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That may no where stert out, but closid wondir fast;
better chere, And axid of bir, softly, “Love, who shall ligg here This nyght that is to comyng? I prey yowe tell me.” “ I-wis it is grete nede to tell yowe,” quod she : “Make it nat overqueynt, though yow be a clerk, Ye knowe wele i-nough, i-wis, by loke, by word, by work.” 360 “Shal I com than, christian, and fese awey the cat ?" “Shal ye com ? per benedicite, what question is that?
Wherfor I prey you hertly to be my counsail ;
swere, As though he had lernyd cury favel of som old frere ; The pardoner plukkid out of his purs, I trow, the dowry, And toke it Kitt, in hir hond, and bad her pryvely To orden a rere sopor for them both to, A cawdell y-made with swete wyne, and with sugir also ; “For, trewly, I have no talent to ete in
absence ; So longith my hert to-ward yow to be in yowr presence.” He toke his leve, and went his wey as though nothing wer, And met wyth al the felship; but in what plase ne wher 370 He spake no word therof, but held hym close and styll ; As he that hopid sikirlich to have had al his wyll ; And thought many a mery thought by hymself aloon ; “I am a-loggit,” thought he,“ best, how soevir it goon; And thoughe it have costid me, yit wol I do my peyn For to pike hir purs to nyghte, and win my cost ageyn.”
Now leve I the pardonere tyll that it be eve, And wol returne me ageyn righte ther as I did leve. Whan al wer com togithir in their herbegage, The boost of Southwork, as ye knowe, that had no spice of
rage, But al thing wrought prudenciall, as sobir man and wise, “Now wol we to the soup, sir knyght, seith your avyse," Quod the hoost ful curteysly; and in the same wise
The knyght answerd him ageyn, “Sir, as ye devyse,
400 As skill wold and reson, sith the lest of all Payid y-like much, for growing of the gall. But yit as curtesy axith, though it wer som dele streight, The statis that wer above had of the feyrest endreyte. Wherfor they did their gentilnes ageyn to all the rout, They dronken wyne at their cost onys round about. Now pass I lightly ovir; when they soupid had, Tho that were of governaunce as wyse men and sad Went to their rest, and made no more to doon ; But the miller and the coke dronken by the moon Twyes to eche othir in the repenyng. And when the pardoner them espyd, anoon he gan to sing, Doubill me this bourden, chokelyng in his throte; For the tapster shuld here of his mery note. He clepid to hym the sompnour, that was his own discipill, The yeman, and the reve, and the mancipill ;
And stoden so holowyng; for nothing wold they leve,
[both, The hoost of Southwork herd them wele, and the marchaunt As they wer at a countis, and wexen somewhat wroth.
420 But yet they preyd them curteysly to rest for to wend, And so they did all the rout, they dronk, and made an end. And eche man droughe to cusky to slepe and take his rest, Save the pardoner, that drew apart, and weytid by a cheste For to hide hymself, tyll the candill wer out.
And in the meen while, have ye no doute, The tapster and hir paramour, and the hosteler of the house, Sitt togithir pryvelich, and of the best gouse That was y-found in town and y-set at sale, They had there of sufficiaunt, and dronk but litill ale ; And sit and ete the cawdell, for the pardoner that was made, With sugir, and with swete wyne, right as hymself bade: So he that payd for all in feer had not a twynt ; For offt is more better y-merkid then y-mynt. And so farid he ful right, as ye have y-herd. But who is that a woman coud not make his berd, And she wer therabout, and set hir wytt therto ? Ye woot wele I ly nat, and wher I do or no I wol nat here termyn it, lest ladies stond in plase, Or els gentil women, for lesing of my grace Of daliaunce, and of sportis, and of goodly chere; Therfor anenst their estatis I wol in no manere Deme ne determyn, but of lewd kitts, As tapsters, and othir such that hath wyly wytts, To pike mennys pursis, and eke to bler their eye; So wele they make seme soth when they falsest by. Now of Kitt tapster, and of hir paramour, And the hosteler of the house that sit in Kittis bour, When they had ete and dronk right in the same plase,
Kit began to rendir out all thing as it was :
a vowe to the pecock. The peacock was only brought on the table on festive occasions; and it was customary for the knight who carved it, to place his hand upon the bird with great ceremony, and make a vow before he began. The vow thus made was considered to be a very solemn
See, on this subject, Le Grand d'Aussy, Histoire de la Vie privée des François, tom. I, p. 365.