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Drugs, were a symptom - they weren't the cause of anything.

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They Weren't Comprehending Then

Never have I stood in someone's face,
To place what I thought...
Would be a valued judgement.
Or criticized their chosen lifestyle,
When invited as a guest to enter their home.

Nor have I told anyone what they 'should' do.
Or how it should be done.
I wanted to!
With a wish they would overcome,
To see life from a different point of view.
But I kept my mouth shut and respected.

I was not treated with such 'maturity'.
I had been wounded with salt poured.
I've gotten over myself and those days.

I am amazed by those who say to me now,
They wished they would have paid more attention.
And I wonder to myself...
To 'what'?
They weren't comprehending THEN,
To anything that was mentioned!

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They Finally Got The Message

Why are they sobbing?

'They are saying,
Something has come to affect their lives.
And they were not prepared and didn't know.'

That's a bunch of BS.
I came to address that with them months ago.

You were the one that got them upset.
With a telling them they should awaken,
From a foolishness that they protect.
And when you arrived you were not dressed,
To impress.
And that's why they ignored your message? '

Who knows.
But they can not say they weren't told.
So why are they sobbing in their Sunday clothes?

'They just discovered,
The message you left...
Had the steps they should take,
If they expected entry through the 'Pearlie Gates'.

What Pearlie Gates?

A blistering sermon was just delivered to them,
About disrespecting their fellowman.
Since one never knows who has what in their hands.
Wasn't that the message you left? '

NAW, man!
I came to tell them their son had been,
A cellmate of mine in prison.
And he escaped.
But they had moved away.

Maybe they didn't move that far.
And their sins caught up with them.
Now I see.
They have not been that honest with me.'

Either way...
They got some kind of message.
And that fool they've been trying to protect,
Has probably been breathing down their necks.
You can run but no one can hide,
From mistakes denied.
I have learned that the hard way.
So what do you think for them is next?

'That's obvious.
A reaping of what they have allowed to sow! '

Nicely put.
Who are you?

'I am their minister.
I see you've learned a thing or two? '

That's what being locked up will do.

'I'm seeking an assistant.
All of my associate pastors,
Have had confinement in their past.
Think about it.'

God has me on a different mission.

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They came in the middle of the night (in reply to Daniel P. Kunene)

They came in the middle of the night
in a huge crowd, almost like a lynching gang
the type who previously had torched,
burned their own alive
and in their hands were panga-blades,
spades, crowbars, pistols
and AK-47 sub-machineguns
and then there were the younger ones
who carried assegai spears and knives

and they were there to destroy home and hearth
to wipe the white farmer from the earth
singing: “a bullet for a white”
and had formed up like a ancient impi
in full might
and they assaulting the farmer, his children and wife
while shouting:

“Amandla! Amandla! Ngawethu! ”
and took law into their own hands,
robbed, tried to rape, to kill
while receiving an inhuman thrill from it.

[Reference: Do Not Ask Me by Daniel P. Kunene.]

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Around the World With Minerva

She would offer us crumpets.
Minerva Pinkston...
Once part of a jet set!
Holding up both hands to announce...
Her painted nails were wet!

She rambled on as if we were being tested,
To remember her travels to places...
And names of those of power she met!

When we first arrived at Minerva's front door!
Many thought she wore a mask...
Or her make up was done very poor!
Her long eyelashes
Made her top eyelids droop!
She had too much lipstick on her lips...
She could kiss lips consistently,
Of the bears who mooned her
Or a mesmerized passing moose.
With an instant wish to fly away...
Faster than a chased goose.

Minerva posed in the kitchen
And each of her seven rooms.
We made the mistake of stopping
In her wine cellar.
And she consumed more wine
We found ourselves outside...
To escape and leave wine fumes behind!
Getting fresh air was on our minds!

After we observed Minerva...
Minerva had the nerve,
To announce she had taken us on a tour.
Around the world with her!
As we stared and chatted on the stairs,
Of Minerva's veranda.

And if we had been first
Introduced to that moose...
Many of us sitting,
And staring at Minerva,
Would not try to hide...
The laughter slipping giggles,
That was begging,
To be freed
And let loose!
We closed our eyes and held our breath
When she would pass switching her fat...

Minerva Pinkston did not notice this at all...
As she flaunted with flair,
As if we weren't guest...
But photographers to catch,
Every nuance she managed
As she posed and patted...
Her sprayed bouffant hair!
Minerva didn't care.
We were there for Minvera...
And of this Minerva was aware!

She would offer us crumpets.
Minerva Pinkston...
Once part of a jet set!
Holding up both hands to announce...
Her painted nails were wet!

And when we were ready,
To leave Minerva's place...
Her smiling face
Began to crack like plaster.
And all there couldn't wait,
To vacate before tasting
Minerva's surprising and 'award' winning
Cake she said she baked!
Some were rude...
When they ran through the door!
And jumped like olympians,
Over the front gate!

And the screams of laughter heard...
Stopped Minerva's chirping to her caged birds!

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The Plot

My class were all slow payers,
And they weren't the best of stayers
When they came along to evening classes
Straight from keeping shop,
So I'd try to entertain them
Though I knew I'd rather brain them,
All I wanted was some input
When their heads began to drop.

'Come on guys and girls, get with it, '
I would clap my hands, 'let's live it! '
'Give me three basic ingredients
You need to build a plot! '
'A beginning, ' said one joker,
'...and an end....' - (I thought I'd choke her!)
But I couldn't get a 'middle' from them,
That was all they'd got!

'You told me you were writers
That you burn the midnight light as
Other people lie there sleeping
While you wield your mighty pens.
You've got 'character' and 'colour'
As you like to tell each other,
But without a plot you haven't got
A story for your friends.'

'All you've given me - Moon Bayers,
And a host of Vampire Slayers
And some Super Hero wielding powers
Not you, nor I have got,
And a princess who's a virgin
With some hanger on, an urchin,
Come on folks! - there's not a virgin
Over fifteen worth a drop! '

'What we need are real people,
Keep it real and keep it simple
From the hair down to the dimple
(That you shouldn't know she's got!)
Use the guy who drives the tanker,
Or the fat and balding Banker
Who's been betting on the Gee Gee's
And is skimming off the top.'

'Or the girl there, in the city
Who's naive, but very pretty
When she meets the married businessman
Who takes her out to lunch,
Then invites her back for 'drinkies'
As he gives his pal the wink, he's
Only working on the plot he's got
To wake, just after brunch.'

I went home and had a brandy,
And I followed with a shandy,
I had always found it handy
To get drunk, right after class,
For this lot would do my head in
Every day I lay there dreading
What I'd teach them about storylines...
I drained another glass!

Then I heard a weird commotion
Like some fool had got the notion
To break in on my devotion while
I sipped my brandy there,
Then he hit me, knocked me silly
When I woke, I noticed Billy
And his dopey girlfriend Philly,
They had tied me to my chair.

They were not the best of students,
He wrote thrillers, she wrote rude ones,
But they didn't have a plot between them,
Much to my despair,
I had teased and hinted, needled,
And at times I even wheedled,
But their minds were blank of any plot
You'd even want to share.

'We're going to keep you tied until
You open up, inside, and fill us
In on where you keep the plots
For every single scene,
You must keep them in a box...
Here Philly, better check his socks,
While I go up and check his jocks,
He's sneaky, watch him 'cos he's mean! '

'You like to think you're writers, '
I had snorted, 'God Almight-us!
Here's a plot as good and tight as
Any plot - but here it stops!
You're the robber, I'm the Baron,
She's the Moll you hang your hat on,
But my wife, whose name is Sharon
Has just gone to call the cops! '

Billy turned, and in his fury
Overturned the writing bureau
I had bought from Madame Curie's
With its secret knobs and drawers,
And my papers from within it
Spilled on out, and in a minute
He had found my little secret,
Every plot I'd ever scored.

I resigned from teaching writers
Claimed amnesia, which despite us
Has persisted quite as tight as
All the stories I forgot,
Billy's on the run with Philly
But I hope they don't get silly,
They will catch them in a jiffy
If they write a single plot.

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The Last Berkshire Eleven

'Twas at the disastrous battle of Maiwand, in Afghanistan,
Where the Berkshires were massacred to the last man;
On the morning of July the 27th, in the year eighteen eighty,
Which I'm sorry to relate was a pitiful sight to see.

Ayoub Khan's army amounted to twelve thousand in all,
And honestly speaking it wasn't very small,
And by such a great force the Berkshires were killed to the last man,
By a murderous rebel horde under the command of Ayoub Khan.

