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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales; the Wyves tale of Bathe

The Prologe of the Wyves tale of Bathe.

Experience, though noon auctoritee
Were in this world, were right ynogh to me
To speke of wo that is in mariage;
For, lordynges, sith I twelf yeer was of age,
Thonked be God, that is eterne on lyve,

Housbondes at chirche-dore I have had fyve-
For I so ofte have ywedded bee-
And alle were worthy men in hir degree.
But me was toold, certeyn, nat longe agoon is,
That sith that Crist ne wente nevere but onis

To weddyng in the Cane of Galilee,
That by the same ensample, taughte he me,
That I ne sholde wedded be but ones.
Herkne eek, lo, which a sharpe word for the nones,
Biside a welle Jesus, God and Man,

Spak in repreeve of the Samaritan.
'Thou hast yhad fyve housbondes,' quod he,
'And thilke man the which that hath now thee
Is noght thyn housbonde;' thus seyde he, certeyn.
What that he mente ther by, I kan nat seyn;

But that I axe, why that the fifthe man
Was noon housbonde to the Samaritan?
How manye myghte she have in mariage?
Yet herde I nevere tellen in myn age
Upon this nombre diffinicioun.

Men may devyne, and glosen up and doun,
But wel I woot expres withoute lye,
God bad us for to wexe and multiplye;
That gentil text kan I wel understonde.
Eek wel I woot, he seyde, myn housbonde

Sholde lete fader and mooder, and take me;
But of no nombre mencioun made he,
Of bigamye, or of octogamye;
Why sholde men speke of it vileynye?
Lo, heere the wise kyng, daun Salomon;

I trowe he hadde wyves mo than oon-
As, wolde God, it leveful were to me
To be refresshed half so ofte as he-
Which yifte of God hadde he, for alle hise wyvys?
No man hath swich that in this world alyve is.

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Cleanness

Clannesse who so kyndly cowþe comende
& rekken vp alle þe resounz þat ho by ri3t askez,
Fayre formez my3t he fynde in for[þ]ering his speche
& in þe contrare kark & combraunce huge.
For wonder wroth is þe Wy3þat wro3t alle þinges
Wyth þe freke þat in fylþe fol3es Hym after,
As renkez of relygioun þat reden & syngen
& aprochen to hys presens & prestez arn called;
Thay teen vnto his temmple & temen to hym seluen,
Reken with reuerence þay rychen His auter;
Þay hondel þer his aune body & vsen hit boþe.
If þay in clannes be clos þay cleche gret mede;
Bot if þay conterfete crafte & cortaysye wont,
As be honest vtwyth & inwith alle fylþez,
Þen ar þay synful hemself & sulped altogeder
Boþe God & His gere, & hym to greme cachen.
He is so clene in His courte, þe Kyng þat al weldez,
& honeste in His housholde & hagherlych serued
With angelez enourled in alle þat is clene,
Boþ withine & withouten in wedez ful bry3t;
Nif he nere scoymus & skyg & non scaþe louied,
Hit were a meruayl to much, hit mo3t not falle.
Kryst kydde hit Hymself in a carp onez,
Þeras He heuened a3t happez & hy3t hem her medez.
Me mynez on one amonge oþer, as Maþew recordez,
Þat þus clanness vnclosez a ful cler speche:
Þe haþel clene of his hert hapenez ful fayre,
For he schal loke on oure Lorde with a bone chere';
As so saytz, to þat sy3t seche schal he neuer
Þat any vnclannesse hatz on, auwhere abowte;
For He þat flemus vch fylþe fer fro His hert
May not byde þat burre þat hit His body ne3en.
Forþy hy3not to heuen in haterez totorne,
Ne in þe harlatez hod, & handez vnwaschen.
For what vrþly haþel þat hy3honour haldez
Wolde lyke if a ladde com lyþerly attyred,
When he were sette solempnely in a sete ryche,
Abof dukez on dece, with dayntys serued?
Þen þe harlot with haste helded to þe table,
With rent cokrez at þe kne & his clutte traschez,
& his tabarde totorne, & his totez oute,
Oþer ani on of alle þyse, he schulde be halden vtter,
With mony blame ful bygge, a boffet peraunter,
Hurled to þe halle dore & harde þeroute schowued,
& be forboden þat bor3e to bowe þider neuer,
On payne of enprysonment & puttyng in stokkez;
& þus schal he be schent for his schrowde feble,
Þa3neuer in talle ne in tuch he trespas more.
& if vnwelcum he were to a worþlych prynce,
3et hym is þe hy3e Kyng harder in her euen;

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Tercius

Incipit Liber Quartus


Dicunt accidiam fore nutricem viciorum,
Torpet et in cunctis tarda que lenta bonis:
Que fieri possent hodie transfert piger in cras,
Furatoque prius ostia claudit equo.
Poscenti tardo negat emolumenta Cupido,
Set Venus in celeri ludit amore viri.

