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Geoffrey Chaucer >> The Canterbury Tales (page 22)


witnessyng of many a wight,
That it was fals, that seyde his adversarie,

This cursed juge wolde no thyng tarie,
Ne heere a word moore of Virginius,
But yaf his juggement and seyde thus:
"I deeme anon this cherl his servant have,
Thou shalt no lenger in thyn hous hir save.

Go, bryng hir forth, and put hir in our warde.
The cherl shal have his thral, this I awarde."
And whan this worthy knyght Virginius,
Thurgh sentence of this justice Apius,
Moste by force his deere doghter yeven

Unto the juge in lecherie to lyven,
He gooth hym hoom, and sette him in his halle,
And leet anon his deere doghter calle,
And with a face deed as asshen colde,
Upon hir humble face he gan biholde

With fadres pitee stikynge thurgh his herte,
Al wolde he from his purpos nat converte.
"Doghter," quod he, "Virginia, by thy name,
Ther been two weyes, outher deeth or shame
That thou most suffre, allas, that I was bore!

For nevere thou deservedest wherfore
To dyen with a swerd, or with a knyf.
O deere doghter, ender of my lyf,
Which I have fostred up with swich plesaunce,
That thou were nevere out of my remembraunce.

O doghter, which that art my laste wo,
And in my lyf my laste joye also,
O gemme of chastitee, in pacience
Take thou thy deeth, for this is my sentence,
For love and nat for hate, thou most be deed;

My pitous hand moot smyten of thyn heed.
Allas, that evere Apius the say!
Thus hath he falsly jugged the to day."
And tolde hir al the cas, as ye bifore
Han herd, nat nedeth for to telle it moore.

"O mercy, deere fader," quod this mayde,
And with that word she bothe hir armes layde
About his nekke, as she was wont to do.
The teeris bruste out of hir eyen two,
And seyde, "Goode fader, shal I dye?

Is ther no grace? is ther no remedye?"
"No certes, deere doghter myn," quod he.
"Thanne yif me leyser, fader myn," quod she,
"My deeth for to compleyne a litel space,
For, pardee, Jepte yaf his doghter grace

For to compleyne, er he hir slow, allas!
And God it woot, no thyng was hir trespas
But for she ran hir fader for to see
To welcome hym with greet solempnitee."
And with that word she fil aswowne anon;

And after whan hir swownyng is agon
She riseth up and to hir fader sayde,
"Blissed be God that I shal dye a mayde;
Yif me my deeth, er that I have a shame.
Dooth with youre child youre wyl, a Goddes name."

And with that word she preyed hym ful ofte
That with his swerd he wolde smyte softe,
And with that word aswowne doun she fil.
Hir fader with ful sorweful herte and wil
Hir heed of smoot, and by the top it hente,

And to the juge he gan it to presente
As he sat yet in doom, in consistorie.
And whan the juge it saugh, as seith the storie,
He bad to take hym and anhange hym faste.
But right anon a thousand peple in thraste

To save the knyght for routhe and for pitee;
For knowen was the false iniquitee.
The peple anon hath suspect of this thyng,
By manere of the cherles chalangyng,
That it was by the assent of Apius-

They wisten wel that he was lecherus;
For which unto this Apius they gon
And caste hym in a prisoun right anon,
Ther as he slow hymself, and Claudius
That servant was unto this Apius,

Was demed for to hange upon a tree,
But that Virginius, of his pitee,
So preyde for hym, that he was exiled;
And elles, certes, he had been bigyled.
The remenant were anhanged, moore and lesse,

That were consentant of this cursednesse.
Heere men may seen, how synne hath his merite.
Beth war, for no man woot whom God wol smyte
In no degree, ne in which manere wyse
The worm of conscience may agryse

Of wikked lyf, though it so pryvee be
That no man woot therof but God and he.
For be he lewed man, or ellis lered,
He noot how soone that he shal been afered.
Therfore I rede yow this conseil take,
Forsaketh synne, er synne yow forsake.

Heere endeth the Phisiciens tale.
Part 17

EPILOGUE

The wordes of the Hoost to the Phisicien and the Pardoner.

Oure Hooste gan to swere as he were wood;
"Harrow!" quod he, "by nayles and by blood!
This was a fals cherl and a fals justice!
As shameful deeth as herte may devyse
Come to thise juges and hire advocatz!

Algate this sely mayde is slayn, allas!
Allas! to deere boughte she beautee!
Wherfore I seye al day, as men may see
That yiftes of Fortune and of Nature
Been cause of deeth to many a creature.

