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The virtue expulsive or animal,
The will of Christ, and kneeling on the strong, From thilke virtue clepedi natural,
She saide, “Lord, aye welcome be thy sond.1 Ne may the venom voiden ne expell ;
He that me kepte from the false blame, The pipes of his lunges 'gan to swell,
While I was in the land amonges you, And every lacert2 in his brcast adown
He can me keep from harm and eke from shame Is shent3 with venom and corruption.
In the salt sea, although I see not how : He gaineth neither," for to get his life,
As strong as ever he was, he is yet now : Vomit upward ne downward laxative :
In him trust I, and in his mother dear, All is to-bursten thilke region ;
That is to me my sail and eke my steer. "2 Nature hath now no domination :
Her little child lay weeping in her arm ; And certainly where nature will not werche,5
And kneeling piteously, to him she said Farewell physic ; go bear the man to church.
Peace, little son, I will do thee no harm :' This is all and some, that Arcite muste die;
With that her kerchief off her head she braid, For which he sendeth after Emily,
And over his little eyen she it laid, And Palamon, that was his cousin dear ;
And in her arm she lulleth it full fast, Then said he thus, as ye shall after hear :
And into th' heaven her eyen up she cast, Nought may the woful spirit in mine heart
Mother, quod she, and maiden bright, Mary ! Declare one point of all my sorrows' smart
Soth is, that through womannes eggement, To you my lady, that I love most,
Mankind was lorn, and damned aye to die, But I bequeath the service of my ghost
For which thy child was on a cross yrent :6 To you aboven every creature,
Thy blissful eyen saw all his torment; Since that my life ne may no longer dure.
Then is there no comparison between • Alas the woe ! alas the paines strong,
Thy woe and any woe man may sustain. That I for you have suffered, and so long !
Thou saw'st thy child yslain before thine eyen, Alas the death ! alas mine Emily!
And yet now liveth my little child parfay :7 Alas departing of our company !
Now, lady bright ! to whom all woful crien, Alas mine hearte's queen ! alas my wife !
Thou glory of womanhood, thou faire May ! Mine hearte's lady, ender of my life !
Thou haven of refute, bright star of day What is this world what asken men to have ? Rue on my child, that of thy gentleness Now with his love, now in his colde grave
Ruest on every rueful in distress. Alone-withouten any company.
• O little child, alas ! what is thy guilt, Farewell my sweet-farewell mine Emily !
That never wroughtest sin as yet, pardíe ! And softe take me in your armes tway
Why will thine harde father bare thee spilt ? 10 For love of God, and hearkeneth what I say.
O mercy, deare Constable ! (quod she) I have here with my cousin Palamon
As let my little child dwell here with thee; Had strife and rancour many a day agone
And if thou dar’st not saven him from blame, For love of you, and for my jealousy ;
So kiss him ones in his father's name.' And Jupiter so wish my soule gie,7
Therewith she looketh backward to the land, To speaken of a servant properly,
And saide, ‘ Farewell, husband rutheless !' 11 With alle circumstances truely ;
And up she rose, and walketh down the strand That is to say, truth, honour, and knighthead, Toward the ship; her followeth all the press : 12 Wisdom, huinbless, estate, and high kindred, And ever she prayeth her child to hold his peace, Freedom, and all that 'longeth to that art,
And tak'th her leave, and with a holy' intent So Jupiter have of my soule part,
She blesseth her, and into the ship she went. As in this world right now ne know I none
Victailled was the ship, it is no drede,13 So worthy to be loved as Palamon,
Abundantly for her a full long space ; That serveth you, and will do all his life ;
And other necessaries that should need And if that ever ye shall be a wife,
She had enow, heried 14 be Goddes grace : Forget not Palamon, the gentle man.'
For wind and weather, Almighty God purchase, 15
But in the sea she driveth forth her way.