Upon the vices to procede
After the cause of mannes dede,
The ferste point of Slowthe I calle
Lachesce, and is the chief of alle,
And hath this propreliche of kinde,
To leven alle thing behinde.
Of that he mihte do now hier
He tarieth al the longe yer,
And everemore he seith, 'Tomorwe';
And so he wol his time borwe,
And wissheth after 'God me sende,'
That whan he weneth have an ende,
Thanne is he ferthest to beginne.
Thus bringth he many a meschief inne
Unwar, til that he be meschieved,
And may noght thanne be relieved.
And riht so nowther mor ne lesse
It stant of love and of lachesce:
Som time he slowtheth in a day
That he nevere after gete mai.
Now, Sone, as of this ilke thing,
If thou have eny knowleching,
That thou to love hast don er this,
Tell on. Mi goode fader, yis.
As of lachesce I am beknowe
That I mai stonde upon his rowe,
As I that am clad of his suite:
For whanne I thoghte mi poursuite
To make, and therto sette a day
To speke unto the swete May,
Lachesce bad abide yit,
And bar on hond it was no wit
Ne time forto speke as tho.
Thus with his tales to and fro
Mi time in tariinge he drowh:
Whan ther was time good ynowh,
He seide, 'An other time is bettre;
Thou schalt mowe senden hire a lettre,
And per cas wryte more plein
Than thou be Mowthe durstest sein.'

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Prologus

Incipit Liber Primus

Naturatus amor nature legibus orbem
Subdit, et vnanimes concitat esse feras:
Huius enim mundi Princeps amor esse videtur,
Cuius eget diues, pauper et omnis ope.
Sunt in agone pares amor et fortuna, que cecas
Plebis ad insidias vertit vterque rotas.
Est amor egra salus, vexata quies, pius error,
Bellica pax, vulnus dulce, suaue malum.

I may noght strecche up to the hevene
Min hand, ne setten al in evene
This world, which evere is in balance:
It stant noght in my sufficance
So grete thinges to compasse,
Bot I mot lete it overpasse
And treten upon othre thinges.
Forthi the Stile of my writinges
Fro this day forth I thenke change
And speke of thing is noght so strange,
Which every kinde hath upon honde,
And wherupon the world mot stonde,
And hath don sithen it began,
And schal whil ther is any man;
And that is love, of which I mene
To trete, as after schal be sene.
In which ther can noman him reule,
For loves lawe is out of reule,
That of tomoche or of tolite
Welnyh is every man to wyte,
And natheles ther is noman
In al this world so wys, that can
Of love tempre the mesure,
Bot as it falth in aventure:
For wit ne strengthe may noght helpe,
And he which elles wolde him yelpe
Is rathest throwen under fote,
Ther can no wiht therof do bote.
For yet was nevere such covine,
That couthe ordeine a medicine
To thing which god in lawe of kinde
Hath set, for ther may noman finde
The rihte salve of such a Sor.
It hath and schal ben everemor
That love is maister wher he wile,
Ther can no lif make other skile;
For wher as evere him lest to sette,
Ther is no myht which him may lette.
Bot what schal fallen ate laste,

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 15

Ac after my wakynge it was wonder longe
Er I koude kyndely knowe what was Dowel.
And so my wit weex and wanyed til I a fool weere;
And some lakked my lif - allowed it fewe -
And leten me for a lorel and looth to reverencen
Lordes or ladies or any lif ellis -
As persons in pelure with pendaunts of silver;
To sergeaunts ne to swiche seide noght ones,
' God loke yow, lordes!' - ne loutede faire,
That folk helden me a fool; and in that folie I raved,
Til reson hadde ruthe on me and rokked me aslepe,
Til I seigh, as it sorcerie were, a sotil thyng withalle -
Oon withouten tonge and teeth, tolde me whider I sholde
And wherof I cam and of what kynde. I conjured hym at the laste,
If he were Cristes creature for Cristes love me to tellen.
' I am Cristes creature,' quod he, 'and Cristene in many a place,
In Cristes court yknowe wel, and of his kyn a party.
Is neither Peter the Porter, ne Poul with the fauchon,
That wole defende me the dore, dynge I never so late.
At mydnyght, at mydday, my vois is so yknowe
That ech a creature of his court welcometh me faire.'
'What are ye called?' quod I, 'in that court among Cristes peple?'
'The whiles I quykne the cors,' quod he, 'called am I Anima;
And whan I wilne and wolde, Animus ich hatte;
And for that I kan and knowe, called am I Mens;
And whan I make mone to God, Memoria is my name;
And whan I deme domes and do as truthe techeth,
Thanne is Racio my righte name - ''reson'' on Englissh;
And whan I feele that folk telleth, my firste name is Sensus -
And that is wit and wisdom, the welle of alle craftes;
And whan I chalange or chalange noght, chepe or refuse,

Thanne am I Conseience ycalled, Goddes clerk and his notarie;
And whan I love leelly Oure Lord and alle othere,
Thanne is ''lele Love'' my name, and in Latyn Amor;
And whan I flee fro the flessh and forsake the careyne,
Thanne am I spirit spechelees - and Spiritus thanne ich hatte.
Austyn and Ysodorus, either of hem bothe
Nempnede me thus to name - now thow myght chese
How thow coveitest to calle me, now thow knowest alle my names.
Anima pro diversis accionibus diversa nomina sortiturdum
vivificat corpus, anima est; dum vult, animus est; dum scit,
mens est; dum recolit, memoria est; dum iudicat, racio est;
dum sentit, sensus est; dum amat, Amor est ; dum negat vel
consentit, consciencia est; dum spirat, spiritus est.'
'Ye ben as a bisshop,' quod I, al bourdynge that tyme,
' For bisshopes yblessed, thei bereth manye names -
Presul and Pontifex and Metropolitanus,
And othere names an heep, Episcopus and Pastor.'
'That is sooth,' seide he, 'now I se thi wille!

