Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Till Irvine water fish to tak he went,

And said, “Son, thir tidings sits me sore, Sic fantasy fell in his intent.

And, be it known, thou may tak scaith therefore.' To lead his net a child furth with him yede, 1

"Uncle,' he said, 'I will no langer bide, But he, or2 noon, was in a fellon dread.

Thir southland horse let see gif I can ride.' His swerd he left, so did he never again ;

Then but a child, him service for to mak; It did him gude, suppose he suffered pain.

His eme's sons he wald not with him tak. Of that labour as than he was not slie,

This gude knight said, “Dear cousin, pray I thee, Happy he was, took fish abundantly.

When thou wants gude, come fetch eneuch frae me.' Or of the day ten hours o'er couth pass.

Silver and gold he gart on him give,
Ridand there came, near by where Wallace was, Wallace inclines, and gudely took his leave.
The Lord Percy, was captain than of Ayr ;
Frae then' he turned, and couth to Glasgow fare.3
Part of the court had Wallace' labour seen,

[Escape of Wallace from Perth.] Till him rade five, clad into ganand green,

(Wallace, betrayed by a woman in Perth, escapes to Elcho And said soon, 'Scot, Martin's fish we wald have!'

Park, in the neighbourhood, killing two Englishmen by the Wallace meekly again answer him gave.

way. The English garrison of the town, under Sir John Butler, • It were reason, methink, ye should have part,

commence a search and pursuit of the fugitive hero, by means Waithu should be dealt, in all place, with free heart.' of a bloodhound. Wallace, with sixteen men, makes his way He bade his child, .Give them of our waithing.' out of the park, and hastens to the banks of the Earn.] The Southron said, 'As now of thy dealing We will not tak ; thou wald give us o’er small.'

As they were best arrayand Butler's route, He lighted down and frae the child took all.

Betwixt parties than Wallace ischet out; Wallace said then, 'Gentlemen gif ye be,

Sixteen with him they graithit them to gae, Leave us some part, we pray for charity.

Of all his men he had leavit no mae. Ane aged knight serves our lady to-day :

The Englishmen has missit him, in hyl Gude friend, leave part, and tak not all away.'

The hound they took, and followed hastily. 'Thou shall have leave to fish, and tak thee mae,

At the Gask Wood full fain he wald have been ; All this forsooth shall in our flitting gae.

But this sloth-brach, whilk sicker was and keen, We serve a lord ; this fish shall till him gang.'

On Wallace foot followed so fellon fast, Wallace answered, said, “Thou art in the wrang.'

While in their sicht they 'proachit at the last. 'Wham thous thou, Scot? in faith thou 'serves a blaw.'

| Their horse were wicht, had sojourned weel and lang; Till him he ran, and out a swerd can draw.

To the next wood, twa mile they had to gang, William was wae he had nae wapping there

Of upwith yird ;' they yede with all their micht, But the poutstaff, the whilk in hand he bare.

Gude hope they had, for it was near the nicht. Wallace with it fast on the cheek him took,

Fawdon tirit, and said he micht not gang. With sae gude will, while of his feet he shook.

Wallace was wae to leave him in that thrang. The swerd flew frae him a fur-breid on the land.

He bade him gae, and said the strength was near, Wallace was glad, and hint it soon in hand;

But he tharefore wald not faster him steir. And with the swerd awkward he him gave

Wallace, in ire, on the craig can him ta', Under the hat, his craigo in sunder drave.

With his gude swerd, and strak the head him frae. By that the laveh lighted about Wallace,

Dreidless to ground dertly he dushit deid. Ile had no help, only but God's grace.

Frae him he lap, and left him in that stede. On either side full fast on him they dang,

Some deemis it to ill; and other some to gude; Great peril was gif they had lasted lang.

And I say here, into thir termis rude, Upon the head in great ire he strak ane;

Better it was he did, as thinkis me; The shearand swerd glade to the collar bane.

