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Geoffrey Chaucer >> The Canterbury Tales (page 35)


non
Beteth hise wynges, and farewel, he is gon!
Love is a thyng as any spirit free.
Wommen of kynde desiren libertee,

And nat to been constreyned as a thral-
And so doon men, if I sooth seyen shal.
Looke who that is moost pacient in love,
He is at his avantage al above.
Pacience is an heigh vertu, certeyn,

For it venquysseth, as thise clerkes seyn,
Thynges that rigour sholde nevere atteyne.
For every word men may nat chide or pleyne,
Lerneth to suffre, or elles, so moot I goon,
Ye shul it lerne, wherso ye wole or noon.

For in this world, certein, ther no wight is
That he ne dooth or seith som tyme amys.
Ire, siknesse, or constellacioun
Wyn, wo, or chaungynge of complexioun
Causeth ful ofte to doon amys or speken.

On every wrong a man may nat be wreken;
After the tyme moste be temperaunce
To every wight that kan on governaunce.
And therfore hath this wise worthy knyght,
To lyve in ese, suffrance hir bihight,

And she to hym ful wisly gan to swere
That nevere sholde ther be defaute in here.
Heere may men seen an humble wys accord!
Thus hath she take hir servant and hir lord,
Servant in love, and lord in mariage;

Thanne was he bothe in lordship and servage-
Servage? nay but in lordshipe above,
Sith he hath bothe his lady and his love-
His lady, certes, and his wyf also,
The which that lawe of love acordeth to.

And whan he was in this prosperitee,
Hoom with his wyf he gooth to his contree,
Nat fer fro Pedmark, ther his dwellyng was,
Where as he lyveth in blisse and in solas.
Who koude telle, but he hadde wedded be,

The joye, the ese, and the prosperitee
That is bitwixe an housbonde and his wyf?
A yeer and moore lasted this blisful lyg,
Til that the knyght of which I speke of thus,
That of Kayrrud was cleped Arveragus,

Shoop hym to goon, and dwelle a yeer or tweyne,
In Engelond, that cleped was eek Briteyne,
To seke in armes worship and honour-
For al his lust he sette in swich labour-
And dwelled there two yeer, the book seith thus.

Now wol I stynten of this Arveragus
And speken I wole of Dorigene his wyf,
That loveth hir housbonde as hir hertes lyf.
For his absence wepeth she and siketh,
As doon thise noble wyves whan hem liketh.

She moorneth, waketh, wayleth, fasteth, pleyneth,
Desir of his presence hir so destreyneth,
That al this wyde world she sette at noght,
Hir freendes whiche that knewe hir hevy thoght,
Conforten hir in al that ever they may.

They prechen hir, they telle hir nyght and day
That causelees she sleeth hirself, allas!
And every confort possible in this cas
They doon to hir, with all hir bisynesse,
Al for to make hir leve hir hevynesse.

By proces, as ye knowen everichoon,
Men may so longe graven in a stoon,
Til som figure therinne emprented be.
So longe han they conforted hir, til she
Receyved hath by hope and by resoun

The emprentyng of hir consolacioun,
Thurgh which hir grete sorwe gan aswage;
She may nat alwey duren in swich rage.
And eek Arveragus, in al this care,
Hath sent hir lettres hoom of his welfare,

And that he wol com hastily agayn,
Or elles hadde this sorwe hir herte slayn.
Hir freendes sawe hir sorwe gan to slake,
And preyden hir on knees, for Goddes sake,
To com and romen hir in compaignye,

Awey to dryve hir derke fantasye.
And finally she graunted that requeste,
For wel she saugh that it was for the beste.
Now stood hir castel faste by the see;
And often with hir freendes walketh she

Hir to disporte, upon the bank an heigh,
Where as she many a ship and barge seigh
Seillynge hir cours, where as hem liste go.
But thanne was that a parcel of hir wo,
For to hirself ful ofte "allas," seith she,

"Is ther no ship of so many as I se
Wol bryngen hoom my lord? thanne were myn herte
Al warisshed of hisse bittre peynes smerte."
Another tyme ther wolde she sitte and thynke
And caste hir eyen dounward fro the brynke;

But whan she saugh the reisly rokkes blake,
For verray feere, so wolde hir herte quake
That on hir feet she myghte hir noght sustene.
Thanne wolde she sitte adoun upon the grene,
And pitously into the see biholde,

And seyn right thus, with sorweful sikes colde:
"Eterne God, that thurgh thy purveiaunce
Ledest the world by certein governaunce,
In ydel, as men seyn, ye no thyng make.
But, lord, thise grisly feendly rokkes blake,

