The Prologe of the Squieres tale.
“Ey, Goddes mercy!” seyde oure Hooste tho,
“Now swich a wyf I pray God kepe me fro!
Lo, whiche sleightes and subtilitees
In wommen been, for ay as bisy as bees
Been they us sely men for to deceyve;
And from a sooth evere wol they weyve,
By this Marchantes tale it preveth weel.
But doutelees, as trewe as any steel,
I have a wyf, though that she povre be,
But of hir tonge a labbyng shrewe is she.
And yet she hath an heep of vices mo —
Ther-of no fors, lat alle swiche thynges go.
But wyte ye what, in conseil be it seyd,
Me reweth soore I am unto hire teyd;
For and I sholde rekenen every vice,
Which that she hath, ywis, I were to nyce.
And cause why? it sholde reported be,
And toold to hir of somme of this meynee;
Of whom, it nedeth nat for to declare,
Syn wommen konnen outen swich chaffare.
And eek my with suffiseth nat therto,
To tellen al, wherfore my tale is do.”
Squier, come neer, if it your wille be,
And sey somwhat of love, for certes, ye
Konnen theron as muche as any man.”
“Nay sir,” quod he, “but I wol seye as I kan,
With hertly wyl, for I wol nat rebelle
Agayn your lust. A tale wol I telle,
Have me excused if I speke amys;
My wyl is good, and lo, my tale is this.”
Heere bigynneth the Squieres Tale.
At Sarray, in the land of Tartarye,
Ther dwelte a kyng, that werreyed Russye,
Thurgh which ther dyde many a doughty man.
This noble kyng was cleped Cambynskan,
Which in his tyme was of so greet renoun,
That ther was nowher in no regioun
So excellent a lord in alle thyng.
Hym lakked noght that longeth to a kyng;
And of the secte, of which that he was born,
He kepte his lay, to which that he was sworn;
And therto he was hardy, wys, and riche,
Pitous, and just, and everemoore yliche,
Sooth of his word, benigne, and honurable,
Of his corage as any centre stable,
Yong, fressh, strong, and in armes desirous
As any bacheler of al his hous.
A fair persone he was, and fortunat,
And kepte alwey so wel roial estat
That ther was nowher swich another man.
This noble kyng, this Tarte Cambynskan,
Hadde two sones on Elpheta his wyf,
Of whiche the eldeste highte Algarsyf,
That oother sone was cleped Cambalo.
A doghter hadde this worthy kyng also,
That yongest was, and highte Canacee.
But for to telle yow al hir beautee,
It lyth nat in my tonge nyn my konnyng.
I dar nat undertake so heigh a thyng;
Myn Englissh eek is insufficient.
I moste been a rethor excellent,
That koude hise colours longynge for that art,
If he sholde hir discryven every part.
I am noon swich; I moot speke as I kan.
And so bifel, that whan this Cambynskan
Hath twenty wynter born his diademe,
As he was wont fro yeer to yeer, I deme,
He leet the feeste of his nativitee
Doon cryen thurghout Sarray his citee,
The last Idus of March after the yeer.
Phebus the sonne ful joly was and cleer,
For he was neigh his exaltacioun
In Martes face, and in his mansioun
In Aries, the colerik hoote signe.
Ful lusty was the weder, and benigne,
For which the foweles agayn the sonne sheene,
What for the sesoun and the yonge grene,
Ful loude songen hir affecciouns;
Hem semed han geten hem protecciouns
Agayn the swerd of wynter, keene and coold.
This Cambynskan, of which I have yow toold,
In roial vestiment sit on his deys,
With diademe, ful heighe in his paleys,
And halt his feeste so solempne and so ryche,
That in this world ne was ther noon it lyche.
Of which, if I shal tellen al tharray,
Thanne wolde it occupie a someres day,
And eek it nedeth nat for to devyse,
At every cours, the ordre of hire servyse.
I wol nat tellen of hir strange sewes,
Ne of hir swannes, nor of hire heronsewes;
Eek in that lond, as tellen knyghtes olde,
Ther is som mete that is ful deynte holde,
That in this lond men recche of it but smal —
Ther nys no man that may reporten al.
I wol nat taryen yow, for it is pryme,
And for it is no fruyt but los of tyme.
