by the fyr, with double berd,

And drinketh of his bugle-horn the wyn.

Biforn him stant braun of the tusked swyn,

1255

And “Nowel” cryeth every lusty man.

1245. Cm. Pt. wex; E. Hn. Hl. Cp. wax.   1254. Hl. Cm. Cp. braun; Pt. brawne; E. Hn. brawen.

 Aurelius, in al that ever he can,

Doth to his maister chere and reverence,

(530)

And preyeth him to doon his diligence

To bringen him out of his peynes smerte,

1260

Or with a swerd that he wolde slitte his herte.

1257. E. chiere; Cm. Ln. Hl. chier.

 This subtil clerk swich routhe had of this man,

That night and day he spedde him that he can,

To wayte a tyme of his conclusioun;

This is to seye, to make illusioun,

1265

By swich an apparence or Iogelrye,

I ne can no termes of astrologye,

That she and every wight sholde wene and seye,

(540)

That of Britaigne the rokkes were aweye,

Or elles they were sonken under grounde.

1270

So atte laste he hath his tyme y-founde

To maken his Iapes and his wrecchednesse

Of swich a superstitious cursednesse.

His tables Toletanes forth he broght,

Ful wel corrected, ne ther lakked noght,

1275

Neither his collect ne his expans yeres,

Ne his rotes ne his othere geres,

As been his centres and his arguments,

(550)

And his proporcionels convenients

For his equacions in every thing.

1280

And, by his eighte spere in his wirking,

He knew ful wel how fer Alnath was shove

Fro the heed of thilke fixe Aries above

That in the ninthe speere considered is;

Ful subtilly he calculed al this.

1263. E. Hn. Cm. wayten.   1264. E. Cm. maken.   1265. E. a (for an).   1269. E. ellis.   1273. E. Hn. tolletanes; Hl. tollitanes; rest colletanes(!).   E. brought; Hn. broght.   1274. E. nought; Hn. noght.   1275. E. yeeris.   1276. So all: (E. hise, rootes, geris).   1277. Ln. centres; rest centris.   1278. Hn. Hl. proporcionels; E. -cioneles; Cm. -ciounnys; Cp. Pt. -cions.   1280. E. speere.   1283. Cm. nynte; Hl. fourthe(!); rest 9.   1284. E. he hadde kalkuled; rest om. hadde.

1285

 Whan he had founde his firste mansioun,

He knew the remenant by proporcioun;

And knew the arysing of his mone weel,

(560)

And in whos face, and terme, and every-deel;

And knew ful weel the mones mansioun

1290

Acordaunt to his operacioun,

And knew also his othere observaunces

For swiche illusiouns and swiche meschaunces

As hethen folk used in thilke dayes;

For which no lenger maked he delayes,

1295

But thurgh his magik, for a wyke or tweye,

It semed that alle the rokkes were aweye.

1285. E. hadde.   1293. Cp. Pt. Hl. vsed; E. Hn. vseden.   1295. E. Hn. Cm. wyke; Hl. Cp. wike; Pt. Ln. weke.   1296. Hl. om. alle.

 Aurelius, which that yet despeired is

(570)

Wher he shal han his love or fare amis,

Awaiteth night and day on this miracle;

1300

And whan he knew that ther was noon obstacle,

That voided were thise rokkes everichon,

Doun to his maistres feet he fil anon,

And seyde, ‘I woful wrecche, Aurelius,

Thanke yow, lord, and lady myn Venus,

1305

That me han holpen fro my cares colde:’

And to the temple his wey forth hath he holde,

Wher-as he knew he sholde his lady see.

(580)

And whan he saugh his tyme, anon-right he,

With dredful herte and with ful humble chere,

1310

Salewed hath his sovereyn lady dere:

1302. E. Cm. hise.

 ‘My righte lady,’ quod this woful man,

‘Whom I most drede and love as I best can,

And lothest were of al this world displese,

Nere it that I for yow have swich disese,

1315

That I moste dyen heer at your foot anon,

Noght wolde I telle how me is wo bigon;

But certes outher moste I dye or pleyne;

(590)

Ye slee me giltelees for verray peyne.

But of my deeth, thogh that ye have no routhe,

1320

Avyseth yow, er that ye breke your trouthe.

Repenteth yow, for thilke god above,

Er ye me sleen by-cause that I yow love.