That semen rather a foul confusioun
Of werk, than any fair creacioun
Of swich a parfit wys God and a stable,
Why han ye wroght this werk unresonable?
For by this werk, south, north, ne west ne eest

Ther nys yfostred man, ne bryd, ne beest.
It dooth no good, to my wit, but anoyeth,
Se ye nat, lord, how mankynde it destroyeth?
An hundred thousand bodyes of mankynde
Han rokkes slayn, al be they nat in mynde;

Which mankynde is so fair part of thy werk
That thou it madest lyk to thyn owene merk.
Thanne semed it ye hadde a greet chiertee
Toward mankynde; but how thanne may it bee
That ye swiche meenes make it to destroyen,

Whiche meenes do no good, but evere anoyen?
I woot wel clerkes wol seyn, as hem leste,
By argumentz, that al is for the beste,
Though I ne kan the causes nat yknowe,
But thilke God, that made wynd to blowe,

As kepe my lord; this my conclusioun.
To clerkes lete I al this disputisoun-
But wolde God, that alle thise rokkes blake,
Were sonken into helle for his sake!
Thise rokkes sleen myn herte for the feere!"

Thus wolde she seyn, with many a pitous teere.
Hir freendes sawe that ti was no disport
To romen by the see, but disconfort,
And shopen for to pleyen somwher elles;
They leden hir by ryveres and by welles,

And eek in othere places delitables,
They dauncen, and they pleyen at ches and tables.
So on a day, right in the morwe tyde,
Unto a gardyn that was ther bisyde,
In which that they hadde maad hir ordinaunce

Of vitaille and of oother purveiaunce,
They goon and pleye hem al the longe day.
And this was in the sixte morwe of May,
Which May hadde peynted with his softe shoures
This gardyn ful of leves and of floures,

And craft of mannes hand so curiously
Arrayed hadde this gardyn trewely,
That nevere was ther gardyn of swich prys
But if it were the verray Paradys.
The odour of floures and the fresshe sighte

Wolde han maked any herte lighte
That evere was born, but if to greet siknesse
Or to greet sorwe helde it in distresse;
So ful it was of beautee with plesaunce.
At after dyner gonne they to daunce

And synge also, save Dorigen allone,
Which made alwey hir compleint and hir moone
For she ne saugh hym on the daunce go
That was hir housbonde, and hir love also.
But nathelees she moste a tyme abyde,

And with good hope lete hir sorwe slyde.
Upon this daunce, amonges othere men,
Daunced a squier biforn Dorigen
That fressher was, and jolyer of array,
As to my doom, than is the monthe of May.

He syngeth, daunceth, passynge any man
That is or was, sith that the world bigan.
Therwith he was, if men sholde hym discryve,
Oon of the beste farynge man of lyve;
Yong, strong, right vertuous, and riche, and wys,

And wel biloved, and holden in greet prys.
And shortly, if the sothe I tellen shal,
Unwityng of this Dorigen at al,
This lusty squier, servant to Venus,
Which that ycleped was Aurelius,

Hadde loved hir best of any creature
Two yeer and moore, as was his aventure;
But nevere dorste he tellen hir his grevaunce,
Withouten coppe he drank al his penaunce.
He was despeyred, no thyng dorste he seye

Save in his songes somwhat wolde he wreye
His wo, as in a general compleynyng.
He seyde he lovede, and was biloved no thyng,
Of swich matere made he manye layes,
Songes, compleintes, roundels, virelayes,

How that he dorste nat his sorwe telle,
But langwissheth, as a furye dooth in helle,
And dye he moste, he seyde, as dide Ekko
For Narcisus, that dorste nat telle hir wo,
In oother manere than ye heere me seye,

Ne dorste he nat to hir his wo biwreye,
Save that paraventure som tyme at daunces,
Ther yonge folk kepen hir observaunces,
It may wel be he looked on hir face,
In swich a wise as man that asketh grace;

But no thyng wiste she of his entente.
Nathelees it happed, er they thennes wente,
By cause that he was hir neighebour,
And was a man of worship and honour,
And hadde yknowen hym of tyme yoore,

They fille in speche, and forthe moore and moore
Unto this purpos drough Aurelius.
And whan he saugh his tyme, he seyde thus:
"Madame," quod he, "by God that this world made,
So that I wiste it myghte your herte glade,

I wolde that day that youre Arveragus
Wente over the see, that I, Aurelius,
Hadde went ther nevere I sholde have come agayn.
For wel I woot my servyce is in vayn,
My gerdoun is but brestyng of myn herte.

Madame, reweth upon my peynes smerte,
For with a word ye may me sleen or save.
Heere at your feet, God wolde that I were grave,
I ne have as now no leyser moore to seye,
Have mercy, sweete, or ye wol do me deye."