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 19

Thus I awaked and wroot what I hadde ydremed,
And dighte me derely, and dide me to chirche,
To here holly the masse and to be housled after.
In myddes of the masse, tho men yede to offryng,
I fel eftsoones aslepe - and sodeynly me mette
That Piers the Plowman was peynted al blody,
And com in with a cros bifore the comune peple,
And right lik in alle lymes to Oure Lord Jesu.
And thanne called I Conscience to kenne me the sothe
'Is this Jesus the justere,' quod I, 'that Jewes dide to dethe?
Or it is Piers the Plowman! Who peynted hym so rede?'
Quod Conscience, and kneled tho, ' Thise arn Piers armes -
Hise colours and his cote armure; ac he that cometh so blody
Is Crist with his cros, conquerour of Cristene.'
'Why calle ye hym Crist?' quod I, 'sithen Jewes called hym Jesus?
Patriarkes and prophetes prophecied bifore
That alle kynne creatures sholden knelen and bowen
Anoon as men nempned the name of God Jesu.
Ergo is no name to the name of Jesus,
Ne noon so nedeful to nempne by nyghte ne by daye.
For alle derke develes arn adrad to heren it,
And synfulle aren solaced and saved by that name;
And ye callen hym Crist; for what cause, telleth me?
Is Crist moore of myght and moore worthi name
Than Jesu or Jesus, that al oure joye com of?'
'Thow knowest wel,' quod Conscience, 'and thow konne reson,
That knyght, kyng, conquerour may be o persone.
To be called a knyght is fair, for men shul knele to hym;
To be called a kyng is fairer, for he may knyghtes make;
Ac to be conquerour called, that cometh of special grace,
And of hardynesse of herte and of hendemesse -
To make lordes of laddes, of lond that he wynneth,
And fre men foule thralles, that folwen noght hise lawes.

'The Jewes, that were gentil men, Jesu thei despised -
Bothe his loore and his lawe; now are thei lowe cherles.
As wide as the world is, wonyeth ther noon
But under tribut and taillage as tikes and cherles;
And tho that bicome Cristene bi counseil of the Baptiste
Aren frankeleyns, free men thorugh fullynge that thei toke
And gentil men with Jesu - for Jesus was yfulled
And upon Calvarie on cros ycrouned kyng of Jewes.
' It bicometh to a kyng to kepe and to defende,
And conqueror of his conquest hise lawes and his large.
And so dide Jesus the Jewes - he justified and taughte hem
The lawe of lif that laste shal evere,
And fended from foule yveles, feveres and fiuxes,
And from fendes that in hem was, and false bileve.
Tho was he Jesus of Jewes called, gentile prophete,
And kyng of hir kyngdom, and croune bar of thornes.

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Septimus

Incipit Liber Octavus

Que favet ad vicium vetus hec modo regula confert,
Nec novus e contra qui docet ordo placet.
Cecus amor dudum nondum sua lumina cepit,
Quo Venus impositum devia fallit iter.

------------------------------------ -----------------------------------------------
The myhti god, which unbegunne
Stant of himself and hath begunne
Alle othre thinges at his wille,
The hevene him liste to fulfille
Of alle joie, where as he
Sit inthronized in his See,
And hath hise Angles him to serve,
Suche as him liketh to preserve,
So that thei mowe noght forsueie:
Bot Lucifer he putte aweie,
With al the route apostazied
Of hem that ben to him allied,
Whiche out of hevene into the helle
From Angles into fendes felle;
Wher that ther is no joie of lyht,
Bot more derk than eny nyht
The peine schal ben endeles;
And yit of fyres natheles
Ther is plente, bot thei ben blake,
Wherof no syhte mai be take.
Thus whan the thinges ben befalle,
That Luciferes court was falle
Wher dedly Pride hem hath conveied,
Anon forthwith it was pourveied
Thurgh him which alle thinges may;
He made Adam the sexte day
In Paradis, and to his make
Him liketh Eve also to make,
And bad hem cresce and multiplie.
For of the mannes Progenie,
Which of the womman schal be bore,
The nombre of Angles which was lore,
Whan thei out fro the blisse felle,
He thoghte to restore, and felle
In hevene thilke holy place
Which stod tho voide upon his grace.
Bot as it is wel wiste and knowe,
Adam and Eve bot a throwe,
So as it scholde of hem betyde,
In Paradis at thilke tyde
Ne duelten, and the cause why,
Write in the bok of Genesi,

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Quintus

Incipit Liber Sextus

Est gula, que nostrum maculavit prima parentem
Ex vetito pomo, quo dolet omnis homo
Hec agit, ut corpus anime contraria spirat,
Quo caro fit crassa, spiritus atque macer.
Intus et exterius si que virtutis habentur,
Potibus ebrietas conviciata ruit.
Mersa sopore labis, que Bachus inebriat hospes,
Indignata Venus oscula raro premit.

