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Geoffrey Chaucer >> The Canterbury Tales (page 33)


l his tresoun see,
His newe love, and al his subtiltee
So openly, that ther shal no thyng hyde.
Wherfore, ageyn this lusty someres tyde,
This mirrour and this ryng that ye may see,

He hath sent unto my lady Canacee,
Your excellente doghter that is heere.
The vertu of the ryng, if ye wol heere,
Is this, that if hir lust it for to were
Upon hir thombe, or in hir purs it bere,

Ther is no fowel that fleeth under the hevene
That she ne shal wel understonde his stevene,
And knowe his menyng openly and pleyn,
And answere hym in his langage ageyn.
And every gras that groweth upon roote,

She shal eek knowe, and whom it wol do boote,
Al be hise woundes never so depe and wyde.
This naked swerd, that hangeth by my syde
Swich vertu hath, that what man so ye smyte
Thurghout his armure it wole hym kerve and byte,

Were it as thikke as is a branched ook.
And what man that is wounded with a strook
Shal never be hool, til that yow list of grace
To stroke hym with the plate in thilke place
Ther he is hurt; this is as muche to seyn,

Ye moote with the plate swerd ageyn
Strike hym in the wounde, and it wol close.
This is a verray sooth withouten glose.
It faileth nat, whils it is in youre hoold."
And whan this knyght hath thus his tale toold,

He rideth out of halle, and doun he lighte.
His steede, which that shoon as sonne brighte,
Stant in the court, as stille as any stoon.
This knyght is to his chambre lad anoon,
And is unarmed and unto mete yset.

The presentes been ful roially yfet,
This is to seyn, the swerd and the mirrour,
And born anon into the heighe tour
With certeine officers ordeyned therfore.
And unto Canacee this ryng was bore,

Solempnely, ther she sit at the table.
But sikerly, withouten any fable,
The hors of bras, that may nat be remewed,
It stant as it were to the ground yglewed.
Ther may no man out of the place it dryve,

For noon engyn of wyndas ne polyve;
And cause why, for they kan nat the craft,
And therfore in the place they han it laft,
Til that the knyght hath taught hem the manere
To voyden hym, as ye shal after heere.

Greety was the prees that swarmeth to and fro
To gauren on this hors, that stondeth so.
For it so heigh was, and so brood, and long,
So wel proporcioned for to been strong,
Right as it were a steede of Lumbardye;

Therwith so horsly and so quyk of eye,
As it a gentil Poilleys courser were.
For certes, fro his tayl unto his ere,
Nature ne art ne koude hym nat amende
In no degree, as al the peple wende.

But everemoore hir mooste wonder was
How that it koude go, and was of bras.
It was a fairye, as al the peple semed.
Diverse folk diversely they demed;
As many heddes, as manye wittes ther been.

They murmureden as dooth a swarm of been,
And maden skiles after hir fantasies,
Rehersynge of thise olde poetries,
And seyde that it was lyk the Pegasee,
The hors that hadde wynges for to flee;

Or elles, it was the Grekes hors Synoun,
That broghte Troie to destruccioun,
As men in thise olde geestes rede.
"Myn herte," quod oon, "is everemoore in drede.
I trowe som men of armes been therinne,

That shapen hem this citee for to wynne.
It were right good that al swich thyng were knowe."
Another rowned to his felawe lowe,
And seyde, "He lyeth; it is rather lyk
An apparence ymaad by som magyk,

As jogelours pleyen at thise feestes grete."
Of sondry doutes thus they jangle and trete,
As lewed peple demeth comunly
Of thynges that been maad moore subtilly
Than they kan in hir lewednesse comprehende;

They demen gladly to the badder ende.
And somme of hem wondred on the mirrour
That born was up into the maister tour-
How men myghte in it swiche thynges se.
Another answerde, and seyde, "It myghte wel be

Naturelly by composiciouns
Of anglis and of slye reflexiouns;"
And seyden, that in Rome was swich oon.
They speken of Alocen and Vitulon,
And Aristotle, that writen in hir lyves

Of queynte mirrours and of perspectives,
As knowen they that han hir bookes herd.
And oother folk han wondred on the swerd,
That wolde percen thurgh out every thyng;
And fille in speche of Thelophus the kyng

And of Achilles with his queynte spere,
For he koude with it bothe heele and dere,
Right in swich wise as men may with the swerd,
Of which right now ye han yourselven herd.
They speken of sondry hardyng of metal,

And speke of medicynes therwithal,
And how and whanne it sholde yharded be,
Which is unknowe, algates unto me.
Tho speeke they of Canacees ryng,
And seyden alle, that swich a wonder thyng

