Chaucer: The Summoner's Prologue and Tale -- An Interlinear Translation

Gold THE GEOFFREY CHAUCER PAGE


 

The Summoners's Prologue and Tale

An Interlinear Translation

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

 

(How to use the interlinear translations.)

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Summoner's Prologue.

 

The Prologe of the Somonours Tale.

 

1665         This Somonour in his styropes hye stood;
                    This Summoner in his stirrups stood high;
1666         Upon this Frere his herte was so wood
                    Upon this Friar his heart was so enraged
1667         That lyk an aspen leef he quook for ire.
                    That like an aspen leaf he quaked for ire.

1668         "Lordynges," quod he, "but o thyng I desire;
                    "Gentlemen," said he, "but one thing I desire;
1669         I yow biseke that, of youre curteisye,
                    I you beseech that, of your courtesy,
1670         Syn ye han herd this false Frere lye,
                    Since you have heard this false Friar lie,
1671         As suffreth me I may my tale telle.
                    Now grant me that me I may tell my tale.
1672         This Frere bosteth that he knoweth helle,
                    This Friar boasts that he knows hell,
1673         And God it woot, that it is litel wonder;
                    And God knows it, that it is little wonder;
1674         Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder.
                    Friars and fiends are but little different.
1675         For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle
                    For, by God, you have often times heard tell
1676         How that a frere ravysshed was to helle
                    How a friar was carried off to hell
1677         In spirit ones by a visioun;
                    In spirit once by a vision;
1678         And as an angel ladde hym up and doun,
                    And as an angel led him up and down,
1679         To shewen hym the peynes that ther were,
                    To show him the pains that were there,
1680         In al the place saugh he nat a frere;
                    In all the place saw he not a friar;
1681         Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo.
                    Of other folk he saw enough in woe.
1682         Unto this angel spak the frere tho:
                    Unto this angel spoke the friar then:

1683         `Now, sire,' quod he, `han freres swich a grace
                    `Now, sir,' said he, `have friars such a grace
1684         That noon of hem shal come to this place?'
                    That none of them shall come to this place?'

1685         `Yis' quod this angel, `many a millioun!'
                    `Yes' said this angel, `many a million!'
1686         And unto Sathanas he ladde hym doun.
                    And unto Satan he led him down.
1687         `And now hath Sathanas,' seith he, `a tayl
                    `And now has Satan,' says he, `a tail
1688         Brodder than of a carryk is the sayl.
                    Broader than of a large galleon is the sail.
1689         Hold up thy tayl, thou Sathanas!' quod he;
                    Hold up thy tail, thou Satan!' said he;
1690         `Shewe forth thyn ers, and lat the frere se
                    `Show forth thy ass, and let the friar see
1691         Where is the nest of freres in this place!'
                    Where the nest of friars is in this place!'
1692         And er that half a furlong wey of space,
                    And before half a furlong way of time (a few minutes),
1693         Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,
                    Just as bees swarm out from a hive,
1694         Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve
                    Out of the devil's ass there began to rush
1695         Twenty thousand freres on a route,
                    Twenty thousand friars in a crowd,
1696         And thurghout helle swarmed al aboute,
                    And throughout hell swarmed all about,
1697         And comen agayn as faste as they may gon,
                    And came back again as fast as they can go,
1698         And in his ers they crepten everychon.
                    And in his ass they crept every one.
1699         He clapte his tayl agayn and lay ful stille.
                    He clapped his tail again and lay very still.
1700         This frere, whan he looked hadde his fille
                    This friar, when he had looked his fill
1701         Upon the tormentz of this sory place,
                    Upon the torments of this sorry place,
1702         His spirit God restored, of his grace,
                    His spirit God restored, by his grace,
1703         Unto his body agayn, and he awook.
                    Unto his body again, and he awoke.
1704         But natheles, for fere yet he quook,
                    But nonetheless, for fear yet he quaked,
1705         So was the develes ers ay in his mynde,
                    So was the devil's ass always in his mind,
1706         That is his heritage of verray kynde.
                    That is his true natural heritage.
1707         God save yow alle, save this cursed Frere!
                    God save you all, except this cursed Friar!
1708         My prologe wol I ende in this manere."
                    My prologue will I end in this manner."


 

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The Sommoner's Tale.

 

Heere bigynneth the Somonour his Tale.

 

1709         Lordynges, ther is in Yorkshire, as I gesse,
                    Gentlemen, there is in Yorkshire, as I believe,
1710         A mersshy contree called Holdernesse,
                    A marshy country called Holdernesse,
1711         In which ther wente a lymytour aboute
                    In which there went a licensed beggar about
1712         To preche, and eek to begge, it is no doute.
                    To preach, and also to beg, it is no doubt.
1713         And so bifel that on a day this frere
                    And so befell that on a day this friar
1714         Hadde preched at a chirche in his manere,
                    Had preached at a church in his manner,
1715         And specially, aboven every thyng,
                    And specially, above every thing,
1716         Excited he the peple in his prechyng
                    Excited he the people in his preaching
1717         To trentals, and to yeve, for Goddes sake,
                    To masses for dead souls, and to give, for God's sake,
1718         Wherwith men myghte hooly houses make,
                    The wherewithal that men might holy houses make,
1719         Ther as divine servyce is honoured,
                    Where divine service is honored,
1720         Nat ther as it is wasted and devoured,
                    Not where it is wasted and devoured,
1721         Ne ther it nedeth nat for to be yive,
                    Nor where it needs not to be given,
1722         As to possessioners, that mowen lyve,
                    As to beneficed clergymen, that may live,
1723         Thanked be God, in wele and habundaunce.
                    Thanked be God, in prosperity and abundance.
1724         "Trentals," seyde he, "deliveren fro penaunce
                    "Masses for souls," said he, "deliver from penance
1725         Hir freendes soules, as wel olde as yonge --
                    Their friends' souls, as well old as young --
1726         Ye, whan that they been hastily ysonge,
                    Yes, when they are hastily sung,
1727         Nat for to holde a preest joly and gay --
                    Not to keep a priest jolly and gay --
1728         He syngeth nat but o masse in a day.
                    He sings not but one masse in a day.
1729         Delivereth out," quod he, "anon the soules!
                    Deliver out," said he, "immediately the souls!
1730         Ful hard it is with flesshhook or with oules
                    Very hard it is with flesh hook or with awls
1731         To been yclawed, or to brenne or bake.
                    To be clawed, or to burn or bake.
1732         Now spede yow hastily, for Cristes sake!"
                    Now speed you hastily, for Christ's sake!"
1733         And whan this frere had seyd al his entente,
                    And when this friar had said all he intended,
1734         With qui cum patre forth his wey he wente.
                    With the prayer "who with the father" forth he went his way.