First to the hound it micht great stoppin be;
Ane other on the arm he hit so hardily,

Als', Fawdon was halden at suspicion,
While hand and swerd baith in the field can lie. For he was of bruckil complexion3
The tother twa fled to their horse again;

Richt stark he was, and had but little gane.
He stickit him was last upon the plain.

Thus Wallace wist : had he been left alane, Three slew he there, twa fled with all their might

An he were false, to enemies he wald gae ; After their lord ; but he was out of sight,

Gif he were true, the southron wald him slay. Takand the muir, or he and they couth twine. Micht he do oucht but tyne him as it was ? Till him they rade anon, or they wald blin,7

Frae this question now shortly will I pass. And cryit, • Lord, abide ; your men are martyred down Deem as ye list, ye that best can and may, Right cruelly, here in this false region.

I but rehearse, as my autoúr will say. Five of our court here at the water bade, 8

Sternis, by than, began for till appear, Fish for to bring, though it nae profit made.

| The Englishmen were comnand wonder near ; We are scaped, but in field slain are three.'

Five hundred hail was in their chivalry. The lord speirit,9 · How mony might they be?'

To the next strength than Wallace couth him hy. • We saw but ane that has discomfist us all.'

Stephen of Ireland, unwitting of Wallace,
Then leugh10 he loud, and said, “ Foul mot you fall! And gude Kerly, bade still near hand that place,
Sin' ane you all has put to confusion.

At the muir-side, intill a scroggy slaid,
Wha meins it maist the devil of hell him drown! By east Dupplin, where they this tarry made.
This day for me, in faith, he bees not sought.'

Fawdon was left beside them on the land ;
When Wallace thus this worthy wark had wrought,

The power came, and suddenly him fand ; Their horse he took, and gear that left was there,

For their sloth-hound the straight gait till him yede, Gave ower that craft, he yede to fish nae mair.

Of other trade she took as than no heed. Went till his eme, and tald him of this deed,

The sloth stoppit, at Fawdon still she stude,
And he for woe well near worthit to weid, 11

Nor further she wald, frae time she fand the blude.
Englishmen deemit, for als they could not tell,

But that the Scots had fouchten amang themsell. 1 Went. 2 Ere.

Richt wae they were that losit was their scent.
8 He was on his way from Ayr to Glasgow.
4 Spoil taken in sport.

5 Neck.
6 Rest.

Wallace twa men amang the host in went,
7 Ere they would stop. 8 Tarried. 9 Inquired.
10 Laughed.
11 Nearly went mad.

i Haste. 2 Ascending ground. 3 Broken reputation.

Dissemblit weel, that no man sould them ken,
Richt in effeir, as they were Englishmen.
Kerly beheld on to the bauld Heroun,
Upon Fawdon as he was lookand down,
A subtle straik upward him took that tide,
Under the cheeks the grounden swerd gart glide,
By the gude mail, baith halse and his craig bane
In sunder strak ; thus endit that Chieftain.
To ground he fell, feil folk about him thrang,
Treason ! they cried, traitors was them amang !
Kerly, with that, fled out soon at a side,
His fallow Stephen than thoucht no time to bide.
The fray was great, and fast away they yede,
Laighl toward Earn ; thus scapit they of dreid.
Butler for woe of weeping micht not stint,
Thus recklessly this gude knickt they tynt.
They deemit all that it was Wallace inen,
Or else himself, though they could not him ken.
"He is richt near, we shall him have but2 fail,
This feeble wood may him little avail.'
Forty were passed again to Sanct-Johnstoun,
With this dead corse, to burying made it boune.
Parted their men, syne diverse wayis raid;
A great power at Dupplin still there baid.
Till Dareoch the Butler passed but let;
At sundry fuirds, the gait they unbeset ;
To keep the wood till it was day they thoucht.
As Wallace thus in the thick forest soucht,
For his twa men in inind he had great pain,
He wist not weel if they were ta'en or slain,
Or scapit hail by ony jeopardy :
Thretteen were left him ; no mae had he.
În the Gask hall their lodging have they ta'en ;
Fire gat they soon, but meat than had they nane.
Twa sheep they took beside them aff a fauld,
Ordained to sup into that seemly hauld,
Graithit in haste some food for them to dicht :
So heard they blaw rude hornis upon heicht.
Twa sent he forth to look what it micht be ;
They baid richt lang, and no tidings heard he,
But boustous noise so brimly blew and fast,
So other twa into the wood furth passed.
Nane come again, but boustously can blaw;
Into great ire he sent them furth on raw.
When that alane Wallace was leavit there,
The awful blast aboundit mickle mair.
Than trowit he weel they had his lodging seen;
His swerd he drew, of noble metal kcen;
Syne furth he went where that he heard the horn.

