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Thou art a maister whan thou art at hoom,
15424-a maister. The Harl. MS. reads an officer, which probably slipped in by the negligence of a scribe, who had those words on his ear froin line 15421. The present reading is given from the Lansd. MS. and Tyrwhitt.
15426—bothe. I have added this word as apparently necessary to the metre, though found neither in the Harl. MS nor Lansd. MS.
15432—thou hast. These words are added from the Lansd. MS., and seem necessary to the sense and metre.
God woot, no lusscheburghes paye ye !
This worthy monk took al in pacience,
lust to herken hider-ward, I will yow say the lif of seint Edward, Or elles first tregedis wil I yow telle,
15448—lusscheburghes. A somewhat similar comparison occurs in Piers Ploughman, 1. 10322.
“ Ac there is a defaute in the folk
Ac the metal is feeble."
MONETA SERENE. It was struck
All sorts of false money ap.
burghes seem to have been the greatest cause of annoyance. In the year 1346 the petition of the Commons in the parliament assembled at Westminster, pointed out several mal-practices which were supposed to be the cause of the scarcity of good money at that time, and began with stating, that many merchants and others carried the good money out of the realm, and brought in its room false money called lusshebourues, which were worth only eight shillings the pound, or
Of which I have an hundred in my celle.
ben eek endited many oon;
less; by which means the importers, and they who took them at a low price to utter again, were suddenly, wrongfully, and beyond measure enriched; whilst they who were unable to distinguish the said money were cheated and impoverished, and the whole realm was fraudulently filled with those base coins. In 1347, the false lusshebourues still continued to be brought into the kingdom in great quantities, and the Commons petitioned that the guilty might suffer the punishment of drawing and hanging. In 1348, it was again necessary to forbid the circulation of lussheburghs; and in 1351, the Statute of Purveyors was passed, which (cap. 11) declares what offences shall be adjudged treason, amongst which is this : if a man counterfeit the king's seal on his money, and if a man bring false money into the realm, counterfeit of the money of England, as the money called lushburgh, or other like to the said money of Englar etc.
16467-I have ventured to emendate this line from the Lansd. MS. The Harl. MS. has, " And in inetre eek, and in sondry wise", in which both sense and metre suffer.
THE MONKES TALE.
I wol by-waile, in maner of tregedye,
The Monkes Tale. This tale is evidently founded upon Boccaccio's celebrated work De casibus virorum illustrium; but Chaucer has introduced the several stories according to his own fancy, and has often taken them from other sources. They are not contained in the same order in all the manuscripts of Chaucer.
15482—the cours of hir whiel holde. Tyrwhitt has adopted a reading which is far less natural and expressive, in the language of Chaucer's age,
“ of hire the course withholde". The wheel of fortune is a well known emblem not only in medieval literature, but in medieval art.
15493-Lo Adam.-Adam comes first in the stories of Boccaccio. Lydgate, in his translation of Boccace, says of Adam and Eve,
“ Of slime of the erth in Damascene the felde
God made them above eche creature."
With Goddes oughne fynger wrought was he,
Sampson, this noble and myhty champioun,
Thre hundred foxis tok Sampson for ire,
16501—Lo Sampson. Chaucer appears to have taken the story of Samson directly from the book of Judges, which he quotes in express words a few lines further on.
15509—This stanza has been accidentally omitted in the Harl. MS, and is here inserted from the Lansd. MS. It represents the fourteenth chapter of the book of Judges.