Unto my firste I wole have my recours.
And so bifel, that after the thridde cours
Whil that htis kyng sit thus in his nobleye,
Herknynge hise mynstrals hir thynges pleye
Biforn hym at the bord deliciously,
In at the halle dore al sodeynly
Ther cam a knyght, upon a steede of bras,
And in his hand a brood mirour of glas,
Upon his thombe he hadde of gold a ryng,
And by his syde a naked swerd hangyng.
And up he rideth to the heighe bord.
In al the hall ne was ther spoken a word
For merveille of this knyght; hym to biholde
Ful bisily ther wayten yonge and olde.
This strange knyght, that cam thus sodeynly
Al armed, save his heed, ful richely,
Saleweth kyng, and queene, and lordes alle,
By ordre, as they seten in the halle,
With so heigh reverence and obeisaunce,
As wel in speche as in contenaunce,
That Gawayn, with his olde curteisye,
Though he were comen ayeyn out of Fairye,
Ne koude hym nat amende with a word.
And after this, biforn the heighe bord
He with a manly voys seith his message,
After the forme used in his langage,
Withouten vice of silable or of lettre.
And for his tale sholde seme the bettre,
Accordant to hise wordes was his cheere,
As techeth art of speche hem that it leere.
Al be it that I kan nat sowne his stile,
Ne kan nat clymben over so heigh a style,
Yet seye I this, as to commune entente,
Thus muche amounteth al that evere he mente,
If it so be that I have it in mynde.
He seyde, “The kyng of Arabe and of Inde,
My lige lord, on this solempne day
Saleweth yow, as he best kan and may;
And sendeth yow, in honour of your feeste,
By me, that am al redy at your heeste,
This steede of bras, that esily and weel
Kan in the space of o dday natureel,
This is to seyn, in foure and twenty houres,
Wherso yow lyst, in droghte or elles shoures,
Beren youre body into every place
To which youre herte wilneth for to pace,
Withouten wem of yow, thurgh foul or fair.
Or if yow lyst to fleen as hye in the air
As dooth an egle, whan that hym list to soore,
This same steede shal bere yow evere moore
Withouten harm, til ye be ther yow leste,
Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste;
And turne ayeyn, with writhyng of a pyn.
He that it wroghte, koude ful many a gyn;
He wayted many a constellacioun
Er he had doon this operacioun;
And knew ful many a seel, and many a bond.
This mirrour eek, that I have in myn hond,
Hath swich a myght, that men may in it see
Whan ther shal fallen any adversitee
Unto your regne, or to yourself also,
And openly who is your freend, or foo.
And over al this, if any lady bright
Hath set hir herte in any maner wight,
If he be fals, she shal his tresoun see,
His newe love, and al his subtiltee
So openly, that ther shal no thyng hyde.
Wherfore, ageyn this lusty someres tyde,
This mirrour and this ryng that ye may see,
He hath sent unto my lady Canacee,
Your excellente doghter that is heere.
The vertu of the ryng, if ye wol heere,
Is this, that if hir lust it for to were
Upon hir thombe, or in hir purs it bere,
Ther is no fowel that fleeth under the hevene
That she ne shal wel understonde his stevene,
And knowe his menyng openly and pleyn,
And answere hym in his langage ageyn.
And every gras that groweth upon roote,
She shal eek knowe, and whom it wol do boote,
Al be hise woundes never so depe and wyde.
This naked swerd, that hangeth by my syde
Swich vertu hath, that what man so ye smyte
Thurghout his armure it wole hym kerve and byte,
Were it as thikke as is a branched ook.
And what man that is wounded with a strook
Shal never be hool, til that yow list of grace
To stroke hym with the plate in thilke place
Ther he is hurt; this is as muche to seyn,
Ye moote with the plate swerd ageyn
Strike hym in the wounde, and it wol close.
This is a verray sooth withouten glose.
It faileth nat, whils it is in youre hoold.”
And whan this knyght hath thus his tale toold,
He rideth out of halle, and doun he lighte.
His steede, which that shoon as sonne brighte,
Stant in the court, as stille as any stoon.
This knyght is to his chambre lad anoon,
And is unarmed and unto mete yset.
