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From Pluto sent, at requeste of Saturne,
For which his hors for seregan to turne.
And lepte aside, and foundred as he lepe:
Ander that Arcite may take any kepe,
He pight him on the pomel of his hed,
That in the place he lay as he were ded,
His brest to-brosten with his sadel bow.
As blake he lay as any cole or crow.
So was the blood yronnen in his face.
Anon he was yborne out of the place
With herte sore, to Theseus paleis.
Tho was he corven out of his harneis,
And in a bed yorought ful fayre and blive,
For he was yet in memorie, and live,
And alway crying after Emelie.
Duk Theseus, with all his compagnie,
ls comen home to Athenes his citee,
With alle blisse and gret solempnite.
Al be it that this aventure was falle,
He n'olde not discomforten hem alle.
Men sayden eke, that Arcite shal not die,
He shal ben heled of his maladie.
And of another thing they were as sayn,
That of hem alle was ther non yslain,
Al were they sore yhurt, and namely on,
That with a spere was thirled his brest bone.
To other woundes, and to broken armes,
Sorm hadden salves, and some hadden charmes:
And fermacies of herbes, and eke save
They dronken, for they wold hir lives have.
For which this noble duk, as he wel can,
Comforteth and honoureth every man,
And made revel all the longe night,
Unto the strange lordes, as was right.
Nether n as holden no discomforting,
Rut as at ju-te- or a tourneying:
For sothly ther n'as no discomfiture,
For falling n'is not but an aventure.
Ne to be lad by force unto a stake
Unyolden. and with twenty knightes take,
Operson all alone, withouten mo,
And haried forth by armes, foot, and too,
And eke his stede driven forth with staves,
With footmen, bothe yemen and eke knaves,
It was aretted him no vilanie:
Ther may no man clepen it cowardie.
For which anon duk Theseus let crie,
To stenten alle rancour and envie,
The gree as wel of o side as of other,
And eyther side ylike, as others brother:
And yave hem giftes after hir degree,
Andhelde a feste fully dayes three:
Ani conveyed the kinges worthily
Out of his toun a journee largely.
And home went every man the righte way,
Ther n'as no more, but farewel, have good day.
Of this battaille I wol no more endite,
But opeke of Palamon and of Arcite.
Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the sore
Facre-eth at his herte more and more.
The clotered blood, for any leche-craft,
Corrumpeth, and is in his bouke ylaft,
That neyther veine-blood, ne ventousing,
Ne drinke of herbes may ben his helping.
The vertue expulsif, or animal,
Frothilke vertue cleped natural,
Ne may the venime voiden, ne expell.
The pipes of his longes gan to swell,
And every lacerte in his brest adoun
Is shent with venime and corruptioun.
Him gaineth neyther, for to get his lis,
Vomit upward, ne dounward laxatif:
All is to-brosten thilke region;
Nature hath now no domination
And certainly ther nature wol not werche,
Farewel physike: go bere the man to cherche,
This is all and som, that Arcite moste die.
For which he sendeth after Emelie,
And Palamon, that was his cosin dere.
Than sayd he thus, as ye shulm after here.
“Nought may the woful spirit in myn herte
Declare o point of all my sorwessmerte
To you, my lady, that I love most;
But I bequethe the service of my gost
To you aboven every creature,
Sin that my lif ne may no lenger dure.
“Alas the wo! alas the peines stronge,
That I for you have suffered, and so longe!
Alas the deth ! alas min Emelie!
Alas departing of our compagnie!
Alas min hertes quene: alas my wift
Min hertes ladie, ender of my lift
What is this world? what axen men to have 2.
Now with his love, now in his colde grave
Alone withouten any compagnie.
Farewel my swete, farewel min Emelie,
And softe take me in your armes twey,
For love of God, and herkeneth what I sey.
“I have here with my cosin Palamon
Had strif and rancour many a day agon
For love of you, and for my jalousie.
