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Was complet, and y-passed were also,
Syn March bygan, tway monthes and dayes tuo,
Byfel that Chaunteclere in al his pride,
His seven wyves walkyng by his syde,
Cast up his eyghen to the brighte sonne,
That in the signe of Taurus had i-ronne
Twenty degrees and oon, and somwhat more:
He knew by kynde, and by noon other lore,
That it was prime, and crew with blisful steven.
“The sonne,” he sayde, “is clomben up on heven
Twenty degrees and oon, and more i-wis.
Madame Pertelot, my worldes blis,
Herknith these blisful briddes how thay synge,
And seth these freissche floures how thay springe;
Ful is myn hert of revel and solaas.”
But sodeinly him fel a sorwful caas ;
16690 For ever the latter end of joye is wo.
16676-Syn March bygan, tway monthes and dayes tuo. This is the reading of the Harleian MS., and I see no reason to change it. Tyrwhitt reads Sithen March ended, thritty dayes and two, and observes, “I have ventured to depart from the MSS. and Edit, in this passage. They all read began instead of ended. At the same time MS. c. 1, has this note in the margin, ‘i. 2° die Maii,' which plainly supposes that the thirty-two days are to be reckoned from the end of March. As the vernal equinox (according to our author's hypothesis, Discourse, &c., p. 163) happened on the 12th of March, the place of the sun (as described in ver. 15200, 1.) in 22° of Taurus agrees very nearly with his true place on the second of May, the fifty-third day incl. from the equinox. MS. C. reads thus,
“Syn March began tway monthes and dayes two; which brings us to the same day, but, I think, by a less probable correction of the faulty copies."
16685—Twenty degrees “ The reading of the greatest part of the MSS. is fourty degrees. But this is evidently wrong; for Chaucer is speaking of the altitude of the sun at, or about, prime, i.e., six o'clock, A.M. See ver. 15203. When the sun is in 22° of Taurus, he is 21° high about three-quarters after six, A.M."— Tyrwhitt.
God wot that worldly joye is soone ago ;
And if a rethor couthe faire endite,
He in a chronique saufly might he write,
As for a soverayn notabilité.
Now every wys man let him herkne me:
This story is al so trewe, I undertake,
As the book is of Launcelot the Lake,
That womman huld in ful gret reverence.
Now wol I torne agayn to my sentence.
A cole-fox, ful sleigh of iniquité,
That in the grove had woned yeres thre,
By heigh ymaginacioun forncast,
The same nighte thurgh the hegge brast
Into the yerd, ther Chaunteclere the faire
Was wont, and eek his wyves, to repaire;
And in a bed of wortes stille he lay,
Til it was passed undern of the day,
Waytyng his tyme on Chaunteclere to falle ;
As gladly doon these homicides alle,
That in awayte lyn to morther men.
O false mordrer lurckyng in thy den!
O newe Scariot, newe Genilon !
Fals dissimulour, o Greke Sinon,
That broughtest Troye al utrely to sorwe !
O Chauntecler, accursed be the morwe,
That thou into the yerd flough fro the bemys!
Thow were ful wel warned be thy dremys,
The Lansd. MS. reads roukeing, and Tyrwhitt
16712_lurckyng. has rucking.
That thilke day was perilous to the.
But what that God forwot most needes be,
After the opynyoun of certeyn clerkis.
Witnesse on him, that eny parfit clerk is,
That in scole is gret altercacioun
In this matier, and gret disputesoun,
And hath ben of an hundred thousend men.
But yit I can not bult it to the bren,
As can the holy doctor Augustyn,
Or Boece, or the bischop Bradwardyn,
Whether that Goddis worthy forwetyng
Streigneth me needely for to do a thing,
(Needely clepe I simple necessité);
Or elles if fre choys be graunted me
To do that same thing, or to do it nought,
Though God forwot it, er that it was wrought;
Or of his wityng streyneth never a deel,
But by necessité condicionel.
I wol not have to do of such matiere;
My tale is of a cok, as ye schal hiere,
That took his counseil of his wyf with sorwe
To walken in the yerd upon
morwe, That he had met the dreme, that I tolde. Wymmens counseiles ben ful ofte colde ; Wommannes counseil brought us first to woo, And made Adam fro paradys to go, he was ful
and wel at ease. But for I not, to him it might displease, If I counseil of womman wolde blame, Pas over, for I sayd it in my game.
Red auctours, wher thay trete of such matiere,
And what thay sayn of wommen ye may heere.
These been the cokkes wordes, and not myne ;
I can noon harme of womman divine.
Faire in the sond, to bathe hir merily,
Lith Pertelot, and alle hir sustres by,
Agayn the sonne; and Chaunteclere so free
Sang merier than the meremayd in the see;
For Phisiologus seith sicurly,
How that thay syngen wel and merily.
And so byfel that as he cast his ye
Among the wortes on a boterflye,
He was war of this fox that lay ful lowe.
No thing ne list him thanne for to crowe,
But cryde anon, “cok, cok," and up he stert,
As man that was affrayed in his hert.
For naturelly a beest desireth flee
Fro his contrarie, if he may it see,
Though he never er had sayn it with his ye.
This Chaunteclere, whan he gan
aspye, He wold han fled, but that the fox anon Said, “gentil sire, allas ! why wol ye goon? Be ye affrayd of me that am youre frend ?
16757-Phisiologus. This was the title given to a popular metrical Latin treatise on the natures of animals, in the middle ages, and is frequently quoted by the early writers when alluding to subjects of natural history. The chapter de Sirenis begins thus,
“ Sirenæ sunt monstra maris resonantia magnis
Vocibus et modulis cantus formantia multis,
incante veniunt sæpissime nautæ, Quæ faciunt sompuum nimia dulcedine vocum." 16770—why wol ye goon? Tyrwhitt follows the reading of some of the other MSS., and prints it, what wol ye don?
Certes, I were worse than eny feend,
If I to yow wold harm or vilonye.
I am nought come your counsail to espye.
But trewely the cause of my coming
Was only for to herken how ye sing.
For trewely ye have als mery a steven,
As eny aungel hath, that is in heven;
Therwith he han of musik more felynge,
Than had Boece, or eny that can synge.
My lord your fader (God his soule blesse)
And youre moder of her gentilesse
Han in myn hous been, to my gret ease;
And certes, sire, ful fayn wold I yow please.
But for men speke of syngyng, I wol say,
So mot I brouke wel myn yen tway,
I herde never man so synge,
fadir in the morwenynge.
Certes it was of hert al that he song.
And for to make his vois the more strong,
He wold so peynen him, that with bothe his yen
He moste wynke, so lowde he wolde crien,
And stonden on his typtoon therwithal,
And streche forth his necke long and smal.
And eek he was of such discressioun,
That ther nas no man in no regioun
That him in song or wisdom mighte passe.
I have wel rad in daun Burnel thasse
16775. Two lines omitted here by accident in the Harl. MS. are supplied from the Lansd. MS.
16798-in daun Burnel. The reference, of course, is to the celebrated satirical poem of Nigellus Wireker, entitled, Burnellus. It was one of the most popular Latin poems of the middle ages.