The presentes been ful roially yfet,
This is to seyn, the swerd and the mirrour,
And born anon into the heighe tour
With certeine officers ordeyned therfore.
And unto Canacee this ryng was bore,
Solempnely, ther she sit at the table.
But sikerly, withouten any fable,
The hors of bras, that may nat be remewed,
It stant as it were to the ground yglewed.
Ther may no man out of the place it dryve,
For noon engyn of wyndas ne polyve;
And cause why, for they kan nat the craft,
And therfore in the place they han it laft,
Til that the knyght hath taught hem the manere
To voyden hym, as ye shal after heere.
Greety was the prees that swarmeth to and fro
To gauren on this hors, that stondeth so.
For it so heigh was, and so brood, and long,
So wel proporcioned for to been strong,
Right as it were a steede of Lumbardye;
Therwith so horsly and so quyk of eye,
As it a gentil Poilleys courser were.
For certes, fro his tayl unto his ere,
Nature ne art ne koude hym nat amende
In no degree, as al the peple wende.
But everemoore hir mooste wonder was
How that it koude go, and was of bras.
It was a fairye, as al the peple semed.
Diverse folk diversely they demed;
As many heddes, as manye wittes ther been.
They murmureden as dooth a swarm of been,
And maden skiles after hir fantasies,
Rehersynge of thise olde poetries,
And seyde that it was lyk the Pegasee,
The hors that hadde wynges for to flee;
Or elles, it was the Grekes hors Synoun,
That broghte Troie to destruccioun,
As men in thise olde geestes rede.
“Myn herte,” quod oon, “is everemoore in drede.
I trowe som men of armes been therinne,
That shapen hem this citee for to wynne.
It were right good that al swich thyng were knowe.”
Another rowned to his felawe lowe,
And seyde, “He lyeth; it is rather lyk
An apparence ymaad by som magyk,
As jogelours pleyen at thise feestes grete.”
Of sondry doutes thus they jangle and trete,
As lewed peple demeth comunly
Of thynges that been maad moore subtilly
Than they kan in hir lewednesse comprehende;
They demen gladly to the badder ende.
And somme of hem wondred on the mirrour
That born was up into the maister tour —
How men myghte in it swiche thynges se.
Another answerde, and seyde, “It myghte wel be
Naturelly by composiciouns
Of anglis 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 mirrours and of perspectives,
As knowen they that han hir bookes herd.
And oother folk han wondred on the swerd,
That wolde percen thurgh out every thyng;
And fille in speche of Thelophus the kyng
And of Achilles with his queynte spere,
For he koude with it bothe heele and dere,
Right in swich wise as men may with the swerd,
Of which right now ye han yourselven herd.
They speken of sondry hardyng of metal,
And speke of medicynes therwithal,
And how and whanne it sholde yharded be,
Which is unknowe, algates unto me.
Tho speeke they of Canacees ryng,
And seyden alle, that swich a wonder thyng
Of craft of rynges herde they nevere noon;
Save that he Moyses, and kyng Salomon
Hadde a name of konnyng in swich art.
Thus seyn the peple, and drawen hem apart.
But nathelees, somme seiden that it was
Wonder to maken of fern asshen glas,
And yet nys glas nat lyk asshen of fern;
But for they han knowen it so fern,
Therfore cesseth hir janglyng and hir wonder.
As soore wondren somme on cause of thonder,
On ebbe, on flood, on gossomer, and on myst,
And alle thyng, til that the cause is wyst.
Thus jangle they, and demen, and devyse,
Til that the knyg gan fro the bord aryse.
Phebus hath laft the angle meridional,
And yet ascendynge was the beest roial,
The gentil Leoun, with his Aldrian,
Whan that this Tartre kyng, this Cambynskan
Roos fro his bord, ther that he sat ful hye.
Toforn hym gooth the loude mynstralcye
Til he cam to his chambre of parementz,
Ther as they sownen diverse intrumentz
That it is lyk an hevene for to heere.
Now dauncen lusty Venus children deere,
For in the Fyssh hir lady sat ful hye,
And looketh on hem with a freendly eye.
This noble kyng is set up in his trone;
This strange knyght is fet to hym ful soone,
And on the daunce he gooth with Canacee.
