« PreviousContinue »
And the contraire is joye and gret solas ;
16260 As whan a man hath ben in pore estate, And clymbith up, and wexeth fortunate, And ther abydeth in prosperité ; Such thing is gladsom, and it thinkith me, And of such thing were goodly for to telle.” “ Ye,” quod oure host, “ by seint Paules belle, Ye say right soth; this monk hath clappid lowde; He spak, how fortune was clipped with a clowde 1 not never what, and als of tregedie Right now ye herd; and pardy! no remedye It is for to bywayle or compleyne That that is doon; and also it is a peyne, As ye han said, to hiere of hevynesse. Sire monk, no more of this, so God yow blesse; Your tale anoyeth al this compaignie; Such talkyng is nought worth a boterflye, For therinne is noon disport ne game. Wherfor, sir monk, damp Pieres by your name, I pray yow hertly, tel us som what ellis, For sicurly, ner gingling of the bellis That on your bridil hong on every syde, By beven king, that for us alle dyde, I schold er this han falle doun for sleep, Although the slough had never ben so deep; Than had your tale have be told in vayn.
16268—was clipped. The Lansd. MS. reads covered was; which is adopted by Tyrwhitt.
16280—gingling. The Lands. MS. reads clynkeing, the reading which Tyrwhitt adopts. Compare, however, the Prologue, I. 170, and the note.
For certeynly, as these clerkes sayn,
Wher as a man may have noon audience,
Nought helpith it to tellen his sentence.
And wel I wot the substance is in me,
If eny thing schal wel reported be.
Sir, say somwhat of huntyng, I yow pray."
“Nay," quod the monk, “I have no lust to play;
Now let another telle, as I have told.”
Then spak our ost with rude speche and bold,
And said unto the nonnes prest anoon,
“Com ner, thou prest, com ner, thou sir Johan,
Tel us such thing as may our hertes glade ;
Be blithe, although thou ryde upon a jade.
What though thin hors be bothe foul and lene?
If he wil serve the, rek not a bene;
Lok that thin hert be mery evermo.'
“Yis, sire, yis, hoste," quod he, "80 mot I go,
But I be mery, i-wis I wol be blamed.”
And right anoon he hath his tale tamyd;
And thus he sayd unto us everichoon,
This sweete prest, this goodly man sir Johan.
THE NONNE PREST HIS TALE.
A PORE wydow, somdel stope in age,
Was whilom duellyng in a pore cotage,
The nonne prest his tale. This tale was taken from the fifth chapter of the old French metrical Roman de Renart, entitled, Si conme Renart prist Chantecler le coc (ed. Meon, tom. i, p. 49). The same story forins one of the fables of Marie of France, where it stands as fab. 51, Dou coc et dou werpil; see Roquefort's edition of the works of Marie, tom. ii, p. 240.
Bisyde a grove, stondyng in a dale.
This wydowe, of which I telle yow my tale,
Syn thilke day that sche was last a wif,
In paciens ladde a ful symple lyf.
For litel was hir catel and hir rent;
For housbondry of such as God hir sent,
Sche fond birself, and eek hir doughtres tuo.
Thre large sowes had sche, and no mo,
Thre kyn, and eek a scheep that highte Malle.
Ful sooty was hir bour, and eek hir halle,
In which sche eet ful many a sclender meel.
Of poynaunt saws hir needid never a deel.
Noon deynteth morsel passid thorugh hir throte;
Hir dyete was accordant to hir cote.
Repleccioun ne made hir never sik:
Attempre dyete was al hir phisik,
And exercise, and hertes suffisaunce.
The goute lette hir nothing for to daunce,
Ne poplexie schente not hir heed.
No wyn ne drank sche, nother whit ne reed :
Hir bord was servyd most with whit and blak,
Milk and broun bred, in which sche fond no lak,
Saynd bacoun, and som tyme an ey or tweye;
For sche was as it were a maner deye.
A yerd sche had, enclosed al aboute
With stikkes, and a drye dich withoute,
In which sche had a cok, hight Chaunteclere,
In al the lond of crowyng was noon his peere.
His vois was merier than the mery orgon,
On masse dayes that in the chirche goon;
Wel sikerer was his crowyng in his logge,
Than is a clok, or an abbay orologge.
By nature knew he ech ascencioun
Of equinoxial in thilke toun;
For whan degrees fyftene were ascendid,
Thanne crewe he, it might not ben amendid.
His comb was redder than the fyn coral,
And batayld, as it were a castel wal.
His bile was blak, and as the geet it schon;
Lik asur were his legges and his ton;
His nayles whitter than the lily flour,
And lik the burnischt gold was his colour.
This gentil cok hud in his governaunce
Seven hennes, for to do al his plesaunce,
Whiche were his sustres and his paramoures,
And wonder lik to him, as of coloures.
Of whiche the fairest hiewed on hir throte,
Was cleped fayre damysel Pertilote.
Curteys sche was, discret, and debonaire,
And companable, and bar hirself ful faire,
Syn thilke day that sche was seven night old,
That sche hath trewely the hert in hold
Of Chaunteclere loken in
He loved hir so, that wel him was therwith.
But such a joye was it to here him synge,
Whan that the brighte sonne gan to springe,
In swete accord, “my liefe is faren on londe:”
Fro thilke tyme, as I have understonde,
16359—seven night. I adopt this reading from the Lansd. MS. ; the reading of the Harl. MS. seven yer, is certainly wrong.
Bestis and briddes cowde speke and synge.
And so byfel, that in a dawenynge,
Sat on his perche, that was in his halle,
And next him sat this faire Pertelote,
This Chauntecler gan gronen in his throte,
As man that in his dreem is drecched sore.
And whan that Pertelot thus herd him rore,
Sche was agast, and sayde, “ herte deere,
What eylith yow to grone in this manere ?
Ye ben a verray sleper, fy for schame !"
And he answerd and sayde thus, “ Madame,
I pray yow, that ye take it nought agreef:
By God, me mette I was in such meschief
Right now, that yit myn hert is sore afright.
Now God," quod he, “my sweven rede aright,
And keep my body out of foul prisoun !
Me mette, how that I romed up and doun
Withinne oure yerd, wher as I saugh a beest,
Was lik an hound, and wold have maad arrest
Upon my body, and wold han had me deed.
His colour was bitwixe yolow and reed;
And tipped was his tail, and bothe his eeres
With blak, unlik the remenaunt of his heres.
His snowt was smal, with glowyng yen tweye :
Yet of his look for fer almost I deye:
This caused me my gronyng douteles.”
“Away!" quod sche, "fy on yow, herteles !
Allas !" quod sche, "for, by that God above !
hert and al my love ;