Without the door Fawdon was him beforn, | As till his sicht, his awn heid in his hand :

A cross he made when he saw him so stand.
At Wallace in the hcid he swakit there, 3
And he in haste soon hyntt it by the hair,
Syne out at him again he couth it cast-
Intill his heart he was greatly aghast.
Richt weel he trowit that was nae spreit of man,
It was some devil, at sic malice began.
He wist no weel there langer for to bide ;
Up through the Hall thus wicht Wallace can glide
Till a close stair, the buirdis rave in twyne,
Fifteen foot large he lap out of that inn.
Up the water, suddenly he couth fare,
Again he blent what 'pearance he saw there,
He thoucht he saw Fawdoun, that ugly sir,
That hail ball he had set in a fire ;
A great rafter he had intill his hand.
Wallace as than no langer wald he stand,
Of his gude inen full great marrel had he,
How they were tint through his feil fantasy.
Traists richt weel all this was sooth indeed,
Suppose that it no point be of the creed.
Power they had with Lucifer that fell,
The time when he parted frae heaven to hell.

By sic mischief gif his men micht be lost,
Drownit or slain amang the English host;
Or what it was in likeness of Fawdoun,
Whilk broucht his men to sudden confusion ;
Or gif the man ended in evil intent,
Some wicked spreit again for him present,
I can not speak of sic divinity;
To clerks I will let all sic matters be.

But of Wallace furth I will you tell,
When he was went of that peril fell,
Richt glad was he that he had scapit sae,
But for his men great murning can be ma.
Flayt by himsell to the Maker of love,
Why he sufferit he sould sic painis prore.
He wist not weel if it was Goddis will,
Richt or wrang his fortune to fulfil.
Had he pleased God, he trowit it micht not be,
He sould him thole ini sic perplexity
But great courage in his mind ever drave
Of Englishmen thinkand amends to have.

As he was thus walkald by him alane,
Upon Earn-side, makand a piteous mane,
Sir John Butler, to watch the fuirdis right,
Out frae his men of Wallace had a sight.
The mist was went to the mountains again ;
Till him he rade, where that he made his mané.
On loud he speirt, - What art you walks this gait!
' A true man, sir, though my voyage be late ;
Errands I pass frae Doune unto my lord ;
| Sir John Stewart, the richt for to record,
In Doune is now, new comand frae the king.'
Than Butler said, 'This is a selcouth thing,
You lee'd all out, you have been with Wallace,
I shall you knaw, or you come off this place.'
Till him he stert the courser wonder wicht,
Drew out a swerd, so made him for to licht.
Aboon the knee gude Wallace has him ta'en
Through thie and brawn, in sunder strak the bane,
Derfly to deid the knicht fell on the land.
Wallace the horse soon seizit in his hand ;
Ane backward straik syne took him, in that steid,
His craig in twa ; thus was the Butler deid.
Ane Englishman saw their chieftain was slain
A gpear in rest he cast with all his main,
On Wallace drave, frae the horse him to beir ;
Warly he wroucht, as worthy man in weir ;
The spear he wan, withouten mair abaid,
On horse he lap, and through a great rout raid
To Dareoch ; he knew the fords full weel ;
Before him came feil 2 stufft in fine steel;
He strak the first but baid in the blasoun,
While horse and man baith flet the water doun.
Ane other syne doun frae his horse he bare,
Stampit to ground, and drounit withouten mair.
The third he hit in his harness of steel
Through out the cost, the spear it brak some deal.
The great power than after him can ride,
He saw na weel nae langer there to bide.
His burnist brand bravely in hand he bare ;
Wham he hit richt they followit him nae mair.
To stuff the chase feil frekis followit fast,
But Wallace made the gayest aye aghast.
The muir he took, and through their power yede.