And Jupiter so wis my soule gie,
To speken of a servant proprely,
With alle circumstances trewely,
That is to sayn, trouth, honour, and knighthede,
Wisdom, humblesse, estat, and high kinrede,
Fredom, and all that longeth to that art,
So Jupiter have of my soule part,
As in this world right now ne know I non,
So worthy to be loved as Palamon,
That serveth you, and wol don all his lif.
And if that ever ye shall ben a wif,
Foryete not Palamon the gentil man.”
And with that word his speche saille began.
For from his feet up to his brest was come
The cold of deth, that had him overnome.
And yet moreover in his armes two
The vital strength is lost, and all ago.
Only the intellect, withouten more,
That dwelled in his herte sike and sore,
Gan feillen, whan the herte felte deth;
Dusked his eyen two, and sailled his breth.
But on his ladie yet cast he his eye;
His laste word was: “Mercy, Emelie!”
His spirit changed house, and wente ther,
As I came never I cannot tellen wher,
Therfore I stent, I am no divinistre;
Of soules find I not in this registre.
Ne me lust not th' opinions to telle
Of hem, though that they writen wher they dwelle.
THE WIF OF BATHES PROLOGUE.
“Experience, though non auctoritee Were in this world, is right ynough for me To speke of wo that is in mariage: For, lordings, sin I twelf yere was of age, (Thanked be God that is eterne on live) Husbondes at chirche dore have I had five, (If I so often might han wedded be) And all were worthy men in hir degree. “But me was told, not longe time agon is, That sithen Crist ne went never but onis To wedding, in the Cane of Galilee, That by that ilke ensample taught he me, That I ne shulde wedded be but ones. Lo, herke eke, which a sharpe word for the nones, Beside a welle Jesu, God and man, Spake in represe of the Samaritan: “Thou hast yhadde five husbonds, sayde he: And thilke man, that now hath wedded thee, Is not thyn husbond:” thus said he certain; What that he ment therby, I can not sain, But that I aske, why that the fifthe man Was non husbond to the Samaritan? How many might she have in mariage? Yet herd I never tellen in min age Upon this noumbre diffinitiouni Men may devine, and glosen up and doun. “But wel I wot, expresse withouten lie God bad us for to wer. and multiplie; That gentil text can I wel understond. Eke wel I wot, he sayd, that min husbond Shuld leve fader and moder, and take to me; But of no noumbre mention made he, Of bigamie or of octogamie ; Why shulde men than speke of it vilanier “Lo here the wise king dan Solomon, I trow he hadde wives mo than on, (As wolde God it leful were to me To be refreshed half so oft as he) Which a gift of God had he for alle his wives? No man hath swiche, that in this world on live is. Got wot, this noble king, as to my witte, The firste night had many a mery fitte With eche of hem, so wel was him on live. Blessed be God that I have wedded five, Welcome the sixthe whan that ever he shall. For sith I wol not kepe me chaste in all, Whan min husbond is fro the world yeon, Som Cristen man shal wedden me anon. For than the apostle saith, that I am fre To wedde, a' Goddes half, wherit liketh me. He saith that to be wedded is no sinne; Better is to be wedded than to brinne.
“What rekketh me though folk say vilanie Of shrewed Lamech, and his bigamie I wot wel Abraham was an holy man, And Jacob eke, as fer as ever I can, And eche of hem bad wives mo than two, And many another holy man also. Wher can ye seen in any maner age That highe God defended mariage By expresse word? I pray you telleth me, Or wher commanded he virginitee *
“I wot as wel as ye, it is no drede, The apostle, whan he spake of maidenhede, He said, that precept therof had he non: Men may conseille a woman to ben on, But conseilling is no commandement;
“Now sires; than wol I tell you forth my tale. As ever mote I drinken win or ale I shal say soth, the husbondes that I had As three of them were good, and two were bad. The three were goode men and riche and olde. Unethes mighten they the statute holde, In which that they were bounden unto me. Ye wot wel what I mene of this parde. As God me helpe, I laugh whan that I thinke, How pitously a-night I made hem swinke, But by my say, I tolde of it no store: They had me yeven hir lond and hir tresore, Meneded not do lenger diligence To win hir love, or don hem reverence. They loved me so wel by God above, That I ne tolde no deintee of hir love. A wise woman wol besy hire ever in on To geten hir love, ther as she hath nonBut sith I had hem holly in min hond, And that they haddeyeven me all hir lond, What shuld I taken kepe hem for to plese, But it were for my profit, or minese ? I set hem so a-werke by my fay, That many a night they songen “Wala wa.” The bacon was not fit for hem, I trow, That som men have in Essex at Donmow. I governed hem so wel after my lawe, That eche of hem ful blisful was and fawe To bringen me gay thinges fro the feyre. They were ful glade whan I spake hem fayre. For God it wot, I chidde hem spitously. Now herkeneth how I bare me proprely.
