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Geoffrey Chaucer >> The Canterbury Tales (page 30)


ago.
And though to me that ye be lief and deere,
Unto my gentils ye be no thyng so.
They seyn, to hem it is greet shame and wo
For to be subgetz, and to been in servage,
To thee that born art of a smal village.

And namely, sith thy doghter was ybore,
Thise wordes han they spoken, doutelees;
But I desire, as I have doon bifore,
To lyve my lyf with hem in reste and pees.
I may nat in this caas be recchelees,
I moot doon with thy doghter for the beste,
Nat as I wolde, but as my peple leste.

And yet God woot, this is ful looth to me!
But nathelees, withoute youre wityng
I wol nat doon, but this wol I," quod he,
"That ye to me assente as in this thyng.
Shewe now youre pacience in youre werkyng,
That ye me highte and swore in youre village,
That day that maked was oure mariage."

Whan she had herd al this, she noght ameved
Neither in word, or chiere, or countenaunce;
For as it semed she was nat agreved.
She seyde, "Lord, al lyth in youre plesaunce,
My child, and I, with hertely obeisaunce
Been youres al, and ye mowe save and spille
Your owene thyng, werketh after youre wille.

Ther may no thyng, God so my soule save,
Liken to yow, that may displese me,
Ne I ne desire no thyng for to have,
Ne drede for to leese save oonly yee;
This wyl is in myn herte, and ay shal be;
No lengthe of tyme or deeth may this deface,
Ne chaunge my corage to another place."

Glad was this markys of hir answeryng,
But yet he feyned as he were nat so.
Al drery was his cheere and his lookyng,
Whan that he sholde out of the chambre go.
Soone after this, a furlong wey or two,
He prively hath toold al his entente
Unto a man, and to his wyf hym sente.

A maner sergeant was this privee man,
The which that feithful ofte he founden hadde
In thynges grete, and eek swich folk wel kan
Doon execucioun on thynges badde.
The lord knew wel that he hym loved and dradde;-
And whan this sergeant wiste the lordes wille,
Into the chambre he stalked hym ful stille.

"Madame," he seyde, "ye moote foryeve it me
Though I do thyng to which I am constreyned,
Ye been so wys, that ful wel knowe ye
That lordes heestes mowe nat been yfeyned,
They mowe wel been biwailled and compleyned,
But men moote nede unto hir lust obeye;
And so wol I, ther is namoore to seye.

This child I am comanded for to take."
And spak namoore, but out the child he hente
Despitously, and gan a cheere make
As though he wolde han slayn it er he wente.
Grisildis moot al suffren and consente,
And as a lamb she sitteth meke and stille,
And leet this crueel sergeant doon his wille.

Suspecious was the diffame of this man,
Suspect his face, suspect his word also,
Suspect the tyme in which he this bigan.
Allas, hir doghter that she loved so!
She wende he wolde han slawen it right tho;
But nathelees she neither weep ne syked,
Consentynge hir to that the markys lyked.

But atte laste speken she bigan,
And mekely she to the sergeant preyde,
So as he was a worthy gentil man,
That she moste kisse hire child, er that it deyde,
And in hir barm this litel child she leyde,
With ful sad face, and gan the child to kisse,
And lulled it, and after gan it blisse.

And thus she seyde in hir benigne voys,
"Fareweel, my child, I shal thee nevere see,
But sith I thee have marked with the croys
Of thilke fader blessed moote thou be,
That for us deyde upon a croys of tree.
Thy soule, litel child, I hym bitake,
For this nyght shaltow dyen for my sake."

I trowe, that to a norice in this cas
It had been hard this reuthe for to se;
Wel myghte a mooder thanne han cryd `allas!'
But nathelees so sad and stidefast was she,
That she endured al adversitee,
And to the sergeant mekely she sayde,
"Have heer agayn your litel yonge mayde."

"Gooth now," quod she, "and dooth my lordes heeste;
But o thyng wol I prey yow of youre grace,
That, but my lord forbad yow atte leeste,
Burieth this litel body in son place
That beestes ne no briddes it torace."
But he no word wol to that purpos seye,
But took the child, and wente upon his weye.

This sergeant cam unto his lord ageyn,
And of Grisildis wordes and hir cheere
He tolde hym point for point, in short and pleyn,
And hym presenteth with his doghter deere.
Somwhat this lord hath routhe in his manere,
But nathelees his purpos heeld he stille,
As lordes doon whan they wol han hir wille;

And bad his sergeant, that he pryvely
Sholde this child ful softe wynde and wrappe,
With alle circumstances tendrely,
And carie it in a cofre or in a lappe,
But upon peyne his heed of for to swappe
That no man sholde knowe of his entente,
Ne whenne he cam, ne whider that he wente.