[The Death of Wallace.] | On Wednesday the false Southron furth brocht

To martyr him, as they before had wrocht.4
Of men in arms led him a full great rout.
With a bauld sprite guid Wallace blent about :
A priest he asked, for God that died on tree.
King Edward then commanded his clergy,
And said, 'I charge you, upon loss of life,
Nane be sae bauld yon tyrant for to shrive.

[blocks in formation]

1 That God should allow him to be in such perplexity. 2 Many. 3 Without sword.

4 Contrived.

He has reigned long in contrar my highness.

thirty-four years previous to 1356, he travelled in A blyth bishop soon, present in that place;

eastern countries, and on his return to England, wrote Of Canterbury he then was righteous lord ;

an account of all he had seen, mixed up with innuAgain' the king he made this richt record,

merable fables, derived from preceding historians And said, 'Myself shall hear his confession,

and romancers, as well as from hearsay. His book If I have micht in contrar of thy crown.

was originally written in Latin, then translated into An thou through force will stop me of this thing, French, and finally into English, “that every man I vow to God, who is my righteous king,

of my nacioun may undirstonde it.” It is of little That all England I shall her interdite,

use as a description of foreign climes, but valuable And make it known thou art a heretic.

as a monument of the language, and of the imperThe sacrament of kirk I shall him give :

fect learning and reason, and homely ideas, of the Syne take thy choice, to starvel or let him live. age which produced it. The name of the author has It were mair weil, in worship of thy crown,

become identified with our idea of a mendacious To keep sic ane in life in thy bandoun,

babbler ; but this is in a great measure an injustice. Than all the land and good that thou hast reived,

Mandeville, with the credulity of the age, embodied But cowardice thee ay fra honour dreived.

in his work every wild grandam tale and monkish Thou has thy life rougin 2 in wrangeous deed ;

fiction which came in his way; but it has been That shall be seen on thee or on thy seed.'

found, that where he quotes preceding authors, or The king gart 3 charge they should the bishop ta,

writes from his own observation, he makes no effort But sad lords counsellit to let him ga.

at either embellishment or exaggeration. Hence it All Englishmen said that his desire was richt.

is not uncommon to find him in one page giving a To Wallace then he rakit in their sicht

sensible account of something which he saw, and in And sadly heard his confession till ane end :

the next repeating with equal seriousness the story Humbly to God his sprite he there commend

of Gog and Magog, the tale of men with tails, or the Lowly him served with hearty devotion

account of the Madagascar bird which could carry Upon his knees and said ane orison.

elephants through the air. He gives, upon the A psalter-book Wallace had on him ever

whole, a pleasing and interesting account of the Fra his childheid-fra it wald nocht dissever;

Mohamedan nations amongst whom he sojourned. Better he trowit in wyage 4 for to speed.

Considering the exasperation which was likely to But then he was dispalyed of his weed.5

have been occasioned by the recent crusades. those This grace he asked at Lord Clifford, that knicht,

nations appear to have treated the Christian traTo let hiin have his psalter-book in sicht.

veller with surprising liberality and kindness. He He gart a priest it open before him hald,

is himself of a much more liberal spirit than many While they till himn had done all that they wald. Stedfast he read for ought they did him there ;

pious persons of more recent times, and dwells with

pleasure upon the numerous Christian sects who Fei) 6 Southrons said that Wallace felt na sair. Guid devotion, sae, was his beginning,

lived peaceably under the Saracen dominion. “And Conteined therewith, and fair was his ending.

ye shall understand,' says he, that of all these While speech and sprite at anis all can fare

countries, and of all these isles, and of all these

diverse folk, that I have spoken of before, and of To lasting bliss, we trow, for evermair.