“Ye wise wives, that can understonel, Thus shul ye speke, and bere hem wrong on hond, For half so boldely can ther no man Sweren and lien as a woman can. (I say not this by wives that ben wise, But if it be whan they hem misavise.) A wise wif if that she can hire good, Shal beren hem on hond the cow is wood, And taken witnesse of hire owen mayd Of hir assent: but herkeneth how I sayd.
“Sire olde Kaynard, is this thin aray 2 Why is my neigheboures wif so gay?
She is honoured over al wher she goth,
I sit at home, I have no thrifty cloth.
What dost thou at my neigheboures hous?
Is she so faire 2 art thou so amorous?
What row nest thou with our maide 2 benedicite,
Sire olde lechour, let thy japes be.
““And if I have a gossib, or a frend,
(Withouten gilt) thou chidest as a fend,
If that I walke or play unto his hous.
“‘Thou comest home as dronken as a mous,
And prechest on thy benche, with evil prefe:
Thou sayst to me, it is a gret meschiefe
To wed a poure woman, for costage:
And if that she be riche of high parage,
Than sayst thou, that it is a tourmentrie
To soffre hire pride and hire melancolie.
And if that she be faire, thou veray knave,
Thou sayst that every holour wol hire have.
She may no while in chastitee abide,
That is assailled upon every side.
Thou sayst som folk desire us for richesse,
Some for our shape, and some for our fairnesse,
And som, for she can other sing or dance,
And som for gentillesse and daliance,
Some for hire hondes and hire armes smale:
Thus goth all to the devil by thy tale.
Thou sayst, men may not kepe a castel wal,
it may so long assailled be over al.
And if that she be foul, thou sayst, that she
Coveteth every man that she may see;
For as a spaniel, she wol on him lepe,
Til she may finden some man hire to chepe.
Nenon so grey goosgoth ther in the lake,
(As sayst thou) that wol ben withoute a make.
And sayst, it is an hard thing for to welde
A thing, that no man wol his thankes helde.
“‘Thus sayst thou, lorel, whan thou gost to bed
And that no wise man nedeth for to wed,
Ne no man that entendeth unto Heven.
With wilde thonder dint and firy leven
Mote thy welked nekke be to-broke. [smoke,
* “Thou sayst, that dropping houses, and eke
And chiding wives maken men to flee
Out of hir owen house; a, benedicite,
What aileth swiche an old man for to chide
“‘Thou sayst, we wives wol our vices hide,
Til we be fast, and than we wol hem shewe.
Wel may that be a proverbe of a shrewe.
“Thou sayst, that oxen, asses, hors, and houndes,
They ben assaied at diverse stoundes,
Basins, lavoures, or that men hem bie,
Spones, stooles, and all swiche husbondrie,
And so ben pottes, clothes, and aray,
But folk of wives maken non assay,
Til they ben wedded, olde dotard shrewel
And than, sayst thou, we wol our vices shewe.
“‘Thou sayst also, that it displeseth me,
But if that thou wolt preisen my beautee,
And but thou pore alway upon my face,
And coepe me faire dame in every place;
And but thou make a feste on thilke day
That I was borne, and make me fresh and gay :
And but thou do to my norice honour,
And to my chamberere within my bour,
And to my faders folk, and myn allies;
Thus sayst thou, olde barel ful of lies.
