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The Monk's Prologue and Tale

An Interlinear Translation

The Middle English text is from Larry D. Benson., Gen. ed., The Riverside Chaucer,
Houghton-Mifflin Company; used with permission of the publisher.

         

(How to use the interlinear translations.)

         

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

         


 

The Prologue of the Monk's Tale

The murye Wordes of the Hoost to the Monk.
The merry words of the Host to the Monk.

         

         

1889         Whan ended was my tale of Melibee,
                    When ended was my tale of Melibee,
1890         And of Prudence and hire benignytee,
                    And of Prudence and her goodness,
1891         Oure Hooste seyde, "As I am feithful man,
                    Our Host said, "On my faith,
1892         And by that precious corpus Madrian,
                    And by that precious body of Madrian,
1893         I hadde levere than a barel ale
                    (I swear that) I had rather than have a barrel of ale
1894         That Goodelief, my wyf, hadde herd this tale!
                    That Goodelief, my wife, had heard this tale!
1895         For she nys no thyng of swich pacience
                    For she is in no way of such patience
1896         As was this Melibeus wyf Prudence.
                    As was this Melibeus' wife Prudence.
1897         By Goddes bones, whan I bete my knaves,
                    By God's bones, when I beat my knaves,
1898         She bryngeth me forth the grete clobbed staves,
                    She brings me forth the great knobby clubs,
1899         And crieth, `Slee the dogges everichoon,
                    And cries, `Slay the dogs every one
1900         And brek hem, bothe bak and every boon!'
                    And break them, both back and every bone!'

1901         "And if that any neighebor of myne
                    "And if any neighbor of mine
1902         Wol nat in chirche to my wyf enclyne,
                    Will not in church bow to my wife,
1903         Or be so hardy to hire to trespace,
                    Or be so bold as to offend her,
1904         Whan she comth hoom she rampeth in my face,
                    When she comes home she shakes her fists in my face,
1905         And crieth, `False coward, wrek thy wyf!
                    And cries, `False coward, avenge thy wife!
1906         By corpus bones, I wol have thy knyf,
                    By God's bones, I will have thy knife,
1907         And thou shalt have my distaf and go spynne!'
                    And thou shalt have my spinning staff and go spin!'
1908         Fro day to nyght right thus she wol bigynne.
                    From daybreak to nightfall right thus she will begin.
1909         `Allas,' she seith, `that evere I was shape
                    `Alas,' she says, `that ever I was created
1910         To wedden a milksop, or a coward ape,
                    To wed a milksop, or a coward ape,
1911         That wol been overlad with every wight!
                    That will be browbeaten by every body!
1912         Thou darst nat stonden by thy wyves right!'
                    Thou darest not defend thy wife's right!'

1913         "This is my lif, but if that I wol fighte;
                    "This is my life, unless I will fight;
1914         And out at dore anon I moot me dighte,
                    And out at door immediately I must hasten myself,
1915         Or elles I am but lost, but if that I
                    Or else I am as good as lost, unless I
1916         Be lik a wilde leoun, fool-hardy.
                    Be like a wild lion, fool-hardy.
1917         I woot wel she wol do me slee som day
                    I know well some day she will make me slay
1918         Som neighebor, and thanne go my way;
                    Some neighbor, and then be on the run;
1919         For I am perilous with knyf in honde,
                    For I am perilous with knife in hand,
1920         Al be it that I dar nat hire withstonde,
                    Albeit that I dare not stand up to her,
1921         For she is byg in armes, by my feith:
                    For she is strong in fighting, by my faith:
1922         That shal he fynde that hire mysdooth or seith --
                    That shall he find that does or says something amiss to her --
1923         But lat us passe awey fro this mateere.
                    But let us pass away from this matter.

1924         "My lord, the Monk," quod he, "be myrie of cheere,
                    "My lord, the Monk," said he, "cheer up,
1925         For ye shul telle a tale trewely.
                    For you must tell a tale truly.
1926         Loo, Rouchestre stant heer faste by!
                    Lo, Rochester stands here near by!
1927         Ryde forth, myn owene lord, brek nat oure game.
                    Ride forth, my own lord, do not interrupt our game.
1928         But, by my trouthe, I knowe nat youre name.
                    But, by my pledged word, I know not your name.
1929         Wher shal I calle yow my lord daun John,
                    Which shall I call you -- my lord Don John,
1930         Or daun Thomas, or elles daun Albon?
                    Or Don Thomas, or else Don Albon?
1931         Of what hous be ye, by youre fader kyn?
                    Of what monastic order are you, by your father's kin?
1932         I vowe to God, thou hast a ful fair skyn;
                    I vow to God, thou hast a very handsome complexion;
1933         It is a gentil pasture ther thow goost.
                    It is a noble pasture where thou goest to eat.
1934         Thou art nat lyk a penant or a goost:
                    Thou art not like a penitent or a ghost:
1935         Upon my feith, thou art som officer,
                    Upon my faith, thou art some officer,
1936         Som worthy sexteyn, or som celerer,
                    Some worthy sexton, or some provisioner,
1937         For by my fader soule, as to my doom,
                    For by my father's soul, according to my judgment,
1938         Thou art a maister whan thou art at hoom;
                    Thou art a master when thou art at home;
1939         No povre cloysterer, ne no novys,
                    No poor cloistered monk, nor no novice,
1940         But a governour, wily and wys,
                    But a governor, wily and wise,
1941         And therwithal of brawnes and of bones
                    And, in addition to that, of muscles and of bones
1942         A wel farynge persone for the nones.
                    A very handsome person indeed.
1943         I pray to God, yeve hym confusioun
                    I pray to God, give him ruination
1944         That first thee broghte unto religioun!
                    Who first brought thee unto the monastic life!
1945         Thou woldest han been a tredefowel aright.
                    Thou wouldest have been a chicken-copulator indeed,
1946         Haddestow as greet a leeve as thou hast myght
                    If thou haddest as much permission as thou hast power
1947         To parfourne al thy lust in engendrure,
                    To perform all thy desire in procreation,
1948         Thou haddest bigeten ful many a creature.
                    Thou would have begotten very many a creature.
1949         Allas, why werestow so wyd a cope?
                    Alas, why wearest thou so wide a cope?
1950         God yeve me sorwe, but, and I were a pope,
                    God give me sorrow, unless, if I were a pope,
1951         Nat oonly thou, but every myghty man,
                    Not only thou, but every mighty man,
1952         Though he were shorn ful hye upon his pan,
                    Though he had a tonsure very prominently upon his head,
1953         Sholde have a wyf; for al the world is lorn!
                    Should have a wife; for all the world is lost!
1954         Religioun hath take up al the corn
                    Religion has taken up all the best
1955         Of tredyng, and we borel men been shrympes.
                    At copulating, and we laymen are shrimps.
1956         Of fieble trees ther comen wrecched ympes.
                    Of feeble trees there come weak offshoots.
1957         This maketh that oure heires been so sklendre
                    This makes our heirs to be so scrawny
1958         And feble that they may nat wel engendre.
                    And feeble that they can not well beget children.
1959         This maketh that oure wyves wole assaye
                    This makes it that our wives want to try out
1960         Religious folk, for ye mowe bettre paye
                    Folk in holy orders, for you can better pay
1961         Of Venus paiementz than mowe we;
                    Venus' payments than we can;
1962         God woot, no lussheburghes payen ye!
                    God knows, you pay with no inferior coins!
1963         But be nat wrooth, my lord, though that I pleye.
                    But be not angry, my lord, though I am joking.
1964         Ful ofte in game a sooth I have herd seye!"
                    Very often I have heard a truth said in jest!"

1965         This worthy Monk took al in pacience,
                    This worthy Monk took all in patience,
1966         And seyde, "I wol doon al my diligence,
                    And said, "I will devote all my efforts,
1967         As fer as sowneth into honestee,
                    So far as it is conducive to propriety,
1968         To telle yow a tale, or two, or three.
                    To tell you a tale, or two, or three.
1969         And if yow list to herkne hyderward,
                    And if you desire to listen to me,
1970         I wol yow seyn the lyf of Seint Edward;
                    I will tell you the life of Saint Edward;
1971         Or ellis, first, tragedies wol I telle,
                    Or else, first, I will tell tragedies,
1972         Of whiche I have an hundred in my celle.
                    Of which I have a hundred in my cell.
1973         Tragedie is to seyn a certeyn storie,
                    Tragedy means a true narrative,
1974         As olde bookes maken us memorie,
                    As old books make us remember,
1975         Of hym that stood in greet prosperitee,
                    Of one who stood in great prosperity,
1976         And is yfallen out of heigh degree
                    And is fallen out of high degree
1977         Into myserie, and endeth wrecchedly.
                    Into misery, and ends wretchedly.
1978         And they ben versified communely
                    And ordinarily they are in verses
1979         Of six feet, which men clepen exametron.
                    Of six feet, which men call hexameters.
1980         In prose eek been endited many oon,
                    Many are also composed in prose,
1981         And eek in meetre in many a sondry wyse.
                    And also in meters of many and various sorts.
1982         Lo, this declaryng oghte ynogh suffise.
                    Lo, this explanation ought to suffice enough.

1983         "Now herkneth, if yow liketh for to heere.
                    "Now hearken, if it pleases you to hear.
1984         But first I yow biseeke in this mateere,
                    But first I beseech you in this matter,
1985         Though I by ordre telle nat thise thynges,
                    Though I do not tell these things in chronological order,
1986         Be it of popes, emperours, or kynges,
                    Be it of popes, emperors, or kings,
1987         After hir ages, as men writen fynde,
                    According to their times, as men find written,
1988         But tellen hem som bifore and som bihynde,
                    But tell some of them before and some behind,
1989         As it now comth unto my remembraunce,
                    As it now comes unto my memory,
1990         Have me excused of myn ignoraunce."
                    Hold me excused for my ignorance."