1735         Whan folk in chirche had yeve him what hem leste,
                    When folk in church had given him what they wished,
1736         He wente his wey; no lenger wolde he reste.
                    He went his way; no longer would he stay.
1737         With scrippe and tipped staf, ytukked hye,
                    With satchel and metal-tipped staff, his robe tucked up high,
1738         In every hous he gan to poure and prye,
                    In every house he began to peer and pry,
1739         And beggeth mele and chese, or elles corn.
                    And begs meal and cheese, or else grain.
1740         His felawe hadde a staf tipped with horn,
                    His fellow had a staff tipped with horn,
1741         A peyre of tables al of yvory,
                    A pair of tablets all of ivory,
1742         And a poyntel polysshed fetisly,
                    And a writing instrument polished carefully,
1743         And wroot the names alwey, as he stood,
                    And wrote the names always, as he stood,
1744         Of alle folk that yaf hym any good,
                    Of all folk that gave him any good thing,
1745         Ascaunces that he wolde for hem preye.
                    As if he would for them pray.
1746         "Yif us a busshel whete, malt, or reye,
                    "Give us a bushel of wheat, malt, or rye,
1747         A Goddes kechyl, or a trype of chese,
                    A little cake, or a bit of cheese,
1748         Or elles what yow lyst, we may nat cheese;
                    Or else what you like, we may not choose;
1749         A Goddes halfpeny, or a masse peny,
                    A God's halfpenny, or a mass penny,
1750         Or yif us of youre brawn, if ye have eny;
                    Or give us some of your meat, if you have any;
1751         A dagon of youre blanket, leeve dame,
                    A piece of your woolen cloth, dear lady,
1752         Oure suster deere -- lo! Heere I write youre name --
                    Our sister dear -- lo! Here I write your name --
1753         Bacon or beef, or swich thyng as ye fynde."
                    Bacon or beef, or such thing as you find."

1754         A sturdy harlot wente ay hem bihynde,
                    A sturdy rascal went always behind them,
1755         That was hir hostes man, and bar a sak,
                    Who was their host's man, and bore a sack,
1756         And what men yaf hem, leyde it on his bak.
                    And what men gave them, laid it on his back.
1757         And whan that he was out at dore, anon
                    And when he was out at door, immediately
1758         He planed awey the names everichon
                    He planed away the names every one
1759         That he biforn had writen in his tables;
                    That he before had written in his tables;
1760         He served hem with nyfles and with fables.
                    He served them with tricks and with falsehoods.

1761         "Nay, ther thou lixt, thou Somonour!" quod the Frere.
                    "Nay, there thou lie, thou Summoner!" said the Friar.

1762         "Pees," quod oure Hoost, "for Cristes mooder deere!
                    "Quiet," said our Host, "for Christ's mother dear!
1763         Tel forth thy tale, and spare it nat at al."
                    Tell forth thy tale, and spare it not at al."

1764         "So thryve I," quod this Somonour, "so I shal!"
                    "As I may thrive," said this Summoner, "so I shall!"

1765         So longe he wente, hous by hous, til he
                    So long he went, house by house, until he
1766         Cam til an hous ther he was wont to be
                    Came to a house where he was accustomed to be
1767         Refresshed moore than in an hundred placis.
                    Hospitably received more than in a hundred places.
1768         Syk lay the goode man whos that the place is;
                    Sick lay the good man whose the place is;
1769         Bedrede upon a couche lowe he lay.
                    Bedridden upon a couch low he lay.
1770         "Deus hic!" quod he, "O Thomas, freend, good day!"
                    "God be here!" said he, "Oh Thomas, friend, good day!"
1771         Seyde this frere, curteisly and softe.
                    Said this friar, courteously and soft.
1772         "Thomas," quod he, "God yelde yow! Ful ofte
                    "Thomas," said he, "God reward you! Very often
1773         Have I upon this bench faren ful weel;
                    Have I upon this bench fared full well;
1774         Heere have I eten many a myrie meel."
                    Here have I eaten many a merry meal."
1775         And fro the bench he droof awey the cat,
                    And from the bench he drove away the cat,
1776         And leyde adoun his potente and his hat,
                    And laid down his walking stick and his hat,
1777         And eek his scrippe, and sette hym softe adoun.
                    And also his satchel, and set him softly down.
1778         His felawe was go walked into toun
                    His fellow had gone walking into town
1779         Forth with his knave, into that hostelrye
                    Forth with his knave, into that hostelry
1780         Where as he shoop hym thilke nyght to lye.
                    Where he intended that night to lie.

1781         "O deere maister," quod this sike man,
                    "Oh dear master," said this sick man,
1782         "How han ye fare sith that March bigan?
                    "How have you fared since March began?
1783         I saugh yow noght this fourtenyght or moore."
                    I saw you not this fortnight or more."
1784         "God woot," quod he, "laboured I have ful soore,
                    "God knows," said he, "labored I have very hard,
1785         And specially for thy savacion
                    And especially for thy salvation
1786         Have I seyd many a precious orison,
                    Have I said many a precious prayer,
1787         And for oure othere freendes, God hem blesse!
                    And for our other friends, God them bless!
1788         I have to day been at youre chirche at messe,
                    I have today been at your church at mass,
1789         And seyd a sermon after my symple wit --
                    And said a sermon insofar as my simple wit allowed --
1790         Nat al after the text of hooly writ,
                    Not entirely according to the text of holy writ,
1791         For it is hard to yow, as I suppose,
                    For it is hard for you, as I suppose,
1792         And therfore wol I teche yow al the glose.
                    And therefore will I teach you all the interpretation.
1793         Glosynge is a glorious thyng, certeyn,
                    Interpreting scripture is a glorious thing, certainly,
1794         For lettre sleeth, so as we clerkes seyn --
                    For letter slays, so we clerks say --
1795         There have I taught hem to be charitable,
                    There have I taught them to be charitable,
1796         And spende hir good ther it is resonable;
                    And spend their goods where it is reasonable;
1797         And there I saugh oure dame -- A! Where is she?"
                    And there I saw our lady -- Ah! Where is she?"

1798         "Yond in the yerd I trowe that she be,"
                    "Yonder in the yard I believe that she be,"
1799         Seyde this man, "and she wol come anon."
                    Said this man, "and she will come anon."

1800         "Ey, maister, welcome be ye, by Seint John!"
                    "Ey, master, welcome are you, by Saint John!"
1801         Seyde this wyf, "How fare ye, hertely?"
                    Said this wife, "How fare you, cordially (I ask)?"

1802         The frere ariseth up ful curteisly,
                    The friar arises up full courteously,
1803         And hire embraceth in his armes narwe,
                    And her embraces in his arms tightly,
1804         And kiste hire sweete, and chirketh as a sparwe
                    And kissed her sweetly, and chirps like a sparrow
1805         With his lyppes: "Dame," quod he, "right weel,
                    With his lips: "Lady," said he, "right well,
1806         As he that is youre servant every deel,
                    As he who is your servant every bit,
1807         Thanked be God, that yow yaf soule and lyf!
                    Thanked be God, who gave you soul and life!
1808         Yet saugh I nat this day so fair a wyf
                    Yet saw I not this day so fair a wife
1809         In al the chirche, God so save me!"
                    In all the church, as God may save me!"
1810         "Ye, God amende defautes, sire," quod she.
                    "Yes, God correct my faults, sir," said she.
1811         "Algates, welcome be ye, by my fey!"
                    "At any rate, welcome are you, by my faith!"

1812         "Graunt mercy, dame, this have I founde alwey.
                    "Great thanks, lady, this have I found always.
1813         But of youre grete goodnesse, by youre leve,
                    But of your great goodness, by your leave,
1814         I wolde prey yow that ye nat yow greve,
                    I would pray you that you be not annoyed,
1815         I wole with Thomas speke a litel throwe.
                    I will with Thomas speak a little while.
1816         Thise curatz been ful necligent and slowe
                    These curates are very negligent and slow
1817         To grope tendrely a conscience
                    To examine gently a conscience
1818         In shrift; in prechyng is my diligence,
                    In confession; in preaching is my diligence,
1819         And studie in Petres wordes and in Poules.
                    And study in Peter's words and in Paul's.
1820         I walke and fisshe Cristen mennes soules
                    I walk and fish Christian men's souls
1821         To yelden Jhesu Crist his propre rente;
                    To pay Jesus Christ his proper income;
1822         To sprede his word is set al myn entente."
                    To spread his word is set all my intention."