[The Pardoner's Tale. ) The vital strength is lost and all ago ;9
In Flanders whilom was a company Only the intellect, withouten more,
Of youngé folk that haunteden follý, That dwelled in his hearte sick and sore,
As hazard, riot, stewés, and taverns, 'Gan faillen when the hearte felte death ;
Whereas with harpes, lutés, and gitterns, 16 Dusked his eyen two, and fail'd his breath :
They dance and play at dice both day and night, But on his lady yet cast he his
And eat also and drinken o'er their might, His laste word was, ' Mercy, Emily!'
Through which they do the devil sacrifice,
Within the devil's temple', in cursed wise, [Departure of Custance.]
By superfluity abominable. (Custance is banished from her husband, Alla, king of Nor That it is grisly17 for to hear them gwear.
Their oathes been so great and so damnáble thumberland, in consequence of the treachery of the king's mother. Her behaviour in embarking at sea, in a rudderless Our blissful Lordés body they to-tear; ship, is thus described.)
Them thought the Jewés rent him not enough ;
And each of them at other's sinné laugh. Weepen both young and old in all that place And right anon in comen tombesteres 18 When that the king this cursed letter sent :
Fetis19 and small, and youngé fruitesteres,20 And Custance with a deadly pale face The fourthe day toward the ship she went ;
° Guide, helm. 9 Took. 4 Incitement. But nathelesglo she tak’th in good intent
7 By my faith.
8 Refuge • Have pity. 10 Destroyed.
1% Crowd 1 Called. I Muscle. Ruined, destroyed.
16 Procure, provido. 4 He is able for. 6 Work. Surely. 7 Guide.
16 Guitars. 17 Dreadful 18 Female dancers. "Overtaken.
80 Female fruitsellers
Singers with harpes, baudés,' waferers, 2
0! wist a man how many maladies
A likerous' thing is wine, and drunkenness
And now that I have spoke of gluttony,
Now will I speak of oathés false and great
These riotourés three of which I tell,
And look that thou report his namé well.'
‘By Sainte Mary,' said this tavernere, *The child saith soth, for he hath slain this year, Hence over a inile, within a great villáge, Both man and woman, child, and hind and page ; I trow his habitation be there : To be aviséd3 great wisdóm it were Ere that he did a man a dishonour.'
'Yea, Goddes armés l' quod this rioter,
Together have these three their truthés plight
When they had gone not fully half a mile, Right as they would have trodden o'er a stile, An old man and a poore with them met: This oldé man full meekely them gret, 10 And saidé thus : 'Now, Lordés, God you see !'11
The proudest of these riotourés three
This oldé man 'gan look in his visage,
1 Mirthful, joyous.
& Red. 4.Care.
7 A place in Spain. 8 Fumes from drinking. 9 Thinketh, imagineth. 11 Gaming.
19 True. 10 Forbid.
13 Judgment. 14 Before. 15 Servant lad.
16 Better go.
1 Not a whit.
% Watchful, prepared 4 Worthy. 5 All one, or, in unity.
6 Born. 7 Fearful.
8 Defaced. 9 Catch. 10 Greeted. 11 That is, ‘God preserve you in his sight.' 18 Wretch. 13 Dear.
*But, Sirs, to you it is no courtesy To speak unto an old man villainy, But hel trespass in word or else in deed. In holy writ ye may yourselven read ; " Against an old man, hoar upon his hede, Ye should arise :" therefore I give you rede Ne do'th unto an old man none harm now, No more than that ye would a man did you In age, if that ye may so loug abide; And God be with you whe'r3 ye go or ride : I must go thither as I have to go.'
Nay, oldé churl, by God thou shalt not so,' Saidé this other hazardourt anon ; * Thou partest not so lightly, by Saint John. Thou spake right now of thilkes traitour Death, That in this country all our friendés slay'th; Have here my truth, as thou art his espy, Tell where he is, or thou shalt it aby,6 By God and by the holy sacrament, For sothly thou art one of his assent To slay us youngé folk, thou falsé thief.'