But at Boloigne to his suster deere,
That thilke tyme of Panik was Countesse,
He sholde it take, and shewe hir this mateere,
Bisekynge hir to doon hir bisynesse
This child to fostre in alle gentillesse,
And whos child that it was, he bad hire hyde
From every wight, for oght that may bityde.

The sergeant gooth, and hath fulfild this thyng,
But to this markys now retourne we,
For now gooth he ful faste ymaginyng,
If by his wyves cheere he myghte se
Or by hir word aperceyve that she
Were chaunged, but he nevere hir koude fynde,
But evere in oon ylike sad and kynde.

As glad, as humble, as bisy in servyse,
And eek in love, as she was wont to be,
Was she to hym in every maner wyse,
Ne of hir doghter noght a word spak she.
Noon accident for noon adversitee
Was seyn in hir, ne nevere hir doghter name
Ne nempned she, in ernest nor in game.

Explicit tercia pars.

Sequitur pars quarta.

In this estaat ther passed been foure yeer
Er she with childe was; but as God wolde,
A knave child she bar by this Walter,
Ful gracious and fair for to biholde.
And whan that folk it to his fader tolde,
Nat oonly he, but al his contree, merye
Was for this child, and God they thanke and herye.

Whan it was two yeer old, and fro the brest
Departed of his norice, on a day
This markys caughte yet another lest
To tempte his wyf yet ofter if he may.
O, nedelees was she tempted in assay!
But wedded men ne knowe no mesure,
Whan that they fynde a pacient creature.

"Wyf," quod this markys, "ye han herd er this
My peple sikly berth oure mariage;
And namely sith my sone yboren is,
Now is it worse than evere in al oure age.
The murmure sleeth myn herte and my corage,
For to myne eres comth the voys so smeerte,
That it wel ny destroyed hath myn herte.

Now sey they thus, `whan Walter is agon,
Thanne shal the blood of Janicle succede,
And been oure lord, for oother have we noon.'
Swiche wordes seith my peple, out of drede,
Wel oughte I of swich murmur taken heede,
For certeinly I drede swich sentence,
Though they nat pleyn speke in myn audience.

I wolde lyve in pees, if that I myghte;
Wherfore I am disposed outrely
As I his suster servede by nyghte,
Right so thenke I to serve hym pryvely.
This warne I yow, that ye nat sodeynly
Out of yourself for no wo sholde outreye.
Beth pacient, and therof I yow preye."

"I have," quod she, "seyd thus, and evere shal,
I wol no thyng, ne nyl no thyng, certayn,
But as yow list, naught greveth me at al
Though that my doughter and my sone be slayn-
At youre comandement, this is to sayn-
I have noght had no part of children tweyne
But first siknesse, and after wo and peyne.

Ye been oure lord, dooth with your owene thyng
Right as yow list, axeth no reed at me;
For as I lefte at hoom al my clothyng,
Whan I first cam to yow, right so," quod she,
"Lefte I my wyl and al my libertee,
And took youre clothyng, wherfore I yow preye,
Dooth youre plesaunce; I wol youre lust obeye.

And certes, if I hadde prescience
Youre wyl to knowe, er ye youre lust me tolde,
I wolde it doon withouten necligence.
But now I woot your lust and what ye wolde,
Al your plesance ferme and stable I holde,
For wiste I that my deeth wolde do yow ese,
Right gladly wolde I dyen yow to plese.

Deth may noght make no comparisoun
Unto youre love!" and whan this markys say
The constance of his wyf, he caste adoun
Hise eyen two, and wondreth that she may
In pacience suffre al this array;
And forth he goth with drery contenance,
But ot his herte it was ful greet plesance.

This ugly sergeant, in the same wyse
That he hir doghter caughte, right so he
Or worse, if men worse kan devyse,
Hath hent hir sone, that ful was of beautee,
And evere in oon so pacient was she,
That she no chiere maade of hevynesse,
But kiste hir sone, and after gan it blesse.

Save this, she preyde hym, that if he myghte,
Hir litel sone he wolde in erthe grave
His tendre lymes, delicaat to sighte,
Fro foweles and fro beestes for to save.
But she noon answere of hym myghte have,
He wente his wey, as hym nothyng ne roghte,
But to Boloigne he tendrely it broghte.