Explicit

 

 

 

 

The Monk's Tale

Heere bigynneth the Monkes Tale
Here begins the Monk's Tale
De Casibus Virorum Illustrium.
Concerning the Fates of Famous Men

 

1991         I wol biwaille in manere of tragedie
                    I will bewail in the manner of tragedy
1992         The harm of hem that stoode in heigh degree,
                    The harm of those who stood in high degree,
1993         And fillen so that ther nas no remedie
                    And fell so that there was no remedy
1994         To brynge hem out of hir adversitee.
                    To bring them out of their adversity.
1995         For certein, whan that Fortune list to flee,
                    For certainly, when Fortune desires to flee,
1996         Ther may no man the cours of hire withholde.
                    No man can withstand her onward movement.
1997         Lat no man truste on blynd prosperitee;
                    Let no man trust on blind prosperity;
1998         Be war by thise ensamples trewe and olde.
                    Take warning from these examples true and old.

                Lucifer

1999         At Lucifer, though he an angel were
                    At Lucifer, though he was an angel
2000         And nat a man, at hym wol I bigynne.
                    And not a man, at him will I begin.
2001         For though Fortune may noon angel dere,
                    For though Fortune may harm no angel,
2002         From heigh degree yet fel he for his synne
                    From high degree yet for his sin he fell
2003         Doun into helle, where he yet is inne.
                    Down into hell, in which he is yet.
2004         O Lucifer, brightest of angels alle,
                    O Lucifer, brightest of all angels,
2005         Now artow Sathanas, that mayst nat twynne
                    Now art thou Sathanas, that mayst not depart
2006         Out of miserie, in which that thou art falle.
                    Out of misery, in which thou art fallen.

                Adam

2007         Loo Adam, in the feeld of Damyssene
                    Lo Adam, in the field of Damascus
2008         With Goddes owene fynger wroght was he,
                    With God's own finger was he wrought,
2009         And nat bigeten of mannes sperme unclene,
                    And not begotten of man's unclean sperm,
2010         And welte al paradys savynge o tree.
                    And ruled all paradise save for one tree.
2011         Hadde nevere worldly man so heigh degree
                    Had never worldly man so high degree
2012         As Adam, til he for mysgovernaunce
                    As Adam, until he for misconduct
2013         Was dryven out of hys hye prosperitee
                    Was driven out of his high prosperity
2014         To labour, and to helle, and to meschaunce.
                    To labor, and to hell, and to ruin.

                Sampson

2015         Loo Sampsoun, which that was annunciat
                    Lo Sampson, whose birth was announced
2016         By th'angel longe er his nativitee,
                    By the angel long before his nativity,
2017         And was to God Almyghty consecrat,
                    And was to God Almighty consecrated,
2018         And stood in noblesse whil he myghte see.
                    And stood in noble estate while he could see.
2019         Was nevere swich another as was hee,
                    There was never such another as was he,
2020         To speke of strengthe, and therwith hardynesse;
                    To speak of strength, and bravery as well;
2021         But to his wyves toolde he his secree,
                    But to his wives he told his secret,
2022         Thurgh which he slow hymself for wrecchednesse.
                    Through which he slew himself for wretchedness.

2023         Sampsoun, this noble almyghty champioun,
                    Sampson, this noble almighty champion,
2024         Withouten wepen save his handes tweye,
                    Without any weapon save his two hands,
2025         He slow and al torente the leoun,
                    He slew and tore all to pieces the lion,
2026         Toward his weddyng walkynge by the weye.
                    (While he was) walking toward his wedding by the way.
2027         His false wyf koude hym so plese and preye
                    His false wife could him so please and earnestly plead
2028         Til she his conseil knew; and she, untrewe,
                    Until she knew his secrets; and she, untrue,
2029         Unto his foos his conseil gan biwreye,
                    Unto his foes his secrets did betray,
2030         And hym forsook, and took another newe.
                    And abandoned him, and took another new lover.

2031         Thre hundred foxes took Sampson for ire,
                    Three hundred foxes Sampson took for ire,
2032         And alle hir tayles he togydre bond,
                    And all their tails he tied together,
2033         And sette the foxes tayles alle on fire,
                    And set the foxes' tails all on fire,
2034         For he on every tayl had knyt a brond;
                    For he on every tail had tied a torch;
2035         And they brende alle the cornes in that lond,
                    And they burned all the grain crops in that land,
2036         And alle hire olyveres, and vynes eke.
                    And all their olive trees, and vines also.
2037         A thousand men he slow eek with his hond,
                    A thousand men he slew also with his hand,
2038         And hadde no wepen but an asses cheke.
                    And had no weapon but an ass's jawbone.

2039         Whan they were slayn, so thursted hym that he
                    When they were slain, he was so thirsty that he
2040         Was wel ny lorn, for which he gan to preye
                    Was well nigh lost, for which he prayed
2041         That God wolde on his peyne han some pitee
                    That God would on his pain have some pity
2042         And sende hym drynke, or elles moste he deye;
                    And send him drink, or else he must die;
2043         And of this asses cheke, that was dreye,
                    And of this ass's jawbone, that was dry,
2044         Out of a wang-tooth sprang anon a welle,
                    Out of a molar sprang right away a well,
2045         Of which he drank ynogh, shortly to seye;
                    Of which he drank enough, shortly to say;
2046         Thus heelp hym God, as Judicum can telle.
                    Thus God helped him, as The Book of Judges can tell.

2047         By verray force at Gazan on a nyght,
                    By sheer force at Gaza on one night,
2048         Maugree Philistiens of that citee,
                    Despite the Philistines of that city,
2049         The gates of the toun he hath up plyght,
                    The gates of the town he has plucked up,
2050         And on his bak ycaryed hem hath hee
                    And on his back he has carried them
2051         Hye on an hill whereas men myghte hem see.
                    High on a hill where men could see them.
2052         O noble, almyghty Sampsoun, lief and deere,
                    O noble, almighty Sampson, beloved and dear,
2053         Had thou nat toold to wommen thy secree,
                    Had thou not told to women thy secret,
2054         In al this world ne hadde been thy peere!
                    In all this world there had not been thy peer!

2055         This Sampson nevere ciser drank ne wyn,
                    This Sampson never drank alcoholic drinks nor wine,
2056         Ne on his heed cam rasour noon ne sheere,
                    Nor on his head came any razor or scissors,
2057         By precept of the messager divyn,
                    By command of the divine messenger,
2058         For alle his strengthes in his heeres weere.
                    For all his powers were in his hair.
2059         And fully twenty wynter, yeer by yeere,
                    And fully twenty winters, year by year,
2060         He hadde of Israel the governaunce.
                    He had the governance of Israel.
2061         But soone shal he wepe many a teere,
                    But soon shall he weep many a tear,
2062         For wommen shal hym bryngen to meschaunce!
                    For women shall bring him to misfortune!

2063         Unto his lemman Dalida he tolde
                    Unto his sweetheart Dalilah he told
2064         That in his heeris al his strengthe lay,
                    That all his strength lay in his hair,
2065         And falsly to his foomen she hym solde.
                    And falsely to his foemen she sold him.
2066         And slepynge in hir barm upon a day,
                    And sleeping on her bosom upon one day,
2067         She made to clippe or shere his heres away,
                    She contrived to clip or shear his hair away,
2068         And made his foomen al his craft espyen;
                    And made his foemen know all his craft;
2069         And whan that they hym foond in this array,
                    And when they found him in this condition,
2070         They bounde hym faste and putten out his yen.
                    They bound him securely and put out his eyes.

2071         But er his heer were clipped or yshave,
                    But before his hair was clipped or shaven,
2072         Ther was no boond with which men myghte him bynde;
                    There was no bond with which men could bind him;
2073         But now is he in prison in a cave,
                    But now is he in prison in a cave,
2074         Where-as they made hym at the queerne grynde.
                    Where they made him grind at the mill.
2075         O noble Sampsoun, strongest of mankynde,
                    O noble Sampson, strongest of mankind,
2076         O whilom juge, in glorie and in richesse!
                    O formerly judge, in glory and in riches!
2077         Now maystow wepen with thyne eyen blynde,
                    Now mayst thou weep with thy blind eyes,
2078         Sith thou fro wele art falle in wrecchednesse.
                    Since thou from prosperity art fallen into wretchedness.

2079         The ende of this caytyf was as I shal seye.
                    The end of this captive was as I shall say.
2080         His foomen made a feeste upon a day,
                    His foemen made a feast upon one day,
2081         And made hym as hire fool biforn hem pleye;
                    And made him as their fool play before them;
2082         And this was in a temple of greet array.
                    And this was in a temple of great magnificence.
2083         But atte laste he made a foul affray,
                    But at the last he made a terrifying assault,
2084         For he two pilers shook and made hem falle,
                    For he shook two pillars and made them fall,
2085         And doun fil temple and al, and ther it lay --
                    And down fell temple and all, and there it lay --
2086         And slow hymself, and eek his foomen alle.
                    And slew himself, and also all his foemen.

2087         This is to seyn, the prynces everichoon,
                    This is to say, every one of the princes,
2088         And eek thre thousand bodyes, were ther slayn
                    And also three thousand bodies, were there slain
2089         With fallynge of the grete temple of stoon.
                    By the falling of the great temple of stone.
2090         Of Sampson now wol I namoore sayn.
                    Of Sampson now I will say no more.
2091         Beth war by this ensample oold and playn
                    Beware by this example old and plain
2092         That no men telle hir conseil til hir wyves
                    That no men tell their secrets to their wives
2093         Of swich thyng as they wolde han secree fayn,
                    Of such things as they would earnestly keep secret,
2094         If that it touche hir lymes or hir lyves.
                    If it concerns their limbs or their lives.

                Hercules

2095         Of Hercules, the sovereyn conquerour,
                    Of Hercules, the supreme conqueror,
2096         Syngen his werkes laude and heigh renoun;
                    His works sing his praise and high renown;
2097         For in his tyme of strengthe he was the flour.
                    For in his time he was the flower of strength.
2098         He slow and rafte the skyn of the leoun;
                    He slew and tore off the skin of the lion;
2099         He of Centauros leyde the boost adoun;
                    He laid down the boast of the Centaurs;
2100         He Arpies slow, the crueel bryddes felle;
                    He slew the Harpies, the fierce cruel birds;
2101         He golden apples rafte of the dragoun;
                    He seized the golden apples of the dragon;
2102         He drow out Cerberus, the hound of helle;
                    He dragged Cerberus, the hound, out of Hell;

2103         He slow the crueel tyrant Busirus
                    He slew the cruel tyrant Busirus
2104         And made his hors to frete hym, flessh and boon;
                    And made his horses eat him, flesh and bone;
2105         He slow the firy serpent venymus;
                    He slew the fiery venomous serpent;
2106         Of Acheloys two hornes he brak oon;
                    He broke one of Achelous' two horns;
2107         And he slow Cacus in a cave of stoon;
                    And he slew Cacus in a cave of stone;
2108         He slow the geant Antheus the stronge;
                    He slew the giant Antheus the strong;
2109         He slow the grisly boor, and that anon;
                    He slew the grisly boar, and that very quickly;
2110         And bar the hevene on his nekke longe.
                    And long bore the heaven on his neck.