Heere is the revel and the jolitee
That is nat able a dul man to devyse;
He moste han knowen love and his servyse,
And been a feestlych man as fressh as May,
That sholde yow devysen swich array.
Who koude telle yow the forme of daunces,
So unkouthe and so fresshe contenaunces,
Swich subtil lookyng and dissymulynges,
For drede of jalouse mennes aperceyvynges?
No man but Launcelet, and he is deed.
Therfore I passe of al this lustiheed;
I sey namoore, but in this jolynesse
I lete hem, til men to the soper dresse.
The styward bit the spices for to hye,
And eek the wyn, in al this melodye;
The usshers and the squiers been ygoon,
The spices and the wyn is come anoon,
They ete and drynke, and whan this hadde an ende,
Unto the temple, as reson was, they wende.
The service doon, they soupen al by day;
What nedeth me rehercen hir array?
Ech man woot wel, that at a kynges feeste
Hath plentee, to the mooste and to the leeste,
And deyntees mo than been in my knowyng.
At after soper gooth this noble kyng,
To seen this hors of bras, with al the route
Of lordes, and of ladyes hym aboute.
Swich wondryng was ther on this hors of bras,
That syn the grete sege of Troie was,
Ther as men wondreden on an hors also,
Ne was ther swich a wondryng as was tho.
But fynally, the kyng axeth this knyght
The vertu of this courser, and the myght;
And preyde hym to telle his governaunce.
This hors anoon bigan to trippe and daunce,
Whan that this knyght leyde hand upon his reyne,
And seyde, “Sire, ther is namoore to seyne,
But whan yow list to ryden any where,
Ye mooten trille a pyn, stant in his ere,
Which I shal telle yow bitwix us two.
Ye moote nempne hym to what place also,
Or to what contree, that yow list to ryde,
And whan ye com ther as yow list abyde,
Bidde hym descende, and trille another pyn,
(For therin lith theffect of al the gyn)
And he wol doun descende, and doon youre wille.
And in that place he wol stonde stille,
Though al the world the contrarie hadde yswore;
He shal nat thennes been ydrawe ne ybore.
Or, if yow liste, bidde hym thennes goon,
Trille this pyn, and he wol vanysshe anoon
Out of the sighte of every maner wight,
And com agayn, be it day or nyght,
Whan that yow list to clepen hym ageyn,
In swich a gyse as I shal to yow seyn,
Bitwixe yow and me, and that ful soone.
Ride whan yow list; ther is namoore to doone.”
Enformed whan the kyng was of that knyght,
And hath conceyved in his wit aright
The manere and the forme of al this thyng,
Thus glad and blithe this noble doughty kyng
Repeireth to his revel as biforn,
The brydel is unto the tour yborn,
And kept among hise jueles, leeve and deere.
The hors vanysshed, I noot in what manere,
Out of hir sighte; ye gete namoore of me.
But thus I lete in lust and jolitee
This Cambynskan, hise lordes festeiynge,
Til wel ny the day bigan to sprynge.
Explicit prima pars. Sequitur pars secunda.
The norice of digestioun, the sleepe,
Gan on hem wynke, and bad hem taken keepe,
That muchel drynke and labour wolde han reste;
And with a galpyng mouth hem alle he keste,
And seyde, “It was tyme to lye adoun,
For blood was in his domynacioun.
Cherisseth blood, natures freend,” quod he.
They thanken hym, galpynge, by two, by thre,
And every wight gan drawe hym to his reste,
As sleep hem bad; they tooke it for the beste.
Hir dremes shul nat been ytoold for me;
Ful were hir heddes of fumositee,
That causeth dreem, of which ther nys no charge.
They slepen til that it was pryme large,
The mooste part, but it were Canacee;
She was ful mesurable, as wommen be.
For of hir fader hadde she take leve
To goon to reste, soone after it was eve.
Hir liste nat appalled for to be,
Ne on the morwe unfeestlich for to se:
And slepte hir firste sleepe, and thanne awook;
For swich a joye she in hir herte took,
Bothe of hir queynte ryng and hire mirrour,
That twenty tyme she changed hir colour,
And in hir sleep right for impressioun
Of hir mirrour she hadde a visioun.
Wherfore, er that the sonne gan up glyde,
She cleped on hir maistresse, hir bisyde,
And seyde, that hir liste for to ryse.
