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Hire over lippè wiped she so clene,
That in hire cuppe was no ferthing sene *
Of gresè, whan she dronken hadde hire draught.
Ful semèly after her mete she raught.5
And sikerly she was of grete disport,
And ful plesànt, and amiable of port,
And peined 6 hire to contrefeten? chere
Of court, and ben estatelich of manère,
And to ben holden digne 8 of reverence.
But for to speken of hire conscience,
She was so charitable and so pitous,
She wolde wepe if that she saw a mous
Caughte in a trappe, if it were ded or bledde.
Of smalè houndès hadde she, that she fedde
With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel brede.
But sore wept she if on of hem were dede,
Or if men smote it with a yerdè o smert, 10
And all was conscience and tendre herte.
Ful semely hire wimple ypinched was ;
Hire nose tretis ; 11 hire eyen grey as glas ;
Hire mouth ful smale, and therto soft and red;
But sikerly she hadde a fayre forehèd.
It was almost a spannè brode I trowe;
For hardily she was not undergrowe. 12
Ful fetise was hire cloke, as I was ware,
Of smale corall aboute hire arm she bare
A pair of bedès, gauded all with grene;
And theron heng a broche of gold ful shene,
On whiche was first ywriten a crouned A,
And after, Amor vincit omnia.
4 Smallest spot.
And eke with worthy wimmen of the toun :
For he had power of confession,
As saide himselfè, more than a curàt,
For of his ordre he was licenciat.
Ful swetely herde he confession,
And plesant was his absolution.
He was an esy man to give penance,
Ther as he wiste to han ? a good pitànce:
For unto a poures ordre for to give
Is signè that a man is well yshrive.*
For if he gave, he dorstè 8 make avant,
He wistè that a man was repentànt.
For many a man so hard is of his herte,
He may not wepe although him soré smerte.
Therfòre in stede of weping and praières,
Men mote give silver to the pourè freres.
His tippet was ay farsed 6 ful of knives,
And pinnès, for to given rè wives.
And certainly he hadde a mery note.
Wel coude he singe and plaien on a rote.?
Of yeddinges & he bare utterly the pris.
His nekke was white as the flour de lis.
Therto he strong was as a champioun,
And knew wel the tavèrnes in every toun,
And every hosteler and gay tapstère,
Better than a lazar or a beggère,
For unto swiche a worthy man as he
Accordeth nought, as by his facultè,
To haven with sike lazars acquaintànce.
It is not honest, it may not avànce,
As for to delen with no swiche pouràille, 10
But all with riche, and sellers of vitàille.
And over all, ther as profit shuld arise,
Curteis he was, and lowly of servise.
Ther n' as no man no wher so vertuous.
He was the beste beggèr in all his hous :
And gave a certain fermè 11 for the grant,
Non of his bretheren came in his haunt.
For though a widewe haddè but a shoo,
(So plesant was his in principio)
Yet wold he have a ferthing or he went.
His pourchas 12 was wel better than his rent.
4 Shriven. ? A stringed instrument.
11 Farm. 10 Poor people.
5 Durst make a boast. 8 Story telling.
9 Have. 13 Purchase.
And rage he coude as it hadde ben a whelp,
In lovèdayes, 13 ther coude he mochel help.
For ther was he nat like a cloisterere,
With thredbare cope, as is a poure scolere,
But he was like a maister or a pope.
Of double worsted was his semicope, 14
That round was as a belle out of the presse.
Somwhat he lisped for his wantonnesse,
To make his English swete upon his tonge;
And in his harping, whan that he hadde songe,
His eyen twinkeled in his hed aright,
As don the sterrès in a frosty night.
This worthy limitour was cleped Hubèrd.
13 Days appointed for the amicable settlement of differences.
With us ther was a Doctour of Phisike,
In all this world ne was ther non him like
To speke of phisike, and of surgerie :
For he was grounded in astronomie,
He kept his patient a ful gret del
In hourès by his magike naturel.
Wel coude he fortunen 1 the ascendent 2
Of his images for his patient.
He knew the cause of every maladie,
Were it of cold, or hote, or moist, or drie,
And wher engendred, and of what humour,
He was a veray parfite practisour.
The cause yknowe, and of his harm the rote,
Anon he gave to the sikè man his bote.4
Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
To send him draggès, and his lettuaries,
For eche of hem made other for to winne;
Hir frendship n'as not newè to beginne.
Wel knew he the old Esculapius,
And Dioscorides, and eke Rufùs;
Old Hippocras, Hali, and Gallien,
Serapiou, Rasis, and
Averrois, Damascene, and Constantin ;
Bernard, and Gatisden, and Gilbertin.
Of his diete mesurable was he,
For it was of no superfluitee,
But of gret nourishing, and digestible.
His studie was but litel on the Bible.
In sanguin 7 and in perse 8 he clad was alle
Lined with taffata, and with sendalle.'
And yet he was but esy of dispence : 1
He kepte that he wan2 in the pestilence.
For golde in phisike is a cordial;
Therfore he loved gold in special.