2111         Was nevere wight, sith that this world bigan,
                    Was never a person, since this world began,
2112         That slow so manye monstres as dide he.
                    That slew as many monsters as did he.
2113         Thurghout this wyde world his name ran,
                    Throughout this wide world his name ran,
2114         What for his strengthe and for his heigh bountee,
                    What for his strength and for his great goodness,
2115         And every reawme wente he for to see.
                    And he went to see every realm.
2116         He was so stroong that no man myghte hym lette.
                    He was so strong that no man could prevent him.
2117         At bothe the worldes endes, seith Trophee,
                    At both ends of the world, says Trophee,
2118         In stide of boundes he a pileer sette.
                    In stead of boundary markers he set a pillar.

2119         A lemman hadde this noble champioun,
                    This noble champion had a sweetheart,
2120         That highte Dianira, fressh as May;
                    Who was called Dianira, fresh as May;
2121         And as thise clerkes maken mencioun,
                    And as these clerks make mention,
2122         She hath hym sent a sherte, fressh and gay.
                    She has sent him a shirt, fresh and gay.
2123         Allas, this sherte -- allas and weylaway! --
                    Alas, this shirt -- alas and woe oh woe! --
2124         Envenymed was so subtilly withalle
                    Was so skillfully envenomed indeed
2125         That er that he had wered it half a day
                    That before he had worn it half a day
2126         It made his flessh al from his bones falle.
                    It made all his flesh fall from his bones.

2127         But nathelees somme clerkes hire excusen
                    But nonetheless some clerks excuse her
2128         By oon that highte Nessus, that it maked.
                    By one who was called Nessus, who made it.
2129         Be as be may, I wol hire noght accusen;
                    However it may be, I will not accuse her;
2130         But on his bak this sherte he wered al naked
                    But on his back all naked he wore this shirt
2131         Til that his flessh was for the venym blaked.
                    Until his flesh was blackened because of the venom.
2132         And whan he saugh noon oother remedye,
                    And when he saw no other remedy,
2133         In hoote coles he hath hymselven raked,
                    He has himself covered over in hot coals,
2134         For with no venym deigned hym to dye.
                    For with no venom did he deign to die.

2135         Thus starf this worthy, myghty Hercules.
                    Thus died this worthy, mighty Hercules.
2136         Lo, who may truste on Fortune any throwe?
                    Lo, who can trust on Fortune for any time?
2137         For hym that folweth al this world of prees
                    For he who follows (the ways of) all this dangerous world
2138         Er he be war is ofte yleyd ful lowe.
                    Before he is aware is often laid very low.
2139         Ful wys is he that kan hymselven knowe!
                    Very wise is he who can know himself!
2140         Beth war, for whan that Fortune list to glose,
                    Be wary, for when Fortune wants to deceive,
2141         Thanne wayteth she her man to overthrowe
                    Then she waits to overthrow her man
2142         By swich a wey as he wolde leest suppose.
                    By such a means as he would least suppose.

                Nabugodonosor
                [Nebuchadnessar]

2143         The myghty trone, the precious tresor,
                    The mighty throne, the precious treasure,
2144         The glorious ceptre, and roial magestee
                    The glorious scepter, and royal majesty
2145         That hadde the kyng Nabugodonosor
                    That had the king Nebuchadnessar
2146         With tonge unnethe may discryved bee.
                    With tongue can hardly be described.
2147         He twyes wan Jerusalem the citee;
                    He twice won the city of Jerusalem;
2148         The vessel of the temple he with hym ladde.
                    The vessels of the temple he took with him.
2149         At Babiloigne was his sovereyn see,
                    At Babylon was his sovereign throne,
2150         In which his glorie and his delit he hadde.
                    In which he had his glory and his delight.

2151         The faireste children of the blood roial
                    The fairest children of the blood royal
2152         Of Israel he leet do gelde anoon,
                    Of Israel he had gelded indeed,
2153         And maked ech of hem to been his thral.
                    And made each of them to be his slave.
2154         Amonges othere Daniel was oon,
                    Among others Daniel was one,
2155         That was the wiseste child of everychon,
                    Who was the wisest child of them all,
2156         For he the dremes of the kyng expowned,
                    For he expounded the dreams of the king,
2157         Whereas in Chaldeye clerk ne was ther noon
                    Whereas in Chaldea there was no clerk
2158         That wiste to what fyn his dremes sowned.
                    Who knew what his dreams meant.

2159         This proude kyng leet maken a statue of gold,
                    This proud king had made a statue of gold,
2160         Sixty cubites long and sevene in brede,
                    Sixty cubits long and seven in breadth,
2161         To which ymage bothe yong and oold
                    To which image both young and old
2162         Comanded he to loute, and have in drede,
                    Commanded he to bow down, and hold in veneration,
2163         Or in a fourneys, ful of flambes rede,
                    Or in a furnace, full of red flames,
2164         He shal be brent that wolde noght obeye.
                    He who would not obey shall be burned.
2165         But nevere wolde assente to that dede
                    But never would assent to (do) that deed
2166         Daniel ne his yonge felawes tweye.
                    Daniel nor his two young fellows.

2167         This kyng of kynges proud was and elaat;
                    This king of kings was proud and arrogant;
2168         He wende that God, that sit in magestee,
                    He supposed that God, who sits in majesty,
2169         Ne myghte hym nat bireve of his estaat.
                    Could not deprive him of his estate.
2170         But sodeynly he loste his dignytee,
                    But suddenly he lost his high office,
2171         And lyk a beest hym semed for to bee,
                    And like a beast he seemed to be,
2172         And eet hey as an oxe, and lay theroute
                    And ate hay like an ox, and lay outside
2173         In reyn; with wilde beestes walked hee
                    In rain; with wild beasts walked he
2174         Til certein tyme was ycome aboute.
                    Until a certain number of years had passed.

2175         And lik an egles fetheres wax his heres;
                    And his hair grew to be like an eagle's feathers;
2176         His nayles lyk a briddes clawes weere;
                    His nails were like a bird's claws;
2177         Til God relessed hym a certeyn yeres,
                    Until God released him (after) a certain (number of) years,
2178         And yaf hym wit, and thanne with many a teere
                    And gave him back his wits, and then with many a tear
2179         He thanked God, and evere his lyf in feere
                    He thanked God, and always in his life in fear
2180         Was he to doon amys or moore trespace;
                    Was he to do amiss or again trespass;
2181         And til that tyme he leyd was on his beere
                    And until that time he was laid on his bier
2182         He knew that God was ful of myght and grace.
                    He knew that God was full of might and grace.

                Balthasar
                [Belshazzar]

2183         His sone, which that highte Balthasar,
                    His son, who was called Belshazzar,
2184         That heeld the regne after his fader day,
                    Who held the reign after his father's day,
2185         He by his fader koude noght be war,
                    He by (the example of) his father could not be warned,
2186         For proud he was of herte and of array,
                    For he was proud of heart and of behavior,
2187         And eek an ydolastre was he ay.
                    And also he was always an idolater.
2188         His hye estaat assured hym in pryde;
                    His high estate made him confident in pride;
2189         But Fortune caste hym doun, and ther he lay,
                    But Fortune cast him down, and there he lay,
2190         And sodeynly his regne gan divide.
                    And suddenly his reign began to break apart.

2191         A feeste he made unto his lordes alle
                    A feast he made for all his lords
2192         Upon a tyme and bad hem blithe bee;
                    Upon a time and bade them be happy;
2193         And thanne his officeres gan he calle:
                    And then his officers he did call:
2194         "Gooth, bryngeth forth the vesseles," quod he,
                    "Go, bring forth the vessels," said he,
2195         "Whiche that my fader in his prosperitee
                    "Which my father in his flourishing time
2196         Out of the temple of Jerusalem birafte;
                    Robbed out of the temple of Jerusalem;
2197         And to oure hye goddes thanke we
                    And to our high gods we give thanks
2198         Of honour that oure eldres with us lafte."
                    For the honor that our elders left with us."

2199         Hys wyf, his lordes, and his concubynes
                    His wife, his lords, and his concubines
2200         Ay dronken, whil hire appetites laste,
                    Always drank, while their appetites lasted
2201         Out of thise noble vessels sondry wynes.
                    Various wines out of these noble vessels.
2202         And on a wal this kyng his eyen caste
                    And on a wall this king cast his eyes
2203         And saugh an hand, armlees, that wroot ful faste,
                    And saw a hand, armless, that wrote very fast,
2204         For feere of which he quook and siked soore.
                    For fear of which he quaked and sighed deeply.
2205         This hand that Balthasar so soore agaste
                    This hand that so deeply terrified Belshazzar
2206         Wroot Mane, techel, phares, and namoore.
                    Wrote Mane, techel, phares, and no more.

2207         In all that land magicien was noon
                    In all that land was no magician
2208         That koude expoune what this lettre mente;
                    Who could explain what this text meant;
2209         But Daniel expowned it anoon,
                    But Daniel explained it right away,
2210         And seyde, "Kyng, God to thy fader lente
                    And said, "King, God to thy father lent
2211         Glorie and honour, regne, tresour, rente;
                    Glory and honor, reign, treasure, income;
2212         And he was proud and nothyng God ne dradde,
                    And he was proud and not at all dreaded God,
2213         And therfore God greet wreche upon hym sente,
                    And therefore God sent great vengeance upon him,
2214         And hym birafte the regne that he hadde.
                    And took away from him the reign that he had.