---------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------

The grete Senne original,
Which every man in general
Upon his berthe hath envenymed,
In Paradis it was mystymed:
Whan Adam of thilke Appel bot,
His swete morscel was to hot,
Which dedly made the mankinde.
And in the bokes as I finde,
This vice, which so out of rule
Hath sette ous alle, is cleped Gule;
Of which the branches ben so grete,
That of hem alle I wol noght trete,
Bot only as touchende of tuo
I thenke speke and of no mo;
Wherof the ferste is Dronkeschipe,
Which berth the cuppe felaschipe.
Ful many a wonder doth this vice,
He can make of a wisman nyce,
And of a fool, that him schal seme
That he can al the lawe deme,
And yiven every juggement
Which longeth to the firmament
Bothe of the sterre and of the mone;
And thus he makth a gret clerk sone
Of him that is a lewed man.
Ther is nothing which he ne can,
Whil he hath Dronkeschipe on honde,
He knowth the See, he knowth the stronde,
He is a noble man of armes,
And yit no strengthe is in his armes:
Ther he was strong ynouh tofore,
With Dronkeschipe it is forlore,
And al is changed his astat,
And wext anon so fieble and mat,
That he mai nouther go ne come,
Bot al togedre him is benome
The pouer bothe of hond and fot,

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Primus

Incipit Liber Secundus

Inuidie culpa magis est attrita dolore,
Nam sua mens nullo tempore leta manet:
Quo gaudent alii, dolet ille, nec vnus amicus
Est, cui de puro comoda velle facit.
Proximitatis honor sua corda veretur, et omnis
Est sibi leticia sic aliena dolor.
Hoc etenim vicium quam sepe repugnat amanti,
Non sibi, set reliquis, dum fauet ipsa Venus.
Est amor ex proprio motu fantasticus, et que
Gaudia fert alius, credit obesse sibi.


Now after Pride the secounde
Ther is, which many a woful stounde
Towardes othre berth aboute
Withinne himself and noght withoute;
For in his thoght he brenneth evere,
Whan that he wot an other levere
Or more vertuous than he,
Which passeth him in his degre;
Therof he takth his maladie:
That vice is cleped hot Envie.
Forthi, my Sone, if it be so
Thou art or hast ben on of tho,
As forto speke in loves cas,
If evere yit thin herte was
Sek of an other mannes hele?
So god avance my querele,
Mi fader, ye, a thousend sithe:
Whanne I have sen an other blithe
Of love, and hadde a goodly chiere,
Ethna, which brenneth yer be yere,
Was thanne noght so hot as I
Of thilke Sor which prively
Min hertes thoght withinne brenneth.
The Schip which on the wawes renneth,
And is forstormed and forblowe,
Is noght more peined for a throwe
Than I am thanne, whanne I se
An other which that passeth me
In that fortune of loves yifte.
Bot, fader, this I telle in schrifte,
That is nowher bot in o place;
For who that lese or finde grace
In other stede, it mai noght grieve:
Bot this ye mai riht wel believe,
Toward mi ladi that I serve,
Thogh that I wiste forto sterve,

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The Tale of Gamelyn

Fitt 1

Lithes and listneth and harkeneth aright,
And ye shul here of a doughty knyght;
Sire John of Boundes was his name,
He coude of norture and of mochel game.
Thre sones the knyght had and with his body he wan,
The eldest was a moche schrewe and sone bygan.
His brether loved wel her fader and of hym were agast,
The eldest deserved his faders curs and had it atte last.
The good knight his fadere lyved so yore,
That deth was comen hym to and handled hym ful sore.
The good knyght cared sore sik ther he lay,
How his children shuld lyven after his day.
He had bene wide where but non husbonde he was,
Al the londe that he had it was purchas.
Fayn he wold it were dressed amonge hem alle,
That eche of hem had his parte as it myght falle.
Thoo sente he in to contrey after wise knyghtes
To helpen delen his londes and dressen hem to-rightes.
He sent hem word by letters thei shul hie blyve,
If thei wolle speke with hym whilst he was alyve.

Whan the knyghtes harden sik that he lay,
Had thei no rest neither nyght ne day,
Til thei come to hym ther he lay stille
On his dethes bedde to abide goddys wille.
Than seide the good knyght seke ther he lay,
'Lordes, I you warne for soth, without nay,
I may no lenger lyven here in this stounde;
For thorgh goddis wille deth droueth me to grounde.'
Ther nas noon of hem alle that herd hym aright,
That thei ne had routh of that ilk knyght,
And seide, 'Sir, for goddes love dismay you nought;
God may don boote of bale that is now ywrought.'
Than speke the good knyght sik ther he lay,
'Boote of bale God may sende I wote it is no nay;
But I beseche you knyghtes for the love of me,
Goth and dresseth my londes amonge my sones thre.
And for the love of God deleth not amyss,
And forgeteth not Gamelyne my yonge sone that is.
Taketh hede to that oon as wel as to that other;
Seelde ye seen eny hier helpen his brother.'