1823         "Now, by youre leve, o deere sire," quod she,
                    "Now, by your leave, oh dear sir," said she,
1824         "Chideth him weel, for seinte Trinitee!
                    "Chide him well, for the Holy Trinity!
1825         He is as angry as a pissemyre,
                    He is as angry as a pismire,
1826         Though that he have al that he kan desire;
                    Though he have all that he can desire;
1827         Though I hym wrye a-nyght and make hym warm,
                    Though I cover him at night and make him warm,
1828         And over hym leye my leg outher myn arm,
                    And over him lay my leg or my arm,
1829         He groneth lyk oure boor, lith in oure sty.
                    He groans like our boor, that lies in our sty.
1830         Oother desport right noon of hym have I;
                    Other pleasure right none of him have I;
1831         I may nat plese hym in no maner cas."
                    I can not please him in any sort of way."

1832         "O Thomas, je vous dy, Thomas! Thomas!
                    "Oh Thomas, I tell you, Thomas! Thomas!
1833         This maketh the feend; this moste ben amended.
                    This makes the fiend; this must be amended.
1834         Ire is a thyng that hye God defended,
                    Ire is a thing that high God forbad,
1835         And therof wol I speke a word or two."
                    And thereof will I speak a word or two."

1836         "Now, maister," quod the wyf, "er that I go,
                    "Now, master," said the wife, "before I go,
1837         What wol ye dyne? I wol go theraboute."
                    What will you dine? I will go work on that."

1838         "Now, dame," quod he, "now je vous dy sanz doute,
                    "Now, lady," said he, "now I tell you without doubt
1839         Have I nat of a capon but the lyvere,
                    Have I of a capon only the liver,
1840         And of youre softe breed nat but a shyvere,
                    And of your soft breed nothing but a sliver,
1841         And after that a rosted pigges heed --
                    And after that a roasted pig's head --
1842         But that I nolde no beest for me were deed --
                    But that I would that no beast for me were dead --
1843         Thanne hadde I with yow hoomly suffisaunce.
                    Then had I with you enough plain food.
1844         I am a man of litel sustenaunce;
                    I am a man who needs little sustenance;
1845         My spirit hath his fostryng in the Bible.
                    My spirit has its nourishment in the Bible.
1846         The body is ay so redy and penyble
                    The body is always so ready and accustomed
1847         To wake, that my stomak is destroyed.
                    To staying awake (to pray), that my stomach is destroyed.
1848         I prey yow, dame, ye be nat anoyed,
                    I pray you, lady, that you be not annoyed,
1849         Though I so freendly yow my conseil shewe.
                    Though I so friendly show you my private affairs.
1850         By God! I wolde nat telle it but a fewe."
                    By God! I would not tell it but to a few."

1851         "Now, sire," quod she, "but o word er I go.
                    "Now, sir," said she, "but one word before I go.
1852         My child is deed withinne thise wykes two,
                    My child is dead within these weeks two,
1853         Soone after that ye wente out of this toun."
                    Soon after you went out of this town."

1854         "His deeth saugh I by revelacioun,"
                    "His death saw I by revelation,"
1855         Seide this frere, "at hoom in oure dortour.
                    Said this friar, "at home in our dormitory.
1856         I dar wel seyn that, er that half an hour
                    I dare well say that, before half an hour
1857         After his deeth, I saugh hym born to blisse
                    After his death, I saw him carried up to bliss
1858         In myn avision, so God me wisse!
                    In my vision, as God may guide me!
1859         So dide oure sexteyn and oure fermerer,
                    So did our sacristan and the head of our infirmary,
1860         That han been trewe freres fifty yeer;
                    That have been true friars fifty years;
1861         They may now -- God be thanked of his loone! --
                    They may now -- God be thanked of his grace! --
1862         Maken hir jubilee and walke allone.
                    Make their fiftieth anniversary and walk alone.
1863         And up I roos, and al oure covent eke,
                    And up I rose, and all our convent as well,
1864         With many a teere trillyng on my cheke,
                    With many a tear tricking on my cheek,
1865         Withouten noyse or claterynge of belles;
                    Without noise or clattering of bells;
1866         Te Deum was oure song, and nothyng elles,
                    Te Deum was our song, and nothing else,
1867         Save that to Crist I seyde an orison,
                    Except that to Christ I said a prayer,
1868         Thankynge hym of his revelacion.
                    Thanking him for his revelation.
1869         For, sire and dame, trusteth me right weel,
                    For, sir and lady, trust me right well,
1870         Oure orisons been moore effectueel,
                    Our prayers are more effectual,
1871         And moore we seen of Cristes secree thynges,
                    And more we see of Christ's secret things,
1872         Than burel folk, although they weren kynges.
                    Than secular folk, although they were kings.
1873         We lyve in poverte and in abstinence,
                    We live in poverty and in abstinence,
1874         And burell folk in richesse and despence
                    And secular folk in riches and expenditures
1875         Of mete and drynke, and in hir foul delit.
                    Of food and drink, and in their foul delight.
1876         We han this worldes lust al in despit.
                    We hold this world's lust all in scorn.
1877         Lazar and Dives lyveden diversly,
                    Lazar and Dives lived diversely,
1878         And divers gerdon hadden they therby.
                    And diverse rewards had they thereby.
1879         Whoso wol preye, he moot faste and be clene,
                    Whoever will pray, he must fast and be pure,
1880         And fatte his soule, and make his body lene.
                    And fatten his soul, and make his body lean.
1881         We fare as seith th' apostle; clooth and foode
                    We fare as says the apostle; cloth and food
1882         Suffisen us, though they be nat ful goode.
                    Suffice us, though they are not full good.
1883         The clennesse and the fastynge of us freres
                    The purity and the fasting of us friars
1884         Maketh that Crist accepteth oure preyeres.
                    Makes that Christ accepts our prayers.

1885         "Lo, Moyses fourty dayes and fourty nyght
                    "Lo, Moses forty days and forty nights
1886         Fasted, er that the heighe God of myght
                    Fasted, before the high God of might
1887         Spak with hym in the mountayne of Synay.
                    Spoke with him in the mountain of Sinai.
1888         With empty wombe, fastynge many a day,
                    With empty belly, fasting many a day,
1889         Receyved he the lawe that was writen
                    Received he the law that was written
1890         With Goddes fynger; and Elye, wel ye witen,
                    With God's finger; and Elijah, you know well,
1891         In mount Oreb, er he hadde any speche
                    In mount Horeb, before he had any speech
1892         With hye God, that is oure lyves leche,
                    With high God, who is our life's physician,
1893         He fasted longe and was in contemplaunce.
                    He fasted long and was in meditation.