2215         "He was out cast of mannes compaignye;
                    "He was cast out of man's company;
2216         With asses was his habitacioun,
                    With asses was his habitation,
2217         And eet hey as a beest in weet and drye
                    And ate hay as a beast in wet (weather) and dry
2218         Til that he knew, by grace and by resoun,
                    Until he knew, by grace and by reason,
2219         That God of hevene hath domynacioun
                    That God of heaven has domination
2220         Over every regne and every creature;
                    Over every reign and every creature;
2221         And thanne hadde God of hym compassioun,
                    And then had God on him compassion,
2222         And hym restored his regne and his figure.
                    And to him restored his reign and his bodily form.

2223         "Eek thou, that art his sone, art proud also,
                    "Also thou, who art his son, art proud also,
2224         And knowest alle thise thynges verraily,
                    And knowest all these things truly,
2225         And art rebel to God, and art his foo.
                    And art rebel to God, and art his foe.
2226         Thou drank eek of his vessels boldely;
                    Thou drank also of his vessels boldly;
2227         Thy wyf eek, and thy wenches, synfully
                    Thy wife also, and thy wenches, sinfully
2228         Dronke of the same vessels sondry wynys;
                    Drank of the same vessels various wines;
2229         And heryest false goddes cursedly;
                    And worship false gods cursedly;
2230         Therefore to thee yshapen ful greet pyne ys.
                    Therefore to thee is ordained very great pain.

2231         "This hand was sent from God that on the wal
                    "This hand was sent from God that on the wall
2232         Wroot Mane, techel, phares, truste me;
                    Wrote Mane, techel, pares, trust me;
2233         Thy regne is doon; thou weyest noght at al.
                    Thy reign is done; thou art of no account at all.
2234         Dyvyded is thy regne, and it shal be
                    Broken up is thy kingdom, and it shall be
2235         To Medes and to Perses yeven," quod he.
                    Given to Medes and to Persians," said he.
2236         And thilke same nyght this kyng was slawe,
                    And that same night this king was slain,
2237         And Darius occupieth his degree,
                    And Darius occupies his throne,
2238         Thogh he therto hadde neither right ne lawe.
                    Though for this he had neither right nor law.

2239         Lordynges, ensample heerby may ye take
                    Gentlemen, example may you take from this
2240         How that in lordshipe is no sikernesse,
                    How in lordship is no security,
2241         For whan Fortune wole a man forsake,
                    For when Fortune will forsake a man,
2242         She bereth awey his regne and his richesse,
                    She bears away his reign and his riches,
2243         And eek his freendes, bothe moore and lesse.
                    And also his friends, both high ranking and low.
2244         For what man that hath freendes thurgh Fortune,
                    For whatever man who has friends because of Fortune,
2245         Mishap wol maken hem enemys, I gesse;
                    Misfortune will make them enemies, I believe;
2246         This proverbe is ful sooth and ful commune.
                    This proverb is very true and very common.

                Cenobia
                [Zenobia]

2247         Cenobia, of Palymerie queene,
                    Zenobia, of Palmyra queen,
2248         As writen Persiens of hir noblesse,
                    As Persians write of her nobility,
2249         So worthy was in armes and so keene
                    So worthy was in arms and so fierce
2250         That no wight passed hire in hardynesse,
                    That no person passed her in boldness,
2251         Ne in lynage, ne in oother gentillesse.
                    Nor in lineage, nor in other noble traits.
2252         Of kynges blood of Perce is she descended.
                    Of the blood of kings of Persia is she descended.
2253         I seye nat that she hadde moost fairnesse,
                    I say not that she had most beauty,
2254         But of hir shap she myghte nat been amended.
                    But of her shape she could not be improved.

2255         From hire childhede I fynde that she fledde
                    From her childhood I find that she fled
2256         Office of wommen, and to wode she wente,
                    Duties of women, and to the woods she went,
2257         And many a wilde hertes blood she shedde
                    And many a wild hart's blood she shed
2258         With arwes brode that she to hem sente.
                    With broad-headed arrows that she to them sent.
2259         She was so swift that she anon hem hente;
                    She was so swift that she quickly seized them;
2260         And whan that she was elder, she wolde kille
                    And when she was older, she would kill
2261         Leouns, leopardes, and beres al torente,
                    Lions, leopards, and bears all torn to pieces,
2262         And in hir armes weelde hem at hir wille.
                    And in her arms handled them at her will.

2263         She dorste wilde beestes dennes seke,
                    She dared to seek wild beasts' dens,
2264         And rennen in the montaignes al the nyght,
                    And to run in the mountains all the night,
2265         And slepen under a bussh, and she koude eke
                    And to sleep under a bush, and she could also
2266         Wrastlen, by verray force and verray myght,
                    Wrestle, by sheer force and sheer strength,
2267         With any yong man, were he never so wight.
                    With any young man, were he never so strong.
2268         Ther myghte no thyng in hir armes stonde.
                    There might no thing withstand her arms.
2269         She kepte hir maydenhod from every wight;
                    She kept her maidenhead from every person;
2270         To no man deigned hire for to be bonde.
                    She disdained to be bound to no man.

2271         But atte laste hir freendes han hire maried
                    But at the last her friends have married her
2272         To Odenake, a prynce of that contree,
                    To Odenake, a prince of that country,
2273         Al were it so that she hem longe taried.
                    Although it was so that she long delayed them.
2274         And ye shul understonde how that he
                    And you must understand that he
2275         Hadde swiche fantasies as hadde she.
                    Had such fantasies as had she.
2276         But natheless, whan they were knyt in-feere,
                    But nonetheless, when they were knit together,
2277         They lyved in joye and in felicitee,
                    They lived in joy and in felicity,
2278         For ech of hem hadde oother lief and deere,
                    For each of them held the other beloved and dear,

2279         Save o thyng: that she wolde nevere assente,
                    Save one thing: that she would never assent,
2280         By no wey, that he sholde by hire lye
                    In any way, that he should by her lie
2281         But ones, for it was hir pleyn entente
                    But once, for it was her full intention
2282         To have a child, the world to multiplye;
                    To have a child, the world to multiply;
2283         And also soone as that she myghte espye
                    And as soon as she could see
2284         That she was nat with childe with that dede,
                    That she was not with child by means of that deed,
2285         Thanne wolde she suffre hym doon his fantasye
                    Then would she allow him to do his desires
2286         Eft-soone, and nat but oones, out of drede.
                    Again, and only but once, no doubt.

2287         And if she were with childe at thilke cast,
                    And if she were with childe at that time,
2288         Namoore sholde he pleyen thilke game
                    No more should he play that same game
2289         Til fully fourty [wikes] weren past;
                    Until fully forty [weeks] were past;
2290         Thanne wolde she ones suffre hym do the same.
                    Then would she once allow him to do the same.
2291         Al were this Odenake wilde or tame,
                    Even if this Odenake were wild or tame,
2292         He gat namoore of hire, for thus she seyde:
                    He got no more of her, for thus she said:
2293         It was to wyves lecherie and shame,
                    It was to wives lechery and shame,
2294         In oother caas, if that men with hem pleyde.
                    In any other case, if men had sexual relations with them.

2295         Two sones by this Odenake hadde she,
                    Two sons by this Odenake had she,
2296         The whiche she kepte in vertu and lettrure.
                    Whom she kept in virtue and learning.
2297         But now unto oure tale turne we.
                    But now unto our tale we turn.
2298         I seye, so worshipful a creature,
                    I say, so worshipful a creature,
2299         And wys therwith, and large with mesure,
                    And wise also, and generous in moderation,
2300         So penyble in the werre, and curteis eke,
                    So assiduous in the war, and courtly also,
2301         Ne moore labour myghte in werre endure,
                    Nor more labor could in war endure,
2302         Was noon, though al this world men sholde seke.
                    Was none, though through all this world men should seek.

2303         Hir riche array ne myghte nat be told,
                    Her rich furnishings could not be told,
2304         As wel in vessel as in hire clothyng.
                    As well in utensils as in her clothing.
2305         She was al clad in perree and in gold,
                    She was all clad in precious stones and in gold,
2306         And eek she lafte noght, for noon huntyng,
                    And also she did not neglect, for any hunting,
2307         To have of sondry tonges ful knowyng,
                    To have of various tongues full knowing,
2308         Whan that she leyser hadde; and for to entende
                    When she had leisure; and to endeavor
2309         To lerne bookes was al hire likyng,
                    To learn books was all her desire,
2310         How she in vertu myghte hir lyf dispende.
                    How she in virtue might spend her life.

2311         And shortly of this storie for to trete,
                    And shortly of this history to treat,
2312         So doghty was hir housbonde and eek she,
                    So doughty was her husband and also she,
2313         That they conquered manye regnes grete
                    That they conquered many great realms
2314         In the orient, with many a fair citee
                    In the orient, with many a fair city
2315         Apertenaunt unto the magestee
                    Belonging unto the majesty
2316         Of Rome, and with strong hond held hem ful faste,
                    Of Rome, and with strong hand held them very tightly,
2317         Ne nevere myghte hir foomen doon hem flee,
                    Nor never could their foemen make them flee,
2318         Ay whil that Odenakes dayes laste.
                    Always while Odenake's days lasted.

2319         Hir batailles, whoso list hem for to rede,
                    Their battles, whoever may wish to read them,
2320         Agayn Sapor the kyng and othere mo,
                    Against Shapur the king and many others,
2321         And how that al this proces fil in dede,
                    And how all this business happened in actuality,
2322         Why she conquered and what title had therto,
                    Why she conquered and what legal claim she had to it,
2323         And after, of hir meschief and hire wo,
                    And after, of her troubles and her woe,
2324         How that she was biseged and ytake --
                    How she was besieged and taken --
2325         Lat hym unto my maister Petrak go,
                    Let him unto my master Petrarch go,
2326         That writ ynough of this, I undertake.
                    Who wrote at length about this, I guarantee.