For, madame, wel ye woot what ye han hight;

Nat that I chalange any thing of right

1325

Of yow my sovereyn lady, but your grace;

But in a gardin yond, at swich a place,

Ye woot right wel what ye bihighten me;

(600)

And in myn hand your trouthe plighten ye

To love me best, god woot, ye seyde so,

1330

Al be that I unworthy be therto.

Madame, I speke it for the honour of yow,

More than to save myn hertes lyf right now;

I have do so as ye comanded me;

And if ye vouche-sauf, ye may go see.

1335

Doth as yow list, have your biheste in minde,

For quik or deed, right ther ye shul me finde;

In yow lyth al, to do me live or deye; —

(610)

But wel I woot the rokkes been aweye!’

1318. Pt. Cp. giltelees; Hl. gulteles; rest giltless (-les).   1333. E. Hn. Hl. do; rest don.   1336. E. Hn. shal; Ln. schal.

 He taketh his leve, and she astonied stood,

1340

In al hir face nas a drope of blood;

She wende never han come in swich a trappe:

‘Allas!’ quod she, ‘that ever this sholde happe!

For wende I never, by possibilitee,

That swich a monstre or merveille mighte be!

1345

It is agayns the proces of nature’:

And hoom she gooth a sorweful creature.

For verray fere unnethe may she go,

(620)

She wepeth, wailleth, al a day or two,

And swowneth, that it routhe was to see;

1350

But why it was, to no wight tolde she;

For out of toune was goon Arveragus.

But to hir-self she spak, and seyde thus,

With face pale and with ful sorweful chere,

In hir compleynt, as ye shul after here:

1340. Hl. oon; Pt. on (for a).   1354. E. Hn. Cm. shal.

1355

 ‘Allas,’ quod she, ‘on thee, Fortune, I pleyne,

That unwar wrapped hast me in thy cheyne;

For which, tescape, woot I no socour

(630)

Save only deeth or elles dishonour;

Oon of thise two bihoveth me to chese.

1360

But nathelees, yet have I lever to lese

My lyf than of my body have a shame,

Or knowe my-selven fals, or lese my name,

And with my deth I may be quit, y-wis.

Hath ther nat many a noble wyf, er this,

1365

And many a mayde y-slayn hir-self, allas!

Rather than with hir body doon trespas?

1357. Hl. Fro; rest For.   1358. E. Hn. Pt. Ln. om. elles.   1360. Pt. Hl. om. to.

 Yis, certes, lo, thise stories beren witnesse;

(640)

Whan thretty tyraunts, ful of cursednesse,

Had slayn Phidoun in Athenes, atte feste,

1370

They comanded his doghtres for tareste,

And bringen hem biforn hem in despyt

Al naked, to fulfille hir foul delyt,

And in hir fadres blood they made hem daunce

Upon the pavement, god yeve hem mischaunce!

1375

For which thise woful maydens, ful of drede,

Rather than they wolde lese hir maydenhede,

They prively ben stirt in-to a welle,

(650)

And dreynte hem-selven, as the bokes telle.

1367. Cm. bere.   1368. Cm. thretty; Hl. thritty; rest xxx.   1369. E. Hadde.   E. Hn. Cm. Atthenes.   E. at; rest atte, at the.   1374. Cp. Ln. pament.

 They of Messene lete enquere and seke

1380

Of Lacedomie fifty maydens eke,

On whiche they wolden doon hir lecherye;

But was ther noon of al that companye

That she nas slayn, and with a good entente

Chees rather for to dye than assente

1385

To been oppressed of hir maydenhede.

Why sholde I thanne to dye been in drede?

1379. Cm. Messene; E. Hn. Hl. Mecene.

 Lo, eek, the tiraunt Aristoclides

(660)

That loved a mayden, heet Stimphalides,

Whan that hir fader slayn was on a night,

1390

Un-to Dianes temple goth she right,

And hente the image in hir handes two,

Fro which image wolde she never go.

No wight ne mighte hir handes of it arace,

Til she was slayn right in the selve place.

1395

Now sith that maydens hadden swich despyt

To been defouled with mannes foul delyt,

Wel oghte a wyf rather hir-selven slee

(670)

Than be defouled, as it thinketh me.

1388. E. Hl. heet; Hn. Cm. highte; Cp. Ln. that hight (hiht); Pt. which hiȝt.

 What shal I seyn of Hasdrubales wyf,

1400

That at Cartage birafte hir-self hir lyf?

For whan she saugh that Romayns wan the toun,

She took hir children alle, and skipte adoun

In-to the fyr, and chees rather to dye

Than any Romayn dide hir vileinye.