| diverse laws and of diverse beliefs that they han

(have); yet there is none of them all but that they il

han some reason within them and understanding, PROSE WRITERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

but gif it be the fewer; and that they han certain

articles of our faith and some good points of our In the general history of literature, poetry takes

belief; and that they believen in God, that formed all precedence of prose. At first, when the memory

things and made the world, and clepen him God of was the chief means of preserving literature, men

Nature. * the But yet they can not speken perseem to have found it necessary that composition

feytly (for there is no man to techen them); but should take a form different from ordinary discourse

only that they can devise by their natural wit.' -a form involving certain measures, breaks, and

Further, in reference to the superior moral conduct

of the Mohamedan nations, he relates a conversa. pauses-not only as appropriate to its being some. thing higher and finer than common speech, but in

tion with the Sultan of Egypt, which may be here order that it might be the more easily remembered.

given, not only as a specimen of his language, but Hence, while we cavnot trace poetry to its origin,

with the view of turning this writer of the fourwe know that the first prose dates from the sixth

teenth century to some account in instructing the li century before the Christian era, when it was as

nineteenth : sumed, in Greece, as the form of certain narratives

[A Mohamedan's Lecture on Christian Vices.] differing from poetry in scarcely any other respect. In England, as in all other countries, prose was a

(Original Spelling.–And therfore I shalle telle you what the form of composition scarcely practised for several

Soudan tolde me upon a day, in his chambre. Ile leet voyden

out of his chambre alle maner of men, lordes and othere : for centuries, during which poetry was comparatively

he wolde spake with me in conseille. And there he asked me, much cultivated. The first specimens of it, en

how the Cristene men governed hem in oure contree. And I titled to any consideration, date from the reign of

seyde hin, righte wel, thonked be God. And he seyde, treulyche Edward III.

nay; for ye Cristene men ne recthen righte noghte how un

trewly to serve God. Ye scholde geven ensample, &c.] SIR JOHN MAXDEVILLE.

And therefore I shall tell you what the Soudan told Sir John Mandeville is usually held as the first

me upon a day, in his chamber. He let voiden out of il English prose writer. He was born at St Albans in

his chamber all manner of men, lords, and other ; the year 1300, and received the liberal education

for he would speak with me in counsel. And there he requisite for the profession of medicine. During the

asked me how the Christian men governed 'em in our

country. And I said (to] him, “Right well, thonked 1 The necessary consequence of an interdict.

be God.' And he said (to) me, “ Truly nay, for ye il 2 Spent.