1894         "Aaron, that hadde the temple in governaunce,
                    "Aaron, who had the temple in governance,
1895         And eek the othere preestes everichon,
                    And also the other priests every one,
1896         Into the temple whan they sholde gon
                    Into the temple when they should go
1897         To preye for the peple and do servyse,
                    To pray for the people and do service,
1898         They nolden drynken in no maner wyse
                    They would not drink in any sort of way
1899         No drynke which that myghte hem dronke make,
                    Any drink which might make them drunk,
1900         But there in abstinence preye and wake,
                    But there in abstinence pray and keep vigil,
1901         Lest that they deyden. Taak heede what I seye!
                    Lest they died. Take heed what I say!
1902         But they be sobre that for the peple preye,
                    Unless they are sober who for the people pray,
1903         War that -- I seye namoore, for it suffiseth.
                    Beware that -- I say no more, for it suffices.
1904         "Oure Lord Jhesu, as hooly writ devyseth,
                    "Our Lord Jesus, as holy writ devises,
1905         Yaf us ensample of fastynge and preyeres.
                    Gave us an example of fasting and prayers.
1906         Therfore we mendynantz, we sely freres,
                    Therefore we mendicants, we innocent friars,
1907         Been wedded to poverte and continence,
                    Are wedded to poverty and chastity,
1908         To charite, humblesse, and abstinence,
                    To charity, humility, and abstinence,
1909         To persecucioun for rightwisnesse,
                    To persecution for righteousness,
1910         To wepynge, misericorde, and clennesse.
                    To weeping, charity, and purity.
1911         And therfore may ye se that oure preyeres --
                    And therefore may you see that our prayers --
1912         I speke of us, we mendynantz, we freres --
                    I speak of us, we mendicants, we friars --
1913         Been to the hye God moore acceptable
                    Are to the high God more acceptable
1914         Than youres, with youre feestes at the table.
                    Than yours, with your feasts at the table.
1915         Fro Paradys first, if I shal nat lye,
                    From Paradise first, if I shall not lie,
1916         Was man out chaced for his glotonye;
                    Was man chased out for his gluttony;
1917         And chaast was man in Paradys, certeyn.
                    And chaste was man in Paradise, certainly.

1918         "But herkne now, Thomas, what I shal seyn.
                    "But hearken now, Thomas, what I shall say.
1919         I ne have no text of it, as I suppose,
                    I have no text for it, as I suppose,
1920         But I shal fynde it in a maner glose,
                    But I shall find it in some sort of gloss (interpretation),
1921         That specially oure sweete Lord Jhesus
                    That especially our sweet Lord Jesus
1922         Spak this by freres, whan he seyde thus:
                    Spoke this about friars, when he said thus:
1923         `Blessed be they that povere in spirit been.'
                    `Blessed are they who are poor in spirit.'
1924         And so forth al the gospel may ye seen,
                    And so forth all the gospel may you see,
1925         Wher it be likker oure professioun,
                    Whether it is more like our profession,
1926         Or hirs that swymmen in possessioun.
                    Or theirs who swim in possessions.
1927         Fy on hire pompe and on hire glotonye!
                    Fie on their pomp and on their gluttony!
1928         And for hir lewednesse I hem diffye.
                    And for their ignorance I scorn them.

1929         "Me thynketh they been lyk Jovinyan,
                    "I think they are like Jovinian,
1930         Fat as a whale, and walkynge as a swan,
                    Fat as a whale, and waddling like a swan,
1931         Al vinolent as botel in the spence.
                    As full of wine as a bottle in the pantry.
1932         Hir preyere is of ful greet reverence,
                    Their prayer is of full great reverence,
1933         Whan they for soules seye the psalm of Davit:
                    When they for souls say the psalm of David:
1934         Lo, `buf!' they seye, `cor meum eructavit!'
                    Lo, `buf!' they say (belch), `my heart has uttered' (a good word)!
1935         Who folweth Cristes gospel and his foore,
                    Who follows Christ's gospel and his path,
1936         But we that humble been, and chaast, and poore,
                    But we who are humble, and chaste, and poor,
1937         Werkeris of Goddes word, nat auditours?
                    Workers of God's word, not mere listeners?
1938         Therfore, right as an hauk up at a sours
                    Therefore, just as a hawk upon an upward flight
1939         Up springeth into th' eir, right so prayeres
                    Up springs into the' air, right so prayers
1940         Of charitable and chaste bisy freres
                    Of charitable and chaste busy friars
1941         Maken hir sours to Goddes eres two.
                    Make their upward flight to God's two ears.
1942         Thomas, Thomas! So moote I ryde or go,
                    Thomas, Thomas! As I may ride or walk,
1943         And by that lord that clepid is Seint Yve,
                    And by that lord who is called Saint Yve,
1944         Nere thou oure brother, sholdestou nat thryve.
                    Were thou not our brother, thou shouldest not thrive.
1945         In our chapitre praye we day and nyght
                    In our assembly we pray day and night
1946         To Crist, that he thee sende heele and myght
                    To Christ, that he send thee health and strength
1947         Thy body for to weelden hastily."
                    Thy body to move with ease hastily."

1948         "God woot," quod he, "no thyng therof feele I!
                    "God knows," said he, "no thing thereof feel I!
1949         As help me Crist, as I in fewe yeres,
                    So help me Christ, I in few years,
1950         Have spent upon diverse manere freres
                    Have spent upon different sorts of friars
1951         Ful many a pound; yet fare I never the bet.
                    Very many a pound; yet fare I never the better.
1952         Certeyn, my good have I almoost biset.
                    Certainly, I have almost spent all my goods.
1953         Farwel, my gold, for it is al ago!"
                    Farewell, my gold, for it is all gone!"

