Page images
PDF
EPUB

For they that loven so passyngly such trowes they have echon She sniffith, sighith, and shoke hire hede, and made rouful

cher :

50

Benedicite," quod the pardonere, and toke hire by the swere, 40 Yee make sorowe i-nowgh,” quod he, “ your life though

ye shuld lese!” “It is no wondir," quod she than, and therwith she gan

to snese. “Aha! al hole, quod the pardoner, “your pennaunce is

somewhat passid !" God forbede it els !” quod she,“ but it were somwhat lassid ; I myght nat lyve els, thowe wotist, and it shuld long endure.” “Now blessid be God of mendemente of hele and eke of cure!” Quod the pardoner tho anoon, and toke bir by the chynne, And sayd to hir these wordis tho, “alas ! that love is syn ! So kynd a lover as yee be oon, and so trew of herte ! For be my trewe conscience yit for yowe I smerte, And shall this month hereafter for your soden disese ; Now wele wer hym ye lovid, so he coud you plese. I durst swere upon a book that trewe he shuld yowe fynd; For he that is so gore dede is grene in your mynd. Ye made me a sory man, I dred ye wold have stervid.” “Graunt mercy, gentil sir !" quod she, “that yee unaservid; Yee be a nobile man, i-blessid mut yee be ! Sit down, ye shul drynk.”—“Nay, i-wis,” quod he, “I am fastyng yit, myne own hertis rote.”

Fastyng yit, alas !" quod she, “therof I can gode bote.” 60 She stert into the town, and fet a py al hote, And set tofore the pardonere. “Jenken, I ween I note, Is that your name I yow prey ?” “ Ye i-wis, myne own

sustir; So was I enformyd of them that did me fostir. And what is yowrs ?” “Kitt, i-wis ; so cleped me my dame.”

“And Goddis blessing have thow, Kitt; now broke wel thy

[ocr errors][merged small]

70

[ocr errors]

And privylich unlasid his both eyen liddes,
And lokid hir in the visage par amour amyddis ;
And sighed therewith a litil time, that she it here myghte,
And gan to rown and seyn this song, Now love then do me

righte. “Ete and be merry," quod she, “why breke ye nowt your

fast ? To wait more feleship it were but work in waste. Whi make ye so dull chere ? for your love at home ?" “Nay forsooth, myne own hert, it is for yow

aloon.” “For me ? alas ! what sey ye ? that wer a simple prey." Trewlich yit," quod the pardonere, “it is as I

yowe sey.” “ Ye, etith, and beth mery, we wol speke thereof sone ; Brennyd cat dredith feir ; it is mery to be aloon. For by our lady Mary, that bare Jesus on hir arm, I coud nevir love yit but it did me harm; For evir my manere hath be to love ovirmuch.” “Now Cristis blessing," quod the pardonere, "go with al

such ! Lo how the clowdis worchyn, ech man to mete his mach. For trewly, gentil cristian, I use the same tach, And have y-do many a yer; I may it nat forbere ; For kynd woll have his cours, though men the contrary

swere.” And therewith he stert up smertly, and cast down a grote, “What shal this do, gentil sir ? nay sir, for my cote,

80

78 Brennyd cat dredith feir. A very old proverb, the more usual form of which, as it still exists in English and French, is, The cat that is scalded dreads cold water. In a collection of French proverbs of the thirteenth century, we have, chat exchaudez iaue creint.

kynd woll have his cours. Another popular proverb that is not yet forgotten.

86

90

100

I nold ye payd a peny her, and so sone pas."
The pardoner swore his grett othe, he wold pay no las.
“ I-wis, sir, it is ovirdo, but sith it is yowr will,
I woll putt it in my purse, lest yee it take in ill
To refuse your curtesy ;” and therewith she gan to bowe.
“Now trewly," quod the pardoner," your maners been to lowe.
For had ye countid streytly, and nothing left behind,
I might have wele y-demed that yee be unkind,
And eke untrewe of hert, and sooner me forgete;
But ye list be my tresorer, for we shall offter mete.”
“Now, certen," quod the tapster, “ye bave a redeful even,
As wold to God ye couth as wele undo my sweven
That I myself did mete this nyght that is y-passid,
How I was in a chirch, when it was all y-massid ;
And was in my devocioune tyl service was al doon,
Tyl the preest and the clerk boystly bad me goon,
And put me out of the chirch with an egir mode.”
“Now, seynt Daniel," quod the pardonere, “ your swevyn

turn to gode!
And I woll halsow it to the best, have it in your mynd ;
For comynly of these swevyngs the contrary men shul fynd.
Ye have be a lover glad, and litil joy y-had;
Pluck up a lusty hert, and be mery and glad,