Thoo lete thei the knyght lyen that was not in hele,
And wenten into counselle his londes for to dele;
For to delen hem alle to on that was her thought.
And for Gamelyn was yongest he shuld have nought.
All the londe that ther was thei dalten it in two,
And lete Gamelyne the yonge without londe goo,

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The Regiment of Princes

Musynge upon the restlees bysynesse
Which that this troubly world hath ay on honde,
That othir thyng than fruyt of bittirnesse
Ne yildith naght, as I can undirstonde,
At Chestres In, right faste by the Stronde,
As I lay in my bed upon a nyght,
Thoght me byrefte of sleep the force and might. 1

And many a day and nyght that wikkid hyne
Hadde beforn vexed my poore goost
So grevously that of angwissh and pyne
No rycher man was nowhere in no coost.
This dar I seyn, may no wight make his boost
That he with thoght was bet than I aqweynted,
For to the deeth he wel ny hath me feynted.

Bysyly in my mynde I gan revolve
The welthe unseur of every creature,
How lightly that Fortune it can dissolve
Whan that hir list that it no lenger dure;
And of the brotilnesse of hir nature
My tremblynge herte so greet gastnesse hadde
That my spirites were of my lyf sadde.

Me fil to mynde how that nat longe agoo
Fortunes strook doun thraste estat rial
Into mescheef, and I took heede also
Of many anothir lord that hadde a fal.
In mene estat eek sikirnesse at al
Ne saw I noon, but I sy atte laste
Wher seuretee for to abyde hir caste.

In poore estat shee pighte hir pavyloun
To kevere hir fro the storm of descendynge 2
For shee kneew no lower descencion
Sauf oonly deeth, fro which no wight lyvynge
Deffende him may; and thus in my musynge
I destitut was of joie and good hope,
And to myn ese nothyng cowde I grope.

For right as blyve ran it in my thoght,
Thogh poore I be, yit sumwhat leese I may.
Than deemed I that seurtee wolde noght
With me abyde; it is nat to hir pay
Ther to sojourne as shee descende may.
And thus unsikir of my smal lyflode,
Thoght leide on me ful many an hevy lode.

I thoghte eek, if I into povert creepe,
Than am I entred into sikirnesse;

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales; Prologue

Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-

So priketh hem Nature in hir corages-
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende

Of Engelond, to Caunturbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for the seke
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke.
Bifil that in that seson, on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay,

Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury, with ful devout corage,
At nyght were come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle

In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
And wel we weren esed atte beste;
And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,

So hadde I spoken with hem everychon
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
And made forward erly for to ryse
To take our wey, ther as I yow devyse.
But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,

Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
To telle yow al the condicioun
Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
And whiche they weren, and of what degree,

And eek in what array that they were inne;
And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales; The Clerkes Tale (a)

THE CLERKES TALE - PROLOGUE

Heere folweth the Prologe of the clerkes tale of Oxenford.

'Sire clerk of Oxenford,' oure Hooste sayde,
'Ye ryde as coy and stille as dooth a mayde,
Were newe spoused, sittynge at the bord.
This day ne herde I of youre tonge a word.
I trowe ye studie about som sophyme;

But Salomon seith, `every thyng hath tyme.'
For Goddes sake, as beth of bettre cheere;
It is no tyme for to studien heere,
Telle us som myrie tale, by youre fey.
For what man that is entred in a pley,

He nedes moot unto the pley assente;
But precheth nat as freres doon in Lente,
To make us for oure olde synnes wepe,
Ne that thy tale make us nat to slepe.
Telle us som murie thyng of aventures;

Youre termes, youre colours, and youre figures,
Keep hem in stoor, til so be that ye endite
Heigh style, as whan that men to kynges write.
Speketh so pleyn at this tyme, we yow preye,
That we may understonde what ye seye.'

This worthy clerk benignely answerde,
'Hooste,' quod he, 'I am under youre yerde.
Ye han of us as now the governance;
And therfore wol I do yow obeisance
As fer as resoun axeth, hardily.

I wol yow telle a tale, which that I
Lerned at Padwe of a worthy clerk,
As preved by his wordes and his werk.
He is now deed, and nayled in his cheste;
I prey to God so yeve his soule reste.

Fraunceys Petrark, the lauriat poete,
Highte this clerk, whos rethorike sweete
Enlumyned al Ytaille of poetrie,
As Lynyan dide of philosophie,
Or lawe, or oother art particuler.

But deeth, that wol nat suffre us dwellen heer
But as it were a twynklyng of an eye,
Hem bothe hath slayn, and alle shul we dye.
But forth to tellen of this worthy man,

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Knyghthode and Bataile

A XVth Century Verse Paraphrase of Flavius Vegetius Renatus' Treatise 'DE RE MILITARI'


Proemium.
Salue, festa dies
i martis,
Mauortis! auete
Kalende. Qua Deus
ad celum subleuat
ire Dauid.


Hail, halyday deuout! Alhail Kalende
Of Marche, wheryn Dauid the Confessour
Commaunded is his kyngis court ascende;
Emanuel, Jhesus the Conquerour,
This same day as a Tryumphatour,
Sette in a Chaire & Throne of Maiestee,
To London is comyn. O Saviour,
Welcome a thousand fold to thi Citee!