Now, Sirs,' quod he, “if it be you so lief 7 To finden Death, turn up this crooked way; For in that grove I left him, by my fay, Under a tree, and there he will abide, Nor for your boast he will him nothing hide. See ye that oak ? right there ye shall him find. God save you that bought again mankind, And you amend !' Thus said this oldé man.
And evereach of these riotourés ran
* Brethren,' quod he,' take keep what I shall say ;
That one of them the cut brought in his fist,
Thy profit will I tell thee right anon.
That other answer'd : ‘I n'ot! how that may be :
Shall it be counsel !' said the firsté shrew,2
"I granté,' quod that other, “out of doubt,
• Now,' quod the first, 'thou wott'st well we be tway ;
This youngest, which that wenté to the town,
The 'pothecary answer'd : 'Thou shalt have
This cursed man hath in his hand yhent12
And when this rioter with sorry gracel5
1 Unless he, &c.
9 Advice. 3 Whether.
1 Know not.
! A cursed man. 8 Inclination. 4 Rats. • Farm-yard.
6 Slain. 7 Revenge himself if he could.
8 Certainly. 10 Give over
11 Die 9 Amounting.
12 Taken. 13 Immediately. 14 Labour, work. 16 Evil, or misfortune.
What needeth it thereof to sermon more !
But certés I suppose that Avicenne
[The Good Parson.]
Wide was his cure ; the houses far asunder,
This noble ensample to his flock he gave,
He never set his benefice to hire,
Tho holy in himself, and virtuous,
He waited not on pomp or reverence,
[An Ironical Ballad on the Duplicity of Women.)
This world is full of variance
Also that the fresh summer flowers,
The crooked moon, (this is no tale),
The lusty freshé summer's day,
The sea eke with his sterné wawes8
Fortunés wheel go’th round about
What man ymay the wind restrain,
At every haven they can arrive
1 By accident.
8 The title of one of the sections in Avicenne's great work, entitled Canun.
8 Doubtless. I Fear.
Surety, steadfastness. 4 Shining.
6 Truth. 6 Pleasant. 7 Entire, whole, sounde 8 Waves. 9 Complote.
13 Guida Il Natural right. 19 Novelty, inconstancy. 14 Steering, pilotage.
Therefore whoso doth them accuse
Waiveth thy lust and let thy ghost1 thee lead,
And truth thee shall deliver 't is no drede.
However far the genius of Chaucer transcended All is but false collusión,
that of all preceding writers, he was not the solitary I dare right well the soth express,
light of his age. The national mind and the national They have no better protection,
language appear, indeed, to have now arrived at a But shroud them under doubleness.
certain degree of ripeness, favourable for the proSo well fortunéd is their chance,
duction of able writers in both prose and verse.* The dice to-turnen up so down,
Heretofore, Norman French had been the language With sice and cinque they can advance, of education, of the court, and of legal documents; And then by revolution
and when the Normanised Anglo-Saxon was emThey set a fell conclusión
ployed by literary men, it was for the special purOf lombés,3 as in sothfastness,
pose, as they were usually very careful to mention, Though clerkés maken mention
of conveying instruction to the common people. But Their kind is fret with doubleness.
now the distinction between the conquering Normans
and subjected Anglo-Saxons was nearly lost in a Sampson yhad experience
new and fraternal national feeling, which recognised That women were full true yfound ;
the country under the sole name of England, and the When Dalila of innocence
people and language under the single appellation of With shearés 'gan his hair to round;4 To speak also of Rosamond,
English. Edward III. substituted the use of English
for that of French in the public acts and judicial proAnd Cleopatra's faithfulness, The stories plainly will confound
ceedings; and the schoolmasters, for the first time, Men that apeach their doubleness.
in the same reign, caused their pupils to construe
the classical tongues into the vernacular.t The Single thing is not ypraiséd,
consequence of this ripening of the national mind Nor of old is of no renown,
and language was, that, while English heroism was In balance when they be ypesed,
gaining the victories of Cressy and Poitiers, English For lach of weight they be borne down,
genius was achieving milder and more beneficial triAnd for this cause of just reason
umphs, in the productions of Chaucer, of Gower, and These women all of rightwisness7
of Wickliffe. Of choice and free election Most love exchange and doubleness.