1954         The frere answerde, "O Thomas, dostow so?
                    The friar answered, "Oh Thomas, dost thou so?
1955         What nedeth yow diverse freres seche?
                    Why do you need to seek various friars?
1956         What nedeth hym that hath a parfit leche
                    Why does one who has a perfect physician need
1957         To sechen othere leches in the toun?
                    To seek other physicians in the town?
1958         Youre inconstance is youre confusioun.
                    Your inconstancy is your ruin.
1959         Holde ye thanne me, or elles oure covent,
                    Consider you then me, or else our convent,
1960         To praye for yow been insufficient?
                    To be insufficient to pray for you?
1961         Thomas, that jape nys nat worth a myte.
                    Thomas, that trick is not worth a half a farthing.
1962         Youre maladye is for we han to lyte.
                    Your malady is because we have too little.
1963         A, yif that covent half a quarter otes!
                    Ah, give that convent half a quarter (four bushels) oats!
1964         A, yif that covent foure and twenty grotes!
                    A, give that convent four and twenty groats (four pences)!
1965         A, yif that frere a peny, and lat hym go!
                    A, give that friar a penny, and let him go!
1966         Nay, nay, Thomas, it may no thyng be so!
                    Nay, nay, Thomas, it may in no way be so!
1967         What is a ferthyng worth parted in twelve?
                    What is a farthing worth divided into twelve?
1968         Lo, ech thyng that is oned in himselve
                    Lo, each thing that is united in itself
1969         Is moore strong than whan it is toscatered.
                    Is more strong than when it is all scattered.
1970         Thomas, of me thou shalt nat been yflatered;
                    Thomas, by me thou shalt not be flattered;
1971         Thou woldest han oure labour al for noght.
                    Thou wouldest have our labor all for nothing.
1972         The hye God, that al this world hath wroght,
                    The high God, who all this world has wrought,
1973         Seith that the werkman worthy is his hyre.
                    Says that the workman is worthy of his hire.
1974         Thomas, noght of youre tresor I desire
                    Thomas, I do not desire any of your treasure
1975         As for myself, but that al oure covent
                    For myself, but because all our convent
1976         To preye for yow is ay so diligent,
                    To pray for you is always so diligent,
1977         And for to buylden Cristes owene chirche.
                    And to build Christ's own church.
1978         Thomas, if ye wol lernen for to wirche,
                    Thomas, if you want to learn what to do,
1979         Of buyldynge up of chirches may ye fynde
                    Concerning building up of churches you can find
1980         If it be good in Thomas lyf of Inde.
                    If it be good in the life of Thomas of India.
1981         Ye lye heere ful of anger and of ire,
                    You lie here full of anger and of ire,
1982         With which the devel set youre herte afyre,
                    With which the devil set your heart afire,
1983         And chiden heere the sely innocent,
                    And chide here the poor innocent,
1984         Youre wyf, that is so meke and pacient.
                    Your wife, who is so meek and patient.
1985         And therfore, Thomas, trowe me if thee leste,
                    And therefore, Thomas, believe me if thou wish,
1986         Ne stryve nat with thy wyf, as for thy beste;
                    Strive not with thy wife, for thine own good;
1987         And ber this word awey now, by thy feith;
                    And bear this word away now, by thy faith;
1988         Touchynge swich thyng, lo, what the wise seith:
                    Concerning such thing, lo, what the wise man says:
1989         `Withinne thyn hous ne be thou no leon;
                    `Within thy house be thou no lion;
1990         To thy subgitz do noon oppression,
                    To thy subjects do no oppression,
1991         Ne make thyne aqueyntances nat to flee.'
                    Nor make thy acquaintances to flee.'
1992         And, Thomas, yet eft-soones I charge thee,
                    And, Thomas, yet again I command thee,
1993         Be war from Ire that in thy bosom slepeth;
                    Beware of Ire that in thy bosom sleeps;
1994         War fro the serpent that so slily crepeth
                    Beware of the serpent that so slyly creeps
1995         Under the gras and styngeth subtilly.
                    Under the grass and stings subtly.
1996         Be war, my sone, and herkne paciently
                    Beware, my son, and hearken patiently
1997         That twenty thousand men han lost hir lyves
                    That twenty thousand men have lost their lives
1998         For stryvyng with hir lemmans and hir wyves.
                    For striving with their sweethearts and their wives.
1999         Now sith ye han so hooly meke a wyf,
                    Now since you have so holy meek a wife,
2000         What nedeth yow, Thomas, to maken stryf?
                    Why do you need, Thomas, to make strife?
2001         Ther nys, ywys, no serpent so cruel,
                    There is, indeed, no serpent so cruel,
2002         Whan man tret on his tayl, ne half so fel,
                    When man treads on his tail, nor half so fierce,
2003         As womman is, whan she hath caught an ire;
                    As woman is, when she has become angry;
2004         Vengeance is thanne al that they desire.
                    Vengeance is then all that they desire.
2005         Ire is a synne, oon of the grete of sevene,
                    Ire is a sin, one of the greatest of seven,
2006         Abhomynable unto the God of hevene;
                    Abominable unto the God of heaven;
2007         And to hymself it is destruccion.
                    And to himself it is destruction.
2008         This every lewed viker or person
                    This every ignorant vicar or parson
2009         Kan seye, how ire engendreth homycide.
                    Can say, how ire engenders homicide.
2010         Ire is, in sooth, executour of pryde.
                    Ire is, in truth, executor of pride.
2011         I koude of ire seye so muche sorwe,
                    I could of ire say so much sorrow,
2012         My tale sholde laste til to-morwe.
                    My tale should last until to-morrow.
2013         And therfore preye I God bothe day and nyght
                    And therefore pray I God both day and night
2014         An irous man, God sende hym litel myght!
                    An angry man, God send him little power!
2015         It is greet harm and certes greet pitee
                    It is great harm and certainly great pity
2016         To sette an irous man in heigh degree.
                    To set an angry man in high position.

2017         "Whilom ther was an irous potestat,
                    "Once there was an angry potentate,
2018         As seith Senek, that, durynge his estaat,
                    As says Seneca, who, during his reign,
2019         Upon a day out ryden knyghtes two,
                    Upon a day out rode two knights,
2020         And as Fortune wolde that it were so,
                    And as Fortune would that it were so,
2021         That oon of hem cam hoom, that oother noght.
                    That one of them came home, that other did not.
2022         Anon the knyght bifore the juge is broght,
                    At once the knight is brought before the judge,
2023         That seyde thus, `Thou hast thy felawe slayn,
                    Who said thus, `Thou hast thy fellow slain,
2024         For which I deme thee to the deeth, certayn.'
                    For which I condemn thee to the death, certainly.'
2025         And to another knyght comanded he,
                    And to another knight commanded he,
2026         `Go lede hym to the deeth, I charge thee.'
                    `Go lead him to the death, I charge thee.'
2027         And happed, as they wente by the weye
                    And it happened, as they went by the way
2028         Toward the place ther he sholde deye,
                    Toward the place where he should die,
2029         The knyght cam which men wenden had be deed.
                    The knight came who men believed had been dead.
2030         Thanne thoughte they it were the beste reed
                    Then thought they it would be the best plan
2031         To lede hem bothe to the juge agayn.
                    To lead them both to the judge again.
2032         They seiden, `Lord, the knyght ne hath nat slayn
                    They said, `Lord, the knight has not slain
2033         His felawe; heere he standeth hool alyve.'
                    His fellow; here he stands whole and alive.'
2034         `Ye shul be deed,' quod he, `so moot I thryve!
                    `You shall be dead,' said he, `as I may thrive!
2035         That is to seyn, bothe oon, and two, and thre!'
                    That is to say, both one, and two, and three!'
2036         And to the firste knyght right thus spak he,
                    And to the first knight right thus spoke he,
2037         `I dampned thee; thou most algate be deed.
                    `I condemned thee; thou must therefore be dead.
2038         And thou also most nedes lese thyn heed,
                    And thou also must of necessity lose thy head,
2039         For thou art cause why thy felawe deyth.'
                    For thou art the cause why thy fellow dies.'
2040         And to the thridde knyght right thus he seith,
                    And to the third knight right thus he says,
2041         `Thou hast nat doon that I comanded thee.'
                    `Thou hast not done what I commanded thee.'
2042         And thus he dide doon sleen hem alle thre.
                    And thus he caused them all three to be slain.

2043         "Irous Cambises was eek dronkelewe,
                    "Angry Cambises was also a drunkard,
2044         And ay delited hym to been a shrewe.
                    And it always delighted him to be a scoundrel.
2045         And so bifel, a lord of his meynee
                    And as it happened, a lord of his household
2046         That loved vertuous moralitee
                    Who loved virtuous morality
2047         Seyde on a day bitwix hem two right thus:
                    Said on a day betwixt them two right thus:

2048         "`A lord is lost, if he be vicius;
                    "`A lord is lost, if he be vicious;
2049         And dronkenesse is eek a foul record
                    And drunkenness is also a foul reputation
2050         Of any man, and namely in a lord.
                    Of any man, and especially in a lord.
2051         Ther is ful many an eye and many an ere
                    There is full many an eye and many an ear
2052         Awaityng on a lord, and he noot where.
                    Watching a lord, and he knows not where.
2053         For Goddes love, drynk moore attemprely!
                    For God's love, drink more temperately!
2054         Wyn maketh man to lesen wrecchedly
                    Wine makes man to lose wretchedly
2055         His mynde and eek his lymes everichon.'
                    His mind and also his limbs every one.'