3 Caused. * Expedition--his journey to the other world.

Christian men ne reckon right not how untruly to 5 Clothes. 6 Many serve God. Ye should given ensample to the lewed 1 people for to do well, and ye giren 'em ensample to vale is plenty of gold and silver ; wherefore many don eril. For the commons, upon festival days, when misbelieving men, and many Christian men also, gon1 they shoulden go to church to serve God, then gon in often time, for to have of the treasure that there is, they to taverns, and ben there in gluttony all the day but few comen again ; and namely, of the misbelieving and all night, and eaten and drinken, as beasts that men, ne of the Christian men nouther;? for they ben bare no reason, and wit not when they have enow. anon strangled of devils. And in mid place of that And therewithal they ben so proud, that they knowen vale, under a rock, is an head of the visage of a devil not how to ben clothed ; now long, now short, now bodily, full horrible and dreadful to see ; and it strait, now large, now sworded, now daggered, and in showeth not but the head, to the shoulders. But there all manner guises. They shoulden ben simple, meek, is no man in the world so hardy, Christian man ne and true, and full of alms-deed, as Jesu was, in whom other, but that he would ben adradd for to behold it ; they trow ; but they ben all the contrary, and ever and that it would seemen him to die for drend ; so is inclined to the cril, and to don evil. And they ben it hideous for to behold. For he beholdeth every so covetous, that for a little silver they sellen 'eir man so sharply with dreadful eyen4 that ben evermore daughters, 'eir sisters, and 'eir own wives, to putten moving and sparkling as fire, and changeth and 'em to lechery. And one withdraweth the wife of an- steereth so often in divers manner, with so horrible other; and none of 'em holdeth faith to another, but countenance, that no man dare not nighen5 towards they defoulen 'eir law, that Jesu Christ betook 'em him. And frob him cometh smoke and stink, and keep for 'eir salvation. And thus for 'eir sins, han fire, and so much abomination, that unethez no man (have) they lost all this lond that we holden. For 'eir may there endure. But the good Christian men, that sins here, hath God taken 'em in our honds, not only ben stable in the faith, entren well withouten peril : by strength of ourself, but for 'eir sins. For we for they will first shriven 'em, and marken hem with knowen well in very sooth, that when ye serve God, the token of the Holy Cross ; so that the fiends ne han God will help you; and when he is with you, no man nol power over 'em. But albeit that they ben withmay be against you. And that know we well by our outen peril, zit natheles10 ne ben they not withouten prophecies, that Christian men shall winnen this lond dread, when that they seen the devils visibly and bodily again out of our honds, when they serven God more all about 'em, that maken full many divers assautsli devoutly. But as long as they ben of foul and un- and menaces in air and in earth, and agasten12 'em clean living (as they ben now), we have no dread of with strokes of thunder-blasts and of tempests. And fein in no kind; for here God will not helpen 'em in the most dread is, that God will taken vengeance then, no wise.

of that men han misdone again13 his will. And ye And then I asked him how he knew the state of should understand, that when my fellows and I weren Christian men. And he answered me, that he knew in that vale, we weren in great thought whether that all the state of the commons also by his messengers, we dursten putten our bodies in aventure, to gon in or that he sent to all londs, in manner as they were mer- non, in the protection of God. And some of our felchants of precious stones, of cloths of gold, and of lows accordeden14 to enter, and some noght.15 So there other things, for to knowen the manner of every were with us two worthy men, friars minors that were country amongs Christian men. And then he let of Lombardy, that said, that if any man would enter, clepel in all the lords that he made voiden first out of they would go in with us. And when they had said his chamber; and there he showed me four that were so, upon the gracious trust of God and of 'em, 16 we let great lords in the country, that tolden me of my sing mass ; and made every man to be shriven and country, and of many other Christian countries, as well houseld ; 17 and then we entered fourteen persons ; but as if they had been of the same country; and they spak | at our going out, we were but nine. And so we wisten18 French right well, and the Soudan also, whereof I had never, whether that our fellows were lost, or elles19 great marvel. Alas, that it is great slander to our turned again for dread; but we ne saw them never faith and to our laws, when folk that ben withouten after ; and tho20 were two men of Greece and three of law shall reproven us, and undernemen? us of our sins. Spain; and our other fellows that would not go in with And they that shoulden ben converted to Christ and us, they went by another coast to ben before us, and to the law of Jesu, by our good example and by our so they were. And thus we passed that perilous vale, acceptable life to God, ben through our wickedness and found therein gold and silver, and precious stones, and evil living, far fro us; and strangers fro the holy and rich jewels great plenty, both here and there, as and vcry3 belief shall thus appellen us and holden us us seemed ; but whether that it was, as us seemed, I for wicked levirs and cursed. And truly they say | wot nere ;21 for I touched none, because that the devils sooth. For the Saracens ben good and faithful. For be so subtle to make a thing to seem otherwise than they keepen entirely the commandment of the holy | it is, for to deceive mankind; and therefore I touched book Alcoran, that God sent 'em by his messager none; and also because that I would not be put out Mahomet ; to the which, as they sayen, St Gabriel, of my devotion : for I was more devout than ever I the angel, oftentime told the will of God.

was before or after, and all for the dread of fiends,

that I saw in divers figures ; and also for the great [The Devil's Head in the Valley Perilous.]