JOHN GOWER is supposed to have been born some L'Envoye.
time about the year 1325, and to have consequently O ye women ! which be inclinéd
been a few years older than Chaucer. He was a By influence of your natúre
gentleman, possessing a considerable amount of proTo be as pure as gold yfinéd,
perty in land, in the counties of Nottingham and And in your truth for to endure,
Suffolk. In his latter years, he appears, like Chaucer, Armeth yourself in strong armúre,
to have been a retainer of the Lancaster branch of (Lest men assail your sikerness),8
the royal family, which subsequently ascended the Set on your breast, yourself t' assure,
throne; and his death took place in 1408, before A mighty shield of doubleness.
which period he had become blind. Gower wrote a
poetical work in three parts, which were respectively [Last Verses of Chaucer, written on his Deathbed.]
entitled Speculum Meditantis, Vox Clamantis, and Fly from the press, 9 and dwell with sothfastness ;10 Confessio Amantis; the last, which is a grave disSuffice unto thy goodli though it be small ;
cussion of the morals and metaphysics of love, being For board hath hate, and climbing tickleness,
the only part written in English. The solemn senPresg12 hath envy, and weal is blent13 o'er all ;
tentiousness of this work caused Chaucer, and subSavour14 no more than thee behoven shall ; Redel5 well thyself, that otherfolk can'st rede,
1 Spirit. And truth thee shall deliver 't is no drede.16
* It is always to be kept in mind that the language employed Pain thee not each crooked to redress
in literary composition is apt to be different from that used by
the bulk of the people in ordinary discourse. The literary lanIn trust of her that turneth as a ball ;
guage of these early times was probably much more refined Great rest standeth in little business;
than the colloquial. During the fourteenth century, various Beware also to spurn against a nalle ; 17
dialects of English were spoken in different parts of the country, Strive not as doth a crocké18 with a wall ;
and the mode of pronunciation also was very far from being Deemeth 19 thyself that deemest other's deed,
uniform. Trevisa, a historian who wrote about 1380, remarks And truth thee shall deliver 't is no drede.
that, Hit semeth a grete wonder that Englyssmen have so That20 thee is sent receive in buxomness ;21
greto dyversyte in their owin langage in sowne and in spekyin
of it, which is all in one ilonde.' The prevalent harshness of The wrestling of this world asketh a fall;
pronunciation is thus described by the same writer: "Some Here is no home, here is but wilderness ;
use straunge wlaffing, chytryng, harring, garrying, and grysForth, pilgrim, forth, O beast out of thy stall ;
byting. The langage of the Northumbres, and specyally at Look up on high, and thank thy God of all ;
Yorke, is so sharpe, slytting, frotyng, and unshape, that we
sothern men maye unneth understande that langage.' Even Either in whispering or musing. 2 To find a flaw in. in the reign of Elizabeth, as we learn from Holinshed's Chroa "Though clerks, or scholars, represent women to be like nicle, the dialects spoken in different parts of the country were lambs for their truth and sincerity, yet they are all fraught, exceedingly various. or filled with doubleness, or falsehood.' -Urry.
† Mr Hallam mentions, on the authority of Mr Stevenson, * To round off, to cut round. 5 Impeach.
sub-commissioner of public records, that in England, all letters, 6 Y pesed, Fr. peséweighed.
7 Justice. 8 Security even of a private nature, were written in Latin till the beginning 10 Truth. 11 Be satisfied with thy wealth of the reign of Edward I., soon after 1270, when a sudden change 13 Prosperity has ceased.
14 Taste. brought in the use of French.-Hallam's Introduction to the Lite16 Without fear. 17 Nail
18 Earthen pitcher. rature of Europe in the Afteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth cen20 That (which). 21 Humility, obedience. | turies, i. 63.
Crowd. 12 Striving. 15 Counsel. 19 Judge