Of craft of rynges herde they nevere noon;
Save that he Moyses, and kyng Salomon
Hadde a name of konnyng in swich art.
Thus seyn the peple, and drawen hem apart.
But nathelees, somme seiden that it was

Wonder to maken of fern asshen glas,
And yet nys glas nat lyk asshen of fern;
But for they han knowen it so fern,
Therfore cesseth hir janglyng and hir wonder.
As soore wondren somme on cause of thonder,

On ebbe, on flood, on gossomer, and on myst,
And alle thyng, til that the cause is wyst.
Thus jangle they, and demen, and devyse,
Til that the knyg gan fro the bord aryse.
Phebus hath laft the angle meridional,

And yet ascendynge was the beest roial,
The gentil Leoun, with his Aldrian,
Whan that this Tartre kyng, this Cambynskan
Roos fro his bord, ther that he sat ful hye.
Toforn hym gooth the loude mynstralcye

Til he cam to his chambre of parementz,
Ther as they sownen diverse intrumentz
That it is lyk an hevene for to heere.
Now dauncen lusty Venus children deere,
For in the Fyssh hir lady sat ful hye,

And looketh on hem with a freendly eye.
This noble kyng is set up in his trone;
This strange knyght is fet to hym ful soone,
And on the daunce he gooth with Canacee.
Heere is the revel and the jolitee

That is nat able a dul man to devyse;
He moste han knowen love and his servyse,
And been a feestlych man as fressh as May,
That sholde yow devysen swich array.
Who koude telle yow the forme of daunces,

So unkouthe and so fresshe contenaunces,
Swich subtil lookyng and dissymulynges,
For drede of jalouse mennes aperceyvynges?
No man but Launcelet, and he is deed.
Therfore I passe of al this lustiheed;

I sey namoore, but in this jolynesse
I lete hem, til men to the soper dresse.
The styward bit the spices for to hye,
And eek the wyn, in al this melodye;
The usshers and the squiers been ygoon,

The spices and the wyn is come anoon,
They ete and drynke, and whan this hadde an ende,
Unto the temple, as reson was, they wende.
The service doon, they soupen al by day;
What nedeth me rehercen hir array?

Ech man woot wel, that at a kynges feeste
Hath plentee, to the mooste and to the leeste,
And deyntees mo than been in my knowyng.
At after soper gooth this noble kyng,
To seen this hors of bras, with al the route

Of lordes, and of ladyes hym aboute.
Swich wondryng was ther on this hors of bras,
That syn the grete sege of Troie was,
Ther as men wondreden on an hors also,
Ne was ther swich a wondryng as was tho.

But fynally, the kyng axeth this knyght
The vertu of this courser, and the myght;
And preyde hym to telle his governaunce.
This hors anoon bigan to trippe and daunce,
Whan that this knyght leyde hand upon his reyne,

And seyde, "Sire, ther is namoore to seyne,
But whan yow list to ryden any where,
Ye mooten trille a pyn, stant in his ere,
Which I shal telle yow bitwix us two.
Ye moote nempne hym to what place also,

Or to what contree, that yow list to ryde,
And whan ye com ther as yow list abyde,
Bidde hym descende, and trille another pyn,
(For therin lith theffect of al the gyn)
And he wol doun descende, and doon youre wille.

And in that place he wol stonde stille,
Though al the world the contrarie hadde yswore;
He shal nat thennes been ydrawe ne ybore.
Or, if yow liste, bidde hym thennes goon,
Trille this pyn, and he wol vanysshe anoon

Out of the sighte of every maner wight,
And com agayn, be it day or nyght,
Whan that yow list to clepen hym ageyn,
In swich a gyse as I shal to yow seyn,
Bitwixe yow and me, and that ful soone.

Ride whan yow list; ther is namoore to doone."
Enformed whan the kyng was of that knyght,
And hath conceyved in his wit aright
The manere and the forme of al this thyng,
Thus glad and blithe this noble doughty kyng

Repeireth to his revel as biforn,
The brydel is unto the tour yborn,
And kept among hise jueles, leeve and deere.
The hors vanysshed, I noot in what manere,
Out of hir sighte; ye gete namoore of me.

But thus I lete in lust and jolitee
This Cambynskan, hise lordes festeiynge,
Til wel ny the day bigan to sprynge.

Explicit prima pars.

Sequitur pars secunda.