2327         Whan Odenake was deed, she myghtily
                    When Odenake was dead, she mightily
2328         The regnes heeld, and with hire propre hond
                    Defended the country, and with her own hand
2329         Agayn hir foos she faught so cruelly
                    Against her foes she fought so cruelly
2330         That ther nas kyng ne prynce in al that lond
                    That there was no king nor prince in all that land
2331         That he nas glad, if he that grace fond,
                    That he was not glad, if he found such grace,
2332         That she ne wolde upon his lond werreye.
                    That she would not make war upon his land.
2333         With hire they maden alliance by bond
                    With her they made alliance by covenant
2334         To been in pees, and lete hire ride and pleye.
                    To be in peace, and let her ride about and enjoy herself.

2335         The Emperour of Rome, Claudius
                    The Emperor of Rome, Claudius
2336         Ne hym bifore, the Romayn Galien,
                    Nor, before him, the Roman Galien,
2337         Ne dorste nevere been so corageus,
                    Dared never be so courageous
2338         Ne noon Ermyn, ne noon Egipcien,
                    Nor any Armenian, nor any Egyptian,
2339         Ne Surrien, ne noon Arabyen,
                    Nor Syrian, nor any Arabian,
2340         Withinne the feeld that dorste with hire fighte,
                    Within the field that dared fight with her,
2341         Lest that she wolde hem with hir handes slen,
                    Lest she would slay them with her hands,
2342         Or with hir meignee putten hem to flighte.
                    Or with her troop put them to flight.

2343         In kynges habit wente hir sones two,
                    In kings' clothing went her two sons,
2344         As heires of hir fadres regnes alle,
                    As heirs of all their father's reigns,
2345         And Hermanno and Thymalao
                    And Hermanno and Thymalao
2346         Hir names were, as Persiens hem calle.
                    Their names were, as Persians call them.
2347         But ay Fortune hath in hire hony galle;
                    But always Fortune has bitterness in her honey;
2348         This myghty queene may no while endure.
                    This mighty queen can no longer endure.
2349         Fortune out of hir regne made hire falle
                    Fortune out of her reign made her fall
2350         To wrecchednesse and to mysaventure.
                    To wretchedness and to misfortune.

2351         Aurelian, whan that the governaunce
                    Aurelian, when the governance
2352         Of Rome cam into his handes tweye,
                    Of Rome came into his two hands,
2353         He shoop upon this queene to doon vengeaunce.
                    He prepared to do vengeance upon this queen.
2354         And with his legions he took his weye
                    And with his legions he took his way
2355         Toward Cenobie, and shortly for to seye,
                    Toward Zenobia, and shortly to say,
2356         He made hire flee, and atte laste hire hente,
                    He made her flee, and at the last seized her,
2357         And fettred hire, and eek hire children tweye,
                    And put her in fetters, and also her two children,
2358         And wan the land, and hoom to Rome he wente.
                    And won the land, and home to Rome he went.

2359         Amonges othere thynges that he wan,
                    Amongst other things that he won,
2360         Hir chaar, that was with gold wroght and perree,
                    Her chariot, that was wrought with gold and precious stones,
2361         This grete Romayn, this Aurelian,
                    This great Roman, this Aurelian,
2362         Hath with hym lad, for that men sholde it see.
                    Has with him led, so that men should see it.
2363         Biforen his triumphe walketh shee,
                    Before his triumphal procession she walks,
2364         With gilte cheynes on hire nekke hangynge.
                    With gilded chains hanging on her neck.
2365         Coroned was she, as after hir degree,
                    Crowned was she, in accord with her rank,
2366         And ful of perree charged hire clothynge.
                    And her clothing loaded full of precious stones.

2367         Allas, Fortune! She that whilom was
                    Alas, Fortune! She that formerly was
2368         Dredeful to kynges and to emperoures,
                    Fearsome to kings and to emperors,
2369         Now gaureth al the peple on hire, allas!
                    Now all the people stare on her, alas!
2370         And she that helmed was in starke stoures
                    And she who wore helmets in violent battles
2371         And wan by force townes stronge and toures,
                    And won by force strong towns and towers,
2372         Shal on hir heed now were a vitremyte;
                    Shall on her head now wear a woman's headdress;
2373         And she that bar the ceptre ful of floures
                    And she that bore the scepter full of flowers
2374         Shal bere a distaf, hire cost for to quyte.
                    Shall bear a spinning staff, to pay for her living costs.

                De Petro Rege Ispannie
                [Concerning Pedro King of Castille]

2375         O noble, O worthy Petro, glorie of Spayne,
                    O noble, O worthy Pedro, glory of Spain,
2376         Whom Fortune heeld so hye in magestee,
                    Whom Fortune held so high in majesty,
2377         Wel oghten men thy pitous deeth complayne!
                    Well ought men complain of thy piteous death!
2378         Out of thy land thy brother made thee flee,
                    Out of thy land thy brother made thee flee,
2379         And after, at a seege, by subtiltee,
                    And after, at a siege, by trickery,
2380         Thou were bitraysed and lad unto his tente,
                    Thou were betrayed and led unto his tent,
2381         Where as he with his owene hand slow thee,
                    Where he with his own hand slew thee,
2382         Succedynge in thy regne and in thy rente.
                    Succeeding to thy reign and to thy income.

2383         The feeld of snow, with th' egle of blak therinne,
                    The field of snow, with the eagle of black therein,
2384         Caught with the lymrod coloured as the gleede,
                    Caught by the bird-lime on a rod colored like the burning coal,
2385         He brew this cursednesse and al this synne.
                    He brewed this cursedness and all this sin.
2386         The wikked nest was werker of this nede.
                    The wicked nest was worker of this violent act.
2387         Noght Charles Olyver, that took ay heede
                    Not Charlemagne's Oliver, who always took heed
2388         Of trouthe and honour, but of Armorike
                    Of truth and honor, but of Armorica
2389         Genylon-Olyver, corrupt for meede,
                    Ganelon-Oliver, corrupt for a bribe,
2390         Broghte this worthy kyng in swich a brike.
                    Brought this worthy king into such a plight.

                De Petro Rege de Cipro
                [Concerning Pierre de Lusignan, King of Cyprus]

2391         O worthy Petro, kyng of Cipre, also,
                    O worthy Pierre, king of Cyprus, also,
2392         That Alisandre wan by heigh maistrie,
                    Who won Alexandria by great strength,
2393         Ful many an hethen wroghtestow ful wo,
                    To very many a heathen thou wroughtest great woe,
2394         Of which thyne owene liges hadde envie,
                    Of which thine own lieges had envy,
2395         And for no thyng but for thy chivalrie
                    And for no thing but for thy chivalry
2396         They in thy bed han slayn thee by the morwe.
                    They in thy bed have slain thee in the morning.
2397         Thus kan Fortune hir wheel governe and gye,
                    Thus can Fortune govern and guide her wheel,
2398         And out of joye brynge men to sorwe.
                    And out of joy bring men to sorrow.

                De Barnabo de Lumbardia
                [Concerning Bernabo Visconti of Lombardy]

2399         Off Melan grete Barnabo Viscounte,
                    Great Bernabo Viscounti of Milan,
2400         God of delit and scourge of Lumbardye,
                    God of delight and scourge of Lombardy,
2401         Why sholde I nat thyn infortune acounte,
                    Why should I not thy misfortune recount,
2402         Sith in estaat thow cloumbe were so hye?
                    Since in rank thou had climbed so high?
2403         Thy brother sone, that was thy double allye,
                    Thy brother's son, who was thy double kinsman,
2404         For he thy nevew was and sone-in-lawe,
                    For he was thy nephew and son-in-law,
2405         Withinne his prisoun made thee to dye --
                    Within his prison made thee to die --
2406         But why ne how noot I that thou were slawe.
                    But why nor how thou were slain I know not.

                De Hugelino Comite de Pize
                [Concerning Ugolino, Earl of Pisa]

2407         Off the Erl Hugelyn of Pyze the langour
                    Of the anguish of Earl Ugolino of Pisa
2408         Ther may no tonge telle for pitee.
                    There can no tongue tell for pity.
2409         But litel out of Pize stant a tour,
                    But a little way out of Pisa stands a tower,
2410         In which tour in prisoun put was he,
                    In which tower in prison he was put,
2411         And with hym been his litel children thre;
                    And with him are his three little children;
2412         The eldest scarsly fyf yeer was of age.
                    The eldest was scarcely five years of age.
2413         Allas, Fortune, it was greet crueltee
                    Alas, Fortune, it was great cruelty
2414         Swiche briddes for to putte in swich a cage!
                    To put such birds in such a cage!

2415         Dampned was he to dyen in that prisoun,
                    He was damned to die in that prison,
2416         For Roger, which that bisshop was of Pize,
                    For Roger, who was bishop of Pisa,
2417         Hadde on hym maad a fals suggestioun,
                    Had on him made a false accusation,
2418         Thurgh which the peple gan upon hym rise
                    Through which the people did rise against him
2419         And putten hym to prisoun in swich wise
                    And put him into prison in such manner
2420         As ye han herd, and mete and drynke he hadde
                    As you have heard, and meat and drink he had
2421         So smal that wel unnethe it may suffise,
                    So small that it just barely can suffice,
2422         And therwithal it was ful povre and badde.
                    And in addition it was very poor and bad.

2423         And on a day bifil that in that hour
                    And on a day befell that in that hour
2424         Whan that his mete wont was to be broght,
                    When his meal was accustomed to be brought,
2425         The gayler shette the dores of the tour.
                    The jailer shut the doors of the tower.
2426         He herde it wel, but he spak right noght,
                    He heard it well, but he spoke absolutely nothing,
2427         And in his herte anon ther fil a thoght
                    And in his heart straightway there fell a thought
2428         That they for hunger wolde doon hym dyen.
                    That they for hunger would make him die.
2429         "Allas!" quod he, "Allas, that I was wroght!"
                    "Alas!" said he, "Alas, that I was wrought!"
2430         Therwith the teeris fillen from his yen.
                    Therewith the tears fell from his eyes.

2431         His yonge sone, that thre yeer was of age,
                    His young son, who was three years of age,
2432         Unto hym seyde, "Fader, why do ye wepe?
                    Unto him said, "Father, why do you weep?
2433         Whanne wol the gayler bryngen oure potage?
                    When will the jailer bring our soup?
2434         Is ther no morsel breed that ye do kepe?
                    Is there no morsel of bread that you do keep?
2435         I am so hungry that I may nat slepe.
                    I am so hungry that I can not sleep.
2436         Now wolde God that I myghte slepen evere!
                    Now would God that I might sleep forever!
2437         Thanne sholde nat hunger in my wombe crepe;
                    Then hunger should not creep in my belly;
2438         Ther is no thyng, but breed, that me were levere."
                    There is nothing, but food, that I would rather have."