“‘And yet also of our prentis Jankin,
For his crispe here, shining as gold so fin,
And for he squiereth me both up and doun,
Yet hast thou caught a false suspection:
I wol him nat, though thou were ded to-morwe.
“‘But tell me this, why hidest thou with sorwe
The keies of thy chest away frome
It is my good as wel as thin parde,
What, wenest thou make an idiot of our dame *
Now by that lord that cleped is Seint Jame,
Thou shalt not bothe, though that thou were wood,
Be maister of my body and of my good,
That on thou shalt forgo maugre thin eyen.
What helpeth it of me to enquere and spient
I trow thou woldest locke me in thy cheste.
Thou shuldest say, fayr wif, go wher thee leste;
Take your disport; I wol nat leve no tales;
I know you for a trewe wif, dame Ales.
“‘We love no man, that taketh kepe or charge
Wher that we gon, we wol be at our large.
Of alle men yblessed mote he be
The wise astrologien dan Ptholomee,
That sayth this proverbe in his Almageste:
“Of alle men his wisdom is higheste,
That rekketh not who hath the world in hond.”
“‘By this proverbe thou shalt wel understond,
Have thou ynough, what thar thee rekke or care
How merily that other folkes fare
For certes, olde dotard, by your leve,
Ye shullen have queint right ynough at eve.
He is to gret a nigard that wolwerne
A man to light a candel at his lanterne;
He shall have never the lesse lighte parde.
Have thou ynough, thee thar not plainen thee.
“‘Thou sayst also, if that we make us gay
With clothing and with precious array,
That it is peril of our chastitee.
And yet, with sorwe, thou enforcest thee,
And sayst thise wordes in the apostles name:
• In habit made with chastitee and shame
Ye women shul appareile you,' (quod he)
“And nat in tressed here, and gay perrie,
As perles, ne with gold, ne clothes riche.”
“‘After thy text, ne after thy rubriche
I wol not work as mochel as a gnat.
“‘Thou sayst also, I walke out like a cat;
For who so wolde senge the cattes skin,
Than wol the cat wel dwellen in hire in ;
And if the cattes skin be sleke and gay,
She wol mat dwellen in hous half a day,
But forth she wol, or any day be dawed,
To shew hire skin, and gon a caterwaued.
This is to say, if I be gay, sire shrewe,
I wol refine out, my borel for to shewe.
Sire olde fool, what helpeth thee to spien 2
Though thou pray Argus with his hundred eyen
To be my wardecorps, as he can best.
In faithe he shal not kepe me but me lest:
Yet coudo I make his berd, so mote I the.
“‘Thou sayest eke, that ther ben thinges three,
Which thinges gretly troublen all this erthe,
And that no wight ne may endure the ferthe:
Olese sire shrewe, Jesu short thy lif.
“‘Yet prechest thou, and sayst, an hateful wif
Yrekened is for on of thise meschances.
Be ther non other maner resemblances
That ye may liken your parables to,
But if a sely wif be on of tho?
“‘Thou likenest eke womans love to IIelle,
To barrein lond, ther water may not dwelle.
“‘Thou likenest it also to wilde fire;
The more it brenneth, the more it hath desire
To consume every thing, that brent wol be.
“‘Thou sayest right as wormes shende a tre,
Right so a wif destroieth hire husbond;
This knowen they that ben to wives bond.”
“Lordings, right thus, as ye han understond,
Bare I stifly min old husbondes on hond,
That thus they saiden in hir dronkennesse;
And all was false, but as I toke witnesse
On Jankin, and upon my nece also.
O Lord, the peine I did hem, and the wo,
Ful gilteles, by Goddes swete pine;
For as an hors, I coude bite and whine;
I coude plain, and I was in the gilt,
Or elles oftentime I had ben spilt.
Who so first cometh to the mill, first grint;
I plained first, so was our werreystint.
They were ful glad to excusen hem ful blive
Of thing, the which they never agilt hir live.