The norice of digestioun, the sleepe,
Gan on hem wynke, and bad hem taken keepe,
That muchel drynke and labour wolde han reste;
And with a galpyng mouth hem alle he keste,
And seyde, "It was tyme to lye adoun,

For blood was in his domynacioun.
Cherisseth blood, natures freend," quod he.
They thanken hym, galpynge, by two, by thre,
And every wight gan drawe hym to his reste,
As sleep hem bad; they tooke it for the beste.

Hir dremes shul nat been ytoold for me;
Ful were hir heddes of fumositee,
That causeth dreem, of which ther nys no charge.
They slepen til that it was pryme large,
The mooste part, but it were Canacee;

She was ful mesurable, as wommen be.
For of hir fader hadde she take leve
To goon to reste, soone after it was eve.
Hir liste nat appalled for to be,
Ne on the morwe unfeestlich for to se:

And slepte hir firste sleepe, and thanne awook;
For swich a joye she in hir herte took,
Bothe of hir queynte ryng and hire mirrour,
That twenty tyme she changed hir colour,
And in hir sleep right for impressioun

Of hir mirrour she hadde a visioun.
Wherfore, er that the sonne gan up glyde,
She cleped on hir maistresse, hir bisyde,
And seyde, that hir liste for to ryse.
Thise olde wommen that been gladly wyse,

As hir maistresse answerde hir anon,
And seyde, "Madame, whider wil ye goon
Thus erly, for the folk been alle on reste?"
"I wol," quod she, "arise, for me leste
No lenger for to slepe; and walke aboute."

Hir maistresse clepeth wommen a greet route,
And up they rysen wel an ten or twelve.
Up riseth fresshe Canacee hirselve,
As rody and bright as dooth the yonge sonne,
That in the Ram is foure degrees upronne,

Noon hyer was he, whan she redy was;
And forth she walketh esily a pas,
Arrayed after the lusty sesoun soote,
Lightly for to pleye and walke on foote,
Nat but with fyve or sixe of hir meynee;

And in a trench forth in the park gooth she.
The vapour, which that fro the erthe glood,
Made the sonne to seme rody and brood;
But natheless, it was so fair a sighte
That it made alle hir hertes for to lighte,

What for the sesoun and the morwenynge,
And for the foweles that she herde synge;
For right anon she wiste what they mente
Right by hir song, and knew al hir entente.
The knotte, why that every tale is toold,

If it be taried til that lust be coold
Of hem that han it after herkned yoore,
The savour passeth ever lenger the moore,
For fulsomnesse of his prolixitee;
And by the same resoun thynketh me,

I sholde to the knotte condescende,
And maken of hir walkyng soone an ende.
Amydde a tree fordryed, as whit as chalk,
As Canacee was pleyyng in hir walk,
Ther sat a faucon over hir heed ful hye,

That with a pitous voys so gan to crye
That all the wode resouned of hir cry.
Ybeten hath she hirself so pitously
With bothe hir wynges, til the rede blood
Ran endelong the tree ther as she stood,

And evere in oon she cryde alwey and shrighte,
And with hir beek hirselven so she prighte,
That ther nys tygre, ne noon so crueel beest
That dwelleth outher in wode or in forest
That nolde han wept, if that he wepe koude

For sorwe of hir, she shrighte alwey so loude.
For ther nas nevere yet no man on lyve
(If that I koude a faucon wel discryve),
That herde of swich another of fairnesse,
As wel of plumage as of gentillesse

Of shape and al that myghte yrekened be.
A faucon peregryn thanne semed she
Of fremde land, and everemoore as she stood
She swowneth now and now for lakke of blood,
Til wel neigh is she fallen fro the tree.

This faire kynges doghter Canacee,
That on hir fynger baar the queynte ryng,
Thurgh which she understood wel every thyng
That any fowel may in his leden seyn,
And koude answeren hym in his ledene ageyn,

Hath understonde what this faucoun seyde,
And wel neigh for the routhe almoost she deyde.
And to the tree she gooth ful hastily,
And on this faucoun looketh pitously,
And heeld hir lappe abrood, for wel she wiste

The faucoun moste fallen fro the twiste,
Whan that it swowned next, for lakke of blood.
A longe while to wayten hir she stood,
Til atte laste she spak in this manere
Unto the hauk, as ye shal after heere.

"what is the cause, if it be for to telle,
That ye be in this furial pyne of helle?'
Quod Canacee unto the hauk above,
"Is this for sorwe of deeth, or los of love?
For, as I trowe, thise been causes two

That causeth moost a gentil herte wo.
Of oother harm it nedeth nat to speke,
For ye yourself upon yourself yow wreke,
Which

Title: The Canterbury Tales
Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
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