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Geoffrey Chaucer >> The Canterbury Tales (page 20)


l, that longe er it were day
This man mette in his bed, ther as he lay,
How that his felawe gan upon hym calle
And seyde, `Allas, for in an oxes stalle
This nyght I shal be mordred, ther I lye!

Now help me, deere brother, or I dye;
In alle haste com to me!" he sayde.
This man out of his sleep for feere abrayde;
But whan that he was wakened of his sleep,
He turned hym and took of it no keep.

Hym thoughte, his dreem nas but a vanitee.
Thus twies in his slepyng dremed hee,
And atte thridde tyme yet his felawe
Cam, as hym thoughte, and seide, `I am now slawe,
Bihoold my bloody woundes depe and wyde;

Arys up erly in the morwe-tyde,
And at the west gate of the toun,' quod he,
`A carte ful of donge ther shaltow se,
In which my body is hid ful prively.
Do thilke carte arresten boldely;

My gold caused my mordre, sooth to sayn.'-
And tolde hym every point, how he was slayn,
With a ful pitous face, pale of hewe;
And truste wel, his dreem he foond ful trewe.
For on the morwe, as soone as it was day,

To his felawes in he took the way,
And whan that he cam to this oxes stalle,
After his felawe he bigan to calle.
The hostiler answerde hym anon,
And seyde, `Sire, your felawe is agon,

As soone as day he wente out of the toun.'
This man gan fallen in suspecioun,
Remembrynge on hise dremes that he mette,
And forth he gooth, no lenger wolde he lette,
Unto the westgate of the toun; and fond

A dong carte, as it were to donge lond,
That was arrayed in that same wise,
As ye han herd the dede man devyse.
And with an hardy herte he gan to crye,
`Vengeance and justice of this felonye;

My felawe mordred is this same myght,
And in this carte he lith gapyng upright.
I crye out on the ministres,' quod he,
`That sholden kepe and reulen this citee!
Harrow! allas, heere lith my felawe slayn!'

What sholde I moore unto this tale sayn?
The peple out-sterte, and caste the cart to grounde,
And in the myddel of the dong they founde
The dede man, that mordred was al newe.
O blisful God, that art so just and trewe!

Lo, howe that thou biwreyest mordre alway!
Mordre wol out, that se we, day by day.
Mordre is so wlatsom and abhomynable
To God that is so just and resonable,
That he ne wol nat suffre it heled be,

Though it abyde a yeer, or two, or thre.
Mordre wol out, this my conclusioun.
And right anon ministres of that toun
Han hent the carter, and so soore hym pyned,
And eek the hostiler so soore engyned

That they biknewe hire wikkednesse anon,
And were anhanged by the nekke bon.
Heere may men seen, that dremes been to drede!
And certes, in the same book I rede
Right in the nexte chapitre after this-

I gabbe nat, so have I joye or blis-
Two men that wolde han passed over see
For certeyn cause, into a fer contree,
If that the wynd ne hadde been contrarie,
That made hem in a citee for to tarie,

That stood ful myrie upon an haven-syde-
But on a day, agayn the even-tyde,
The wynd gan chaunge, and blew right as hem leste.
Jolif and glad they wente unto hir reste,
And casten hem ful erly for to saille,

But herkneth, to that o man fil a greet mervaille;
That oon of hem, in slepyng as he lay,
Hym mette a wonder dreem agayn the day.
Hym thoughte a man stood by his beddes syde,
And hym comanded that he sholde abyde,

And seyde hym thus, `If thou tomorwe wende
Thow shalt be dreynt; my tale is at an ende.'
He wook, and tolde his felawe what he mette,
And preyde hym his viage for to lette,
As for that day, he preyede hym to byde.

His felawe, that lay by his beddes syde,
Gan for to laughe and scorned him ful faste.
`No dreem,' quod he, `may so myn herte agaste
That I wol lette for to do my thynges.
I sette nat a straw by thy dremynges,

For swevenes been but vanytees and japes.
Men dreme al day of owles or of apes,
And of many a maze therwithal.
Men dreme of thyng that nevere was, ne shal;
But sith I see that thou wolt heere abyde

And thus forslewthen wilfully thy tyde,
God woot it reweth me, and have good day.'
And thus he took his leve and wente his way;
But er that he hadde half his cours yseyled,
Noot I nat why, ne what myschaunce it eyled,

But casuelly the shippes botme rente,
And ship and men under the water wente
In sighte of othere shippes it bisyde,
That with hem seyled at the same tyde.
And therfore, faire Pertelote so deere,

By swiche ensamples olde yet maistow leere,
That no man sholde been to recchelees
Of dremes, for I seye thee doutelees
That many a dreem ful soore is for to drede.
Lo, in the lyf of Seint Kenelm I rede,