The British force amounted to about 2000 strong in all,
But although their numbers were but few it didn't them appal;
They were commanded by General Burrows, a man of courage bold,
But, alas! the British army was defeated be it told.

The 66th Berkshire Regiment stood as firm as a wall,
Determined to conquer or die whatever would befall,
But in the face of overwhelming odds, and covered to the last,
The broken and disordered Sepoys were flying fast

Before the victorious Afghan soldiers, whose cheers on the air arose,
But the gallant band poured in deadly volleys on their foes;
And, outnumbered and surrounded, they fell in sections like ripe grain;
Still the heroes held their ground, charging with might and main.

The British force, alas! were shut up like sheep in a pen,
Owing to the bad position General Burrows had chosen for his men;
But Colonel Galbraith with the Berkshires held the enemy at bay,
And had the Sepoys been rallied the Afghans would not have won the day.

But on the Berkshires fell the brunt of the battle,
For by the Afghan artillery they fell like slaughtered cattle;
Yet the wild horsemen were met with ringing volleys of musketry,
Which emptied many a saddle; still the Afghans fought right manfully.

And on came the white cloud like a whirlwind;
But the gallant Berkshires, alas! no help could find,
While their blood flowed like water on every side around,
And they fell in scores, but the men rallied and held their ground

The brave Berkshires under Colonel Galbraith stood firm in the centre there,
Whilst the shouts of the wild Ghazis rent the air;
But still the Berkshires held them at bay,
At the charge of the bayonet, without dismay.

Then the Ghazis, with increased numbers, made another desperate charge
On that red line of British bayonets, which wasn't very large;
And the wild horsemen were met again with ringing volleys of musketry,
Which was most inspiring and frightful to see.

Then Ayoub concentrated his whole attack on the Berkshire Regiment,
Which made them no doubt feel rather discontent,
And Jacob's Rifles and the Grenadiers were a confused and struggling mass,
Oh heaven! such a confused scene, nothing could it surpass.

But the Berkshires stood firm, replying to the fire of the musketry,
While they were surrounded on all sides by masses of cavalry;
Still that gallant band resolved to fight for their Queen and country,
Their motto being death before dishonour, rather than flee.

At last the gallant British soldiers made a grand stand,
While most of the officers were killed fighting hand to hand,
And at length the Sepoys fled from the enclosure, panic-stricken and irate,
Alas! leaving behind their European comrades to their fate.

The Berkshires were now reduced to little more than one hundred men,
Who were huddled together like sheep in a pen;
But they broke loose from the enclosure, and back to back,
Poured volley after volley in the midst of the enemy, who weren't slack.

And one by one they fell, still the men fought without dismay,
And the regimental pet dog stuck to the heroes throughout the day;
And their cartridge pouches were empty, and of shot they were bereft,
And eleven men, most of them wounded, were all that were left.

And they broke from the enclosure, and followed by the little dog,
And with excitement it was barking savagely, and leaping like a frog;
And from the field the last eleven refused to retire,
And with fixed bayonets they charged on the enemy in that sea of fire.

Oh, heaven! it was a fearful scene the horrors of that day,
When I think of so many innocent lives that were taken away;
Alas! the British force were massacred in cold blood,
And their blood ran like a little rivulet in full flood.

And the Ghazis were afraid to encounter that gallant little band
At the charge of the bayonet : Oh! the scene was most grand;
And the noble and heroic eleven fought on without dismay,
Until the last man in the arms of death stiff and stark lay.

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Edmund Spenser

The Shepheardes Calender: July

July: Ægloga Septima. Thomalin & Morrell.

IS not thilke same a goteheard prowde,
that sittes on yonder bancke,
Whose straying heard them selfe doth shrowde
emong the bushes rancke?

What ho, thou iollye shepheards swayne,
come vp the hill to me:
Better is, then the lowly playne,
als for thy flocke, and thee.

Ah God shield, man, that I should clime,
and learne to looke alofte,
This reede is ryfe, that oftentime
great clymbers fall vnsoft.
In humble dales is footing fast,
the trode is not so tickle:
And though one fall through heedlesse hast,
yet is his misse not mickle.
And now the Sonne hath reared vp
his fyriefooted teme,
Making his way betweene the Cuppe,
and golden Diademe:
The rampant Lyon hunts he fast,
with Dogge of noysome breath,
Whose balefull barking bringes in hast
pyne, plagues, and dreery death.
Agaynst his cruell scortching heate
where hast thou couerture?
The wastefull hylls vnto his threate
is a playne ouerture.
But if thee lust, to holden chat
with seely shepherds swayne,
Come downe, and learne the little what,
that Thomalin can sayne.

Syker, thous but a laesie loord,
and rekes much of thy swinck,
That with fond termes, and weetlesse words
to blere myne eyes doest thinke.
In euill houre thou hentest in hond
thus holy hylles to blame,
For sacred vnto saints they stond,
and of them han theyr name.
S. Michels mount who does not know,
that wardes the Westerne coste?
And of S. Brigets bowre I trow,
all Kent can rightly boaste:
And they that con of Muses skill,
sayne most what, that they dwell
(As goteheards wont) vpon a hill,
beside a learned well.
And wonned not the great god Pan,
vpon mount Oliuet:
Feeding the blessed flocke of Dan,
which dyd himselfe beget?

O blessed sheepe, O shepheard great,
that bought his flocke so deare,
And them did saue with bloudy sweat
from Wolues, that would them teare.

Besyde, as holy fathers sayne,
there is a hyllye place,
Where Titan ryseth from the mayne,
to renne hys dayly race.
Vpon whose toppe the starres bene stayed,
and all the skie doth leane,
There is the caue, where Phebe layed,
The shepheard long to dreame.
Whilome there vsed shepheards all
to feede theyr flocks at will,
Till by his foly one did fall,
that all the rest did spill.
And sithens shepheardes bene foresayd
from places of delight:
For thy I weene thou be affrayed,
to clime this hilles height.
Of Synah can I tell thee more,
and of our Ladyes bowre:
But little needes to strow my store,
suffice this hill of our.
Here han the holy Faunes resourse,
and Syluanes haunten rathe.
Here has the salt Medway his sourse,
wherein the Nymphes doe bathe.
The salt Medway, that trickling stremis
adowne the dales of Kent:
Till with his elder brother Themis
his brackish waues be meynt.
Here growes Melampode euery where,
and Terebinth good for Gotes:
The one, my madding kiddes to smere,
the next, to heale theyr throtes.
Hereto, the hills bene nigher heuen,
and thence the passage ethe.
As well can proue the piercing levin,
that seeldome falls bynethe.