2056         "`The revers shaltou se,' quod he, `anon,
                    "`The reverse shalt thou see,' said he, `right now,
2057         And preve it by thyn owene experience,
                    And prove it by thy own experience,
2058         That wyn ne dooth to folk no swich offence.
                    That wine does to folk no such offence.
2059         Ther is no wyn bireveth me my myght
                    There is no wine that deprives me of my power
2060         Of hand ne foot, ne of myne eyen sight.'
                    Of hand nor foot, nor of my eyesight.'
2061         And for despit he drank ful muchel moore,
                    And for spite he drank very much more,
2062         An hondred part, than he hadde don bifoore;
                    By a hundred times, than he had done before;
2063         And right anon this irous, cursed wrecche
                    And right away this angry, cursed wretch
2064         Leet this knyghtes sone bifore hym fecche,
                    Had this knight's son fetched before him,
2065         Comandynge hym he sholde bifore hym stonde.
                    Commanding him he should before him stand.
2066         And sodeynly he took his bowe in honde,
                    And suddenly he took his bow in hand,
2067         And up the streng he pulled to his ere,
                    And up the string he pulled to his ear,
2068         And with an arwe he slow the child right there.
                    And with an arrow he slew the child right there.
2069         `Now wheither have I a siker hand or noon?'
                    `Now tell me whether I have a sure hand or not?'
2070         Quod he; `Is al my myght and mynde agon?
                    Said he; `Is all my power and mind gone?
2071         Hath wyn bireved me myn eyen sight?'
                    Has wine bereft me of my eyesight?'
2072         What sholde I telle th' answere of the knyght?
                    Why should I tell the answer of the knight?
2073         His sone was slayn; ther is namoore to seye.
                    His son was slain; there is no more to say.
2074         Beth war, therfore, with lordes how ye pleye.
                    Beware, therefore, how you act with lords.
2075         Syngeth Placebo and `I shal, if I kan,'
                    Sing 'I shall please' and `I shall, if I can,'
2076         But if it be unto a povre man.
                    Unless it be unto a poor man.
2077         To a povre man men sholde his vices telle,
                    To a poor man one should tell his vices,
2078         But nat to a lord, thogh he sholde go to helle.
                    But not to a lord, though he should go to hell.

2079         "Lo irous Cirus, thilke Percien,
                    "Lo angry Cyrus, that Persian,
2080         How he destroyed the ryver of Gysen,
                    How he destroyed the river of Gysen,
2081         For that an hors of his was dreynt therinne,
                    Because a horse of his was drowned therein,
2082         Whan that he wente Babiloigne to wynne.
                    When he went to conquer Babylon.
2083         He made that the ryver was so smal
                    He made it that the river was so small
2084         That wommen myghte wade it over al.
                    That women could wade it everywhere.
2085         Lo, what seyde he that so wel teche kan?
                    Lo, what said he who so well can teach?
2086         `Ne be no felawe to an irous man,
                    `Be no fellow to an angry man,
2087         Ne with no wood man walke by the weye,
                    Nor with no enraged man walk by the way,
2088         Lest thee repente;' I wol no ferther seye.
                    Lest thee repent;' I will no further say.

2089         "Now, Thomas, leeve brother, lef thyn ire;
                    "Now, Thomas, dear brother, leave thine ire;
2090         Thou shalt me fynde as just as is a squyre.
                    Thou shalt me find as true as is a carpenter's square.
2091         Hoold nat the develes knyf ay at thyn herte --
                    Hold not the devil's knife always at thy heart --
2092         Thyn angre dooth thee al to soore smerte --
                    Thine anger causes thee all too sorely to suffer --
2093         But shewe to me al thy confessioun."
                    But show to me all thy confession."

2094         "Nay," quod the sike man, "by Seint Symoun!
                    "Nay," said the sick man, "by Saint Symoun!
2095         I have be shryven this day at my curat.
                    I have been shriven this day by my curate.
2096         I have hym toold hoolly al myn estat;
                    I have him told completely all my condition;
2097         Nedeth namoore to speken of it," seith he,
                    It needs no more to speak of it," says he,
2098         "But if me list, of myn humylitee."
                    "Unless I so wish, out of my humility."

2099         "Yif me thanne of thy gold, to make oure cloystre,"
                    "Give me then of thy gold, to make our cloister,"
2100         Quod he, "for many a muscle and many an oystre,
                    Said he, "for many a mussel and many an oyster,
2101         Whan othere men han ben ful wel at eyse,
                    When other men have been full well at ease,
2102         Hath been oure foode, our cloystre for to reyse.
                    Have been our food, our cloister to erect.
2103         And yet, God woot, unnethe the fundement
                    And yet, God knows, hardly the foundation
2104         Parfourned is, ne of our pavement
                    Is finished, nor of our pavement
2105         Nys nat a tyle yet withinne oure wones.
                    There is not a tile yet within our dwelling.
2106         By God, we owen fourty pound for stones.
                    By God, we owe forty pounds for stones.

2107         "Now help, Thomas, for hym that harwed helle!
                    "Now help, Thomas, for him who despoiled hell of its captives!
2108         For elles moste we oure bookes selle.
                    For otherwise we must sell our books.
2109         And if yow lakke oure predicacioun,
                    And if you lack our preaching,
2110         Thanne goth the world al to destruccioun.
                    Then all the world goes to destruction.
2111         For whoso wolde us fro this world bireve,
                    For whoever would rob us from this world,
2112         So God me save, Thomas, by youre leve,
                    So save me God, Thomas, by your leave,
2113         He wolde bireve out of this world the sonne.
                    He would take the sun out of this world.
2114         For who kan teche and werchen as we konne?
                    For who can teach and work as we know how?
2115         And that is nat of litel tyme," quod he,
                    And that is not of recent times," said he,
2116         "But syn Elye was, or Elise,
                    "But since Elijah was, or Elisha,
2117         Han freres been -- that fynde I of record --
                    Have friars been -- that I find in the records --
2118         In charitee, ythanked be oure Lord!
                    In charity, thanked be our Lord!
2119         Now Thomas, help, for seinte charitee!"
                    Now Thomas, help, for holy charity!"
2120         And doun anon he sette hym on his knee.
                    And down at once he set himself on his knee.

2121         This sike man wax wel ny wood for ire;
                    This sick man grew well nigh mad for ire;
2122         He wolde that the frere had been on-fire
                    He wished that the friar had been afire
2123         With his false dissymulacioun.
                    With his false dissimulation.
2124         "Swich thyng as is in my possessioun,"
                    "Such a thing as is in my possession,"
2125         Quod he, "that may I yeve, and noon oother.
                    Said he, "that can I give, and none other.
2126         Ye sey me thus, how that I am youre brother?"
                    You say me thus, that I am your brother?"

2127         "Ye, certes," quod the frere, "trusteth weel.
                    "Yes, certainly," said the friar, "trust well.
2128         I took oure dame oure lettre with oure seel."
                    I gave our lady our letter with our seal."

2129         "Now wel," quod he, "and somwhat shal I yive
                    "Well now," said he, "and something shall I give
2130         Unto youre hooly covent whil I lyve;
                    Unto your holy convent while I live;
2131         And in thyn hand thou shalt it have anon,
                    And in thy hand thou shalt it have right now,
2132         On this condicion, and oother noon,
                    On this condition, and none other,
2133         That thou departe it so, my deere brother,
                    That thou divide it so, my dear brother,
2134         That every frere have also muche as oother.
                    That every friar have as much as the other.
2135         This shaltou swere on thy professioun,
                    This shalt thou swear on thy religious vows,
2136         Withouten fraude or cavillacioun."
                    Without fraud or quibbling."