And she, thi modir Blessed mot she be
That cometh eke, and angelys an ende,
Wel wynged and wel horsed, hidir fle,
Thousendys on this goode approche attende;
And ordir aftir ordir thei commende,
As Seraphin, as Cherubyn, as Throne,
As Domynaunce, and Princys hidir sende;
And, at o woord, right welcom euerychone!


But Kyng Herry the Sexte, as Goddes Sone
Or themperour or kyng Emanuel,
To London, welcomer be noo persone;
O souuerayn Lord, welcom! Now wel, Now wel!
Te Deum to be songen, wil do wel,
And Benedicta Sancta Trinitas!
Now prosperaunce and peax perpetuel
Shal growe,-and why? ffor here is Vnitas.


Therof to the Vnitee 'Deo gracias'
In Trinitee! The Clergys and Knyghthode
And Comynaltee better accorded nas
Neuer then now; Now nys ther noon abode,
But out on hem that fordoon Goddes forbode,
Periurous ar, Rebellovs and atteynte,
So forfaytinge her lyif and lyvelode,
Although Ypocrisie her faytys peynte.

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Geoffrey Chaucer

Book Of The Duchesse

THE PROEM

I have gret wonder, be this lighte,
How that I live, for day ne nighte
I may nat slepe wel nigh noght,
I have so many an ydel thoght
Purely for defaute of slepe
That, by my trouthe, I take no kepe
Of no-thing, how hit cometh or goth,
Ne me nis no-thing leef nor loth.
Al is y-liche good to me --
Ioye or sorowe, wherso hyt be --
For I have feling in no-thinge,
But, as it were, a mased thing,
Alway in point to falle a-doun;
For sorwful imaginacioun
Is alway hoolly in my minde.
And wel ye wite, agaynes kynde
Hit were to liven in this wyse;
For nature wolde nat suffyse
To noon erthely creature
Not longe tyme to endure
Withoute slepe, and been in sorwe;
And I ne may, ne night ne morwe,
Slepe; and thus melancolye
And dreed I have for to dye,
Defaute of slepe and hevinesse
Hath sleyn my spirit of quiknesse,
That I have lost al lustihede.
Suche fantasies ben in myn hede
So I not what is best to do.
But men myght axe me, why soo
I may not slepe, and what me is?
But natheles, who aske this
Leseth his asking trewely.
My-selven can not telle why
The sooth; but trewely, as I gesse,
I holde hit be a siknesse
That I have suffred this eight yere,
And yet my bote is never the nere;
For ther is phisicien but oon,
That may me hele; but that is doon.
Passe we over until eft;
That wil not be, moot nede be left;
Our first matere is good to kepe.
So whan I saw I might not slepe,
Til now late, this other night,
Upon my bedde I sat upright
And bad oon reche me a book,
A romaunce, and he hit me took

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Secundus

Incipit Liber Tercius

Ira suis paribus est par furiis Acherontis,
Quo furor ad tempus nil pietatis habet.
Ira malencolicos animos perturbat, vt equo
Iure sui pondus nulla statera tenet.
Omnibus in causis grauat Ira, set inter amantes,
Illa magis facili sorte grauamen agit:
Est vbi vir discors leuiterque repugnat amori,
Sepe loco ludi fletus ad ora venit.

----------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------

If thou the vices lest to knowe,
Mi Sone, it hath noght ben unknowe,
Fro ferst that men the swerdes grounde,
That ther nis on upon this grounde,
A vice forein fro the lawe,
Wherof that many a good felawe
Hath be distraght be sodein chance;
And yit to kinde no plesance
It doth, bot wher he most achieveth
His pourpos, most to kinde he grieveth,
As he which out of conscience
Is enemy to pacience:
And is be name on of the Sevene,
Which ofte hath set this world unevene,
And cleped is the cruel Ire,
Whos herte is everemore on fyre
To speke amis and to do bothe,
For his servantz ben evere wrothe.
Mi goode fader, tell me this:
What thing is Ire? Sone, it is
That in oure englissh Wrathe is hote,
Which hath hise wordes ay so hote,
That all a mannes pacience
Is fyred of the violence.
For he with him hath evere fyve
Servantz that helpen him to stryve:
The ferst of hem Malencolie
Is cleped, which in compaignie
An hundred times in an houre
Wol as an angri beste loure,
And noman wot the cause why.
Mi Sone, schrif thee now forthi:
Hast thou be Malencolien?
Ye, fader, be seint Julien,
Bot I untrewe wordes use,
I mai me noght therof excuse:
And al makth love, wel I wot,

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Confessio Amantis. Prologus

Torpor, ebes sensus, scola parua labor minimusque
Causant quo minimus ipse minora canam:
Qua tamen Engisti lingua canit Insula Bruti
Anglica Carmente metra iuuante loquar.
Ossibus ergo carens que conterit ossa loquelis
Absit, et interpres stet procul oro malus.