8 Sky-coloured, or bluish-grey.
2 Gained, got.
The Miller was a stout carl for the nones,
Ful bigge he was of braun, and eke of bones ;
That proved wel, for over all ther he came,
At wrastling he wold bere away the ranı."
He was short shuldered brode, a thikkè gnarre,
Ther n'as no dore, that he n'olde heve of barre,
Or breke it at a renning 3 with his hede.
His berd as any sowe or fox was rede,
And therto brode, as though it were a spade.
Upon the cop * right of his nose he hade
A wert, and theron stode a tufte of heres,
Rede as the bristles of a sowès eres.
His nosè-thirlès blackè were and wide.
A swerd and bokeler bare he by his side.
His mouth as wide was as a forneis.
He was a jangler,and a goliardeis,"
And that was most of sinne, and harlotries.
Wel coude he stelen corne, and tollen thries.
And yet he had a thomb 8 of gold parde.'
A white cote and a blew hode wered he.
A baggèpipe wel coude he blowe and soune,
And therwithall he brought us out of toune. i The prize.
3 A running. 6 Prater.
89 He was as honest as other millers, though he had, according to the proverb, like every miller, a thumb of gold.
2 A hard knot in a tree. 7 Buffoon.
14. John Barbour, d. A.D. 1396 (see Manual, p. 51).
APOSTROPHE TO FREEDOM. [Old Orthography.]
[Modern Orthography.] A! fredome is a nobill thing!
Ah! Freedom is a noble thing! Fredome mayse man to haiff liking ! Freedom makes men to have liking!! Fredome all solace to man giffis :
Freedom all solace to man gives : He levys at ese that frely levys!
He lives at ease that freely lives! 1 Pleasure.
A noble hart may haiff nane ese,
Na ellys nocht that may him plese,
Gyff fredome failythe : for fre liking
Is yearnyt our all othir thing.
Na he, thai ay hase levyt fre,
May nocht knaw weill the propyrte,
The angyr, na the wretchyt dome,
That is cowplyt foule thyrldome.
Bot gyff he had assayit it,
Then all perquer he suld it wyt;
And suld think fredome mar to pryse
Than all the gold in warld that is.
A noble heart may have none ease,
Na elsé nought that may him please,
If freedom faileth : for free liking
Is yearnéd? oure 3 all other thing.
Na he, that aye has livéd free,
May not know well the property,
The anger, na the wretched doom,
That it coupléd to foul thyrldom.5
But if he had assayéd it,
Then all perquer 6 he should it wit ;?
And should think freedom more to prize
i Than all the gold in world that is.
3 Over, above.
4 Peculiar state or condition. 6 Exactly.
15. Chaucer (Prose). Tale of Melibæus, from the Parson's Tale.
Whan dame Prudence, ful debonairly accomplish thilke ordinance buts you and with gret pacience, had herd all liketh : for the trouthe of thinges, and that hire husbonde liked for to say, than the profit, ben rather founden in fewe axed she of him licence for to speke, and folk that ben wise and ful of reson, sayde in this wise. My lord, (quod she) than by gret multitude of folk, ther6 as to your first reson, it may lightly ben every man cryeth and clattereth what answerd : for I say that it is no folie him liketh : sothly? swiches multitude to chaunge conseil whan the thing is is not honest. As to the second reson, chaunged, or elles whan the thing semeth wheras ye say, that alle women ben otherwise than it semed afore. And wicke : save your grace, certes ye despise moreover I say, though that ye have alle women in this wise, and he that all sworne and behight' to performe your despiseth, as saith the book, all disemprise, and nevertheles ye weive to pleseth. And Senek saith, that wbo so performe thilke same emprise by just wol have sapience, shal no man dis. cause, men shuld not say therfore ye preise, but he shal gladly teche the were a lyer, ne forsworn : for the book science that he can, without presumpsayth, that the wise man maketh no tion or pride : and swiche thinges as he lesing,a whan he turneth his corage3 for nought can, he shal not ben ashamed to the better. And al be it that your em lere9 hem, and to enquere of lesse folk prise be established and ordeined by than himself. gret multitude of folk, yet thar‘ you not
7 Truly. 8 Such.
4 It behoveth.
9 Learn them.
16, Sir John de Mandeville, 1300–1371 (Manual, p. 51).
And therfore I schalle telle zou, what | sample to the lewed peple, for to do wel; the Soudan tolde me upon a day, in his and zee zeven hem ensample to don Chambre. He leet voyden out of his evylle. For the Comownes, upon festyChambre alle maner of men, Lordes and fulle dayes, whan thei scholden gon to othere : for he wolde speke with me in Chirche to serve God, than gon thei to Conseille. And there he askede me, how Tavernes, and ben there in glotony, alle the Cristene men governed hem in oure the day and alle nyghte, and eten and Contree. And I seyde him, Righte wel: drynken, as Bestes that have no resoun, thonked be God. And he seyde me, and wite not whan thei have y now. Treulyche, nay : for zee Cristene men And also the Cristene men enforcen hem, ne recthen righte noghte how untrewly in alle maneres that thei mowen, for to to serve God. Ze scholde zeven en fighte, and for to desceyven that on that