She gan to looke upon Aurelius:
"Is this youre wyl!" quod she, "and sey ye thus?
"Nevere erst," quod she, "ne wiste I what ye mente.
But now, Aurelie, I knowe youre entente.
By thilke God, that yaf me soule and lyf,

Ne shal I nevere been untrewe wyf,
In word ne werk, as fer as I have wit.
I wol been his to whom that I am knyt.
Taak this for fynal answere as of me."
But after that, in pley thus seyde she,

"Aurelie," quod she, "by heighe God above,
Yet wolde I graunte yow to been youre love,
Syn I yow se so pitously complayne.
Looke, what day that endelong Britayne
Ye remoeve alle the rokkes, stoon by stoon,

That they ne lette shipe ne boot to goon,
I seye, whan ye han maad the coost so clene
Of rokkes that ther nys no stoon ysene,
Thanne wol I love yow best of any man!
Have heer my trouthe in al that evere I kan."

"Is ther noon oother grace in yow?" quod he.
"No, by that lord," quod she, "that maked me;
For wel I woot that it shal nevere bityde;
Lat swiche folies out of your herte slyde.
What deyntee sholde a man han in his lyf

For to go love another mannes wyf,
That hath hir body whan so that hym liketh?"
Aurelius ful ofte soore siketh,
Wo was Aurelie, whan that he this herde,
And with a sorweful herte he thus answered.

"Madame," quod he, "this were an inpossible;
Thanne moot I dye of sodeyn deth horrible."
And with that word he turned hym anon.
Tho coome hir othere freendes many oon,
And in the aleyes romeden up and doun,

And no thyng wiste of this conclusioun,
But sodeynly bigonne revel newe,
Til that the brighte sonne loste his hewe,
For thorisonte hath reft the sonne his lyght-
This is as muche to seye as, ti was nyght-

And hoom they goon in joye and in solas,
Save oonly wrecche Aurelius, allas!
He to his hous is goon with sorweful herte;
He seeth he may nat fro his deeth asterte;
Hym semed that he felte his herte colde;

Up to the hevene hise handes he gan holde,
And on hise knowes bare he sette hym doun,
And in his ravyng seyde his orisoun.
For verray wo out of his wit he breyde;
He nyste what he spak, but thus he seyde:

With pitous herte his pleynt hath he bigonne
Unto the goddes, and first unto the sonne
He seyde, "Appollo, God and governour
Of every plaunte, herbe, tree, and flour
That yevest after thy declinacioun

To ech of hem his tyme and his sesoun,
As thyn herberwe chaungeth lowe or heighe,
Lord Phebus, cast thy mericiable eighe
On wrecche Aurelie, which that am but lorn.
Lo, lord, my lady hath my deeth ysworn

Withoute gilt, but thy benignytee
Upon my dedly herte have som pitee.
For wel I woot, lord Phebus, if yow lest,
Ye may me helpen, save my lady, best.
Now voucheth sauf that I may yow devyse

How that I may been holpen and in what wyse.
Your blisful suster, Lucina the sheene,
That of the see is chief goddesse and queene,
(Though Neptunus have deitee in the see,
Yet emperisse aboven hym is she)

Ye knowen wel, lord, that right as hir desir
Is to be quyked and lightned of youre fir,
For which she folweth yow ful bisily,
Right so the see desireth naturelly
To folwen hir, as she that is goddesse

Bothe in the see and ryveres moore and lesse.
Wherfore, lord Phebus, this is my requeste;
Do this miracle, or do myn herte breste,
That now next at this opposicioun
Which in the signe shal be of the Leoun,

As preieth hir, so greet a flood to brynge
That fyve fadme at the leeste it oversprynge
The hyeste rokke in Armorik Briteyne,
And lat this flood endure yeres tweyne.
Thanne, certes, to my lady may I seye

`Holdeth youre heste, the rokkes been aweye.'
Lord Phebus, dooth this miracle for me,
Preye hir she go no faster cours than ye.
I seye, preyeth your suster that she go
No faster cours than ye thise yeres two.

Thanne shal she been evene atte fulle alway;
And spryng flood laste bothe nyght and day;
And but she vouche sauf in swich manere
To graunte me my sovereyn lady deere,
Prey hir to synken every rok adoun

Into hir owene dirke regioun
Under the ground ther Pluto dwelleth inne,
Or nevere mo shal I my lady wynne.
Thy temple in Delphos wol I barefoot seke,
Lord Phebus; se the teeris on my cheke,

And of my peyne have som compassioun!"
And with that word in swowne he fil a

Title: The Canterbury Tales
Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
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