Syker thou speakes lyke a lewde lorrell,
of Heauen to demen so:
How be I am but rude and borrell,
yet nearer wayes I knowe.
To Kerke the narre, from God more farre,
has bene an old sayd sawe.
And he that striues to touch the starres,
oft stombles at a strawe.
Alsoone may shepheard clymbe to skye,
that leades in lowly dales,
As Goteherd prowd that sitting hye,
vpon the Mountaine sayles.
My seely sheepe like well belowe,
they neede not Melampode:
For they bene hale enough, I trowe,
and liken theyr abode.
But if they with thy Gotes should yede,
they soone myght be corrupted:
Or like not of the frowie fede,
or with the weedes be glutted.
The hylls, where dwelled holy saints,
I reuerence and adore:
Not for themselfe, but for the sayncts,
which han be dead of yore.
And nowe they bene to heauen forewent,
theyr good is with them goe:
Theyr sample onely to vs lent,
that als we mought doe soe.
Shepheards they weren of the best,
and liued in lowly leas:
And sith theyr soules bene now at rest,
why done we them disease?
Such one he was, (as I haue heard
old Algrind often sayne)
That whilome was the first shepheard,
and liued with little gayne:
As meeke he was, as meeke mought be,
simple, as simple sheepe,
Humble, and like in eche degree
the flocke, which he did keepe.
Often he vsed of hys keepe
a sacrifice to bring,
Nowe with a Kidde, now with a sheepe
The Altars hallowing.
So lowted he vnto hys Lord,
such fauour couth he fynd,
That sithens neuer was abhord,
the simple shepheards kynd.
And such I weene the brethren were,
that came from Canaan:
The brethren twelue, that kept yfere
The flockes of mighty Pan.
But nothing such thilke shephearde was,
whom Ida hyll dyd beare,
That left hys flocke, to fetch a lasse,
whose loue he bought to deare:
For he was proude, that ill was payd,
(no such mought shepheards bee)
And with lewde lust was ouerlayd:
tway things doen ill agree:
But shepheard mought be meeke and mylde,
well eyed, as Argus was,
With fleshly follyes vndefyled,
and stoute as steede of brasse.
Sike one (sayd Algrin) Moses was,
that sawe hys makers face,
His face more cleare, then Christall glasse,
and spake to him in place.
This had a brother, (his name I knewe)
the first of all his cote,
A shepheard trewe, yet not so true,
as he that earst I hote.
Whilome all these were lowe, and lief,
and loued their flocks to feede,
They neuer strouen to be chiefe,
and simple was theyr weede.
But now (thanked be God therefore)
the world is well amend,
Their weedes bene not so nighly wore,
such simplesse mought them shend:
They bene yclad in purple and pall,
so hath theyr god them blist,
They reigne and rulen ouer all,
and lord it, as they list:
Ygyrt with belts of glitterand gold,
(mought they good sheepeheards bene)
Theyr Pan theyr sheepe to them has sold,
I saye as some haue seene.
For Palinode (if thou him ken)
yode late on Pilgrimage
To Rome, (if such be Rome) and then
he sawe thilke misusage.
For shepeheards (sayd he) there doen leade,
As Lordes done other where,
Theyr sheepe han crustes, and they the bread:
the chippes, and they the chere:
They han the fleece, and eke the flesh,
(O seely sheepe the while)
The corn is theyrs, let other thresh,
their hands they may not file.
They han great stores, and thriftye stockes,
great freendes and feeble foes:
What neede hem caren for their flocks?
theyr boyes can looke to those.
These wisardsweltre in welths waues,
pampred in pleasures deepe,
They han fatte kernes, and leany knaues,
their fasting flockes to keepe.
Sike mister men bene all misgone,
they heapen hylles of wrath:
Sike syrly shepheards han we none,
they keepen all the path.

Here is a great deale of good matter,
lost for lacke of telling,
Now sicker I see, thou doest but clatter:
harme may come of melling.
Thou medlest more, then shall haue thanke,
to wyten shepheards welth:
When folke bene fat, and riches rancke,
it is a signe of helth.
But say to me, what is Algrin he,
that is so oft bynempt.

He is a shepheard great in gree,
but hath bene long ypent.
One daye he sat vpon a hyll,
(as now thou wouldest me:
But I am tought by Algrins ill,
To loue the lowe degree.)
For sitting so with bared scalpe,
an Eagle sored hye,
That weening hys whyte head was chalke,
A shell fish downe let flye:
Shee weend the shell fish to haue broake,
but therewith bruzd his brayne,
So now astonied with the stroke,
he lyes in lingring payne.

Ah good Algrin, his hap was ill,
But shall be bett in time.
Now farwell shepheard, sith thys hyll
thou hast such doubt to climbe.

Thomalins Embleme.
In medio virtus.

Morrells Embleme.
In summo foelicitas

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Friar's Tale

This worthy limitour, this noble Frere,
He made always a manner louring cheer* *countenance
Upon the Sompnour; but for honesty* *courtesy
No villain word as yet to him spake he:
But at the last he said unto the Wife:
'Dame,' quoth he, 'God give you right good life,
Ye have here touched, all so may I the,* *thrive
In school matter a greate difficulty.
Ye have said muche thing right well, I say;
But, Dame, here as we ride by the way,
Us needeth not but for to speak of game,
And leave authorities, in Godde's name,
To preaching, and to school eke of clergy.
But if it like unto this company,
I will you of a Sompnour tell a game;
Pardie, ye may well knowe by the name,
That of a Sompnour may no good be said;
I pray that none of you be *evil paid;* *dissatisfied*
A Sompnour is a runner up and down
With mandements* for fornicatioun, *mandates, summonses*
And is y-beat at every towne's end.'
Then spake our Host; 'Ah, sir, ye should be hend* *civil, gentle
And courteous, as a man of your estate;
In company we will have no debate:
Tell us your tale, and let the Sompnour be.'
'Nay,' quoth the Sompnour, 'let him say by me
What so him list; when it comes to my lot,
By God, I shall him quiten* every groat! *pay him off
I shall him telle what a great honour
It is to be a flattering limitour
And his office I shall him tell y-wis'.
Our Host answered, 'Peace, no more of this.'
And afterward he said unto the frere,
'Tell forth your tale, mine owen master dear.'


Whilom* there was dwelling in my country *once on a time
An archdeacon, a man of high degree,
That boldely did execution,
In punishing of fornication,
Of witchecraft, and eke of bawdery,
Of defamation, and adultery,
Of churche-reeves,* and of testaments, *churchwardens
Of contracts, and of lack of sacraments,
And eke of many another manner* crime, *sort of
Which needeth not rehearsen at this time,
Of usury, and simony also;
But, certes, lechours did he greatest woe;
They shoulde singen, if that they were hent;* *caught
And smale tithers were foul y-shent,* *troubled, put to shame
If any person would on them complain;
There might astert them no pecunial pain.
For smalle tithes, and small offering,
He made the people piteously to sing;
For ere the bishop caught them with his crook,
They weren in the archedeacon's book;
Then had he, through his jurisdiction,
Power to do on them correction.

He had a Sompnour ready to his hand,
A slier boy was none in Engleland;
For subtlely he had his espiaille,* *espionage
That taught him well where it might aught avail.
He coulde spare of lechours one or two,
To teache him to four and twenty mo'.
For, - though this Sompnour wood* be as a hare, - *furious, mad
To tell his harlotry I will not spare,
For we be out of their correction,
They have of us no jurisdiction,
Ne never shall have, term of all their lives.

'Peter; so be the women of the stives,'* *stews
Quoth this Sompnour, 'y-put out of our cure.'* *care

'Peace, with mischance and with misaventure,'
Our Hoste said, 'and let him tell his tale.
Now telle forth, and let the Sompnour gale,* *whistle; bawl
Nor spare not, mine owen master dear.'

This false thief, the Sompnour (quoth the Frere),
Had always bawdes ready to his hand,
As any hawk to lure in Engleland,
That told him all the secrets that they knew, -
For their acquaintance was not come of new;
They were his approvers* privily. *informers
He took himself at great profit thereby:
His master knew not always what he wan.* *won
Withoute mandement, a lewed* man *ignorant
He could summon, on pain of Christe's curse,
And they were inly glad to fill his purse,
And make him greate feastes at the nale.* *alehouse
And right as Judas hadde purses smale,* *small
And was a thief, right such a thief was he,
His master had but half *his duety.* *what was owing him*
He was (if I shall give him his laud)
A thief, and eke a Sompnour, and a bawd.
And he had wenches at his retinue,
That whether that Sir Robert or Sir Hugh,
Or Jack, or Ralph, or whoso that it were
That lay by them, they told it in his ear.
Thus were the wench and he of one assent;
And he would fetch a feigned mandement,
And to the chapter summon them both two,
And pill* the man, and let the wenche go. *plunder, pluck
Then would he say, 'Friend, I shall for thy sake
Do strike thee out of oure letters blake;* *black
Thee thar* no more as in this case travail; *need
I am thy friend where I may thee avail.'
Certain he knew of bribers many mo'
Than possible is to tell in yeare's two:
For in this world is no dog for the bow,
That can a hurt deer from a whole know,
Bet* than this Sompnour knew a sly lechour, *better
Or an adult'rer, or a paramour:
And, for that was the fruit of all his rent,
Therefore on it he set all his intent.

And so befell, that once upon a day.
This Sompnour, waiting ever on his prey,
Rode forth to summon a widow, an old ribibe,
Feigning a cause, for he would have a bribe.
And happen'd that he saw before him ride
A gay yeoman under a forest side:
A bow he bare, and arrows bright and keen,
He had upon a courtepy* of green, *short doublet
A hat upon his head with fringes blake.* *black
'Sir,' quoth this Sompnour, 'hail, and well o'ertake.'
'Welcome,' quoth he, 'and every good fellaw;
Whither ridest thou under this green shaw?'* shade
Saide this yeoman; 'wilt thou far to-day?'
This Sompnour answer'd him, and saide, 'Nay.
Here faste by,' quoth he, 'is mine intent
To ride, for to raisen up a rent,
That longeth to my lorde's duety.'
'Ah! art thou then a bailiff?' 'Yea,' quoth he.
He durste not for very filth and shame
Say that he was a Sompnour, for the name.
'De par dieux,' quoth this yeoman, 'leve* brother, *dear
Thou art a bailiff, and I am another.
I am unknowen, as in this country.
Of thine acquaintance I will praye thee,
And eke of brotherhood, if that thee list.* *please
I have gold and silver lying in my chest;
If that thee hap to come into our shire,
All shall be thine, right as thou wilt desire.'
'Grand mercy,'* quoth this Sompnour, 'by my faith.' *great thanks
Each in the other's hand his trothe lay'th,
For to be sworne brethren till they dey.* *die
In dalliance they ride forth and play.