2439         Thus day by day this child bigan to crye,
                    Thus day by day this child began to cry,
2440         Til in his fadres barm adoun it lay,
                    Until in his father's bosom down it lay,
2441         And seyde, "Farewel, fader, I moot dye!"
                    And said, "Farewell, father, I must die!"
2442         And kiste his fader, and dyde the same day.
                    And kissed his father, and died the same day.
2443         And whan the woful fader deed it say,
                    And when the woeful father saw him dead,
2444         For wo his armes two he gan to byte,
                    For woe his two arms he began to bite,
2445         And seyde, "Allas, Fortune, and weylaway!
                    And said, "Alas, Fortune, and woe oh woe!
2446         Thy false wheel my wo al may I wyte."
                    I can blame thy false wheel for all my woe."

2447         His children wende that it for hunger was
                    His children supposed that it was for hunger
2448         That he his armes gnow, and nat for wo,
                    That he gnawed on his arms, and not for woe,
2449         And seyde, "Fader, do nat so, allas!
                    And said, "Father, do not so, alas!
2450         But rather ete the flessh upon us two.
                    But rather eat the flesh upon us two.
2451         Oure flessh thou yaf us, take oure flessh us fro,
                    Our flesh thou gave us, take our flesh from us,
2452         And ete ynogh" -- right thus they to hym seyde,
                    And eat enough" -- right thus they to him said,
2453         And after that, withinne a day or two,
                    And after that, within a day or two,
2454         They leyde hem in his lappe adoun and deyde.
                    They laid themselves down in his lap and died.

2455         Hymself, despeired, eek for hunger starf;
                    Himself, despaired, also for hunger died;
2456         Thus ended is this myghty Erl of Pize.
                    Thus ended is this mighty Earl of Pisa.
2457         From heigh estaat Fortune awey hym carf.
                    From high estate Fortune cut him away.
2458         Of this tragedie it oghte ynough suffise;
                    Of this tragedy it ought enough suffice;
2459         Whoso wol here it in a lenger wise,
                    Whoever wants to hear it in a longer version,
2460         Redeth the grete poete of Ytaille
                    Read the great poet of Italy
2461         That highte Dant, for he kan al devyse
                    Who is called Dante, for he can all narrate
2462         Fro point to point; nat o word wol he faille.
                    In great detail; not one word will he lack.

                Nero

2463         Although that Nero were as vicius
                    Although Nero was as vicious
2464         As any feend that lith ful lowe adoun,
                    As any fiend that lies very low down (in Hell),
2465         Yet he, as telleth us Swetonius,
                    Yet he, as Suetonius tells us,
2466         This wyde world hadde in subjeccioun,
                    Had this wide world in subjection,
2467         Bothe est and west, [south], and septemtrioun.
                    Both east and west, [south], and north.
2468         Of rubies, saphires, and of peerles white
                    Of rubies, sapphires, and of white pearls
2469         Were alle his clothes brouded up and doun,
                    Were all his clothes embroidered from head to toe,
2470         For he in gemmes greetly gan delite.
                    For he in gems greatly did delight.

2471         Moore delicaat, moore pompous of array,
                    More fond of luxury, more pompous in behavior,
2472         Moore proud was nevere emperour than he;
                    More proud than he was never emperor;
2473         That ilke clooth that he hadde wered o day,
                    That same clothing that he had worn one day,
2474         After that tyme he nolde it nevere see.
                    After that time he wanted never to see it.
2475         Nettes of gold threed hadde he greet plentee
                    Nets of gold thread had he in great plenty
2476         To fisshe in Tybre, whan hym liste pleye.
                    To fish in Tiber, when he wished to amuse himself.
2477         His lustes were al lawe in his decree,
                    His desires were all lawful in his legal code,
2478         For Fortune as his freend hym wolde obeye.
                    For Fortune as his friend would obey him.

2479         He Rome brende for his delicasie;
                    He burned Rome for his pleasure;
2480         The senatours he slow upon a day
                    The senators he slew upon one day
2481         To heere how that men wolde wepe and crie;
                    To hear how men would weep and cry;
2482         And slow his brother, and by his suster lay.
                    And slew his brother, and by his sister lay.
2483         His mooder made he in pitous array,
                    His mother he put in piteous situation,
2484         For he hire wombe slitte to biholde
                    For he slit her womb to behold
2485         Where he conceyved was -- so weilaway
                    Where he was conceived -- so woe oh woe
2486         That he so litel of his mooder tolde!
                    That he reckoned so little of his mother!

2487         No teere out of his eyen for that sighte
                    No tear out of his eyes for that sight
2488         Ne cam, but seyde, "A fair womman was she!"
                    Came, but he said, "A fair woman was she!"
2489         Greet wonder is how that he koude or myghte
                    Great wonder is how that he could or might
2490         Be domesman of hire dede beautee.
                    Be judge of her dead beauty.
2491         The wyn to bryngen hym comanded he,
                    He commanded that the wine be brought to him ,
2492         And drank anon -- noon oother wo he made.
                    And drank straightway -- no other mourning he made.
2493         Whan myght is joyned unto crueltee,
                    When might is joined unto cruelty,
2494         Allas, to depe wol the venym wade!
                    Alas, too deep will the venom go!

2495         In yowthe a maister hadde this emperour
                    In youth this emperor had a master
2496         To teche hym letterure and curteisye,
                    To teach him literature and courtesy,
2497         For of moralitee he was the flour,
                    For of morality he was the flower,
2498         As in his tyme, but if bookes lye;
                    In his time, unless books lie;
2499         And whil this maister hadde of hym maistrye,
                    And while this master had of him mastery,
2500         He maked hym so konnyng and so sowple
                    He made him so cunning and so humble
2501         That longe tyme it was er tirannye
                    That long time it was before tyranny
2502         Or any vice dorste on hym uncowple.
                    Or any vice dared unloose itself upon him.

2503         This Seneca, of which that I devyse,
                    This Seneca, of whom I tell,
2504         By cause Nero hadde of hym swich drede,
                    Because Nero had of him such dread,
2505         For he fro vices wolde hym ay chastise
                    For he would always chastise him from vices
2506         Discreetly, as by word and nat by dede --
                    Discreetly, as by word and not by deed --
2507         "Sire," wolde he seyn, "an emperour moot nede
                    "Sire," would he say, "an emperor must of necessity
2508         Be vertuous and hate tirannye --"
                    Be virtuous and hate tyranny --"
2509         For which he in a bath made hym to blede
                    For which he in a bath made him to bleed
2510         On bothe his armes, til he moste dye.
                    On both his arms, until he had to die.

2511         This Nero hadde eek of acustumaunce
                    This Nero had also the custom
2512         In youthe agayns his maister for to ryse,
                    In youth to rise in the presence of his master ,
2513         Which afterward hym thoughte a greet grevaunce;
                    Which afterward seemed to him a greet grievance;
2514         Therefore he made hym dyen in this wise.
                    Therefore he made him die in this manner.
2515         But natheless this Seneca the wise
                    But nonetheless this Seneca the wise
2516         Chees in a bath to dye in this manere
                    Chose in a bath to die in this manner
2517         Rather than han another tormentise;
                    Rather than have another form of torment;
2518         And thus hath Nero slayn his maister deere.
                    And thus has Nero slain his dear master.

2519         Now fil it so that Fortune liste no lenger
                    Now it happened that Fortune no longer desired
2520         The hye pryde of Nero to cherice,
                    The high pride of Nero to cherish,
2521         For though that he were strong, yet was she strenger.
                    For though he may be strong, yet was she stronger.
2522         She thoughte thus: "By God! I am to nyce
                    She thought thus: "By God! I am too foolish
2523         To sette a man that is fulfild of vice
                    To set a man that is filled full of vice
2524         In heigh degree, and emperour hym calle.
                    In high degree, and call him emperor.
2525         By God, out of his sete I wol hym trice;
                    By God, out of his throne I will snatch him;
2526         Whan he leest weneth, sonnest shal he falle."
                    When he least expects it, the most quickly shall he fall."

2527         The peple roos upon hym on a nyght
                    The people rose upon him on one night
2528         For his defaute, and whan he it espied,
                    For his wickedness, and when he espied it,
2529         Out of his dores anon he hath hym dight
                    Out of his doors right away he has hastened himself
2530         Allone, and ther he wende han been allied
                    Alone, and where he supposed to have been allied
2531         He knokked faste, and ay the moore he cried
                    He knocked fast, and always the more he cried
2532         The fastere shette they the dores alle.
                    The tighter they shut all the doors.
2533         Tho wiste he wel, he hadde himself mysgyed,
                    Then he knew well, he had himself deluded,
2534         And wente his wey; no lenger dorste he calle.
                    And went his way; no longer dared he call.

2535         The peple cried and rombled up and doun,
                    The people cried and made a tumult up and down,
2536         That with his erys herde he how they seyde,
                    That with his ears he heard how they said,
2537         "Where is this false tiraunt, this Neroun?"
                    "Where is this false tyrant, this Nero?"
2538         For fere almoost out of his wit he breyde,
                    For fear almost out of his wit he went,
2539         And to his goddes pitously he preyde
                    And to his gods pitiably he prayed
2540         For socour, but it myghte nat bityde.
                    For help, but it could not happen.
2541         For drede of this hym thoughte that he deyde,
                    For dread of this it seemed to him that he died,
2542         And ran into a gardyn hym to hyde.
                    And he ran into a garden to hide himself.

2543         And in this gardyn foond he cherles tweye
                    And in this garden found he two churls
2544         That seten by a fyr, greet and reed.
                    That sat by a fire, great and red.
2545         And to thise cherles two he gan to preye
                    And to these two churls he did pray
2546         To sleen hym and to girden of his heed,
                    To slay him and to strike off his head,
2547         That to his body, whan that he were deed,
                    So that to his body, when he was deed,
2548         Were no despit ydoon for his defame.
                    No insult was done for his ill fame.
2549         Hymself he slow, he koude no bettre reed,
                    Himself he slew, he knew no better course of action,
2550         Of which Fortune lough, and hadde a game.
                    About which Fortune laughed, and amused herself.