Thise olde wommen that been gladly wyse,
As hir maistresse answerde hir anon,
And seyde, “Madame, whider wil ye goon
Thus erly, for the folk been alle on reste?”
“I wol,” quod she, “arise, for me leste
No lenger for to slepe; and walke aboute.”
Hir maistresse clepeth wommen a greet route,
And up they rysen wel an ten or twelve.
Up riseth fresshe Canacee hirselve,
As rody and bright as dooth the yonge sonne,
That in the Ram is foure degrees upronne,
Noon hyer was he, whan she redy was;
And forth she walketh esily a pas,
Arrayed after the lusty sesoun soote,
Lightly for to pleye and walke on foote,
Nat but with fyve or sixe of hir meynee;
And in a trench forth in the park gooth she.
The vapour, which that fro the erthe glood,
Made the sonne to seme rody and brood;
But natheless, it was so fair a sighte
That it made alle hir hertes for to lighte,
What for the sesoun and the morwenynge,
And for the foweles that she herde synge;
For right anon she wiste what they mente
Right by hir song, and knew al hir entente.
The knotte, why that every tale is toold,
If it be taried til that lust be coold
Of hem that han it after herkned yoore,
The savour passeth ever lenger the moore,
For fulsomnesse of his prolixitee;
And by the same resoun thynketh me,
I sholde to the knotte condescende,
And maken of hir walkyng soone an ende.
Amydde a tree fordryed, as whit as chalk,
As Canacee was pleyyng 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.
Ybeten hath she hirself so pitously
With bothe hir wynges, til the rede blood
Ran endelong the tree ther as she stood,
And evere in oon she cryde alwey and shrighte,
And with hir beek hirselven so she prighte,
That ther nys tygre, ne noon so crueel beest
That dwelleth outher in wode or in forest
That nolde han wept, if that he wepe koude
For sorwe of hir, she shrighte alwey so loude.
For ther nas nevere yet no man on lyve
(If that I koude a faucon wel discryve),
That herde of swich another of fairnesse,
As wel of plumage as of gentillesse
Of shape and al that myghte yrekened be.
A faucon peregryn thanne semed she
Of fremde land, and everemoore as she stood
She swowneth now and now for lakke of blood,
Til wel neigh is she fallen fro the tree.
This faire kynges doghter Canacee,
That on hir fynger baar the queynte ryng,
Thurgh which she understood wel every thyng
That any fowel may in his leden seyn,
And koude answeren hym in his ledene ageyn,
Hath understonde what this faucoun seyde,
And wel neigh for the routhe almoost she deyde.
And to the tree she gooth ful hastily,
And on this faucoun looketh pitously,
And heeld hir lappe abrood, for wel she wiste
The faucoun moste fallen fro the twiste,
Whan that it swowned next, for lakke of blood.
A longe while to wayten hir she stood,
Til atte laste she spak in this manere
Unto the hauk, as ye shal after heere.
“what is the cause, if it be for to telle,
That ye be in this furial pyne of helle?’
Quod Canacee unto the hauk above,
“Is this for sorwe of deeth, or los of love?
For, as I trowe, thise been causes two
That causeth moost a gentil herte wo.
Of oother harm it nedeth nat to speke,
For ye yourself upon yourself yow wreke,
Which proveth wel, that oother love or drede
Moot been enchesoun of your cruel dede,
Syn that I see noon oother wight yow chace.
For love of God as dooth yourselven grace.
Or what may been your helpe? for west nor est
Ne saugh I nevere er now no bryd ne beest
That ferde with hymself so pitously.
Ye sle me with your sorwe, verraily,
I have of yow so greet compassioun.
For Goddes love com fro the tree adoun,
And as I am a kynges doghter trewe,
If that I verraily the cause knewe
Of your disese, if it lay in my myght
I wolde amenden it er that it were nyght,
As wisly helpe me, grete god of kynde!
And herbes shal I right ynowe yfynde,
To heele with youre hurtes hastily.”
Tho shrighte this faucoun moore yet pitously
Than ever she dide, and fil to grounde anon
And lith aswowne, deed, and lyk a stoon,
Til Canacee hath in hir lappe hir take
Unto the tyme she gan of swough awake.