110 For

ye shul have an husbond, that shall yowe wed to wyve, That shal love yowe as hertly as his own lyve. The preest that put yow out of chirch shall lede you in ageyne, And helpe to your mariage with al his might and main. This is the sweven al and som, Kit, how likith the ?" “Be my trowith, wondir wele ; blessid mut thowe be !"

106 seynt Daniel. There is a peculiar appropriateness in this ejaculation; in holy writ, Daniel is remarkable for his interpretations of dreains, and the popular works on dreams and their significations current in the middle ages went under the name of the prophet by whom they were believed to have been originally written.

120

ye

130

Then toke he leve at that tyme, tyll he come efftsone, And went to his feleship, as it was to doon. Thoughe it be no grete holynes to prech this ilk matere, And that som list to her it, yit, sirs, ner the latter Endurith for a while, and suffrith them that woll, And ye shull her how the tapster made the pardoner pull Garlik all the long nyghte til it was ner end day; For the more chere she made of love, the falser was her lay But litil charge gaff she theroff, tho she aquit his while, For ethiris thought and tent was othir to begile; And shul here hereaftir, when tyme comith and spase To meve such matere ; but now a litil spase I wol return me ageyn to the company, The knyghte and al the feleship; and nothing for to ly, Whan they wer al y-loggit, as skil wold and reson, Everich aftir his degré, to chirch then was seson To

pas and to wend, to make their offringis, Righte as their devocioune was, of silver broch and ryngis. Then at chirch dorr the curtesy gan to ryse, Tyl the knyght, of gentilnes that knewe right wel the guyse, Put forth the prelatis, the parson and his fere. A monk, that took the spryngill with a manly chere, And did as the manere is, moilid al thir patis, Everich aftir othir, righte as they wer of statis.

140 The frer feynyd fetously the spryngill for to hold To spryng oppon the remnaunt; that for his cope he nold Have laft that occupacioune in that holy plase ; So longid his holy conscience to se the nonnis fase. The knyght went with his compers toward the holy shryne, To do that they wer com for, and aftir for to dyne, The pardoner and the miller, and othir lewde sotes, Sought hemself in the chirch, right as lewd gotes, Pyrid fast and pourid high upon the glase,

150

Counterfetyng gentilman the armys for to blase, Diskyvering fast the peyntur, and for the story mournid, And ared al so right as rammys hornyd. “He berith a balstaff," quod the toon," and els a rakid end.” “Thow failest," quod the miller, “thow hast nat wel thy

mynd; It is a spere, yf thow canst se, with a prik tofore, To bush a down his enmy and through the shoulder bore.” “Pese !" quod the boost of Southwork, “let stond the wyn

dow glasid, Goith

up and doith your offerynge, ye semith half amasid ; Sith

ye be in company of honest men and good, Worchith somwhat aftir them, and let the kynd of brode 160 Pas for a tyme, I hold it for the best ; For who doith after company may live the bet in rest." Then passid they forth boystly, gogling with their hedis, Knelid adown tofore the shrine, and hertlich their bedis They preyd to seint Thomas, in such wyse as they couth ; And sith the holy relikes ech man with his mowith Kissid, as a goodly monk the names told and taught. And sith to othir places of holynes they raught, And wer in their devocioune tyl service wer al doon. And sith they drowgh to dyner-ward, as it drew to noon. 170 Then, as manere and custom is, signes there they bought ; For men of contré shuld know whome they had sought. Eche man set his silver in such thing as they likid. And in the meen while the miller had y-pikid His bosom ful of signys of Canterbury brochis;

152 al 80 right as rammys hornyd A proverbial phrase that appears to have been very popular in the fifteenth century, and is made the burthen of one of Lydgate's poems.

See Halliwell's edition of Lydgate,

p. 171.

175

signys of Canterbury brochis. It was a common practice with pilgrims to purchase at the shrine they visited leaden brooches, representing usually the figure of the saint, and serving afterwards as signs of

« PreviousContinue »