Of hem that writen ous tofore
The bokes duelle, and we therfore
Ben tawht of that was write tho:
Forthi good is that we also
In oure tyme among ous hiere
Do wryte of newe som matiere,
Essampled of these olde wyse
So that it myhte in such a wyse,
Whan we ben dede and elleswhere,
Beleve to the worldes eere
In tyme comende after this.
Bot for men sein, and soth it is,
That who that al of wisdom writ
It dulleth ofte a mannes wit
To him that schal it aldai rede,
For thilke cause, if that ye rede,
I wolde go the middel weie
And wryte a bok betwen the tweie,
Somwhat of lust, somewhat of lore,
That of the lasse or of the more
Som man mai lyke of that I wryte:
And for that fewe men endite
In oure englissh, I thenke make
A bok for Engelondes sake,
The yer sextenthe of kyng Richard.
What schal befalle hierafterward
God wot, for now upon this tyde
Men se the world on every syde
In sondry wyse so diversed,
That it welnyh stant al reversed,
As forto speke of tyme ago.
The cause whi it changeth so
It needeth nought to specifie,
The thing so open is at ije
That every man it mai beholde:
And natheles be daies olde,
Whan that the bokes weren levere,
Wrytinge was beloved evere
Of hem that weren vertuous;
For hier in erthe amonges ous,
If noman write hou that it stode,
The pris of hem that weren goode

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Parliament Of Fowles

Here begynyth the Parlement of Foulys

THE PROEM

The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne,
Thassay so hard, so sharp the conquering,
The dredful Ioy, that alwey slit so yerne,
Al this mene I by love, that my feling
Astonyeth with his wonderful worching
So sore y-wis, that whan I on him thinke,
Nat wot I wel wher that I wake or winke.

For al be that I knowe nat love in dede,
Ne wot how that he quyteth folk hir hyre,
Yet happeth me ful ofte in bokes rede
Of his miracles, and his cruel yre;
Ther rede I wel he wol be lord and syre,
I dar not seyn, his strokes been so sore,
But God save swich a lord! I can no more.

Of usage, what for luste what for lore,
On bokes rede I ofte, as I yow tolde.
But wherfor that I speke al this? not yore
Agon, hit happed me for to beholde
Upon a boke, was write with lettres olde;
And ther-upon, a certeyn thing to lerne,
The longe day ful faste I radde and yerne.

For out of olde feldes, as men seith,
Cometh al this newe corn fro yeer to yere;
And out of olde bokes, in good feith,
Cometh al this newe science that men lere.
But now to purpos as of this matere --
To rede forth hit gan me so delyte,
That al the day me thoughte but a lyte.

This book of which I make of mencioun,
Entitled was al thus, as I shal telle,
`Tullius of the dreme of Scipioun.';
Chapitres seven hit hadde, of hevene and helle,
And erthe, and soules that therinnr dwelle,
Of whiche, as shortly as I can hit trete,
Of his sentence I wol you seyn the grete.

First telleth hit, whan Scipion was come
In Afrik, how he mette Massinisse,
That him for Ioye in armes hath y nome.
Than telleth hit hir speche and al the blisse
That was betwix hem, til the day gan misse;
And how his auncestre, African so dere,

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 10

Thanne hadde Wit a wif, was hote Dame Studie,
That lene was of lere and of liche bothe.
She was wonderly wroth that Wit me thus taughte,
And al staiynge Dame Studie sterneliche seide.
'Wel artow wis,' quod she to Wit, 'any wisdomes to telle
To flatereres or to fooles that frenetike ben of wittes!' -
And blamed hym and banned hym and bad hym be stille -
'With swiche wise wordes to wissen any sottes!'
And seide, ' Nolite mittere, man, margery perles
Among hogges that han hawes at wille.
Thei doon but dryvele theron - draf were hem levere
Than al the precious perree that in paradis wexeth.
I seye it by swiche,' quod she, 'that sheweth by hir werkes
That hem were levere lond and lordshipe on erthe,
Or richesse or rentes and reste at hir wille
Than alle the sooth sawes that Salamon seide evere.

'Wisdom and wit now is noght worth a kerse
But if it be carded with coveitise as clotheres kemben hir wolle.
Whoso can contreve deceites and conspire wronges
And lede forth a loveday to lette with truthe - .
That swiche craftes kan to counseil [are] cleped ;
Thei lede lordes with lesynges and bilieth truthe.
' Job the gentile in hise gestes witnesseth
That wikked men, thei welden the welthe of this worlde,
And that thei ben lordes of ech a lond, that out of lawe libbeth
Quare impii vivunt ? bene est omnibus qui prevaricantur et inique agunt ?
'The Sauter seith the same by swiche that doon ille
Ecce ipsi peccatores habundantes in seculo obtinuerunt divicias.
' Lo!' seith holy lettrure, ' whiche lordes beth thise sherewes!'
Thilke that God moost gyveth, leest good thei deleth,
And moost unkynde to the commune, that moost catel weldeth
Que perfecisti destruxerunt, iustus autem &c.
'Harlotes for hir harlotrie may have of hir goodes,
And japeris and jogelours and jangleris of gestes;
Ac he that hath Holy Writ ay in his mouthe
And kan telle of Tobye and of the twelve Apostles
Or prechen of the penaunce that Pilat wroghte
To Jesu the gentile, that Jewes todrowe -
Litel is he loved that swich a lesson sheweth,
Or daunted or drawe forth - I do it on God hymselve!
'But thoo that feynen hem foolis and with faityng libbeth
Ayein the lawe of Oure Lord, and lyen on hemselve,
Spitten and spuen and speke foule wordes,
Drynken and drevelen and do men for to gape,
Likne men and lye on hem that leneth hem no yiftes -
Thei konne na moore mynstralcie ne musik men to glade

Than Munde the Millere of Multa fecit Deus.
Ne were hir vile harlotrye, have God my trouthe,

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 14

'I have but oon hool hater,' quod Haukyn, 'I am the lasse to blame
Though it be soiled and selde clene - I slepe therinne o nyghtes;
And also I have an houswif, hewen and children -
Uxorem duxi, et ideo non possum venire -
That wollen bymolen it many tyme, maugree my chekes.