(Hir beautee was hir deeth, I dar wel sayn;
Allas, so pitously as she was slayn!)
Of bothe yiftes that I speke of now
Men han ful ofte moore harm than prow.
But trewely, myn owene maister deere,

This is a pitous tale for to heere.
But nathelees, passe over is no fors;
I pray to God so save thy gentil cors,
And eek thyne urynals and thy jurdanes,
Thyn ypocras and eek thy Galianes

And every boyste ful of thy letuarie,
God blesse hem, and oure lady Seinte Marie!
So moot I theen, thou art a propre man,
And lyk a prelat, by Seint Ronyan.
Seyde I nat wel? I kan nat speke in terme;

But wel I woot thou doost myn herte to erme,
That I almoost have caught a cardyacle.
By corpus bones, but I have triacle,
Or elles a draughte of moyste and corny ale,
Or but I heere anon a myrie tale,

Myn herte is lost, for pitee of this mayde!
Thou beelamy, thou Pardoner," he sayde,
"Telle us som myrthe or japes right anon."
"It shal be doon," quod he, "by Seint Ronyon;
But first," quod he, "heere at this ale-stake,

I wol bothe drynke and eten of a cake."
And right anon the gentils gonne to crye,
"Nay, lat hym telle us of no ribaudye!
Telle us som moral thyng that we may leere
Som wit, and thanne wol we gladly heere!"

"I graunte, ywis," quod he, "but I moot thynke
Upon som honeste thyng, while that I drynke."

THE PARDONERS PROLOGUE

Heere folweth the Prologe of the Pardoners tale.

Radix malorum est Cupiditas Ad Thimotheum

Lordynges-quod he-in chirches whan I preche,
I peyne me to han an hauteyn speche,
And rynge it out as round as gooth a belle,
For I kan al by rote that I telle.
My theme is alwey oon and evere was,

"Radix malorum est Cupiditas."
First I pronounce whennes that I come,
And thanne my bulles shewe I, alle and some;
Oure lige lordes seel on my patente,
That shewe I first, my body to warente,

That no man be so boold, ne preest ne clerk,
Me to destourbe of Cristes hooly werk.
And after that thanne telle I forth my tales,
Bulles of popes and of cardynales,
Of patriarkes and bishopes I shewe,

And in Latyn I speke a wordes fewe,
To saffron with my predicacioun,
And for to stire hem to devocioun.
Thanne shewe I forth my longe cristal stones,
Yerammed ful of cloutes and of bones;

Relikes been they, as wenen they echoon.
Thanne have I in latoun a sholder-boon
Which that was of an hooly Jewes sheepe.
"Goode men," I seye, "taak of my wordes keepe:
If that this boon be wasshe in any welle,

If cow, or calf, or sheep, or oxe swelle,
That any worm hath ete, or worm ystonge,
Taak water of that welle, and wassh his tonge,
And it is hool anon; and forthermoor,
Of pokkes and of scabbe and every soor

Shal every sheepe be hool that of this welle
Drynketh a draughte; taak kepe eek what I telle,
If that the goode man that the beestes oweth,
Wol every wyke, er that the cok hym croweth,
Fastynge, drinken of this welle a draughte,

As thilke hooly Jew oure eldres taughte,
Hise beestes and his stoor shal multiplie.
And, sire, also it heeleth jalousie;
For though a man be falle in jalous rage,
Lat maken with this water his potage,

And nevere shal he moore his wyf mystriste,
Though he the soothe of hir defaute wiste,
Al had she taken preestes two or thre.
Heere is a miteyn, eek, that ye may se:
He that his hand wol putte in this mitayn,

He shal have multipliyng of his grayn
What he hath sowen, be it whete or otes,
So that he offre pens, or elles grotes.
Goode men and wommen, o thyng warne I yow,
If any wight be in this chirche now,

That hath doon synne horrible, that he
Dar nat for shame of it yshryven be,
Or any womman, be she yong or old,
That hath ymaad hir housbonde cokewold,
Swich folk shal have no power ne no grace

To offren to my relikes in this place.
And who so fyndeth hym out of swich fame,
He wol come up and offre, on Goddes name,
And I assoille him, by the auctoritee
Which that by tulle ygraunted was to me."

By this gaude have I wonne, yeer by yeer,
An hundred mark, sith I was pardoner.
I stonde lyk a clerk in my pulpet,
And whan the lewed peple is doun yset,
I preche so, as ye han heerd bifoore,

And telle an hundred false japes moore.
Thanne peyne I me to strecche forth the nekke,
And est and west upon the peple I bekke,
As dooth a dowve sittynge on a berne.
Myne handes adn my tonge goon so yerne

That it is joye to se my bisynesse.
Of avarice and of swich cursednesse
Is al my prechyng, for to make hem free
To yeven hir pens; and namely, unto me!
For myn entente is nat but for to wynne,

And no thyng for correccioun of synne.
I rekke nevere, whan that they been beryed,
Though that hir soules goon a blakeberyed,
For certes, many a predicacioun
Comth ofte tyme of yvel entencioun.