1405

 Hath nat Lucresse y-slayn hir-self, allas!

At Rome, whanne she oppressed was

Of Tarquin, for hir thoughte it was a shame

(680)

To liven whan she hadde lost hir name?

1406. Hl. whanne; E. Hn. Cm. whan; Cp. Pt. there; Ln. thare.   1408. Hn. Cm. Hl. hadde; rest had.

 The sevene maydens of Milesie also

1410

Han slayn hem-self, for verray drede and wo,

Rather than folk of Gaule hem sholde oppresse.

Mo than a thousand stories, as I gesse,

Coude I now telle as touchinge this matere.

1409. Hn. Cp. Ln. Milesie; E. Cm. Melesie.   1410. Hn. Cm. Hl. verray; rest om.

 Whan Habradate was slayn, his wyf so dere

1415

Hirselven slow, and leet hir blood to glyde

In Habradates woundes depe and wyde,

And seyde, “my body, at the leeste way,

(690)

Ther shal no wight defoulen, if I may.”

1414. Hn. Hl. habradace; Cp. Pt. habradas; Ln. Abradas.

 What sholde I mo ensamples heer-of sayn,

1420

Sith that so manye han hem-selven slayn

Wel rather than they wolde defouled be?

I wol conclude, that it is bet for me

To sleen my-self, than been defouled thus.

I wol be trewe un-to Arveragus,

1425

Or rather sleen my-self in som manere,

As dide Demociones doghter dere,

By-cause that she wolde nat defouled be.

(700)

O Cedasus! it is ful greet pitee,

To reden how thy doghtren deyde, allas!

1430

That slowe hem-selven for swich maner cas.

1430. All hem-self; see l. 1420.

 As greet a pitee was it, or wel more,

The Theban mayden, that for Nichanore

Hir-selven slow, right for swich maner wo.

 Another Theban mayden dide right so;

1435

For oon of Macedoine hadde hir oppressed,

She with hir deeth hir maydenhede redressed.

1435. Cm. Massedoyne; Ln. Macedoyne; Cp. Macedoigne; Pt. Masidoigne; Hl. Macidone; E. Hn. Macidonye.

 What shal I seye of Nicerates wyf,

(710)

That for swich cas birafte hir-self hir lyf?

1437. Hn. Hl. Niceratis; Cm. Nycherates.

 How trewe eek was to Alcebiades

1440

His love, that rather for to dyen chees

Than for to suffre his body unburied be!

Lo which a wyf was Alceste,' quod she.

1440. Cm. al (for that); E. om.   1442. Cp. Ln. Alcestem; Pt. Alcesteyn; rest Alceste.

 ‘What seith Omer of gode Penalopee?

Al Grece knoweth of hir chastitee.

1443. E. Penalopee; rest Penolopee (-pe).

1445

 Pardee, of Laodomya is writen thus,

That whan at Troye was slayn Protheselaus,

No lenger wolde she live after his day.

1445. Hn. Hl. Laodomya; E. Cm. Lacedomya; rest Leodamya.

(720)

 The same of noble Porcia telle I may;

With-oute Brutus coude she nat live,

1450

To whom she hadde al hool hir herte yive.

1450. Cp. Cm. Hl. yiue; E. Hn. Pt. yeue.

 The parfit wyfhod of Arthemesye

Honoured is thurgh al the Barbarye,

1452. E. Honured.

 O Teuta, queen! thy wyfly chastitee

To alle wyves may a mirour be.

[T. om.

The same thing I seye of Bilia,

[T. om.

Of Rodogone, and eek Valeria.’

1453. Cm. Cp. Hl. queen; rest queene (quene).   1455, 1456. These two lines are in E. and edd. only.   E. Bilyea (edd. Bilia; see note).

 Thus pleyned Dorigene a day or tweye,

(730)

Purposinge ever that she wolde deye.

1457. E. pleyne; rest pleyned.

 But nathelees, upon the thridde night,

1460

Hom cam Arveragus, this worthy knight,

And asked hir, why that she weep so sore?

And she gan wepen ever lenger the more.

 ‘Allas!’ quod she, ‘that ever was I born!

Thus have I seyd,’ quod she, ‘thus have I sworn’—

1465

And told him al as ye han herd bifore;

It nedeth nat reherce it yow na-more.