multitude of dead bodies that I saw there lying by Beside that isle of Mistorak, upon the left side, the way, by all the vale, as though there had been a nigh to the river Phison, is a marvellous thing. battle between two kings, and the mightiest of the There is a vale between the mountains, that dureth country, and that the greater part had been discomnigh a four mile. And some clepen4 it the Vale En- fitted and slain. And I trow22 that unethe should any chanted, some clepen it the Vale of Devils, and some country have so much people within him, as lay slain clepen it the Vale Perilous ; in that vale hearenmen in that vale, as us thought ; the which was an hideous oftentime great tempests and thunders, and great sight to seen.23 And I marvelled much, that there murmurs and noises, all day and nights; and great noise as it were sound of tabors and of nakeresh and

2 Neither. 3 Afraid. Eyes. trumps, as though it were of a great feast. This vale

5 Approach. 6 From.

7 Scarcely. is all full of devils, and hath been always. And men

8 Confess themselves.

9 Have no. say there, that it is one of the entries of hell. In that

10 Yet nevertheless.

11 Assaults. 12 Terrify,

13 Against. 14 Agreed. 15 Not. 16 Themselves. Call. Remind. 3 True. Call. Hear.

lear. 17 To be confessed, and to have the Lord's Supper administered Nakeres-Nacara (Du Cange), a kind of brazen drum used to him.

19 Else. in the cavalry.

1 Go.

18 Know.

91 I never knew. S? Believe.

20 They

23 Sce.

were so many, and the bodies all whole withouten how ye shulen behave you in gathering of your rotting. But I trow that fiends made them seem to riches, and in what manner ye shulen usen 'em. be so whole, withouten rotting. But that might not First, ye shulen geten 'em withouten great desire, by be to my avys, that so many should have entered good leisure, sokingly, and not over hastily, for a man 80 newly, ne so many newly slain, without stinking that is too desiring to get riches abandoneth him first and rotting. And many of them were in habit of to theft and to all other evils ; and therefore saith Christian men ; but I trowe well, that it were of such Solomon, He that hasteth him too busily to wax rich, that went in for covetyse of the treasure that was he shall be non innocent: he saith also, that the there, and had overinuch feebleness in faith ; so that riches that hastily cometh to a man, soon and lightly their hearts ne might not endure in the belief for goeth and passeth from a man, but that riches that dread. And therefore were we the more devout a cometh little and little, waxeth alway and multiplieth. great deal ; and yet we were cast down, and beaten And, sir, ye shulen get riches by your wit and by your down many times to the hard earth, by winds and travail, unto your profit, and that withouten wrong or thunders, and tempests; but everinore, God, of his harm doing to any other person ; for the law saith, grace, helped us. And so we passed that perilous vale, There maketh no man himself rich, if he do harm to without peril, and without incumbrance. Thanked be another wight; that is to say, that Nature defendeth Almighty God.

and forbiddeth by right, that no man make himself

rich unto the harm of another person. And Tullius GEOFFREY CHAUCER.

saith, That no sorrow, ne no dread of death, ne noCHAUCER, though eminent chiefly as a poet, de thing that may fall unto a man, is so muckle agains serves to be mentioned also as a prose writer. nature as a inan to increase his own profit to harm of His longest unversified production is an allegorical another man. And though the great men and the and meditative work called The Testament of Love, mighty men geten riches more lightly than thou, yet written chiefly for the purpose of defending his cha- shalt thou not ben idle ne slow to do thy profit, for racter against certain imputations which had been thou shalt in all wise flee idleness ; for Solomon saith, cast upon it. Two of the Canterbury Tales are in That idleness teacheth a man to do many evils; and prose; and from the first, entitled the Tale of Meli- the same Solomon saith, That he that travaileth and beus, is extracted the following passage, not less re- busieth himself to tillen his lond, shall eat bread, but markable for the great amount of ancient wisdom he that is idle, and casteth him to no business ne ocwhich it contains, than for the clearness and sim- cupation, shall fall into poverty, and die for hunger. plicity of the diction :

Aud he that is idle and slow can never find coven

able time for to do his profit ; for there is a versifier [On Riches.]