It hath be laved in Lente and out of Lente bothe
With the sope of siknesse, that seketh wonder depe,
And with the losse of catel, that looth me w[ere]
For to agulte God or any good man, by aught that I wiste;
And was shryven of the preest, that [for my synnes gaf me]
To penaunce, pacience, and povere men to fede,
Al for coveitise of my Cristendom in clennesse to kepen it.
And kouthe I nevere, by Crist! kepen it clene an houre,
That I ne soiled it with sighte or som ydel speche,
Or thorugh werk or thorugh word, or wille of myn herte,
That I ne flobre it foule fro morwe til even.'
'And I shal kenne thee,' quod Conscience, 'of Contricion to make
That shal clawe thi cote of alle kynnes filthe -
Cordis contricio
Dowel shal wasshen it and wryngen it thorugh a wis confessour -
Oris confessio
Dobet shal beten it and bouken it as bright as any scarlet,
And engreynen it with good wille and Goddes grace to amende the,
And sithen sende thee to Satisfaccion for to sonnen it after
Satisfaccio.
'And Dobest kepe[th] clene from unkynde werkes.
Shal nevere my[te] bymolen it, ne mothe after biten it,
Ne fend ne fals man defoulen it in thi lyve.
Shal noon heraud ne harpour have a fairer garnement
Than Haukyn the Actif man, and thow do by my techyng,
Ne no mynstrall be moore worth amonges povere and riche
Than Haukyn wi[l] the wafrer, which is Activa Vita.'
'And I shal purveie thee paast,' quod Pacience, 'though no plough erye,
And flour to fede folk with as best be for the soule;
Though nevere greyn growed, ne grape upon vyne,
Alle that lyveth and loketh liflode wolde I fynde,
And that ynogh - shal noon faille of thyng that hem nedeth.

We sholde noght be to bisy abouten oure liflode
Ne soliciti sitis Volucres celi Deus pascit Pacientes vincunt
Thanne laughed Haukyn a litel, and lightly gan swerye,
'Whoso leveth yow, by Oure Lord, I leve noght he be blessed!'
'No?' quod Pacience paciently, and out of his poke hente
Vitailles of grete vertues for alle manere beestes,
And seide, ' Lo! here liflode ynogh, if oure bileve be trewe.
For lent nevere was lif but liflode were shapen,
Wherof or wherfore or wherby to libbe.
' First the wilde worm under weet erthe,
Fissh to lyve in the flood, and in the fir the criket,

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The Libelle of Englyshe Polycye

Here beginneth the Prologe of the processe of the Libelle of Englyshe polycye, exhortynge alle Englande to kepe the see enviroun and namelye the narowe see, shewynge whate profete commeth thereof and also whate worshype and salvacione to Englande and to alle Englyshe menne.

The trewe processe of Englysh polycye
Of utterwarde to kepe thys regne in rest
Of oure England, that no man may denye
Ner say of soth but it is one the best,
Is thys, as who seith, south, north, est and west
Cheryshe marchandyse, kepe thamyralte,
That we bee maysteres of the narowe see.


For Sigesmonde the grete Emperoure,
Whyche yet regneth, whan he was in this londe
Wyth kynge Herry the vte, prince of honoure,
Here moche glorye, as hym thought, he founde,
A myghty londe, whyche hadde take on honde
To werre in Fraunce and make mortalite,
And ever well kept rounde aboute the see.


And to the kynge thus he seyde, 'My brothere',
Whan he perceyved too townes, Calys and Dovere,
'Of alle youre townes to chese of one and other
To kepe the see and sone for to come overe,
To werre oughtwardes and youre regne to recovere,
Kepe these too townes sure to youre mageste
As youre tweyne eyne to kepe the narowe see'.


For if this see be kepte in tyme of werre,
Who cane here passe withought daunger and woo?
Who may eschape, who may myschef dyfferre?
What marchaundy may forby be agoo?
For nedes hem muste take truse every foo,
Flaundres and Spayne and othere, trust to me,
Or ellis hyndered alle for thys narowe see.


Therfore I caste me by a lytell wrytinge
To shewe att eye thys conclusione,
For concyens and for myne acquytynge
Ayenst God, and ageyne abusyon
And cowardyse and to oure enmyes confusione;
For iiij. thynges oure noble sheueth to me,
Kyng, shype and swerde and pouer of the see.


Where bene oure shippes, where bene oure swerdes become?
Owre enmyes bid for the shippe sette a shepe.
Allas, oure reule halteth, hit is benome.

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