And after that she of hir swough gan breyde,
Right ibn hir hsukes ledene thus she seyde:
“That pitee renneth soone in gentil herte,
Fellynge his similitude in peynes smerte,
Is preved al day, as men may it see,
As wel by werk as by auctoritee.
For gentil herte kitheth gentillesse.
I se wel, that ye han of my distresse
Compassioun, my faire Canacee,
Of verray wommanly benignytee
That nature in youre principles hath set.
But for noon hope for to fare the bet,
But for to obeye unto youre herte free,
And for to maken othere be war by me,
As by the whelp chasted is the leoun,
Right for that cause and that condlusioun
Whil that I have a leyser and a space,
Myn harm I wol confessen, er I pace.”
And evere whil that oon hir sorwe tolde,
That oother weep, as she to water wolde,
Til that the faucoun bad hire to be stille;
And with a syk right thus she seyde hir wille.
“Ther I was bred, allas, that harde day!
And fostred in a roche of marbul gray
So tendrely, that no thyng eyled me;
I nyste nat what was adversitee,
Til I koude flee ful hye under the sky.
Tho dwelte a tercelet me faste by
That semed welle of alle gentillesse,
Al were he ful of tresoun and falsnesse;
It was so wrapped under humble cheere,
And under hewe of trouthe in swich manere,
Under plesance, and under bisy peyne,
That I ne koude han wend he koude feyne,
So depe in greyn he dyed his colours.
Right as a serpent hit hym under floures
Til he may seen his tyme for to byte,
Right so this god of love, this ypocryte,
Dooth so hise cerymonyes and obeisaunces,
And kepeth in semblant alle hise observaunces
That sowneth into gentillesse of love.
As in a toumbe is al the faire above,
And under is the corps swich as ye woot,
Swich was this ypocrite, bothe coold and hoot;
And in this wise he served his entente,
That-save the feend-noon wiste what he mente;
Til he so longe hadde wopen and compleyned,
And many a yeer his service to me feyned,
Til that myn herte, to pitous and to nyce,
Al innocent of his corouned malice,
For-fered of his deeth, as thoughte me,
Upon hise othes and his seuretee,
Graunted hym love up this condicioun
That everemoore myn honour and renoun
Were saved, bothe privee and apert.
This is to seyn, that after his desert
I yaf hym al myn herte and al my thoght —
God woot and he, that ootherwise noght! —
And took his herte in chaunge for myn for ay.
But sooth is seyd, goon sithen many a day,
‘A trewe wight and a theef thenken nat oon.’
And whan he saugh the thyng so fer ygoon,
That I hadde graunted hym fully my love,
In swich a gyse as I have seyd above,
And yeven hym my trewe herte, as free
As he swoor he his herte yaf to me,
Anon this tigre ful of doublenesse
Fil on hise knees, with so devout humblesse,
With so heigh reverence, and as by his cheere
So lyk a gentil lovere of manere,
So ravysshed, as it semed, for the joye,
That nevere Jason, ne Parys of Troye,
Jason? certes, ne noon oother man
Syn Lameth was, that alderfirst bigan
To loven two, as writen folk biforn,
Ne nevere syn the firste man was born,
Ne koude man, by twenty thousand part,
Countrefete the sophymes fo his art;
Ne were worhty unbokelen his galoche,
Ther doublenesse or feynyng sholde approche,
Ne so koude thonke a wight as he dide me.
His manere was an hevene for to see
Til any womman, were she never so wys;
So peynted he and kembde at point-devys
As wel hise wordes as his contenaunce
And I so loved hym for his oveisaunce
And for the trouthe I demed in his herte,
That if so were that any thyng hym smerte,
Al were it nevere so lite, and I it wiste,
Me thoughte I felte deeth myn herte twiste.
And shortly so ferforth this thyng is went,
That my wyl was his willes instrument;
This is to seyn, my wyl obeyed his wyl
In alle thyng as fer as resoun fil,
Kepynge the boundes of my worship evere.
Ne nevere hadde I thyng so lief, ne levere,
As hym, God woot! ne nevere shal namo.
This lasteth lenger than a yeer or two,
That I supposed of hym noght but good.
But finally, thus atte laste it stood,
That Fortune wolde that he moste twynne
Out of that place, which that I was inne.