This Sompnour, which that was as full of jangles,* *chattering
As full of venom be those wariangles,* * butcher-birds
And ev'r inquiring upon every thing,
'Brother,' quoth he, 'where is now your dwelling,
Another day if that I should you seech?'* *seek, visit
This yeoman him answered in soft speech;
Brother,' quoth he, 'far in the North country,
Where as I hope some time I shall thee see
Ere we depart I shall thee so well wiss,* *inform
That of mine house shalt thou never miss.'
Now, brother,' quoth this Sompnour, 'I you pray,
Teach me, while that we ride by the way,
(Since that ye be a bailiff as am I,)
Some subtilty, and tell me faithfully
For mine office how that I most may win.
And *spare not* for conscience or for sin, *conceal nothing*
But, as my brother, tell me how do ye.'
Now by my trothe, brother mine,' said he,
As I shall tell to thee a faithful tale:
My wages be full strait and eke full smale;
My lord is hard to me and dangerous,* *niggardly
And mine office is full laborious;
And therefore by extortion I live,
Forsooth I take all that men will me give.
Algate* by sleighte, or by violence, *whether
From year to year I win all my dispence;
I can no better tell thee faithfully.'
Now certes,' quoth this Sompnour, 'so fare* I; *do
I spare not to take, God it wot,
*But if* it be too heavy or too hot. *unless*
What I may get in counsel privily,
No manner conscience of that have I.
N'ere* mine extortion, I might not live, *were it not for
For of such japes* will I not be shrive.** *tricks **confessed
Stomach nor conscience know I none;
I shrew* these shrifte-fathers** every one. *curse **confessors
Well be we met, by God and by St Jame.
But, leve brother, tell me then thy name,'
Quoth this Sompnour. Right in this meane while
This yeoman gan a little for to smile.

'Brother,' quoth he, 'wilt thou that I thee tell?
I am a fiend, my dwelling is in hell,
And here I ride about my purchasing,
To know where men will give me any thing.
*My purchase is th' effect of all my rent* *what I can gain is my
Look how thou ridest for the same intent sole revenue*
To winne good, thou reckest never how,
Right so fare I, for ride will I now
Into the worlde's ende for a prey.'

'Ah,' quoth this Sompnour, 'benedicite! what say y'?
I weened ye were a yeoman truly. *thought
Ye have a manne's shape as well as I
Have ye then a figure determinate
In helle, where ye be in your estate?'* *at home
'Nay, certainly,' quoth he, there have we none,
But when us liketh we can take us one,
Or elles make you seem* that we be shape *believe
Sometime like a man, or like an ape;
Or like an angel can I ride or go;
It is no wondrous thing though it be so,
A lousy juggler can deceive thee.
And pardie, yet can I more craft* than he.' *skill, cunning
'Why,' quoth the Sompnour, 'ride ye then or gon
In sundry shapes and not always in one?'
'For we,' quoth he, 'will us in such form make.
As most is able our prey for to take.'
'What maketh you to have all this labour?'
'Full many a cause, leve Sir Sompnour,'
Saide this fiend. 'But all thing hath a time;
The day is short and it is passed prime,
And yet have I won nothing in this day;
I will intend* to winning, if I may, *apply myself
And not intend our thinges to declare:
For, brother mine, thy wit is all too bare
To understand, although I told them thee.
*But for* thou askest why laboure we: *because*
For sometimes we be Godde's instruments
And meanes to do his commandements,
When that him list, upon his creatures,
In divers acts and in divers figures:
Withoute him we have no might certain,
If that him list to stande thereagain.* *against it
And sometimes, at our prayer have we leave
Only the body, not the soul, to grieve:
Witness on Job, whom that we did full woe,
And sometimes have we might on both the two, -
This is to say, on soul and body eke,
And sometimes be we suffer'd for to seek
Upon a man and do his soul unrest
And not his body, and all is for the best,
When he withstandeth our temptation,
It is a cause of his salvation,
Albeit that it was not our intent
He should be safe, but that we would him hent.* *catch
And sometimes be we servants unto man,
As to the archbishop Saint Dunstan,
And to th'apostle servant eke was I.'
'Yet tell me,' quoth this Sompnour, 'faithfully,
Make ye you newe bodies thus alway
Of th' elements?' The fiend answered, 'Nay:
Sometimes we feign, and sometimes we arise
With deade bodies, in full sundry wise,
And speak as reas'nably, and fair, and well,
As to the Pythoness did Samuel:
And yet will some men say it was not he.
I *do no force of* your divinity. *set no value upon*
But one thing warn I thee, I will not jape,* jest
Thou wilt *algates weet* how we be shape: *assuredly know*
Thou shalt hereafterward, my brother dear,
Come, where thee needeth not of me to lear.* *learn
For thou shalt by thine own experience
*Conne in a chair to rede of this sentence,* *learn to understand
Better than Virgil, while he was alive, what I have said*
Or Dante also. Now let us ride blive,* *briskly
For I will holde company with thee,
Till it be so that thou forsake me.'
'Nay,' quoth this Sompnour, 'that shall ne'er betide.
I am a yeoman, that is known full wide;
My trothe will I hold, as in this case;
For though thou wert the devil Satanas,
My trothe will I hold to thee, my brother,
As I have sworn, and each of us to other,
For to be true brethren in this case,
And both we go *abouten our purchase.* *seeking what we
Take thou thy part, what that men will thee give, may pick up*
And I shall mine, thus may we bothe live.
And if that any of us have more than other,
Let him be true, and part it with his brother.'
'I grante,' quoth the devil, 'by my fay.'
And with that word they rode forth their way,
And right at th'ent'ring of the towne's end,
To which this Sompnour shope* him for to wend,** *shaped **go
They saw a cart, that charged was with hay,
Which that a carter drove forth on his way.
Deep was the way, for which the carte stood:
The carter smote, and cried as he were wood,* *mad
'Heit Scot! heit Brok! what, spare ye for the stones?
The fiend (quoth he) you fetch body and bones,
As farforthly* as ever ye were foal'd, *sure
So muche woe as I have with you tholed.* *endured
The devil have all, horses, and cart, and hay.'
The Sompnour said, 'Here shall we have a prey,'
And near the fiend he drew, *as nought ne were,* *as if nothing
Full privily, and rowned* in his ear: were the matter*
'Hearken, my brother, hearken, by thy faith, *whispered
Hearest thou not, how that the carter saith?
Hent* it anon, for he hath giv'n it thee, *seize
Both hay and cart, and eke his capels* three.' *horses
'Nay,' quoth the devil, 'God wot, never a deal,* whit
It is not his intent, trust thou me well;
Ask him thyself, if thou not trowest* me, *believest
Or elles stint* a while and thou shalt see.' *stop
The carter thwack'd his horses on the croup,
And they began to drawen and to stoop.
'Heit now,' quoth he; 'there, Jesus Christ you bless,
And all his handiwork, both more and less!
That was well twight,* mine owen liart,** boy, *pulled **grey
I pray God save thy body, and Saint Loy!
Now is my cart out of the slough, pardie.'
'Lo, brother,' quoth the fiend, 'what told I thee?
Here may ye see, mine owen deare brother,
The churl spake one thing, but he thought another.
Let us go forth abouten our voyage;
Here win I nothing upon this carriage.'