Of wenches wold I beren hem on hond,
Whan that for sike unnethes might they stond,
Yet tikeled I his herte for that he
Wend that I had of him so gret chiertee:
I swore that all my walking out by night
Was for to espien wenches that he dight:
Under that colour had I many a mirth;
For all swiche wit is yeven us in our birth;
Deceite, weping, spinning, God hath yeven
To woman kind, while that they may liven.
And thus of othing I may avaunten me,
At th' ende I had the beter in eche degree,
By sleight or force, or by som maner thing,
As by continual murmur or grutching,
Namely a-bed, ther hadden they meschance,
Therwold Ichide, and don hem no plesance:
I wold no lenger in the bed abide,
If that I felt his arme over my side,
Til he had made his raunson unto me,
Than wold I soffre him do his nicetee.
And therfore every man this tale I tell,
Winne who so may, for all is for to sell:
With empty hond men may no haukes lure,
For winning wold I all his lust endure,
And maken me a feined appetit,
And yet in bacon had I never delit:
That maked me that ever I wold hem chide.
For though the Pope had sitten hem beside,
wold not spare hem at hir owen bord,
** by my trouthe I quitte hem word for word.
As helpe me veray God omnipotent,
Tho I right now shuld make my testament,
I ne owe hem not a word, that it n'is quit,
I brought it so abouten by my wit,
That they must yeve it up, as for the best,
Or elles had we never ben in rest.
For though he loked as a wood leon,
Yet shuld he faille of his conclusion.
“Than wold I say, ‘Now, goode lese, take kepe,
How mekely loketh Wilkin oure shepe:
Come ner my spouse, and let me ba thy cheke.
Yeshulden be al patient and meke,
And han a swete spiced conscience,
Sith ye so preche of Jobes patience.
Suffreth alway, sin ye so wel can preche,
And but ye do, certain we shal you teche
That it is faire to han a wif in pees.
On of us two moste bowen doutelees:
And, sith a man is more resonable
Than woman is, ye mosten ben suffrable.
What aileth you to grutchen thus and grone?
Is it for ye wold have my queint alone?
Why take it all: lo, have it every del.
Peter, I shrew you but ye love it wel.
For if I wolde sell my belle chose,
I coude walke as freshe as is a rose,
But I wolkepe it for your owen toth.
se be to blame, by God, I say you soth.”
“Swiche maner wordes hadden we on hond.
Now wol I speken of my fourthe husbond.
“My fourthe husbonde was a revellour,
This is to sayn, he had a paramour,
And I was yonge and ful of ragerie,
Stibborne and strong, and joly as a pie.
Tho coude I dancen to an harpe smale, .
And sing ywis as any nightingale,
Whan I had dronke a draught of swete wine.
Metellius, the foule cherle, the swine,
That with a staf beraft his wif hire lif
For she drank wine, though I had ben his wis,
Ne shuld he not have daunted me fro drinke:
And after wine of Venus most I thinke.
For also siker as cold engendreth hayl,
A likerous mouth most han a likerous tayl.
In woman vinolent is no defence,
This knowen lechours by experience.
“But, Lord Crist, whan that it remembreth me
Upon my youth, and on my jolitee,
It tikleth me about myn herte-rote.
Unto this day it doth myn herte bote,
That I have had my world as in my time.
But age, alas ! that all wol envenime,
Hath me beraft my beautee and my pith:
Let go, farewel, the devil go therwith.
The flour is gon, ther nois no more to tell,
The bren, as I best may, now moste I sell.
