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A Clerk there was of Oxenforde also,
That unto logike haddè long ygo.
As lenè was his hors as is a rake,
And he was not right fat, I undertake;
But loked holwe,' and thereto soberly.
Ful thredbare was his overest courtepy,'
For he hadde getten him yet to benefice,
Ne was not worldly to have an office.
For him was lever han at his beddes hed
A twenty bokes, clothed in black and red,
Of Aristotle, and his philosophre,
Than robès riche, or fidel, or sautrie.
But all be that he was a pbilosophre,
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre,
But all that he might of his frendès hente
On bokès and on lerning he it spente,
And besily gan for the soulès praie
Of hem, that yave him wherwith to scolaie."
Of studie toke he mostè cure and hede.
Not a word spake he more than was nede ;
And that was said in forme and reverence,
And short and quike and ful of high sentènce.
Souning in moral vertue was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.
A good man there was of religioun,
That was a pourè Persone of a toun:
But riche was of holy thought and werk.
He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
That Christès gospel trewely woldè preche.
His parishens devoutly wolde he teche.
Benigne he was, and wonder diligent,
And in adversite ful patient :
And swiche he was ypreved' often sithes.
Ful loth were him to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven out of doute,
Unto his pourè parishens aboute,
Of his offring, and eke of his substance.
He coulde in litel thing have suffisance.
Wide was his parish, and houses fer asоnder,
But he ne left nought for no rain ne thonder.
In sickenesse and in mischief to visite
The ferrest in his parish, moche and lite,"
Upon his fete, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample in his shepe he yaf,
That first he wrought and afterwards he taught.
Out of the gospel he the wordès caught,
And this figure he added yet thereto,
That if golde rustè, what shuld iren do?
For if a preest be foule, on whom we trust,
No wonder is a lewèd man to rust:
Wel ought a preest ensample for to yeve,
By his clenenessè, how his shepe shuld live.
He sette not his benefice to hire,
And lette his shepe accombred in the mire,
And ran unto London, unto Seinte Poules,
To seeken him a chanterie for soules,
Or with a brotherhede to withold:
But dwelt at home, and keptè wel his fold,
So that the wolfe ne made it not miscarie.
He was a shepherd, and no mercenarie.
And though he holy were, and vertuous,
He was to sinful men not dispitous,
Ne of his spechè dangerous ne digne,
But in his teching discrete and benigne.
To drawen folk to heven, with fairènesse,
By good ensample, was his besinesse :
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were, of high or low estat,
Him wolde he snibben' sharply for the nonès.
A better preest I trowe that nowhero non is.
He waited after no pompe ne reverence,
Ne maked him no spiced: conscience,
But Cristès lore, and his apostles twelve,
He taught, but first he folwed it himselve.
With him ther rode a gentil Pardonere
Of Rouncevall, his friend and his compere,
That streit was comen from the court of Rome.
Ful loude he sang, Come hither, love, to me.
The Sumpnour bare to him a stiff burdoun,"
Was never trompe of half so gret a soun.
This pardoner had here as yelwe as wax,
But smoth it henge, as doth a strike of flax :
By unces heng his lokkes that he hadde,
And therwith he his shulders overspradde,
Full thin it lay, by culpons on and on,
But hode, for jolite, ne wered he non,
For it was trussed up in his wallet.
Him thought he rode al of the newè get,
Dishevele, sauf his cappe, he rode all bare.
Swiche glaring eyen hadde he, as an hare.
A vernicle hadde he sewed upon his cappe.
His wallet lay beforne him in his lappe,
Bret-ful" of pardon come from Rome al hote.
A vois he hadde, as smale as hath a gote.
No berd hadde he, ne never non shulde have,
As smothe it was as it were newe shave.
But of his craft, fro Berwike unto Ware,
Ne was ther swiche an other pardonere.
For in his male' he hadde a pilwebere,”.
Which, as he saide, was Our Ladies veil
He said, he hadde a gobbet' of the seyl
Thatte seinte Peter had, whan that he went
Upon the see, till Jesu Crist him hent."
He had a crois of latono ful of stones,
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
But with these relikes, whanne that he fond
A poure Persone dwelling up on lond,
Upon a day he gat him more moneie
Than that the Persone gat in monethes tweie.
And thus with fained flattering and japes,"
Ie made the Persone, and the peple, his apes."
But trewely to tellen atte last,
He was in chirche a noble ecclesiast.
Wel coude he rede a lesson or a storie,
But alderbest he sang an offertorie : 10
For well he wiste, when that song was songe,
He muste preche, and wel afile" his tonge,
To winne silver, as he right wel coude :
the merrier and loude.
6 A mixed metal of the colour of brase.
From depth of doole wherein my soule doth dwell,
From heauy heart which harbours in my brest,
From troubled sprite which sildome taketh rest,
From hope of heauen, from dread of darkesome hell,
O gracious God, to thee I crye and wail. .
My God, my Lorde, my louely Lorde aloane,
To thee I call, to thee I make my moane.
And thou (good God) vouchsafe in gree to take
This woeful plaint,
Wherein I faint,
Oh heare me then for thy great mercies sake.
Oh bende thine eares attentiuely to heare,
Oh turne thine eyes, behold me how I wayle,
Oh hearken Lord, giue eare for mine auaile,
O marke in minde the burdens that I beare:
See how I sinke in sorrowes euerye where.
Beholde and see what dollors I endure,
Giue eare and marke what plaintes I put in vre.
Bende willing eare: and pittie therewithall,
My wayling voyce,
Which hath no choyce,
But euermore vpon thy name to call.
If thou good Lorde shouldest take thy rod in hande,
If thou regard what sinnes are daylye done,
If thou take holde where wee our workes begone,
If thou decree in Judgement for to stande,
And be extreame to see our scuses skande,