When that they came somewhat out of the town,
This Sompnour to his brother gan to rown;
'Brother,' quoth he, 'here wons* an old rebeck, *dwells
That had almost as lief to lose her neck.
As for to give a penny of her good.
I will have twelvepence, though that she be wood,* *mad
Or I will summon her to our office;
And yet, God wot, of her know I no vice.
But for thou canst not, as in this country,
Winne thy cost, take here example of me.'
This Sompnour clapped at the widow's gate:
'Come out,' he said, 'thou olde very trate;* *trot
I trow thou hast some friar or priest with thee.'
'Who clappeth?' said this wife; 'benedicite,
God save you, Sir, what is your sweete will?'
'I have,' quoth he, 'of summons here a bill.
Up* pain of cursing, looke that thou be *upon
To-morrow before our archdeacon's knee,
To answer to the court of certain things.'
'Now Lord,' quoth she, 'Christ Jesus, king of kings,
So wis1y* helpe me, *as I not may.* *surely *as I cannot*
I have been sick, and that full many a day.
I may not go so far,' quoth she, 'nor ride,
But I be dead, so pricketh it my side.
May I not ask a libel, Sir Sompnour,
And answer there by my procuratour
To such thing as men would appose* me?' *accuse
'Yes,' quoth this Sompnour, 'pay anon, let see,
Twelvepence to me, and I will thee acquit.
I shall no profit have thereby but lit:* *little
My master hath the profit and not I.
Come off, and let me ride hastily;
Give me twelvepence, I may no longer tarry.'

'Twelvepence!' quoth she; 'now lady Sainte Mary
So wisly* help me out of care and sin, *surely
This wide world though that I should it win,
No have I not twelvepence within my hold.
Ye know full well that I am poor and old;
*Kithe your almes* upon me poor wretch.' *show your charity*
'Nay then,' quoth he, 'the foule fiend me fetch,
If I excuse thee, though thou should'st be spilt.'* *ruined
'Alas!' quoth she, 'God wot, I have no guilt.'
'Pay me,' quoth he, 'or, by the sweet Saint Anne,
As I will bear away thy newe pan
For debte, which thou owest me of old, -
When that thou madest thine husband cuckold, -
I paid at home for thy correction.'
'Thou liest,' quoth she, 'by my salvation;
Never was I ere now, widow or wife,
Summon'd unto your court in all my life;
Nor never I was but of my body true.
Unto the devil rough and black of hue
Give I thy body and my pan also.'
And when the devil heard her curse so
Upon her knees, he said in this mannere;
'Now, Mabily, mine owen mother dear,
Is this your will in earnest that ye say?'
'The devil,' quoth she, 'so fetch him ere he dey,* *die
And pan and all, but* he will him repent.' *unless
'Nay, olde stoat,* that is not mine intent,' *polecat
Quoth this Sompnour, 'for to repente me
For any thing that I have had of thee;
I would I had thy smock and every cloth.'
'Now, brother,' quoth the devil, 'be not wroth;
Thy body and this pan be mine by right.
Thou shalt with me to helle yet tonight,
Where thou shalt knowen of our privity* *secrets
More than a master of divinity.'

And with that word the foule fiend him hent.* *seized
Body and soul, he with the devil went,
Where as the Sompnours have their heritage;
And God, that maked after his image
Mankinde, save and guide us all and some,
And let this Sompnour a good man become.
Lordings, I could have told you (quoth this Frere),
Had I had leisure for this Sompnour here,
After the text of Christ, and Paul, and John,
And of our other doctors many a one,
Such paines, that your heartes might agrise,* *be horrified
Albeit so, that no tongue may devise,* - *relate
Though that I might a thousand winters tell, -
The pains of thilke* cursed house of hell *that
But for to keep us from that cursed place
Wake we, and pray we Jesus, of his grace,
So keep us from the tempter, Satanas.
Hearken this word, beware as in this case.
The lion sits *in his await* alway *on the watch*
To slay the innocent, if that he may.
Disposen aye your heartes to withstond
The fiend that would you make thrall and bond;
He may not tempte you over your might,
For Christ will be your champion and your knight;
And pray, that this our Sompnour him repent
Of his misdeeds ere that the fiend him hent.* *seize

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales; the Seconde Nonnes Tale

Part 27



The Prologe of the Seconde Nonnes Tale.

The ministre and the norice unto vices,
Which that men clepe in Englissh ydelnesse,
That porter of the gate is of delices,
To eschue, and by hir contrarie hir oppresse,
(That is to seyn by leveful bisynesse),
Wel oghten we to doon al oure entente,
Lest that the feend thurgh ydelnesse us shente.

For he, that with hise thousand cordes slye
Continuelly us waiteth to biclappe,
Whan he may man in ydelnesse espye,
He kan so lightly cacche hym in his trappe,
Til that a man be hent right by the lappe,
He nys nat war the feend hath hym in honde.
Wel oghte us werche, and ydelnesse withstonde.

And though men dradden nevere for to dye,
Yet seen men wel by resoun, doutelees,
That ydelnesse is roten slogardye,
Of which ther nevere comth no good encrees;
And seen that slouthe hir holdeth in a lees,
Oonly to slepe, and for to ete and drynke,
And to devouren al that othere swynke.

And for to putte us fro swich ydelnesse,
That cause is of so greet confusioun,
I have heer doon my feithful bisynesse,
After the legende, in translacioun
Right of thy glorious lyf and passioun,
Thou with thy gerland wroght with rose and lilie,
Thee meene I, mayde and martir, seint Cecilie.

Invocacio ad Mariam.

And thow that flour of virgines art alle,
Of whom that Bernard list so wel to write,
To thee at my bigynnyng first I calle,
Thou confort of us wrecches, do me endite
Thy maydens deeth, that wan thurgh hir merite

The eterneel lyf, and of the feend victorie,
As man may after reden in hir storie.

Thow mayde and mooder, doghter of thy sone,
Thow welle of mercy, synful soules cure,
In whom that God for bountee chees to wone,
Thow humble and heigh, over every creature
Thow nobledest so ferforth oure nature,
That no desdeyn the makere hadde of kynde,
His sone in blood and flessh to clothe and wynde,

Withinne the cloistre blisful of thy sydis
Took mannes shape the eterneel love and pees,
That of the tryne compas lord and gyde is,
Whom erthe and see and hevene out of relees
Ay heryen, and thou, virgine wemmelees,
Baar of thy body, and dweltest mayden pure,
The creatour of every creature.

Assembled is in thee magnificence
With mercy, goodnesse, and with swich pitee
That thou, that art the sonne of excellence,
Nat oonly helpest hem that preyen thee,
But oftentyme, of thy benygnytee,
Ful frely, er that men thyn help biseche,
Thou goost biforn, and art hir lyves leche.

Now help, thow meeke and blisful faire mayde,
Me, flemed wrecche in this desert of galle;
Thynk on the womman Cananee, that sayde
That whelpes eten somme of the crommes alle,
That from hir lordes table been yfalle,
And though that I, unworthy sone of Eve,
Be synful, yet accepte my bileve.

And for that feith is deed withouten werkis,
So for to werken yif me wit and space,
That I be quit fro thennes that moost derk is.
O thou, that art so fair and ful of grace,
Be myn advocat in that heighe place
Ther as withouten ende is songe Osanne,
Thow Cristes mooder, doghter deere of Anne!

And of thy light my soule in prison lighte,
That troubled is by the contagioun
Of my body, and also by the wighte
Of erthely lust and fals affeccioun,
O havene of refut, O salvacioune
Of hem that been in sorwe and in distresse,
Now help, for to my werk I wol me dresse.

Yet preye I yow that reden that I write,
Foryeve me, that I do no diligence
This ilke storie subtilly to endite,
For bothe have I the wordes and sentence
Of hym that at the seintes reverence
The storie wroot, and folwe hir legende.
I pray yow, that ye wole my werk amende.

First wolde I yow the name of seinte Cecile
Expowne, as men may in hir storie see.
It is to seye in Englissh, `hevenes lilie'
For pure chaastnesse of virginitee,
Or for she whitnesse hadde of honestee
And grene of conscience, and of good fame
The soote savour, lilie was hir name.

Or Cecilie is to seye, `the wey to blynde,'
For she ensample was by good techynge;
Or elles, Cecile, as I writen fynde
Is joyned by a manere conjoynynge
Of `hevene' and `lia,' and heere in figurynge
The `hevene' is set for thoght of hoolynesse,
And `lia' for hir lastynge bisynesse.

Cecile may eek be seyd, in this manere,
`Wantynge of blyndnesse,' for hir grete light
Of sapience, and for hire thewes cleere
Or elles, loo, this maydens name bright
Of `hevene' and `leos' comth, for which by right
Men myghte hir wel `the hevene of peple' calle,
Ensample of goode and wise werkes alle.

For `leos' `peple' in Englissh is to seye,
And right as men may in the hevene see
The sonne and moone and sterres every weye,
Right so men goostly, in this mayden free,
Syen of feith the magnanymytee,
And eek the cleernesse hool of sapience,
And sondry werkes, brighte of excellence.