Wher me was wo that is no questioun;
I kan nat make of it discripcioun.
For o thyng dare I tellen boldely,
I knowe what is the peyne of deeth therby.
Swich harme I felte, for he ne myghte bileve;
So on a day of me he took his leve
So sosrwefully eek, that I wende verraily,
That he had felt as muche harm as I,
Whan that I herde hym speke, and saugh his hewe.
But nathelees, I thoughte he was so trewe,
And eek that he repaire sholde ageyn
Withinne a litel while, sooth to seyn,
And resoun wolde eek that he moste go
For his honour, as ofte it happeth so,
That I made vertu of necessitee,
And took it wel, syn that it moste be.
As I best myghte, I hidde fro hym my sorwe,
And took hym by the hond, seint John to borwe,
And seyde hym thus, ‘Lo I am youres al.
Beth swich as I to yow have been, and shal.’
What he answerde, it nedeth noght reherce,
Who kan sey bet than he? who kan do werse?
Whan he hath al wel seyd, thanne hath he doon;
‘Therfore bihoveth hire a ful long spoon
That shal ete with a feend,’ thus herde I seye.
So atte laste he moste forth his weye,
And forth he fleeth, til he cam ther hym leste.
Whan it cam hym to purpos for to reste,
I trowe he hadde thilke text in mynde
That ‘alle thyng repeirynge to his kynde
Gladeth hymself;’ thus seyn men, as I gesse.
Men loven of propre kynde newefangelnesse,
As briddes doon, that men in cages fede,
For though thou nyght and day take of hem hede,
And strawe hir cage faire and softe as silk,
And yeve hem sugre, hony, breed, and milk,
Yet right anon as that his dore is uppe,
He with his feet wol spurne adoun his cuppe,
And to the wode he wole and wormes ete;
So newefangel been they of hir mete,
And loven novelrie of propre kynde.
No gentillesse of blood ne may hem bynde.
So ferde this tercelet, allas, the day!
Though he were gentil born, and fressh, and gay,
And goodlich for to seen, humble and free,
He saugh upon a tyme a kyte flee,
And sodeynly he loved this kyte so
That al his love is clene fro me ago,
And hath his trouthe falsed in this wyse.
Thus hath the kyte my love in hire servyse,
And I am lorn withouten remedie.”
And with that word this faucoun gan to crie,
And swowned eft in Canacees barm.
Greet was the sorwe for the haukes harm
That Canacee and alle hir wommen made.
They nyste hou they myghte the faucoun glade;
But Canacee hom bereth hir in hir lappe,
And softely in plastres gan hir wrappe,
Ther as she with hir beek hadde hurt hirselve.
Now kan nat Canacee but herbes delve
Out of the ground, and make saves newe
Of herbes preciouse and fyne of hewe,
To heelen with this hauk; fro day to nyght
She dooth hir bisynesse and al hir myght.
And by hir beddes heed she made a mewe,
And covered it with veluettes blewe,
In signe of trouthe that is in wommen sene.
And al withoute, the mewe is peynted grene,
In which were ypeynted alle thise false fowles,
As beth thise tidyves, tercelettes, and owles,
Right for despit were peynted hem bisyde,
And pyes on hem for to crie and chyde.
Thus lete I Canacee hir hauk kepyng;
I wol namoore as now speke of hir ryng,
Til it come eft to purpos for to seyn
How that this faucoun gat hire love ageyn
Repentant, as the storie telleth us,
By mediacioun of Cambalus,
The kynges sone, of which that I yow tolde.
But hennesforth I wol my proces holde
To speken of aventures and of batailles,
That nevere yet was herd so grete mervailles.
First wol I telle yow of Cambynskan,
That in his tyme many a citee wan;
And after wol I speke of Algarsif,
How that he wan Theodora to his wif,
For whom ful ofte in greet peril he was,
Ne hadde he be holpen by the steede of bras;
And after wol I speke of Cambalo
That faught in lystes with the bretheren two
For Canacee, er that he myghte hir wynne.
And ther I lefte, I wol ayeyn bigynne.
Explicit secunda pars. Incipit pars tercia.
Appollo whirleth up his chaar so hye
Til that the god Mercurius hous, the slye —
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:06