That was Kenulphus sone, the noble kyng,
Of Mercenrike how Kenelm mette a thyng.
A lite er he was mordred, on a day
His mordre in his avysioun he say.
His norice hym expowned every deel

His swevene, and bad hym for to kepe hym weel
For traisoun, but he nas but seven yeer oold,
And therfore litel tale hath he toold
Of any dreem, so hooly is his herte.
By God, I hadde levere than my sherte

That ye hadde rad his legende, as have I.
Dame Pertelote, I sey yow trewely,
Macrobeus, that writ the avisioun
In Affrike of the worhty Cipioun,
Affermeth dremes, and seith that they been

Warnynge of thynges, that men after seen.
And forther-moore I pray yow looketh wel
In the olde testament of Daniel,
If he heeld dremes any vanitee!
Reed eek of Joseph, and ther shul ye see

Wher dremes be somtyme, I sey nat alle,
Warnynge of thynges that shul after falle.
Looke of Egipte the kyng, daun Pharao,
His baker and his butiller also,
Wher they ne felte noon effect in dremes!

Whoso wol seken actes of sondry remes
May rede of dremes many a wonder thyng.
Lo Cresus, which that was of Lyde kyng,
Mette he nat that he sat upon a tree,
Which signified, he sholde anhanged bee?

Lo her Adromacha, Ectores wyf,
That day that Ector sholde lese his lyf
She dremed on the same nyght biforn
How that the lyf of Ector sholde be lorn,
If thilke day he wente into bataille.

She warned hym, but it myghte nat availle;
He wente for to fighte natheles,
But he was slayn anon of Achilles.
But thilke is al to longe for to telle,
And eek it is ny day, I may nat dwelle.

Shortly I seye, as for conclusioun,
That I shal han of this avisioun
Adversitee, and I seye forthermoor
That I ne telle of laxatyves no stoor,
For they been venymes, I woot it weel,

I hem diffye, I love hem never a deel.
Now let us speke of myrthe, and stynte al this;
Madame Pertelote, so have I blis,
Of o thyng God hath sent me large grace,
For whan I se the beautee of youre face,

Ye been so scarlet reed aboute youre eyen,
It maketh al my drede for to dyen.
For, al so siker as In principio
Mulier est hominis confusio,-
Madame, the sentence of this Latyn is,

`Womman is mannes joye and al his blis.'
For whan I felle a-nyght your softe syde,
Al be it that I may nat on yow ryde,
For that oure perche is maad so narwe, allas!
I am so ful of joye and of solas,

That I diffye bothe swevene and dreem."
And with that word he fly doun fro the beem,
For it was day, and eke hise hennes alle;
And with a chuk he gan hem for to calle,
For he hadde founde a corn lay in the yerd.

Real he was, he was namoore aferd;
And fethered Pertelote twenty tyme,
And trad as ofte, er that it was pryme.
He looketh as it were a grym leoun,
And on hise toos he rometh up and doun,

Hym deigned nat to sette his foot to grounde.
He chukketh whan he hath a corn yfounde,
And to hym rennen thanne hise wyves alle.
Thus roial as a prince is in an halle,
Leve I this Chauntecleer in his pasture,

And after wol I telle his aventure.
Whan that the monthe in which the world bigan
That highte March, whan God first maked man,
Was compleet, and passed were also
Syn March bigan, thritty dayes and two,

Bifel that Chauntecleer in al his pryde,
Hise sevene wyves walkynge by his syde,
Caste up hise eyen to the brighte sonne,
That in the signe of Taurus hadde yronne
Twenty degrees and oon, and somwhat moore;

And knew by kynde, and by noon oother loore,
That it was pryme, and crew with blisful stevene.
"The sonne," he seyde, "is clomben upon hevene
Fourty degrees and oon, and moore, ywis.
Madame Pertelote, my worldes blis,

Herkneth thise blisful briddes how they synge,
And se the fresshe floures how they sprynge.
Ful is myn herte of revel and solas."
But sodeynly hym fil a sorweful cas,
For evere the latter ende of joye is wo.

God woot that worldly joye is soone ago,
And if a rethor koude faire endite,
He in a cronycle saufly myghte it write,
As for a sovereyn notabilitee.
Now every wys man, lat him herkne me:

This storie is al so trewe, I undertake,
As is the book of Launcelot de Lake,
That wommen holde in ful greet reverence.
Now wol I come agayn to my sentence.
A colfox, ful of sly iniquitee,

That in the grove hadde wonned yeres three,
By heigh ymaginacioun forn-cast,
The same nyght thurghout the hegges brast
Into the yerd, ther Chauntecleer the faire
Was wont, and eek hise wyves, to repaire;

And in a bed of wortes stille he lay,
Til it was passed undren of the day,
Waitynge his tyme on Chauntecleer to falle,
As gladly doon thise homycides alle
That in await liggen to mordre men.