                De Oloferno
                Concerning Holofernes

2551         Was nevere capitayn under a kyng
                    Was never captain under a king
2552         That regnes mo putte in subjeccioun,
                    That put more reigns in subjection,
2553         Ne strenger was in feeld of alle thyng,
                    Nor was stronger in all things concerning the field of battle,
2554         As in his tyme, ne gretter of renoun,
                    In his time, nor greater of renown,
2555         Ne moore pompous in heigh presumpcioun
                    Nor more arrogant in high presumption
2556         Than Oloferne, which Fortune ay kiste
                    Than Holofernes, whom Fortune always kissed
2557         So likerously, and ladde hym up and doun
                    So wantonly, and led him up and down
2558         Til that his heed was of, er that he wiste.
                    Until his head was off, before he knew it.

2559         Nat oonly that this world hadde hym in awe
                    Not only that this world had him in awe
2560         For lesynge of richesse or libertee,
                    For (fear of) loss of riches or liberty,
2561         But he made every man reneyen his lawe.
                    But he made every man renounce his religion.
2562         "Nabugodonosor was god," seyde hee;
                    "Nebuchadnezzar was god," said he;
2563         "Noon oother god sholde adoured bee."
                    "No other god should be adored."
2564         Agayns his heeste no wight dorst trespace,
                    Against his command no person dared trespass,
2565         Save in Bethulia, a strong citee,
                    Save in Bethulia, a strong city,
2566         Where Eliachim a preest was of that place.
                    Where Eliachim (Joachim) was a priest of that place.

2567         But taak kep of the deth of Oloferne:
                    But take heed of the death of Holofernes:
2568         Amydde his hoost he dronke lay a-nyght,
                    Amid his host he lay drunk at night,
2569         Withinne his tente, large as is a berne,
                    Within his tent, large as is a barn,
2570         And yet, for al his pompe and al his myght,
                    And yet, for all his pomp and all his might,
2571         Judith, a womman, as he lay upright
                    Judith, a woman, as he lay on his back
2572         Slepynge, his heed of smoot, and from his tente
                    Sleeping, smote off his head, and from his tent
2573         Ful pryvely she stal from every wight,
                    Very secretly she stole (away) from every person,
2574         And with his heed unto hir toun she wente.
                    And with his head unto her town she went.

                De Rege Antiocho illustri
                [Concerning the Famous King Antiochus]

2575         What nedeth it of kyng Anthiochus
                    What needs it of king Antiochus
2576         To telle his hye roial magestee,
                    To tell his high royal majesty,
2577         His hye pride, his werkes venymus?
                    His high pride, his venomous deeds?
2578         For swich another was ther noon as he.
                    For such another was there no one like him.
2579         Rede which that he was in Machabee,
                    Read who he was in Maccabees,
2580         And rede the proude wordes that he seyde,
                    And read the proud words that he said,
2581         And why he fil fro heigh prosperitee,
                    And why he fell from high prosperity,
2582         And in an hill how wrecchedly he deyde.
                    And on a hill how wretchedly he died.

2583         Fortune hym hadde enhaunced so in pride
                    Fortune had elevated him so in pride
2584         That verraily he wende he myghte attayne
                    That truly he supposed he might attain
2585         Unto the sterres upon every syde,
                    Unto the stars upon every side,
2586         And in balance weyen ech montayne,
                    And in a scales weigh each mountain,
2587         And alle the floodes of the see restrayne.
                    And all the floods of the sea restrain.
2588         And Goddes peple hadde he moost in hate;
                    And God's people had he most in hate;
2589         Hem wolde he sleen in torment and in payne,
                    Them he would slay in torment and in pain,
2590         Wenynge that God ne myghte his pride abate.
                    Supposing that God could not reduce his pride.

2591         And for that Nichanore and Thymothee
                    And because Nicanor and Timotheus
2592         Of Jewes weren venquysshed myghtily,
                    By Jews were vanquished completely,
2593         Unto the Jewes swich an hate hadde he
                    Unto the Jews such a hate had he
2594         That he bad greithen his chaar ful hastily,
                    That he ordered his chariot prepared very hastily,
2595         And swoor, and seyde ful despitously
                    And swore, and said very angrily
2596         Unto Jerusalem he wolde eftsoone
                    Unto Jerusalem he would (go) immediately
2597         To wreken his ire on it ful cruelly;
                    To wreak his ire on it very cruelly;
2598         But of his purpos he was let ful soone.
                    But of his purpose he was prevented very soon.

2599         God for his manace hym so soore smoot
                    God because of his threatening so sorely smote him
2600         With invisible wounde, ay incurable,
                    With invisible wound, ever incurable,
2601         That in his guttes carf it so and boot
                    That in his guts it carved so and bit
2602         That his peynes weren importable.
                    That his pains were intolerable.
2603         And certeinly the wreche was resonable,
                    And certainly the punishment was reasonable,
2604         For many a mannes guttes dide he peyne.
                    For many a man's gut did he pain.
2605         But from his purpos cursed and dampnable,
                    But from his cursed and damnable purpose,
2606         For al his smert, he wolde hym nat restreyne,
                    For all his pain, he would not restrain himself,

2607         But bad anon apparaillen his hoost;
                    But commanded straightway to prepare his host;
2608         And sodeynly, er he was of it war,
                    And suddenly, before he was aware of it,
2609         God daunted al his pride and al his boost.
                    God laid low all his pride and all his boast.
2610         For he so soore fil out of his char
                    For he so sorely fell out of his throne
2611         That it his limes and his skyn totar,
                    That it tore to pieces his limbs and his skin,
2612         So that he neyther myghte go ne ryde,
                    So that he might neither walk nor ride,
2613         But in a chayer men aboute hym bar,
                    But in a sedan chair men carried him about,
2614         Al forbrused, bothe bak and syde.
                    All badly bruised, both back and side.

2615         The wreche of God hym smoot so cruelly
                    The vengeance of God smote him so cruelly
2616         That thurgh his body wikked wormes crepte,
                    That through his body wicked worms crept,
2617         And therwithal he stank so horribly
                    And in addition to all that he stank so horribly
2618         That noon of al his meynee that hym kepte,
                    That no one of all his household that served him,
2619         Wheither so he wook or ellis slepte,
                    Whether he stayed awake or else slept,
2620         Ne myghte noght the stynk of hym endure.
                    Could not endure the stink of him.
2621         In this meschief he wayled and eek wepte,
                    In this affliction he wailed and also wept,
2622         And knew God lord of every creature.
                    And acknowledged God lord of every creature.

2623         To al his hoost and to hymself also
                    To all his host and to himself also
2624         Ful wlatsom was the stynk of his careyne;
                    Full loathsome was the stink of his decaying body;
2625         No man ne myghte hym bere to ne fro.
                    No man could bear him in any way.
2626         And in this stynk and this horrible peyne,
                    And in this stink and this horrible pain,
2627         He starf ful wrecchedly in a monteyne.
                    He died very wretchedly on a mountain.
2628         Thus hath this robbour and this homycide,
                    Thus has this robber and this homicide,
2629         That many a man made to wepe and pleyne,
                    That many a man made to weep and mourn,
2630         Swich gerdoun as bilongeth unto pryde.
                    Such reward as belongs to pride.

                De Alexandro
                [Concerning Alexander]

2631         The storie of Alisaundre is so commune
                    The history of Alexander is so commonly known
2632         That every wight that hath discrecioun
                    That every person who has good judgment
2633         Hath herd somwhat or al of his fortune.
                    Has heard something or all of his fortune.
2634         This wyde world, as in conclusioun,
                    This wide world, in the end,
2635         He wan by strengthe, or for his hye renoun
                    He won by strength, or for his high renown
2636         They weren glad for pees unto hym sende.
                    They were glad to send unto him (to sue) for peace .
2637         The pride of man and beest he leyde adoun,
                    The pride of man and beast he laid low,
2638         Wherso he cam, unto the worldes ende.
                    Wherever he came, unto the world's end.

2639         Comparisoun myghte nevere yet been maked
                    Comparison might never yet be made
2640         Bitwixe hym and another conquerour;
                    Between him and another conqueror;
2641         For al this world for drede of hym hath quaked.
                    For all this world for dread of him has trembled.
2642         He was of knyghthod and of fredom flour;
                    He was flower of knighthood and of nobility;
2643         Fortune hym made the heir of hire honour.
                    Fortune made him the heir of her honor.
2644         Save wyn and wommen, no thing myghte aswage
                    Save wine and women, no thing might assuage
2645         His hye entente in armes and labour,
                    His noble ambition in arms and struggles,
2646         So was he ful of leonyn corage.
                    So was he full of leonine courage.

2647         What pris were it to hym, though I yow tolde
                    What honor were it to him, though I you told
2648         Of Darius, and an hundred thousand mo
                    Of Darius, and a hundred thousand more
2649         Of kynges, princes, dukes, erles bolde
                    Of kings, princes, dukes, earls bold
2650         Whiche he conquered, and broghte hem into wo?
                    Whom he conquered, and brought them into woe?
2651         I seye, as fer as man may ryde or go,
                    I say, as far as man can ride or walk,
2652         The world was his -- what sholde I moore devyse?
                    The world was his -- what more should I tell?
2653         For though I write or tolde yow everemo
                    For though I should write or told you evermore
2654         Of his knyghthod, it myghte nat suffise.
                    About his knighthood, it could not suffice.

2655         Twelf yeer he regned, as seith Machabee.
                    Twelve years he reigned, as says Maccabees.
2656         Philippes sone of Macidoyne he was,
                    He was the son of Philip of Macedonia,
2657         That first was kyng in Grece the contree.
                    Who first was king in the country of Greece.
2658         O worthy, gentil Alisandre, allas,
                    O worthy, noble Alexander, alas,
2659         That evere sholde fallen swich a cas!
                    That ever should befall such a case!
2660         Empoysoned of thyn owene folk thou weere;
                    Thou were poisoned by thine own folk;
2661         Thy sys Fortune hath turned into aas,
                    Fortune has turned thy six [highest throw] into an ace [lowest],
2662         And for thee ne weep she never a teere.
                    And for thee she wept never a tear.

