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And took much pains to imitate the air
Of court, and hold a stately manner,
And to be thoughten high of reverence.
But for to speaken of her conscience,
She was so charitable and so piteous,
She would weep if that she saw a mouse
Caught in a trap, if it were dead or bled;
Two small hounds had she that she fed
With roasted flesh, and milk, and wasted bread,
But sore she wept if one of them were dead,
Or if men smote it with a staff smarte :
She was all conscience and tender heart.
Full seemely her wimple pinched was;
Her nose was strait ; her eyes were grey as glass ;
Her mouth full small, and thereto soft and red ;
But certainly she had a fair forehead. -
It was almost a span broad I trow,
For certainly she was not undergrowne.
Full handsome was her cloak, as I was 'ware Of small coral about her arm she bare A pair of beads, gauded all with green;. And thereon hung a broach of gold full shene, On which was first ywritten a crowned A, And after, Amor vincit omnia.
Another Nun also with her had she
A Monk there was, full skilful in the chace,
A bold-rider, no better in that place,
A manly man, to be an Abbot able ,
Full many a daintie horse had he in stable,
And when he rode, men might his bridle hear
Gingling in a whistling wind, as clear,
And eke as loud, as doth the chapel bell;
This jolly Monk he let old things pass,
And held after the new world the trace.
lle gave not for the text a pulled hen,
That saith that hunters be not holy men;
And that a Monk, when he is reckless,
Is like unto a fish that is waterless ;
That is to say, a Monk out of his cloister;
This ilke text held he not worth an oyster;
And I shall say that his opinion was good.
Why should be study, and make himself mad
Or upon a book in cloister alway pore,
Or toil with his hands, and labour,
As Austin bid ? how shall the world be served ?
Let Austin have his toil to him reserved.
Therefore he was a hard rider a right:
Greyhounds he had as swift as fowl of flight;
Of pricking and of hunting for the hare
Was all his lust, for no cost would he spare.
I saw his sleeves all gauded at the hand
With fur, and that the finest of the land.
And for to fasten his hood under his chin,
He had of gold a curiously wrought pin :
A love knot in the greater end there was.
His head was bald, and shone as any glass,
And eke his face, as it had been anoint.
He was a lord full fat and in good point,
His eyes were deep, and rolling in his head,
That steamed as a furnace of lead.
His boots souple, his horse in great estate,
Now certainly he was a fair prelate,
lie was not pale as a tormented ghost;
A fat swan loved he best of any roast :
His palfrey was as brown as is a berry.
A good man there was of religion,
That was a poor PARSONE of a town;
But rich he was in holy thought and work,
He was also a learned man, a clerk,
That Christ's gospel truely would preach.
His parisheus devoutly would he teach,
Benigne he was and wondrous diligent,
And in adversity full patient :
And such he was yproved often times ;
Full loth were he to cursen for his tithes,
But rather would he given, out of doubt,
Of bis offering, and eke of his substance;
IT could in little thing have suffisance.
Wide was his parish, and houses far asunder,
But he nor felt nor thought of rain or thunder,
In sickness and in mischief to visit
The farthest in his parish, much and oft,
Upon his feet, and in his hand a staff.
This noble ensample to his sheep he gave.
That first he wrought, and after ward he taught,
Out of the gospel he the words caught,
And this figure he added yet thereto,
That if gold rust, what should iron do?
Aul if a priest be foul, on whom we trust,
No wonder if a common man do rust;
Well ought a priest ensample for to give,
By his cleanness, how his sheep should live.
He set not his benefice to hire,
Or left his sheep bewildered in the mire,
And ran unto London, unto Saint Paul's,
To seeken him a chanterie for souls,
But dwelt at home, and kept well his fold, So that the wolf ne made it not miscarry. · He was a shepherd and no mercenarie,
Ile was to sinful men not dispiteous, · Nor of his speech dangerous nor high, But in his teaching discrete and benigne. Ti draw his folk to heaven, with fairness, By good ensample, was his business: But if were any person obstinate, Whether he were of high, or low estate, Tim would he reprove sharply for the nones, A better priest I trow that nowhere is. He waited after neither pomp ne reverence, Nor maked him no spiced conscience, But Christ's lore and his Apostles twelve He taught, but first he followed it himselve.
DESCRIPTION OF THE KINGS OF THRACE AND INDIA.
There mightst thou see, coming with Palanion, The great Lycurgus, sovrein king of Thrace : Black was his beard, and manly was his face ; The restless glancing of his eyen bright, Shone with a glowing and a fearful light, And like a griffon looked he about.
* * * * * * * * His limbs were great, his sinews hard and strong, His shoulders broad, his arms were round and long; And, as the manner was in his countree, Full high upon a car of gold stood he, Drawen by four bulls of milk-white hue. And in the place of any coat of mail, He had a bear's skin, black as is a coal. His hair was long, and braided down his back, As any raven's feather shining black. A coronet of gold, of greatest weight, Upon his head sat, full of jewels bright, Of rubies fine, and sparkling diamonds. About his car there wenten snow-white hounds, Twenty and more, as great as any steer, To hunten at the lion or the deer ; And followed him, with muzzle fast ybound.
With Arcite came Emetrius, king of Inde,
Upon a bay steed, trapped o'er with steel,
Covered with cloth of gold, embroidered well,
Riding like the dreadful war god, Mars.
His coat armour was of a cloth of Tarse,