This markys wondred evere lenger the moore
Upon hir pacience, and if that he
Ne hadde soothly knowen therbifoore
That parfitly hir children loved she,
He wolde have wend that of som subtiltee,
And of malice, or for crueel corage,
That she hadde suffred this with sad visage.

But wel he knew that next hymself, certayn,
She loved hir children best in every wyse;
But now of wommen wolde I axen fayn,
If thise assayes myghte nat suffise,
What koude a sturdy housbonde moore devyse
To preeve hire wyfhod or hir stedefastnesse,
And he continuynge evere in sturdinesse?

But ther been folk of swich condicioun,
That whan they have a certein purpos take
They kan nat stynte of hir entencioun,
But right as they were bounden to that stake
They wol nat of that firste purpos slake.
Right so this markys fulliche hath purposed
To tempte his wyf, as he was first disposed.

He waiteth, if by word or contenance
That she to hym was changed of corage;
But nevere koude he fynde variance,
She was ay oon in herte and in visage.
And ay the forther that she was in age,
The moore trewe-if that it were possible-
She was to hym in love, and moore penyble.

For which it semed thus, that of hem two
Ther nas but o wyl; for, as Walter leste,
The same lust was hir plesance also,
And, God be thanked, al fil for the beste.
She shewed wel, for no worldly unreste
A wyf as of hirself no thing ne sholde

Wille in effect, but as hir housbonde wolde.

The sclaundre of Walter ofte and wyde spradde,
That of a crueel herte he wikkedly,
For he a povre womman wedded hadde,
Hath mordred bothe his children prively.-
Swich murmure was among hem comunly;
No wonder is, for to the peples ere
Ther cam no word, but that they mordred were.

For which, wher as his peple therbifore
Hadde loved hym wel, the sclaundre of his diffame
Made hem, that they hym hatede therfore.
To been a mordrere is an hateful name;
But nathelees, for ernest ne for game
He of his crueel purpos nolde stente:
To tempte his wyf was set al his entente.

Whan that his doghter twelf yeer was of age,
He to the court of Rome in subtil wyse
Enformed of his wyl sente his message,
Comaundynge hem swiche bulles to devyse
As to his crueel purpos may suffyse,
How that the pope as for his peples reste
Bad hym to wedde another, if hym leste.

I seye, he bad they sholde countrefete
The popes bulles, makynge mencioun
That he hath leve his firste wyf to lete
As by the popes dispensacioun,
To stynte rancour and dissencioun
Bitwixe his peple and hym, thus seyde the bulle,
The which they han publiced atte fulle.

The rude peple, as it no wonder is,
Wenden ful wel that it hadde be right so;
But whan thise tidynges cam to Grisildis,
I deeme that hir herte was ful wo.
But she, ylike sad for everemo,
Disposed was, this humble creature,
The adversitee of Fortune al tendure,

Abidynge evere his lust and his plesance
To whom that she was yeven, herte and al,
As to hir verray worldly suffisance.
But shortly, if this storie I tellen shal,
This markys writen hath in special
A lettre, in which he sheweth his entente,
And secreely he to Boloigne it sente;

To the Erl of Panyk, which that hadde tho
Wedded his suster, preyde he specially
To bryngen hoom agayn hise children two,
In honurable estaat al openly;
But o thyng he hym preyede outrely,
That he to no wight, though men wolde enquere,
Sholde nat telle whos children that they were,

But seye, the mayden sholde ywedded be
Unto the Markys of Saluce anon.
And as this Erl was preyed, so dide he;
For at day set he on his wey is goon
Toward Saluce, and lordes many oon,
In riche array this mayden for to gyde,
Hir yonge brother ridynge hir bisyde.

Arrayed was toward hir mariage
This fresshe mayde, ful of gemmes cleere;
Hir brother, which that seven yeer was of age,
Arrayed eek ful fressh in his manere.
And thus in greet noblesse, and with glad cheere,
Toward Saluces shapynge hir journey,
Fro day to day they ryden in hir wey.

Explicit quarta pars.

Sequitur pars quinta.

Among al this, after his wikke usage,
This markys yet his wyf to tempte moore
To the outtreste preeve of hir corage,
Fully to han experience and loore,
If that she were as stidefast as bifoore,
He on a day in open audience
Ful boistously hath seyd hir this sentence.

"Certes, Grisilde, I hadde ynogh plesance,
To han yow to my wyf for your goodnesse,
As for youre trouthe, and for your obeisance-
Noght f

Title: The Canterbury Tales
Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
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