1463. E. I was; rest was I.

 This housbond with glad chere, in freendly wyse,

(740)

Answerde and seyde as I shal yow devyse:

‘Is ther oght elles, Dorigen, but this?’

1467. E. Hl. chiere.

1470

 ‘Nay, nay,’ quod she, ‘god help me so, as wis;

This is to muche, and it were goddes wille.’

 ‘Ye, wyf,’ quod he, ‘lat slepen that is stille;

It may be wel, paraventure, yet to-day.

Ye shul your trouthe holden, by my fay!

1475

For god so wisly have mercy on me,

I hadde wel lever y-stiked for to be,

For verray love which that I to yow have,

(750)

But-if ye sholde your trouthe kepe and save.

Trouthe is the hyeste thing that man may kepe’:—

1480

But with that word he brast anon to wepe,

And seyde, ‘I yow forbede, up peyne of deeth,

That never, whyl thee lasteth lyf ne breeth,

To no wight tel thou of this aventure.

As I may best, I wol my wo endure,

1485

Ne make no contenance of hevinesse,

That folk of yow may demen harm or gesse.’

1475. Hl. on; E. Hn. Cm. vp on.   1481. E. om. of.   1483. Hn. tel; rest telle; see l. 1591.

 And forth he cleped a squyer and a mayde:

(760)

‘Goth forth anon with Dorigen,’ he sayde,

‘And bringeth hir to swich a place anon.’

1490

They take hir leve, and on hir wey they gon;

But they ne wiste why she thider wente.

(764)

He nolde no wight tellen his entente.

[T. om.

 Paraventure an heep of yow, y-wis,

[T. om.

Wol holden him a lewed man in this,

[T. om.

That he wol putte his wyf in Iupartye;

[T. om.

Herkneth the tale, er ye up-on hir crye.

[T. om.

She may have bettre fortune than yow semeth;

[T. om.

And whan that ye han herd the tale, demeth.

1493-98. found in E. only.

(771)

 This squyer, which that highte Aurelius,

1500

On Dorigen that was so amorous,

Of aventure happed hir to mete

Amidde the toun, right in the quikkest strete,

As she was boun to goon the wey forth-right

Toward the gardin ther-as she had hight.

1505

And he was to the gardinward also;

For wel he spyed, whan she wolde go

Out of hir hous to any maner place.

(780)

But thus they mette, of aventure or grace;

And he saleweth hir with glad entente,

And asked of hir whiderward she wente?

1500. E. Hn. Cm. amorus.   1503. E. bown; rest boun.

 And she answerde, half as she were mad,

‘Un-to the gardin, as myn housbond bad,

My trouthe for to holde, allas! allas!'

 Aurelius gan wondren on this cas,

1515

And in his herte had greet compassioun

Of hir and of hir lamentacioun,

And of Arveragus, the worthy knight,

(790)

That bad hir holden al that she had hight,

So looth him was his wyf sholde breke hir trouthe;

1520

And in his herte he caughte of this greet routhe,

Consideringe the beste on every syde,

That fro his lust yet were him lever abyde

Than doon so heigh a cherlish wrecchednesse

Agayns franchyse and alle gentillesse;

1525

For which in fewe wordes seyde he thus:

1515. E. Hn. Cm. hadde.

 ‘Madame, seyth to your lord Arveragus,

(800)

That sith I see his grete gentillesse

To yow, and eek I see wel your distresse,

That him were lever han shame (and that were routhe)

1530

Than ye to me sholde breke thus your trouthe,

I have wel lever ever to suffre wo

Than I departe the love bitwix yow two.

I yow relesse, madame, in-to your hond

Quit every surement and every bond,

1535

That ye han maad to me as heer-biforn,

Sith thilke tyme which that ye were born.

My trouthe I plighte, I shal yow never repreve

(810)

Of no biheste, and here I take my leve,

As of the treweste and the beste wyf

1540

That ever yet I knew in al my lyf.

But every wyf be-war of hir biheste,

On Dorigene remembreth atte leste.

Thus can a squyer doon a gentil dede,

As well as can a knight, with-outen drede.’

1527. E. Hn. seyeth.   1534. Hn. serement; Hl. seurement.

1545

 She thonketh him up-on hir knees al bare,

And hoom un-to hir housbond is she fare,

And tolde him al as ye han herd me sayd;

(820)

And be ye siker, he was so weel apayd,

That it were inpossible me to wryte;

1550

What sholde I lenger of this cas endyte?

 Arveragus and Dorigene his wyf

In sovereyn blisse leden forth hir lyf.