And right so as thise philosophres write
That hevene is swift and round and eek brennynge,
Right so was faire Cecilie the white
Ful swift and bisy evere in good werkynge,
And round and hool in good perseverynge,
And brennynge evere in charite ful brighte.
Now have I yow declared what she highte.

Here bigynneth the Seconde Nonnes tale of the lyf of Seinte Cecile.

This mayden, bright Cecilie, as hir lyf seith,
Was comen of Romayns, and of noble kynde,
And from hir cradel up fostred in the feith
Of Crist, and bar his gospel in hir mynde.
She nevere cessed, as I writen fynde,
Of hir preyere, and God to love and drede,
Bisekynge hym to kepe hir maydenhede.

And whan this mayden sholde unto a man
Ywedded be, that was ful yong of age,
Which that ycleped was Valerian,
And day was comen of hir mariage,
She, ful devout and humble in hir corage,
Under hir robe of gold, that sat ful faire,
Hadde next hir flessh yclad hir in an haire.

And whil the orgnes maden melodie,
To God allone in herte thus sang she:
'O Lord, my soule and eek my body gye
Unwemmed, lest that I confounded be.'
And for his love that dyde upon a tree,
Every seconde and thridde day she faste,
Ay biddynge in hir orisons ful faste.

The nyght cam, and to bedde moste she gon
With hir housbonde, as ofte is the manere,
And pryvely to hym she seyde anon,
'O sweete and wel biloved spouse deere,
Ther is a conseil, and ye wolde it heere,
Which that right fayn I wolde unto yow seye,
So that ye swere ye shul me nat biwreye.'

Valerian gan faste unto hire swere
That for no cas, ne thyng that myghte be,
He sholde nevere mo biwreyen here,
And thanne at erst to hym thus seyde she,
'I have an Aungel which that loveth me,
That with greet love, wher so I wake or sleepe,
Is redy ay my body for to kepe.

And if that he may feelen out of drede
That ye me touche, or love in vileynye,
He right anon wol sle yow with the dede,
And in youre yowthe thus ye sholden dye.
And if that ye in clene love me gye,
He wol yow loven as me for youre clennesse,
And shewen yow his joye and his brightnesse.'

Valerian, corrected as God wolde,
Answerde agayn, 'If I shal trusten thee,
Lat me that aungel se, and hym biholde,
And if that it a verray aungel bee,
Thanne wol I doon as thou hast prayed me;
And if thou love another man, forsothe
Right with this swerd thanne wol I sle yow bothe.'

Cecile answerde anon right in this wise,
'If that yow list, the aungel shul ye see,
So that ye trowe in Crist, and yow baptize.
Gooth forth to Via Apia,' quod she,
'That fro this toun ne stant but miles thre;
And to the povre folkes that ther dwelle
Sey hem right thus as that I shal yow telle.

Telle hem, that I Cecile yow to hem sente,
To shewen yow the goode Urban the olde,
For secree thynges and for good entente;
And whan that ye Seint Urban han biholde,
Telle hym the wordes whiche that I to yow tolde,
And whan that he hath purged yow fro synne,
Thanne shul ye se that aungel er ye twynne.'

Valerian is to the place ygon,
And right as hym was taught by his lernynge,
He foond this hooly olde Urban anon
Among the seintes buryeles lotynge.
And he anon, withouten tariynge,
Dide his message, and whan that he it tolde,
Urban for joye his handes gan up holde.

The teeris from hise eyen leet he falle.
'Almyghty lord, O Jesu Crist,' quod he,
'Sower of chaast conseil, hierde of us alle,
The fruyt of thilke seed of chastitee
That thou hast sowe in Cecile, taak to thee.
Lo, lyk a bisy bee, withouten gile,
Thee serveth ay thyn owene thral Cecile!

For thilke spouse that she took but now
Ful lyk a fiers leoun, she sendeth heere
As meke as evere was any lomb, to yow.'
And with that word anon ther gan appeere
An oold man clad in white clothes cleere,
That hadde a book with lettre of gold in honde,
And gan bifore Valerian to stonde.

Valerian as deed fil doun for drede
Whan he hym saugh, and he up hente hym tho,
And on his book right thus he gan to rede,
'O lord, o feith, o god, withouten mo,
O Cristendom, and fader of alle also,
Aboven alle, and over alle, everywhere.-'
Thise wordes al with gold ywriten were.

Whan this was rad, thanne seyde this olde man,
'Leevestow this thyng or no? sey ye or nay?'
'I leeve al this thyng,' quod Valerian,
'For oother thyng than this, I dar wel say,
Under the hevene no wight thynke may.'
Tho vanysshed this olde man, he nyste where;
And Pope Urban hym cristned right there.

Valerian gooth hoom, and fynt Cecile
Withinne his chambre with an aungel stonde.
This aungel hadde of roses and of lilie
Corones two, the whiche he bar in honde;
And first to Cecile, as I understonde,
He yaf that oon, and after gan he take
That oother to Valerian hir make.

'With body clene and with unwemmed thoght
Kepeth ay wel thise corones,' quod he,
'Fro Paradys to yow have I hem broght,
Ne nevere mo ne shal they roten bee,
Ne lese hir soote savour, trusteth me,
Ne nevere wight shal seen hem with his eye
But he be chaast and hate vileynye.

And thow Valerian, for thow so soone
Assentedest to good conseil also,
Sey what thee list, and thou shalt han thy boone.'
'I have a brother,' quod Valerian tho,
'That in this world I love no man so.
I pray yow that my brother may han grace,
To knowe the trouthe, as I do in this place.'

The aungel seyde, 'God liketh thy requeste,
And bothe with the palm of martirdom
Ye shullen com unto his blisful feste.'
And with that word Tiburce his brother coom;
And whan that he the savour undernoom,
Which that the roses and the lilies caste,
Withinne his herte he gan to wondre faste,

And seyde, 'I wondre, this tyme of the yeer,
Whennes that soote savour cometh so
Of rose and lilies that I smelle heer.
For though I hadde hem in myne handes two,
The savour myghte in me no depper go,
The sweete smel that in myn herte I fynde
Hath chaunged me al in another kynde.'

Valerian seyde, 'Two corones han we,
Snow-white and rose-reed that shynen cleere,
Whiche that thyne eyen han no myght to see,
And as thou smellest hem thurgh my preyere,
So shaltow seen hem, leeve brother deere,
If it so be thou wolt, withouten slouthe,
Bileve aright and knowen verray trouthe.'

Tiburce answerde, 'Seistow this to me?
In soothnesse or in dreem I herkne this?'
'In dremes,' quod Valerian, 'han we be
Unto this tyme, brother myn, ywes;
But now at erst in trouthe oure dwellyng is.'
'How woostow this,' quod Tiburce, 'in what wyse?'
Quod Valerian, 'That shal I thee devyse.

The aungel of God hath me the trouthe ytaught
Which thou shalt seen, if that thou wolt reneye
The ydoles and be clene, and elles naught.'
And of the myracle of thise corones tweye
Seint Ambrose in his preface list to seye.
Solempnely this noble doctour deere
Commendeth it, and seith in this manere;

The palm of martirdom for to receyve
Seinte Cecile, fulfild of Goddes yifte,
The world and eek hire chambre gan she weyve,
Witnesse Tyburces and Valerians shrifte,
To whiche God of his bountee wolde shifte
Corones two, of floures wel smellynge,
And made his aungel hem the corones brynge.

The mayde hath broght thise men to blisse above;
The world hath wist what it is worth, certeyn,
Devocioun of chastitee to love. . . .
Tho shewed hym Cecile, al open and pleyn,
That alle ydoles nys but a thyng in veyn,
For they been dombe and therto they been deve,
And charged hym hise ydoles for to leve.

'Whoso that troweth, nat this, a beest he is,'
Quod tho Tiburce, 'if that I shal nat lye.'
And she gan kisse his brest, that herde this,
And was ful glad he koude trouthe espye.
'This day I take thee for myn allye,'
Seyde this blisful faire mayde deere,
And after that she seyde as ye may heere.

'Lo, right so as the love of Crist,' quod she,
'Made me thy brotheres wyf, right in that wise
Anon for myn allyee heer take I thee,

Syn that thou wolt thyne ydoles despise.
Go with thy brother now, and thee baptise,
And make thee clene, so that thou mowe biholde
The aungels face of which thy brother tolde.'