Som for plesance of folk, and flaterye,
To been avaunced by ypocrisye,
And som for veyne glorie, and som for hate.
For whan I dar noon oother weyes debate,
Thanne wol I stynge hym with my tonge smerte

In prechyng, so that he shal nat astert
To been defamed falsly, if that he
Hath trespased to my bretheren, or to me.
For though I telle noght his propre name,
Men shal wel knowe that it is the same

By signes, and by othere circumstances.
Thus quyte I folk that doon us displesances,
Thus spitte I out my venym, under hewe
Of hoolynesse, to semen hooly and trewe.
But shortly, myn entente I wol devyse;

I preche of no thyng but for coveityse.
Therfore my theme is yet, and evere was,
"Radix malorum est Cupiditas."
Thus kan I preche agayn that same vice
Which that I use, and that is avarice.

But though myself be gilty in that synne,
Yet kan I maken oother folk to twynne
From avarice, and soore to repente;
But that is nat my principal entente.
I preche no thyng but for coveitise;

Of this mateere it oghte ynogh suffise.
Thanne telle I hem ensamples many oon
Of olde stories longe tyme agoon,
For lewed peple loven tales olde;
Swiche thynges kan they wel reporte and holde.

What? trowe ye, the whiles I may preche,
And wynne gold and silver for I teche,
That I wol lyve in poverte wilfully?
Nay, nay, I thoghte it nevere, trewely.
For I wol preche and begge in sondry landes,

I wol nat do no labour with myne handes,
Ne make baskettes, and lyve therby,
By cause I wol nat beggen ydelly.
I wol noon of the apostles countrefete,
I wol have moneie, wolle, chese, and whete,

Al were it yeven of the povereste page,
Or of the povereste wydwe in a village,
Al sholde hir children sterve for famyne.
Nay, I wol drynke licour of the vyne,
And have a joly wenche in every toun.

But herkneth, lordynges, in conclusioun:
Your likyng is, that I shal telle a tale.
Now have I dronke a draughte of corny ale,
By God, I hope I shal yow telle a thyng
That shal by resoun been at youre likyng.

For though myself be a ful vicious man,
A moral tale yet I you telle kan,
Which I am wont to preche, for to wynne.
Now hoold youre pees, my tale I wol bigynne.
Part 18

THE PARDONERS TALE

Heere bigynneth the Pardoners tale.

In Flaundres whilom was a compaignye
Of yonge folk, that haunteden folye,
As riot, hasard, stywes, and tavernes,
Wher as with harpes, lutes, and gyternes
They daunce and pleyen at dees, bothe day and nyght,

And eten also and drynken over hir myght,
Thurgh which they doon the devel sacrifise
Withinne that develes temple in cursed wise,
By superfluytee abhomynable.
Hir othes been so grete and so dampnable

That it is grisly for to heere hem swere.
Oure blissed lordes body they to-tere,
Hem thoughte that Jewes rente hym noght ynough,
And ech of hem at otheres synne lough.
And right anon thanne comen tombesteres,

Fetys and smale, and yonge frutesteres,
Syngeres with harpes, baudes, wafereres,
Whiche been the verray develes officeres
To kyndle and blowe the fyr of lecherye,
That is annexed unto glotonye.

The hooly writ take I to my witnesse,
That luxurie is in wyn and dronkenesse.
Lo, how that dronken Looth unkyndely
Lay by hise doghtres two unwityngly;
So dronke he was, he nyste what he wroghte.

Herodes, whoso wel the stories soghte,
Whan he of wyn was repleet at his feeste,
Right at his owene table he yaf his heeste
To sleen the Baptist John, ful giltelees.
Senee seith a good word, doutelees;

He seith, he kan no difference fynde
Bitwix a man that is out of his mynde,
And a man which that is dronkelewe,
But that woodnesse fallen in a shrewe
Persevereth lenger than dooth dronkenesse.

O glotonye, ful of cursednesse!
O cause first of oure confusioun!
O original of oure dampnacioun
Til Crist hadde boght us with his blood agayn!
Lo, how deere, shortly for to sayn,

Aboght was thilke cursed vileynye!
Corrupt was al this world for glotonye!<

Title: The Canterbury Tales
Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
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