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I can nought love a coward, by my feith.
For certis, what so eny womman seith,
We alle desiren, if it mighte be,
To have housbondes, hardy, riche, and fre,
And secré, and no nygard, ne no fool,
Ne him that is agast of every tool,
Ne noon avaunter, by that God above !
How dorst ye sayn for schame unto your love,
That any thing might make yow afferd?
Have yo no mannes hert, and han a berd ?
Allas! and can ye ben agast of swevenys?
Nought, God wot, but vanité, in sweven is.
Swevens engendrid ben of replecciouns,
And often of fume, and of complexiouns,
Whan humours ben to abundaunt in a wight.
Certes this dreem, which ye han met to-night,
Cometh of the grete superfluité
Of youre reede colera, pardé,
Which causeth folk to dremen in here dremes
Of arwes, and of fuyr with reede beemes,
Of rede bestis, that thai wil him byte,
Of contek, and of whelpis greet and lite;
Right as the humour of malencolie
Causeth, in sleep, ful many a man to crye,
For fere of beres, or of boles blake,
Or elles blake develes wol hem take.
Of other humours couthe I telle also,
That wirken many a man in slep ful woo ;
But I wol passe as lightly as I can.
Lo Catoun, which that was so wis a man,
16426-Lo Catoun. Cato de Moribus, I. ii, dist. 32, Somnia ne cures.
Sayde he nought thus, ne do no force of dremes ?
Now, sire," quod sche, “whan we fle fro thise beemes,
For Goddis love, as tak som laxatyf:
Up peril of my soule, and of my lyf,
I counsel yow the best, I wol not lye,
That bothe of coloure, and of malencolye
purge yow; and for
schol nought tarye,
Though in this toun is noon apotecarie,
I schal myself tuo herbes techyn yow,
That schal be for your hele, and for youre prow;
And in oure yerd tho herbes schal I fynde,
The whiche han of her propreté by kynde
To purgen yow bynethe, and eek above.
Forget not this, for Goddis oughne love!
Ye ben ful colerik of complexioun;
Ware the sonne in his ascencioun
Ne fynd yow not replet in humours hote;
And if it do, I dar wel lay a grote,
That ye schul have a fever terciane,
youre bane. A day or tuo ye schul have digestives Of wormes, or ye take
Of lauriol, century, and fumytere,
Or elles of elder bery, that growith there,
Of catapus, or of gaytre beriis,
“ I observe, by the way, that this distich is quoted by Jolin of Salisbury, Polycrat. 1. ii, c. 16, as a precept viri sapientis. In another place, l. vii, c. 9, he introduces his quotation of the first verse of dist. 20, 1. iii, in this manner. Ait vel Cato, vel alius, nam antor incertus est".-Tyrwhitt.
16432-3—These two lines, omitted in the Harl. MS. by an oversight of the scribe, are here inscribed from the Lansd. MS.
16450-elder bery. This is the reading of the Harl. MS. The Lansd. MS. has elmbore, and Tyrwhitt clleber.
Of erbe yve that groweth in our yerd, ther mery is :
Pike hem up right as thay growe, and et hem in.
Be mery, housbond, for your fader kyn;
Dredith non dremes; I can say no more."
Madame," quod he, “ graunt mercy
But natheles, as touching daun Catoun,
That hath of wisdom such a gret renoun,
Though that he bad no dremes for to drede,
By God, men may in olde bookes rede
Of many a man, more of auctorité
Than ever Catoun was, so mot I the,
That al the revers sayn of his sentence,
And han wel founden by experience,
That dremes ben significaciouns
As wel of joye, as of tribulaciouns,
That folk enduren in this lif present.
Ther nedeth make of this noon argument;
The verray preve schewith it in dede.
Oon of the grettest auctours that men rede,
16470 Saith thus, that whilom tway felawes wente On pylgrimage in a ful good entente; And happed so, thay com into a toun, Wher as ther was such congregacioun Of poeple, and eek so streyt of herbergage, That thay fond nought as moche as oon cotage,
16470-Oon of the grettest auctours. “ Cicero, de Divin. l. i, c. 27, relates this and the following story; but in a contrary order; and with so many other differences, that one might be led to suspect that he was here quoted at second hand, if it were not usual with Chaucer, in these stories of familiar life, to throw in a number of natural circumstances, not to be found in his criginal authors.”—Tyrwhitt.
In which that thay might bothe i-logged be.
Wherfor thay mosten of necessité,
As for that night, depart her compaignye;
And ech of hem goth to his hostelrye,
And took his loggyng as it wolde falle.
That oon of hem was loggid in a stalle,
Fer in a yerd, with oxen of the plough;
That other man was logged wel y-nough,
As was his adventure, or his fortune,
That us governith alle in comune.
And so bifel, that, long er it were day,
This oon met in his bed, ther as he lay,
How that his felaw gan upon him calle,
And sayd, 'allas ! for in an oxe stalle
This night I schal be murdrid ther I lye.
Now help me, deere brother, or I dye;
In alle haste cum to me,' he sayde.
This man out of his slep for fer abrayde ;
But whan that he was waked out of his sleep,
He torned him, and took of this no keep;
Him thought his dreem nas but a vanité.
Thus twies in his sleepe dremed he.
And at the thridde tyme yet his felawe
Com, as him thought, and sayd, 'I am now slawe : 16500
Bihold my bloody woundes, deep and wyde.
Arise up erly in the morwe tyde,
And at the west gate of the toun,' quod be,
• A cart of donge there schalt thou see,
In which my body is hyd prively.
Do thilke cart arresten boldely.
My gold caused my mourdre, soth to sayn.'
And told him every poynt how he was slayn,
With a ful pitous face, pale of hewe.
And truste wel, his dreem he fond ful trewe.
For on the morwe, as sone as it was day,
To his felawes in he took the way ;
And whan that he cam to this oxe stalle,
After his felaw he bigan to calle.
The hostiller answered him anoon,
And sayde, Sire, your felaw is agoon,
Als soone as day he went out of the toun.'
This man gan falle in a suspeccioun,
Remembring on his dremes that he mette,
And forth he goth, no lenger wold he lette,
Unto the west gate of the toun, and fond
A dong cart went as it were to donge lond,
That was arrayed in the same wise
As han herd the deede man devise ;
And with an hardy hert he gan to crie
Vengeaunce and justice of this felonye.
*My felaw mordrid is this same night,
And in this carte he lith heer upright.
I crye out on the ministres,' quod he,
• That schulde kepe and reule this cité ;
Harrow! allas ! her lith my felaw slayn !'
What schold I more unto this tale sayn?
The peple upstert, and caste the cart to grounde,
And in the middes of the dong thay founde
16528—heer upright. The Lansd. MS. reads gaping upright, which is the reading adopted by Tyrwhitt.