saith, that the idle man excuseth him in winter beWhen Prudence had heard her husband anunt him.cause of the great cold, and in summer then by enself of his riches and of his money, dispreising the power

cheson of the heat. For these causes, saith Caton, of his adversaries, she spake and said in this wise :

waketh and inclineth you not over muckle to sleep, Certes, dear sir, I grant you that ye ben rich and for over muckle rest nourisheth and causeth many mighty, and that riches ben good to 'em that han wellvices ; and therefore saith St Jerome, Doeth some ygetten 'em, and that well can usen 'em : for. right good deeds, that the devil, which is our enemy, ne as the body of a man may not liven withouten soul. find you not unoccupied, for the devil he taketh not no more may it liven withouten temporal goods, and lightly unto his werking such as he findeth occupied by riches may a man get him great friends, and in good works. therefore saith Pamphilus, If a neatherd's daughter. Then thus in getting riches ye musten flee idleness ; be rich, she inay chese of a thousand men which she wol and afterward ye shulen usen the riches which ye han take to her husband : for of a thousand men one wol l geten by your wit and by your travail, in such mannot forsaken her ne refusen her. And this Pamphilus mot forsaken her pe refusen her And this pamabilner, than men hold you not too scarce, ne too sparing, saith also, If thou be right happy, that is to sayn, if ne fool-large, that is to say, over large a spender; for thou be right rich, thou shalt find a great number of right as men blamen an avaritious man because of his fellows and friends ; and if thy fortune change, that scarcity and chinchery, in the same wise he is to blame thou wax poor, farewell friendship and fellowship, for that spendeth over largely ; and therefore saith Caton, thou shalt be all alone withouten any company, but use (he saith) the riches that thou hast ygeten in such if it be the company of poor folk. And yet saith manner, that men have no matter ne cause to call this Pamphilus. moreover, that they that ben bond thee nother wretch ne chinch, for it is a great shame and thrall of liniace shuln be made worthy and noble / to a man to have a poor heart and a rich purse : he by riches. And right so as by riches there comen

saith also, The goods that thou hast ygeten, use 'em many goods, right so by poverty come there many

by measure, that is to sayen, spend measureably, for harms and evils; and therefore clepeth Cassiodore,

they that solily wasten and despenden the goods that poverty the mother of ruin, that is to savn, the mother they han, when they han no more proper of 'eir own, of overthrowing or falling down ; and therefore saith that they shapen 'em to take the goods of another Piers Alfonse, One of the greatest adversities of the

man. I say, then, that ye shulen flee avarice, using world is when a free man by kind, or of birth, is con- your riches in such manner, that men sayen not that strained by poverty to eaten the alms of his enemy. your riches ben yburied, but that ye have 'em in your And the same saith Innocent in one of his books ; he might and in your wielding ; for a wise man reproveth saith that sorrowful and mishappy is the condition of the avaritious man, and saith thus in two verse, a poor beggar, for if he ax not his meat he dieth of Whereto and why burieth a man his goods by his hunger, and if he ax he dieth for shaine : and algates great avarice, and knoweth well that needs must he necessity constraineth him to ax ; and therefore saith | die, for death is the end of every man as in this preSolomon, That better it is to die than for to have such sent life? And for what cause or encheson joineth poverty : and, as the same Solomon saith, Better it is he him, or knitteth he him so fast unto his goods, that to die of bitter death, than for to liven in such wise. By all his wits mowen not disseveren him or departen these reasons that I have said unto you, and by many him fro his goods, and knoweth well, or ought to know, other reasons that I could say, I grant you that riches

that when he is dead he shall nothing bear with him ben good to 'em that well geten 'em, and to him that out of this world! and therefore, saith st nu

out of this world ? and therefore saith St Augustine, well usen tho' riches ; and therefore wol I show you that the avaritious man is likened unto hell, that the

more it swalloweth the more desire it hath to swallow 1 Advice, understanding. 2 Covctousness. 3 Except. I and devour. And as well as ye wold eschew to be

« НазадПродовжити »