2137         "I swere it," quod this frere, "by my feith!"
                    "I swear it," said this friar, "by my faith!"
2138         And therwithal his hand in his he leith,
                    And therewith his hand in his he lays,
2139         "Lo, heer my feith; in me shal be no lak."
                    "Lo, have here my faith; I shall not fail (to keep my word)."

2140         "Now thanne, put in thyn hand doun by my bak,"
                    "Now then, put in thy hand down by my back,"
2141         Seyde this man, "and grope wel bihynde.
                    Said this man, "and grope well behind.
2142         Bynethe my buttok there shaltow fynde
                    Beneath my buttock where shalt thou find
2143         A thyng that I have hyd in pryvetee."
                    A thing that I have hidden in private."

2144         "A!" thoghte this frere, "That shal go with me!"
                    "Ah!" thought this friar, "That shall go with me!"
2145         And doun his hand he launcheth to the clifte
                    And down his hand he thrusts to the cleft
2146         In hope for to fynde there a yifte.
                    In hope to find there a gift.
2147         And whan this sike man felte this frere
                    And when this sick man felt this friar
2148         Aboute his tuwel grope there and heere,
                    About his anus grope there and here,
2149         Amydde his hand he leet the frere a fart;
                    Amid his hand he let the friar a fart;
2150         Ther nys no capul, drawynge in a cart,
                    There is no horse, pulling a cart,
2151         That myghte have lete a fart of swich a soun.
                    That could have let a fart of such a sound.

2152         The frere up stirte as dooth a wood leoun --
                    The friar up started as does a mad lion --
2153         "A, false cherl," quod he, "for Goddes bones!
                    "Ah, false churl," said he, "for God's bones!
2154         This hastow for despit doon for the nones.
                    This hast thou done on purpose for spite.
2155         Thou shalt abye this fart, if that I may!"
                    Thou shalt pay for this fart, if I can (do so)!"

2156         His meynee, whiche that herden this affray,
                    His servants, who heard this affray,
2157         Cam lepynge in and chaced out the frere;
                    Came leaping in and chased out the friar;
2158         And forth he gooth, with a ful angry cheere,
                    And forth he goes, with a very angry look,
2159         And fette his felawe, ther as lay his stoor.
                    And fetched his fellow, where lay his store.
2160         He looked as it were a wilde boor;
                    He looked like a wild boar;
2161         He grynte with his teeth, so was he wrooth.
                    He gnashed his teeth, he was so angry.
2162         A sturdy paas doun to the court he gooth,
                    At a rapid pace down to the court he goes,
2163         Wher as ther woned a man of greet honour,
                    Where there dwelt a man of greet honor,
2164         To whom that he was alwey confessour.
                    To whom he was always confessor.
2165         This worthy man was lord of that village.
                    This worthy man was lord of that village.
2166         This frere cam as he were in a rage,
                    This friar came as if he were in a rage,
2167         Where as this lord sat etyng at his bord;
                    Where the lord sat eating at his table;
2168         Unnethes myghte the frere speke a word,
                    Hardly could the friar speak a word,
2169         Til atte laste he seyde, "God yow see!"
                    Until at the last he said, "God you see!"

2170         This lord gan looke, and seide, "Benedicitee!
                    This lord did look, and said, "Bless me!
2171         What, frere John, what maner world is this?
                    What, friar John, what sort of carrying on is this?
2172         I se wel that som thyng ther is amys;
                    I see well that there is something amiss;
2173         Ye looken as the wode were ful of thevys.
                    You look as if the wood were full of thieves.
2174         Sit doun anon, and tel me what youre grief is,
                    Sit down right now, and tell me what your grief is,
2175         And it shal been amended, if I may."
                    And it shall be amended, if I can."

2176         "I have," quod he, "had a despit this day,
                    "I have," said he, "had an insult this day,
2177         God yelde yow, adoun in youre village,
                    God reward you, down in your village,
2178         That in this world is noon so povre a page
                    That in this world is none so poor a servant boy
2179         That he nolde have abhomynacioun
                    That he would not be nauseated
2180         Of that I have receyved in youre toun.
                    By what I have received in your town.
2181         And yet ne greveth me nothyng so soore,
                    And yet there grieves me nothing so sore,
2182         As that this olde cherl with lokkes hoore
                    As that this old churl with white locks
2183         Blasphemed hath oure hooly covent eke."
                    Blasphemed has our holy convent as well."

2184         "Now, maister," quod this lord, "I yow biseke --"
                    "Now, master," said this lord, "I you beseech --"

2185         "No maister, sire," quod he, "but servitour,
                    "No master, sir," said he, "but servant,
2186         Thogh I have had in scole that honour.
                    Though I have had in school that honor.
2187         God liketh nat that `Raby' men us calle,
                    God likes not that `Rabbi' men us call,
2188         Neither in market ne in youre large halle."
                    Neither in market nor in your large hall."

2189         "No fors," quod he, "but tel me al youre grief."
                    "No matter," said he, "but tell me all your grief."

2190         "Sire," quod this frere, "an odious meschief
                    "Sir," said this friar, "an odious mischief
2191         This day bityd is to myn ordre and me,
                    This day has happened to my order and me,
2192         And so, per consequens, to ech degree
                    And so, consequently, to each degree
2193         Of hooly chirche -- God amende it soone!"
                    Of holy church -- God amend it soon!"

2194         "Sire," quod the lord, "ye woot what is to doone.
                    "Sir," said the lord, "you know what is to be done.
2195         Distempre yow noght; ye be my confessour;
                    Do not be angry; you are my confessor;
2196         Ye been the salt of the erthe and the savour.
                    You are the salt of the earth and the delight.
2197         For Goddes love, youre pacience ye holde!
                    For God's love, keep your patience!
2198         Tel me youre grief." And he anon hym tolde,
                    Tell me your grief." And he straightway told him,
2199         As ye han herd biforn -- ye woot wel what.
                    As you have heard before -- you know well what.

2200         The lady of the hous ay stille sat
                    The lady of the house always still sat
2201         Til she had herd what the frere sayde.
                    Until she had heard what the friar said.
2202         "Ey, Goddes mooder," quod she, "Blisful mayde!
                    "Ey, God's mother," said she, "Blissful maid!
2203         Is ther oght elles? Telle me feithfully."
                    Is there anything else? Tell me faithfully."

2204         "Madame," quod he, "how thynke ye herby?"
                    "My lady," said he, "how think you of this?"

2205         "How that me thynketh?" quod she. "So God me speede,
                    "How I think" said she. "So help me God,
2206         I seye a cherl hath doon a cherles dede.
                    I say a churl has done a churl's deed.
2207         What shold I seye? God lat hym nevere thee!
                    What should I say? God let him never prosper!
2208         His sike heed is ful of vanytee;
                    His sick head is full of foolishness;
2209         I holde hym in a manere frenesye."
                    I consider him in a sort of delirium."

2210         "Madame," quod he, "by God, I shal nat lye,
                    "My lady," said he, "by God, I shall not lie,
2211         But I on oother wyse may be wreke,
                    Unless I can be avenged in another manner,
2212         I shal disclaundre hym over al ther I speke,
                    I shall defame him wherever I speak,
2213         This false blasphemour that charged me
                    This false blasphemer who charged me
2214         To parte that wol nat departed be
                    To divide that which will not be divided
2215         To every man yliche, with meschaunce!"
                    Equally to every man, with bad luck (to him)!"