Tiburce answerde and seyde, 'Brother deere,
First tel me whider I shal, and to what man?'
'To whom?' quod he, 'com forth with right good cheere,
I wol thee lede unto the Pope Urban.'
'Til Urban? brother myn Valerian,'
Quod tho Tiburce, 'woltow me thider lede?
Me thynketh that it were a wonder dede.'

'Ne menestow nat Urban,' quod he tho,
'That is so ofte dampned to be deed,
And woneth in halkes alwey to and fro,
And dar nat ones putte forth his heed;
Men sholde hym brennen in a fyr so reed,
If he were founde, or that men myghte hym spye;
And we also, to bere hym compaignye,

And whil we seken thilke divinitee,
That is yhid in hevene pryvely,
Algate ybrend in this world shul we be!'
To whom Cecile answerde boldely,
'Men myghten dreden wel and skilfully
This lyf to lese, myn owene deere brother,
If this were lyvynge oonly and noon oother.

But ther is bettre lyf in oother place,
That nevere shal be lost, ne drede thee noght,
Which Goddes sone us tolde thurgh his grace.
That fadres sone hath alle thyng ywroght,
And al that wroght is with a skilful thoght,
The goost, that fro the fader gan procede,
Hath sowled hem, withouten any drede.

By word and by myracel Goddes Sone,
Whan he was in this world, declared heere
That ther was oother lyf ther men may wone.'
To whom answerde Tiburce, 'O suster deere,
Ne seydestow right now in this manere,
Ther nys but o God, lord in soothfastnesse,
And now of thre how maystow bere witnesse?'

'That shal I telle,' quod she, 'er I go.
Right as a man hath sapiences thre,
Memorie, engyn, and intellect also,
So, in o beynge of divinitee
Thre persones may ther right wel bee.'
Tho gan she hym ful bisily to preche
Of Cristes come, and of hise peynes teche,

And many pointes of his passioun;
How Goddes sone in this world was withholde
To doon mankynde pleyn remissioun,
That was ybounde in synne and cares colde . . .
Al this thyng she unto Tiburce tolde;
And after this, Tiburce in good entente
With Valerian to Pope Urban he wente;

That thanked God, and with glad herte and light
He cristned hym, and made hym in that place
Parfit in his lernynge, Goddes knyght.
And after this Tiburce gat swich grace
That every day he saugh in tyme and space
The aungel of God, and every maner boone
That he God axed, it was sped ful soone.

It were ful hard by ordre for to seyn
How manye wondres Jesu for hem wroghte.
But atte laste, to tellen short and pleyn,
The sergeantz of the toun of Rome hem soghte,
And hem biforn Almache the Prefect broghte,
Which hem opposed, and knew al hire entente,
And to the ymage of Juppiter hem sente,

And seyde, 'Whoso wol nat sacrifise,
Swap of his heed, this my sentence heer.'
Anon thise martirs that I yow devyse,
Oon Maximus, that was an officer
Of the prefectes, and his corniculer,
Hem hente, and whan he forth the seintes ladde,
Hymself he weepe, for pitee that he hadde.

Whan Maximus had herd the seintes loore,
He gat hym of the tormentoures leve,
And ladde hem to his hous withoute moore.
And with hir prechyng, er that it were eve,
They gonnen fro the tormentours to reve,
And fro Maxime, and fro his folk echone
The fals feith, to trowe in God allone.

Cecile cam whan it was woxen nyght,
With preestes that hem cristned alle yfeere,
And afterward, whan day was woxen light,
Cecile hem seyde, with a ful stedefast cheere,
'Now Cristes owene knyghtes, leeve and deere,
Cast alle awey the werkes of derkness
And armeth yow in armure of brightnesse.

Ye han forsothe ydoon a greet bataille,
Youre cours is doon, youre feith han ye conserved,
Gooth to the corone of lyf that may nat faille.
The rightful juge which that ye han served
Shal yeve it yow as ye han it deserved.'
And whan this thyng was seyd as I devyse,
Men ledde hem forth to doon the sacrifise.

But whan they weren to the place broght,
To tellen shortly the conclusioun,
They nolde encense ne sacrifise right noght,
But on hir knees they setten hem adoun
With humble herte and sad devocioun,
And losten bothe hir hevedes in the place.
Her soules wenten to the kyng of grace.

This Maximus that saugh this thyng bityde,
With pitous teeris tolde it anon-right,
That he hir soules saugh to hevene glyde,
With aungels ful of cleernesse and of light;
And with this word converted many a wight.
For which Almachius dide hym so bete
With whippe of leed, til he the lyf gan lete.

Cecile hym took, and buryed hym anon
By Tiburce and Valerian softely,
Withinne hir buriyng place under the stoon,
And after this Almachius hastily
Bad hise ministres fecchen openly
Cecile, so that she myghte in his presence
Doon sacrifice, and Juppiter encense.

But they, converted at hir wise loore,
Wepten ful soore, and yaven ful credence
Unto hire word, and cryden moore and moore,
'Crist, Goddes sone, withouten difference,
Is verray God, this is al oure sentence,
That hath so good a servant hym to serve
This with o voys we trowen, thogh we sterve.'

Almachius, that herde of this doynge,
Bad fecchen Cecile, that he myghte hir see,
And alderfirst, lo, this was his axynge:
'What maner womman artow?' tho quod he.
'I am a gentil womman born,' quod she.
'I axe thee,' quod he, 'though it thee greeve,
Of thy religioun and of thy bileeve.'

'Ye han bigonne youre question folily,'
Quod she, 'that wolden two answeres conclude
In o demande; ye axed lewedly.'
Almache answerde unto that similitude,
'Of whennes comth thyn answeryng so rude?'
'Of whennes?' quod she, whan that she was freyned,
'Of conscience and of good feith unfeyned.'

Almachius seyde, 'Ne takestow noon heede
Of my power?' and she answerde hym,
'Youre myght,' quod she, 'ful litel is to dreede,
For every mortal mannes power nys
But lyke a bladdre ful of wynd, ywys;
For with a nedles poynt, whan it is blowe,
May al the boost of it be leyd ful lowe.'

'Ful wrongfully bigonne thow,' quod he,
'And yet in wrong is thy perseveraunce;
Wostow nat how oure myghty princes free
Han thus comanded and maad ordinaunce
That every cristen wight shal han penaunce,
But if that he his cristendom withseye-
And goon al quit, if he wole it reneye?'

'Youre princes erren, as youre nobleye dooth,'
Quod tho Cecile, 'and with a wood sentence
Ye make us gilty, and it is nat sooth,
For ye, that knowen wel oure innocence,
For as muche as we doon a reverence
To Crist, and for we bere a cristen name,
Ye putte on us a cryme, and eek a blame.

But we that knowen thilke name so
For vertuous, we may it nat withseye.'
Almache answerde, 'Chees oon of thise two,
Do sacrifise, or cristendom reneye,
That thou mowe now escapen by that weye.'
At which the hooly blisful faire mayde
Gan for to laughe, and to the juge sayde,

'O Juge, confus in thy nycetee,
Woltow that I reneye innocence,
To make me a wikked wight,' quod shee;
'Lo, he dissymuleth heere in audience,
He stareth, and woodeth in his advertence.'
To whom Almachius, 'Unsely wrecche,
Ne woostow nat how far my myght may strecche?

Han noght oure myghty princes to me yeven
Ye, bothe power and auctoritee
To maken folk to dyen or to lyven?
Why spekestow so proudly thanne to me?'
'I speke noght but stedfastly,' quod she,
'Nat proudly, for I speke as for my syde,
We haten deedly thilke vice of pryde.

And if thou drede nat a sooth to heere,
Thanne wol I shewe al openly by right
That thou hast maad a ful grete lesyng heere,
Thou seyst, thy princes han thee yeven myght
Bothe for to sleen, and for to quyken a wight.
Thou that ne mayst but oonly lyf bireve,
Thou hast noon oother power, ne no leve!

But thou mayst seyn thy princes han thee maked
Ministre of deeth, for if thou speke of mo,
Thou lyest, for thy power is ful naked.'
'Do wey thy booldnesse,' seyde Almachius tho,
'And sacrifise to oure goddes er thou go.
I recche na twhat wrong that thou me profre,
For I can suffre it as a philosophre.

