A Voyage to Compostella


[The glosses appear in italics; Furnivall's characteristically enthusiastic summary is printed in boldface.]

















Men may leve all gamys
That saylen to Seynt Jamys,
For many a man hit gramys,
When they begyn to sayle.
For when they have take the see
At Sandwyche or at Wynchylsee,
At Brystow, or where that hit bee,
Theyr hertes begyn to fayle.

Anone the mastyr commaundeth fast
To hys shypmen in all the hast
To dresse hem sone about the mast,
Theyr takelyng to make.
With "Howe! Hissa!" then they cry.
"What, howe, mate, thow stondyst too ny,
Thy felow may nat hale thee by,"
Thus they begyn to crake.

A boy or tweyn anone upstyen
And overthwart the sayle-yerde lyen.
"Y-how, taylia!" the remenaunt cryen,
And pull with all theyr myght.
"Bestowe the boote, boteswayne, anon,
That our pylgryms may pley theron;
For som ar lyke to cowgh and grone
Or hit be full mydnyght."

"Hale the bowelyne! Now, ware the shete!
Cooke, make redy anoon our mete.
Our pylgryms have no lust to ete,
I pray god yeve hem rest.
Go to the helm! What, howe! No nere!
Steward, felow, a pot of bere!"
"Ye shall have, sir, with good chere
Anon all of the best."

"Y-howe, trussa! Hale In the brayles!
Thow halyst nat, by God, thow fayles!
O, se howe well oure good shyp sayles!"
And thus they say among.
"Hale In the wartake!" "Hit shal be done."
"Steward, cover the boorde anone,
And set bred and salt therone,
And tary nat too long!"

Then cometh oone and seyth: "Be mery,
Ye shall have a storme or a pery."
"Holde thow thy pese! Thow canst no whery,
Thow medlyst wondyr sore."
Thys menewhyle the pylgryms ly,
And have theyr bowles fast theym by,
And cry aftyr hot malvesy
To helpe for to restore.

And som wold have a saltyd tost,
For they myght ete neyther sode ne rost.
A man myght sone pay for theyr cost
As for oo day or twayne.
Som layde theyr bookys on theyr kne
And red so long they myght nat se.
"Allas, myne hede woll cleve on thre,"
Thus seyth another certayne.

Then commeth oure owner lyke a lorde,
And speketh many a royall worde,
And dresseth hym to the hygh borde
To see all thyng be well.
Anone he calleth a carpentere,
And byddyth hym bryng with hym hys gere
And make the cabans here and there
With many a febyll cell.

A sak of strawe were there ryght good,
For som must lye theym in theyr hood.
I had as lefe be in the wood
Withoute mete or drynk.
For when that we shall go to bedde,
The pumpe was nygh oure beddes hede;
A man were as good to be dede
As smell therof the stynk.
You leave all fun behind you
when you sail to St. James!
(annoys, bothers)

Directly you get
on board

your heart fails.

The shipmen make ready,

order you out
of their way
(speak, shout)

(climb up)

and haul at the sails

"Put the boat
ready; our Pilgrims
will groan
ere night."

"Haul up the

(nearer the wind)
Steward, a pot of beer!

(furling lines)

How well she sails!

Steward, lay the cloth;
give 'em bread and salt
for dinner."

"Storm's coming."

The poor Pilgrims have
their bowls by them
and cry out
for hot Malmsy;

they can eat neither
boiled nor roast.

"My head will split
in three," says one.

The shipowner comes

to see that all's right

The cabins are
made ready.

(just as soon)

And the pump,
my goodness,
stinks enough to kill you!

The text, here slightly regularized and glossed, is from the edition by F.J. Furnivall, The stacions of Rome and The pilgrims' sea voyage, with Clene maydenhod. A supplement to "Political, religious, and love poems," and "Hali meidenhad," Early English Text Society, vol. 25, 1867.

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