But yet to be right mery wol I fond,
Now forth to tellen of my fourthe husbond,
“I say, I had in herte gret despit,
That he of any other had delit;
But he was quit by God and by Seint Joce:
I made him of the same wood a croce,
Not of my body in no foule manere, But certainly I made folk swiche chere, That in his owen grese I made him frie Foranger and for verayjalousie. By God, in earth I was his purgatorie, For which I hope his soule be in glorie. For, God it wote, he sate ful oft and songe, Whan that his sho ful bitterly him wronge. Ther was no wight, save God and he, that wiste In many a wise how sore that I him twiste. He died whan I came fro Jerusalem, And lithygrave under the rode-beem: Allis his tombe not so curious As was the sepulcre of him Darius, Which that Appelles wrought so sotelly. It is but wast to bury hein preciously. Lethin farewel, God give his soule rest, He is now in his grave and in his chest. “Now of my fifthe husbonde wol I telle; Godlet his soule never come in Helle. And yet was he to me the moste shrew, That sele I on my ribbes all by rew, And evershal, unto min ending day. Busin our bed he was so fresh and gay, And herwishall he coude so wel me glose, Whan that he wolde han my belle chose, That though he had me bet on every bon, He coude win agen my love anon. Ittow, I love him the bet, for he Was of his love so dangerous to me. We wimmenhan, if that I shal not lie, his matere a queinte fantasie. While, what thing we may mat lightly have, Theraser wol we cry all day and crave. Forbede us thing, and that desiren we; **on usiast, and thanne wol we flee. With danger uttren we all our chaffare; (*ptees at market maketh dere ware, All togretchepe is holden at litel prise; This knoweth every woman that is wise. “My fifthe husbonde, God his soule blesse, Which that I toke for love and no richesse, **nime was a clerk of Oxenforde, And had left scole, and went at home at borde With my gossib, dwelling in our toun: "have hire soule, hire name was Alisoun, **new my herte and all my privetee, ktúan our parish preest, so mote I the. Thire bewried I my conseil all; *had my husbond pissed on a wall, "in a thing that shuld have cost his lif, White, and to another worthy wis, *to my nece, which that I loved wel, 'odhave told his conseil every del. * I did ful often, God it wote, humade his face ful often red and hote **ny shame, and blamed himself, for he old to me so gret oprivetee. "And so befell that ones in a Lent, on times I to my gossib went, *eryet I loved to be gay, Andor to walke in March, April, and May,
From hous to hous, to heren sondry tales) That Jankin clerk, and my gossib dame Ales, And I myself, into the feldes went. Myn husbond was at London all that Lent; I had the better leiser for to pleie, And for to see, and eke for to be seie Of lusty folk; what wist I wher my grace Was shapen for to be, or in what place Therfore made I my visitations To vigilies, and to processions, To prechings eke, and to thise pilgrimages, To playes of miracles, and mariages, And wered upon my gay skarlet gites. Thise wormes, ne thise mothes, ne thise mites Upon my paraille frett hem never a del, And wost thou why? for they were used wel. “Now wol I tellen forth what happed me: I say, that in the feldes walked we, Till trewely we had swiche daliance This clerk and I, that of my purveance I spake to him, and said him how that he, If I were widewe, shulde wedden me. For certainly, I say for no bobance, Yet was I never without purveance Of mariage, ne of other thinges eke: I hold a mouses wit not worth a leke, That hath but on hole for to sterten to, And if that saille, than is all yao. “I bare him on hond, he hath enchanted me; (My dame taughte me that subtiltee) And eke I sayd, I mette of him all night, He wold han slain me, as I lay upright, And all my bed was full of verny blood; But yet I hope that ye shulu do me good: For blood betokeneth gold, as me was taught. And al was false, I dremed of him right naught, But as I folwed ay my dames lore, As wel of that as other thinges more. “But now, sire, let me see, what shall I sain A ha, by God I have my tale again. Whan that my fourthe husbonde was on bere, I wept algate and made a sory chere, As wives moten, for it is the usage; And with my coverchese covered my visage; But, for that I was purveyed of a make, I wept but smal, and that I undertake. To chirche was myn husbond born a-morwe With neigheboures that for him maden sow re, And Jankin oure clerk was on of thos As helpe me God, whan that I saw him go After the bere, me thought he had a paire Of legges and of feet, so clene and faire, That all my herte I yave unto his hold. He was, I trow, a twenty winter old, And I was fourty, if I shal say soth, But yet I had alway a coltes toth. Gat-tothed I was, and that became me wele, I had the print of seinte Venus sele. As helpe me God, I was a lusty on, And faire, and riche, and yonge, and wel begon: And trewely, as min husbondes tolden me, I had the beste queint that mighte be.