But thilke wronges may I nat endure
That thou spekest of oure goddes heere,' quod he.
Cecile answerde, 'O nyce creature,
Thou seydest no word, syn thou spak to me,
That I ne knew therwith thy nycetee,
And that thou were in every maner wise
A lewed officer and a veyn justise.

Ther lakketh no thyng to thyne outter eyen
That thou nart blynd, for thyng that we seen alle
That it is stoon, that men may wel espyen,
That ilke stoon a god thow wolt it calle.
I rede thee lat thyn hand upon it falle,
And taste it wel, and stoon thou shalt it fynde,

Syn that thou seest nat with thyne eyen blynde.

It is a shame that the peple shal
So scorne thee, and laughe at thy folye,
For communly men woot it wel overal
That myghty God is in hise hevenes hye,
And thise ymages, wel thou mayst espye,
To thee ne to hemself mowen noght profite,
For in effect they been nat worth a myte.'

Thise wordes and swiche othere seyde she,
And he weex wrooth, and bad men sholde hir lede
Hom til hir hous, and 'in hire hous,' quod he,
'Brenne hire right in a bath of flambes rede.'
And as he bad, right so was doon in dede,
For in a bath they gonne hire faste shetten,
And nyght and day greet fyre they underbetten.

The longe nyght and eek a day also
For al the fyr and eek the bathes heete
She sat al coold, and feelede no wo;
It made hir nat a drope for to sweete.
But in that bath hir lyf she moste lete,
For he Almachius, with a ful wikke entente,
To sleen hir in the bath his sonde sente.

Thre strokes in the nekke he smoot hir tho,
The tormentour, but for no maner chaunce
He myghte noght smyte al hir nekke atwo.
And for ther was that tyme an ordinaunce
That no man sholde doon men swich penaunce
The ferthe strook to smyten, softe or soore,
This tormentour ne dorste do namoore.

But half deed, with hir nekke ycorven there,
He lefte hir lye, and on his wey is went.
The cristen folk, which that aboute hir were,
With sheetes han the blood ful faire yhent.
Thre dayes lyved she in this torment,
And nevere cessed hem the feith to teche;
That she hadde fostred, hem she gan to preche.

And hem she yaf hir moebles, and hir thyng,
And to the Pope Urban bitook hem tho,
And seyde, 'I axed this at hevene kyng
To han respit thre dayes, and namo,
To recomende to yow er that I go
Thise soules, lo, and that I myghte do werche
Heere of myn hous perpetuelly a chirche.'

Seint Urban with hise deknes prively
This body fette, and buryed it by nyghte,
Among hise othere seintes, honestly.
Hir hous the chirche of seinte Cecilie highte;
Seint Urban halwed it, as he wel myghte,
In which, into this day, in noble wyse
Men doon to Crist and to his seinte servyse.

Heere is ended the Seconde Nonnes tale.

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Unless They Are In the Midst

Don't want to.
Don't have to.
And will not,
Tolerate further nonsense...
That should have long been dropped,
Removed and stopped as an issue.

There are those who can not exist,
Unless they are in the midst of conflict.
Either stirring it up or soliciting it...
As a means to promote their insecurities.
And I'm not having it!
Not around me!

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They Have Struck The Motherlode

Few can placate by folly.
With an appeasing done,
To quench and finalize...
What arises that may disturb.
Those who are comedic,
May succeed temporarily.

But the ones gifted,
With psychiatry as a profession...
May find today,
They have struck the motherlode...
Of unending fortune.
With appointments to have folks laid out,
On leather couches forever.

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They Have Killed The Peace

they have killed the peace
when flyı ng in the air
they have shot the peace
everybodody shed to tears
they have killed the peace
in fierce and without mercy

they have kı lled peace
trying to land on the world
they have sown haterate on soı l
they have sown granades
and fusils to grow
they have kı lled the peace

but they di not know that
the mustafa kemal
and his soldiers will never die
again again and again they will grow
from the anatolı an soı l
kı lled the peace
or they thought so

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The Cause and The Defect

Your delusions denied the truth.
With a booting done,
Of those you gossiped were disgruntled.
And were against your standards lived!

You chose to accept the lies in your life,
As they are.
You campaigned to keep things the same,
And unchanged.
With a resisting quick of any reality mentioned.

Those attempts tried to awaken you,
Led to arguments and lives disrespected and slandered.

If you are angry...
Be mad at yourself.
Look in the mirror at your reflection,
And begin to curse!
You have been the problem.
The cause and the defect!

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Preferably When The Lights Are Out

In these times we live...
Men are having sex with men.
Women are having sex with women.
They are bi-coastal...
And as dysfunctional as everything they represent!
Even those sneaking around in the halls of government...
Don't use the term 'gay'!
Even though their ancestors
Whose standards they are trying to cling onto...
Labelled the 1890's as the Gay '90's!
And they weren't attempting to surpress anything,
Back then!
But today?
Any and everything is accepted!
As long as it is done 'undercover'.
When the lights are out!
In bathroom stalls that are cleaned!

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The Domino Effect

A flame licked at a single domino.
And that single domino fell.
Just that one.
It leaned against the one before it,
and it was held in the air.
But only for a moment.
Soon, every single black-and-white
domino was fallen in the gray dust.
A cloud of Time rested on top.
And a steady hand came.
With a new set of dominoes,
each one a different shade
of gray.
The lint built up.
And this lint was soon on fire;
the flame licked at a single domino.
This domino fell.
As did the others.
But they were replaced as they lay
under the dust of Time.
Black-and-white dominoes
were set above them,
only to be fallen by flames.

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They wait for the next day to dawn

Dark clouds assembled in the sky,
Peacocks enthused and happy,
The flow from waterfall makes shower noisy;

The crystal clear feathers of bees
Ringing with reverberating noises
Around the flowers in the bushy plants;

The shining early sun-rays fall on hills and lands
Make them green and enchanting everybody's minds
Recollecting their past happiest days;

The grazing cows and calves happily munching grasses
The men who controls the animals singing and chatting
Return to their shelter in the evening;

The animals chew and dream for the sunrise
The men ate supper, went to sleep peacefully,
Anxiously they wait for the next day to dawn.

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Whatever Is Going On Is Working

The more he does and succeeds at doing it,
More claim he is not doing anything.
Apparently loving,
To look like fools.

'That's great!
Whatever is going on is working.
He seems motivated by them.
And they continue to prove...
He has been the right choice all along.

How can we get them,
To donate some of that negative energy...
To the positive side.'

That's a hard one.
Remember when they were called idiots?
They weren't insulted at all.
In fact...
They began to use that as their campaign slogan.

'We are not going to do a thing.
Leave well enough alone.
Whats-his-name knows exactly what he's doing.
He's a genius I'm telling you.
He's a genius.'

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They All Give The Light

Once upon a time
at a very far away
folk music concert

two American
folk singers claimed
and proclaimed

a revelation
concerning the lights
givers of light

One singer said
“Do you see the lights”
“This one is Christianity”

“That one is Islam”
“That one is Hinduism”
“That one is Buddhism”

They are all different
but they all give...
the same light...


What about blown bulbs?
When one bulb is blown?
Are all the bulbs blown?

They all give the same light?
A modern western folk revelation?
Is it really all the same light?

Or different sources of light?

Copyright © Terence George Craddock
See also the poem ‘Do All Religions Give The Same Light? ’.

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Over The Electric Grapevine

They headed southward from san francisco,
To be with chuckles and the others.
With electric in the air and peroxide in their hair,
They looked like golden brothers.
They drove a datsun, an automatic,
The radio blaring static,
He made a face into the light and burst out laughing at the sight.
The hysteria ensuing would dominate the night.
From all the candy, the seats were sticky,
As they were drawn into the grapevine.
Then introduce yourself came on as they barreled through the gog.
The demon puffing madly on a mentholated log.
They were tired, they were sleepy,
So they parked behind the roxy.
Adam left to use the phone, so he sat there all alone,
When adams voice come beaming through on the radio,
He started laughing...

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Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

Don't wish it away
Don't look at it like it's forever
Between you and me
I could honestly say
That things can only get better

And while I'm away
Dust out the demons inside
And it won't be long
Before you and me run
To the place in our hearts
Where we hide

And I guess that's why
They call it the blues
Time on my hands
Could be time spent with you
Laughing like children
Living like lovers
Rolling like thunder under the covers
And I guess that's why
They call it the blues

Just stare into space
Picture my face in your hands
Live for each second
Without hesitation
And never forget I'm your man

Wait on me girl
Cry in the night if it helps
But more than ever I simply love you
More than I love itself

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