Never eft ne was ther angre hem bitwene;

He cherisseth hir as though she were a quene;

1555

And she was to him trewe for evermore.

Of thise two folk ye gete of me na-more.

1556. E. om. two.

 Aurelius, that his cost hath al forlorn,

(830)

Curseth the tyme that ever he was born:

‘Allas,’ quod he, ‘allas! that I bihighte

1560

Of pured gold a thousand pound of wighte

Un-to this philosophre! how shal I do?

I see na-more but that I am fordo.

Myn heritage moot I nedes selle,

And been a begger; heer may I nat dwelle,

1565

And shamen al my kinrede in this place,

But I of him may gete bettre grace.

But nathelees, I wol of him assaye,

(840)

At certeyn dayes, yeer by yeer, to paye,

And thanke him of his grete curteisye;

1570

My trouthe wol I kepe, I wol nat lye.’

 With herte soor he gooth un-to his cofre,

And broghte gold un-to this philosophre,

The value of fyve hundred pound, I gesse,

And him bisecheth, of his gentillesse,

1575

To graunte him dayes of the remenaunt,

And seyde, ‘maister, I dar wel make avaunt,

I failled never of my trouthe as yit;

(850)

For sikerly my dette shal be quit

Towardes yow, how-ever that I fare

1580

To goon a-begged in my kirtle bare.

But wolde ye vouche-sauf, up-on seurtee,

Two yeer or three for to respyten me,

Than were I wel; for elles moot I selle

Myn heritage; ther is na-more to telle.’

1580. E. Hn. Cp. a-begged; Ln. abigged; Hl. a begge; Cm. Pt. a beggere.   1581. Cm. Cp. Hl. seurte; Pt. swerte; E. Hn. seuretee.   1583. E. Thanne.

1585

 This philosophre sobrely answerde,

And seyde thus, whan he thise wordes herde:

‘Have I nat holden covenant un-to thee?’

(860)

‘Yes, certes, wel and trewely,’ quod he.

‘Hastow nat had thy lady as thee lyketh?’

1590

‘No, no,’ quod he, and sorwefully he syketh.

‘What was the cause? tel me if thou can.’

Aurelius his tale anon bigan,

And tolde him al, as ye han herd bifore;

It nedeth nat to yow reherce it more.

1595

 He seide, ‘Arveragus, of gentillesse,

Had lever dye in sorwe and in distresse

Than that his wyf were of hir trouthe fals.’

(870)

The sorwe of Dorigen he tolde him als,

How looth hir was to been a wikked wyf,

1600

And that she lever had lost that day hir lyf,

And that hir trouthe she swoor, thurgh innocence:

‘She never erst herde speke of apparence;

That made me han of hir so greet pitee.

And right as frely as he sente hir me,

1605

As frely sente I hir to him ageyn.

This al and som, ther is na-more to seyn.’

1596. E. Hn. Hadde.   1602. E. Hn. Hl. hadde herd; rest herde (herd).   1606. E. Hn. This; rest This is.

 This philosophre answerde, ‘leve brother,

(880)

Everich of yow dide gentilly til other.

Thou art a squyer, and he is a knight;

1610

But god forbede, for his blisful might,

But-if a clerk coude doon a gentil dede

As wel as any of yow, it is no drede!

 Sire, I relesse thee thy thousand pound,

As thou right now were cropen out of the ground,

1615

Ne never er now ne haddest knowen me.

For sire, I wol nat take a peny of thee

For al my craft, ne noght for my travaille.

(890)

Thou hast y-payed wel for my vitaille;

It is y-nogh, and farewel, have good day:’

1620

And took his hors, and forth he gooth his way.

1613. E. releesse.   1614. Cp. Hl. crope; Ln. crepe. Cm. om. the.   1616. E. Cm. Cp. taken.

1621

 Lordinges, this question wolde I aske now,

Which was the moste free, as thinketh yow?

Now telleth me, er that ye ferther wende.

(896)

I can na-more, my tale is at an ende.

Here is ended the Frankeleyns Tale.

1621. E. Hn. Cp. Ln. ins. thanne before wolde.   Colophon. From E.; Hn. Here endeth, &c.; Pt. Thus endeth the Frankleyn his tale.

*** For ll. 11929-34 in Tyrwhitt's text, see Note at the foot of p. 289; for ll. 11935-12902, see pp. 290-319; for ll. 12903-15468, see pp. 165-289.

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