2216         The lord sat stille as he were in a traunce,
                    The lord sat still as if he were in a trance,
2217         And in his herte he rolled up and doun,
                    And in his heart he rolled up and down,
2218         "How hadde this cherl ymaginacioun
                    "How had this churl imagination
2219         To shewe swich a probleme to the frere?
                    To show such a problem to the friar?
2220         Nevere erst er now herde I of swich mateere.
                    Never previously before now heard I of such a matter.
2221         I trowe the devel putte it in his mynde.
                    I believe the devil put it in his mind.
2222         In ars-metrike shal ther no man fynde,
                    In the art of measuring (arithmetic) shall there no man find,
2223         Biforn this day, of swich a question.
                    Before this day, such a problem.
2224         Who sholde make a demonstracion
                    Who should make a logical proof
2225         That every man sholde have yliche his part
                    That every man should have equally his part
2226         As of the soun or savour of a fart?
                    As of the sound or odor of a fart?
2227         O nyce, proude cherl, I shrewe his face!
                    Oh ingenious, proud churl, I curse his face!
2228         Lo, sires," quod the lord, "with harde grace!
                    Lo, sirs," said the lord, "with bad luck (to him)!
2229         Who evere herde of swich a thyng er now?
                    Who ever heard of such a thing before now?
2230         To every man ylike? Tel me how.
                    To every man equally? Tell me how.
2231         It is an inpossible; it may nat be.
                    It is an impossibility; it can not be.
2232         Ey, nyce cherl, God lete him nevere thee!
                    Ey, clever churl, God let him never prosper!
2233         The rumblynge of a fart, and every soun,
                    The rumbling of a fart, and every sound,
2234         Nis but of eir reverberacioun,
                    Is nothing but reverberation of air,
2235         And evere it wasteth litel and litel awey.
                    And ever it wastes away little by little.
2236         Ther is no man kan deemen, by my fey,
                    There is no man can judge, by my faith,
2237         If that it were departed equally.
                    If it were divided equally.
2238         What, lo, my cherl, lo, yet how shrewedly
                    What, lo, my churl, lo, yet how shrewdly
2239         Unto my confessour to-day he spak!
                    Unto my confessor to-day he spoke!
2240         I holde hym certeyn a demonyak!
                    I consider him certainly one possessed by a demon!
2241         Now ete youre mete, and lat the cherl go pleye;
                    Now eat your food, and let the churl go play;
2242         Lat hym go honge hymself a devel weye!"
                    Let him go hang himself in the devil's name!"

The wordes of the lordes squier and
his kervere for departynge of the
fart on twelve.


2243         Now stood the lordes squier at the bord,
                    Now stood the lord's squire at the board,
2244         That karf his mete, and herde word by word
                    Who carved his meat, and heard word by word
2245         Of alle thynges whiche I have yow sayd.
                    Of all the things which I have told you.
2246         "My lord," quod he, "be ye nat yvele apayd,
                    "My lord," said he, "if you be not displeased,
2247         I koude telle, for a gowne-clooth,
                    I could tell, for a cloth to make a gown,
2248         To yow, sire frere, so ye be nat wrooth,
                    To you, sir friar, providing you be not angry,
2249         How that this fart sholde evene deled be
                    How this fart should evenly be divided
2250         Among youre covent, if it lyked me."
                    Among your convent, if it pleased me."

2251         "Tel," quod the lord, "and thou shalt have anon
                    "Tell," said the lord, "and thou shalt have straightway
2252         A gowne-clooth, by God and by Seint John!"
                    A gown-cloth, by God and by Saint John!"

2253         "My lord," quod he, "whan that the weder is fair,
                    "My lord," said he, "when the weather is fair,
2254         Withouten wynd or perturbynge of air,
                    Without wind or disturbance of air,
2255         Lat brynge a cartwheel heere into this halle;
                    Let a cartwheel be brought here into this hall;
2256         But looke that it have his spokes alle --
                    But see that it has all its spokes --
2257         Twelve spokes hath a cartwheel comunly.
                    Twelve spokes has a cartwheel commonly.
2258         And bryng me thanne twelve freres. Woot ye why?
                    And bring me then twelve friars. Know you why?
2259         For thrittene is a covent, as I gesse.
                    For thirteen is a convent, as I believe.
2260         Youre confessour heere, for his worthynesse,
                    Your confessor here, for his worthiness,
2261         Shal parfourne up the nombre of his covent.
                    Shall complete the number of his convent.
2262         Thanne shal they knele doun, by oon assent,
                    Then shall they kneel down, all together,
2263         And to every spokes ende, in this manere,
                    And to every spoke's end, in this manner,
2264         Ful sadly leye his nose shal a frere.
                    A friar shall very firmly lay his nose.
2265         Youre noble confessour -- there God hym save! --
                    Your noble confessor -- may God him save! --
2266         Shal holde his nose upright under the nave.
                    Shall hold his nose upright under the nave.
2267         Thanne shal this cherl, with bely stif and toght
                    Then shall this churl, with belly stiff and taut
2268         As any tabour, hyder been ybroght;
                    As any drum, hither be brought;
2269         And sette hym on the wheel right of this cart,
                    And set him right on the wheel of this cart,
2270         Upon the nave, and make hym lete a fart.
                    Upon the nave, and make him let a fart.
2271         And ye shul seen, up peril of my lyf,
                    And you shall see, on peril of my life (I swear),
2272         By preeve which that is demonstratif,
                    By proof which is logical,
2273         That equally the soun of it wol wende,
                    That equally the sound of it will go,
2274         And eke the stynk, unto the spokes ende,
                    And also the stink, unto the spokes' ends,
2275         Save that this worthy man, youre confessour,
                    Except that this worthy man, your confessor,
2276         By cause he is a man of greet honour,
                    Because he is a man of greet honor,
2277         Shal have the firste fruyt, as resoun is.
                    Shall have the first fruit, as is reasonable.
2278         The noble usage of freres yet is this,
                    The noble usage of friars yet is this,
2279         The worthy men of hem shul first be served;
                    The worthy men of them shall first be served;
2280         And certeinly he hath it weel disserved.
                    And certainly he has it well deserved.
2281         He hath to-day taught us so muche good
                    He has to-day taught us so much good
2282         With prechyng in the pulpit ther he stood,
                    With preaching in the pulpit where he stood,
2283         That I may vouche sauf, I sey for me,
                    That I can affirm, I say for me,
2284         He hadde the firste smel of fartes thre;
                    He had the first smell of three farts;
2285         And so wolde al his covent hardily,
                    And so would all his convent certainly (agree),
2286         He bereth hym so faire and hoolily."
                    He bears him so faire and holily."

2287         The lord, the lady, and ech man, save the frere,
                    The lord, the lady, and each man, except the friar,
2288         Seyde that Jankyn spak, in this matere,
                    Said that Jankyn spoke, in this matter,
2289         As wel as Euclide [dide] or Ptholomee.
                    As well as Euclid or Ptolemy.
2290         Touchynge the cherl, they seyde, subtiltee
                    Concerning the churl, they said, shrewdness
2291         And heigh wit made hym speken as he spak;
                    And great intelligence made him speak as he spoke;
2292         He nys no fool, ne no demonyak.
                    He is no fool, nor possessed by any demon.
2293         And Jankyn hath ywonne a newe gowne --
                    And Jankyn has won a new gown --
2294         My tale is doon; we been almoost at towne.
                    My tale is done; we are almost at town.

 

Heere endeth the Somonours Tale.

 

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Last modified: Apr 8, 2008
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Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (ldb@wjh.harvard.edu)