O false mordrour, lurkynge in thy den!
O newe Scariot! newe Genyloun!
False dissymulour, O Greek synoun
That broghtest Troye al outrely to sorwe!
O Chauntecleer, acursed be that morwe

That thou into that yerd flaugh fro the bemes!
Thou were ful wel ywarned by thy dremes
That thilke day was perilous to thee;
But what that God forwoot moot nedes bee,
After the opinioun of certein clerkis.

Witnesse on hym, that any parfit clerk is,
That in scole is greet altercacioun
In this mateere, and greet disputisoun,
And hath been of an hundred thousand men;-
But I ne kan nat bulte it to the bren

As kan the hooly doctour Augustyn,
Or Boece or the Bisshop Bradwardyn,-
Wheither that Goddes worthy forwityng
Streyneth me nedefully to doon a thyng,
(Nedely clepe I symple necessitee)

Or elles, if free choys be graunted me
To do that same thyng, or do it noght,
Though God forwoot it, er that it was wroght;
Or if his wityng streyneth never a deel
But by necessitee condicioneel,-

I wel nat han to do of swich mateere;
My tale is of a Cok, as ye may heere,
That took his conseil of his wyf, with sorwe,
To walken in the yerd, upon that morwe
That he hadde met that dreem, that I of tolde.

Wommennes conseils been ful ofte colde;
Wommannes conseil broghte us first to wo,
And made Adam fro Paradys to go,
Ther as he was ful myrie, and wel at ese.
But for I noot to whom it myght displese,

If I conseil of wommen wolde blame,
Passe over, for I seye it in my game.
Rede auctours, wher they trete of swich mateere,
And what they seyn of wommen ye may heere.
Thise been the cokkes wordes, and nat myne,

I kan noon harm of no womman divyne.
Faire in the soond, to bathe hire myrily,
Lith Pertelote, and alle hir sustres by,
Agayn the sonne; and Chauntecleer so free
Soony murier than the mermayde in the see-

For Phisiologus seith sikerly
How that they syngen wel and myrily.
And so bifel, that as he cast his eye
Among the wortes on a boterflye,
He was war of this fox that lay ful lowe.

Nothyng ne liste hym thanne for to crowe,
But cride anon, "cok! cok!" and up he sterte,
As man that was affrayed in his herte.
For natureelly a beest desireth flee
Fro his contrarie, if he may it see,

Though he never erst hadde seyn it with his eye.
This Chauntecleer, whan he gan hym espye,
He wolde han fled, but that the fox anon
Seyde, "Gentil sire, allas, wher wol ye gon?
Be ye affrayed of me that am youre freend?

Now certes, I were worse than a feend
If I to yow wolde harm or vileynye.
I am nat come your conseil for tespye,
But trewely, the cause of my comynge
Was oonly for to herkne how that ye synge.

For trewely, ye have as myrie a stevene
As any aungel hath that is in hevene.
Therwith ye han in musyk moore feelynge
Than hadde Boece, or any that kan synge.
My lord youre fader-God his soule blesse!-

And eek youre mooder, of hir gentillesse
Han in myn hous ybeen, to my greet ese;
And certes, sire, ful fayn wolde I yow plese.
But for men speke of syngyng, I wol seye,
So moote I brouke wel myne eyen tweye,

Save yow I herde nevere man yet synge
As dide youre fader in the morwenynge.
Certes, it was of herte al that he song!
And for to make his voys the moore strong,
He wolde so peyne hym, that with bothe hise eyen

He moste wynke, so loude he solde cryen,
And stonden on his tiptoon therwithal,
And strecche forth his nekke long and smal.
And eek he was of swich discrecioun,
That ther nas no man in no regioun,

That hym in song or wisedom myghte passe.
I have wel rad in daun Burnel the Asse
Among hise vers, how that ther was a cok,
For that a presstes sone yaf hym a knok,
Upon his leg, whil he was yong and nyce,

He made hym for to lese his benefice.
But certeyn, ther nys no comparisoun
Bitwixe the wisedom and discrecioun
Of youre fader, and of his subtiltee.
Now syngeth, sire, for seinte charitee,

Lat se konne ye youre fader countrefete!"
This Chauntecleer hise wynges gan to bete,
As man that koude his traysoun nat espie,
So was he ravysshed with his flaterie.
All

Title: The Canterbury Tales
Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
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