« PreviousContinue »
Preces de Chauceres. 36
pray I to yow alle that heren this litel tretis or reden it, that if ther be any thing in it that likes hem, that therof thay thanke oure Lord Jhesu Crist, of whom procedith alle witte and al goodnes; and if ther be eny thing that displesith hem, I pray hem that thay arette it to the defaute of myn unconnyng, and not to my wille, that wolde fayn have sayd better if I hadde connyng; for the book saith, al that is writen for oure doctrine is writen. Wherfore I biseke yow mekely for the mercy of God that ye pray for me, that God have mercy on me and forgeve me my giltes, and nameliche my translaciouns and of endityng in worldly vanitees, whiche I revoke in my retracciouns, as is the book of Troyles, the book also of Fame, the book of twenty-five Ladies, the book of the Duchesses, the book of seint Valentines day and of the Parliment of briddes, the Tales of Caunturbury, alle thilke that sounen into synne, the book of the Leo, and many other bokes, if thay were in my mynde or re
36 Preces de Chauceres. I have printed the celebrated prayer which concludes the Canterbury Tales, exactly as it stands in the Harleian Manuscript. In some manuscripts it is given as though it were the conclusion of the tale or discourse of the Parson, but in others, as here, it is distinctly given to Chaucer himself. It varies much in the different manuscripts, and there are many circumstances about it which it seems impossible to explain satisfactorily. Tyrwhitt attempts to get over a part of the difficulty by supposing that the prayer was really the conclusion of the Parson's Tale, and that the middle portion, Wherfore I beseke you....the seintes in heven, including the list of Chaucer's works, was added subsequently by a scribe who chose to put the prayer into Chancer's own mouth, and wished to make the poet apologize for the looseness of some of his writings.
membraunce, and many a song and many a leccherous lay, of the whiche Crist for his grete mercy forgive me the synnes.
But of the translacioun of Boce de consolacioun, and other bokes of consolacioun and of legend of lyres of seints, and Omelies, and moralitees, and devocioun, that thanke I oure Lord Jhesu Crist, and his moder, and alle the seintes in heven, bisekyng hem that thay fro hennysforth unto my lyves ende sende me grace to biwayle my gultes, and to studien to the savacioun of my soule, and graunte me grace
verray repentaunce, penitence, confessioun, and satisfaccioun, to don in this present lif, thurgh the benigne grace of him, that is king of kynges and prest of alle prestis, that bought us with his precious blood of his hert, so that I moote be oon of hem at the day of doom that schal be saved; qui cum Patre et Spiritu sancto vivis et regnas Deus per omnia secula. Amen.
THE END OF THE CANTERBURY TALES.
THE SUPPLEMENTARY TALE,
PRINTED FIRST BY URRY.*
THE PROLOGE TO THE MERCHAUNTES SECOND TALE.
WHEN all this fresh feleship were com to Cantirbury,
have herde tofore, with talys glad and mery ;
* In printing this Supplement, which Urry gave from a MS. then in the posession of Lady Thynne, but of the existence of which I am not now aware, follow his text with only the corrections that are selfevident. Urry was equally ignorant of the language and of the literature of the period, and he not only often misread his original, but be introduced foolish alterations of his own.
8 Hurlewaynes meyné. This is a curious allusion to one of the popular legends of the Middle Ages, that of the fairy hunters, who were conceived to be the followers of a goblin leader named Hurlewayn. Under this name it seems to be a legend brought over by the Normans, as it is termed in the old French maisnie Hellequin, and in Latin familia Harlequini. Walter Mapes, de Nugis Curialium, p. 14, has preserved what seems to have been the English legend on the subject, as it existed in the twelfth century on the borders of Wales.
They toke their in and loggit them at mydmorowe, I trowe, Atte Cheker of the Hope that many a man doth knowe. Their hoost of Southworke that with them went, as ye have
herde tofore, That was rewler of them al, of las and eke of more, Ordeyned their dyner wisely, or they to chirch went, Such vitaillis as he fonde in town, and for noon othir sent. The pardonere bebelde the besynes, how statis wer i-servid, Diskennyng hym al prively, and asyde swervid ; The hostelere was so halowid fro o plase to another, Hetoke his staffe to the tapstere; “welcom myneown brother,” Quod she, with a frendly loke al redy for to kys; And he, as a man i-lerned of such kyndnes, Bracyd hir by the myddyll and made bir gladly chere, As thoughe he had i-knowen hir al the rathir yeer. She halid hym into the tapstry there hir bed was makid ; “Lo here I ligg," quod she," myself al nyght al nakid, Without mannys company, syn my love was dede, Jenkyn Harpour, yf ye hym knewe, from fete to the hede 30 Was not a lustier persone to daunce ne to lepe, Then he was, thoughe I it sey;" and therwith to wepe She made, and with hir napron feir and white y-wash She wypid soft hir eyen for teris that she out lash, As grete as any mylstone up-ward gon they stert, For love of her swetyng, that sat so nighe hir hert. She wept, and waylid, and wrong hir hondis, and made
much to done;
14 Cheker of the Hope. The inn said to have been that to which the pilgrims resorted, is still pointed out in Canterbury, at the corner of High Street and Mercery Lane. A considerable part of the structure appears to be quite as old as the time of Chaucer, and it is often mentioned in the corporation records under the title of the Chequer. It is situated in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral, and therefore appropriately for the receptiou of pilgrims.