2663         Who shal me yeven teeris to compleyne
                    Who shall give me tears to complain
2664         The deeth of gentillesse and of franchise,
                    The death of nobility and of magnanimity,
2665         That al the world weelded in his demeyne,
                    Who all the world wielded in his control,
2666         And yet hym thoughte it myghte nat suffise?
                    And yet it seemed to him it might not suffice?
2667         So ful was his corage of heigh emprise.
                    So full was his disposition of high knightly prowess.
2668         Allas, who shal me helpe to endite
                    Alas, who shall me help to indict
2669         False Fortune, and poyson to despise,
                    False Fortune, and to despise poison,
2670         The whiche two of al this wo I wyte?
                    The which two for all this woe I blame?

                De Julio Cesare
                [Concerning Julius Caesar]

2671         By wisedom, manhede, and by greet labour,
                    By wisdom, manhood, and by great labor,
2672         From humble bed to roial magestee
                    From humble bed to royal majesty
2673         Up roos he Julius, the conquerour,
                    Up rose this Julius, the conqueror,
2674         That wan al th' occident by land and see,
                    That won all the west by land and sea,
2675         By strengthe of hand, or elles by tretee,
                    By strength of hand, or else by treaty,
2676         And unto Rome made hem tributarie;
                    And unto Rome made them tributary;
2677         And sitthe of Rome the emperour was he
                    And afterwards of Rome the emperor was he
2678         Til that Fortune weex his adversarie.
                    Until Fortune became his adversary.

2679         O myghty Cesar, that in Thessalie
                    O mighty Caesar, that in Thessaly
2680         Agayn Pompeus, fader thyn in lawe,
                    Against Pompey, thy father in law,
2681         That of the orient hadde al the chivalrie
                    Who of the east had all the dominion by conquest
2682         As fer as that the day bigynneth dawe,
                    As far as where the day begins to dawn,
2683         Thou thurgh thy knyghthod hast hem take and slawe,
                    Thou through thy knighthood hast them taken and slain,
2684         Save fewe folk that with Pompeus fledde,
                    Save for a few folk that fled with Pompey,
2685         Thurgh which thou puttest al th' orient in awe.
                    Through which thou puttest all the east in awe.
2686         Thanke Fortune, that so wel thee spedde!
                    Thank Fortune, that so well helped thee to succeed!

2687         But now a litel while I wol biwaille
                    But now for a little while I will bewail
2688         This Pompeus, this noble governour
                    This Pompey, this noble governor
2689         Of Rome, which that fleigh at this bataille.
                    Of Rome, who fled at this battle.
2690         I seye, oon of his men, a fals traitour,
                    I say, one of his men, a false traitor,
2691         His heed of smoot, to wynnen hym favour
                    His head off smote, to win himself favor
2692         Of Julius, and hym the heed he broghte.
                    Of Julius, and he brought him the head.
2693         Allas, Pompeye, of th' orient conquerour,
                    Alas, Pompey, of the east conqueror,
2694         That Fortune unto swich a fyn thee broghte!
                    That Fortune unto such an end thee brought!

2695         To Rome agayn repaireth Julius
                    To Rome again repairs Julius
2696         With his triumphe, lauriat ful hye;
                    With his triumphal procession, very nobly crowned with laurel;
2697         But on a tyme Brutus Cassius,
                    But on a time Brutus Cassius,
2698         That evere hadde of his hye estaat envye,
                    Who ever had envy of his high estate,
2699         Ful prively hath maad conspiracye
                    Full secretly has made conspiracy
2700         Agayns this Julius in subtil wise,
                    Against this Julius in a cunning manner,
2701         And caste the place in which he sholde dye
                    And planned the place in which he should die
2702         With boydekyns, as I shal yow devyse.
                    With daggers, as I shall tell you.

2703         This Julius to the Capitolie wente
                    This Julius to the Capitol went
2704         Upon a day, as he was wont to goon,
                    Upon one day, as he was accustomed to go,
2705         And in the Capitolie anon hym hente
                    And in the Capitol straightway seized him
2706         This false Brutus and his othere foon,
                    This false Brutus and his other foes,
2707         And stiked hym with boydekyns anoon
                    And stuck him with daggers straightway
2708         With many a wounde, and thus they lete hym lye;
                    With many a wound, and thus they let him lie;
2709         But nevere gronte he at no strook but oon,
                    But never groaned he at no stroke but one,
2710         Or elles at two, but if his storie lye.
                    Or else at two, unless his history lies.

2711         So manly was this Julius of herte,
                    So manly was this Julius of heart,
2712         And so wel lovede estaatly honestee,
                    And so well loved dignified decency,
2713         That though his deedly woundes soore smerte,
                    That though his deadly wounds sorely pained,
2714         His mantel over his hypes caste he,
                    His mantle over his hips cast he,
2715         For no man sholde seen his privetee;
                    So that no man should see his private parts;
2716         And as he lay of diyng in a traunce,
                    And as he lay a-dying in a trance,
2717         And wiste verraily that deed was hee,
                    And knew truly that he was dead,
2718         Of honestee yet hadde he remembraunce.
                    Of decency yet had he remembrance.

2719         Lucan, to thee this storie I recomende,
                    Lucan, to thee this history I commend,
2720         And to Swetoun, and to Valerius also,
                    And to Suetonius, and to Valerius also,
2721         That of this storie writen word and ende,
                    That of this history wrote beginning and end,
2722         How that to thise grete conqueroures two
                    How to these two great conquerors
2723         Fortune was first freend, and sitthe foo.
                    Fortune was first friend, and afterwards foe.
2724         No man ne truste upon hire favour longe,
                    Let no man trust upon her favor long,
2725         But have hire in awayt for everemoo;
                    But keep an eye on her for evermore;
2726         Witnesse on alle thise conqueroures stronge.
                    Take note of all these conquerors strong.

                Cresus
                [Croesus]

2727         This riche Cresus, whilom kyng of Lyde,
                    This rich Croesus, once king of Lydia,
2728         Of which Cresus Cirus soore hym dradde,
                    Of which Croesus Cyrus was sorely afraid,
2729         Yet was he caught amyddes al his pryde,
                    Yet was he caught amidst all his pride,
2730         And to be brent men to the fyr hym ladde.
                    And to be burned men led him to the fire.
2731         But swich a reyn doun fro the welkne shadde
                    But such a rain down from the sky poured
2732         That slow the fyr, and made hym to escape;
                    That killed the fire, and allowed him to escape;
2733         But to be war no grace yet he hadde,
                    But to be wary (of Fortune) no grace yet he had,
2734         Til Fortune on the galwes made hym gape.
                    Until Fortune on the gallows made him gape.

2735         Whanne he escaped was, he kan nat stente
                    When he had escaped, he can not stop
2736         For to bigynne a newe werre agayn.
                    Beginning a new war again.
2737         He wende wel, for that Fortune hym sente
                    He well believed, because Fortune sent him
2738         Swich hap that he escaped thurgh the rayn,
                    Such luck that he escaped by means of the rain,
2739         That of his foos he myghte nat be slayn;
                    That of his foes he could not be slain;
2740         And eek a sweven upon a nyght he mette,
                    And also a dream upon one night he dreamed,
2741         Of which he was so proud and eek so fayn
                    Of which he was so proud and also so pleased
2742         That in vengeance he al his herte sette.
                    That in vengeance he set all his heart.

2743         Upon a tree he was, as that hym thoughte,
                    Upon a tree he was, as it seemed to him,
2744         Ther Juppiter hym wessh, bothe bak and syde,
                    Where Jupiter washed him, both back and side,
2745         And Phebus eek a fair towaille hym broughte
                    And Phoebus also brought him a fair towel
2746         To dryen hym with; and therfore wax his pryde,
                    To dry himself with; and therefore his pride grew,
2747         And to his doghter, that stood hym bisyde,
                    And to his daughter, who stood him beside,
2748         Which that he knew in heigh sentence habounde,
                    Whom he knew to abound in good judgment,
2749         He bad hire telle hym what it signyfyde,
                    He bad her tell him what it signified,
2750         And she his dreem bigan right thus expounde:
                    And she began right thus to expound his dream:

2751         "The tree," quod she, "the galwes is to meene,
                    "The tree," said she, "is to signify the gallows,
2752         And Juppiter bitokneth snow and reyn,
                    And Jupiter betokens snow and rain,
2753         And Phebus, with his towaille so clene,
                    And Phoebus, with his towel so clean,
2754         Tho been the sonne stremes for to seyn.
                    Those are to say the sun beams.
2755         Thou shalt anhanged be, fader, certeyn;
                    Thou shalt be hanged, father, certainly;
2756         Reyn shal thee wasshe, and sonne shal thee drye."
                    Rain shall thee wash, and sun shall thee dry."
2757         Thus warned hym ful plat and ek ful pleyn
                    Thus warned him very bluntly and also very plainly
2758         His doghter, which that called was Phanye.
                    His daughter, who was called Phanye.

2759         Anhanged was Cresus, the proude kyng;
                    Hanged was Cresus, the proud king;
2760         His roial trone myghte hym nat availle.
                    His royal throne could not help him.
2761         Tragedies noon oother maner thyng
                    Tragedies no other sort of thing
2762         Ne kan in syngyng crie ne biwaille
                    Can in singing cry nor bewail (anything)
2763         But that Fortune alwey wole assaille
                    But that Fortune always will assail
2764         With unwar strook the regnes that been proude;
                    With unexpected stroke the reigns that are proud;
2765         For whan men trusteth hire, thanne wol she faille,
                    For when men trust her, then will she fail,
2766         And covere hire brighte face with a clowde.
                    And cover her bright face with a cloud.

Explicit Tragedia
[Here ends the Tragedy]

Heere stynteth the Knyght the Monk of his tale.
[Here the Knight interrupts the Monk's Tale.]

 

For the Host's interruption of the Monk go on to
The Prologue of the Nun's Priest's Tale

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