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Chaucer.

A gay yeman under a forest fide;
A bow he bare, and arwes 24) bright and kene,
He had upon a corertepy 25) of grene,
An hat upon his hed with frenges blake.

Sire, quod the Sompnour, hail, and wel atake.

Welcome, quod he, and every good felaw. 26)
Whider ridest thou under this grene shaw? 27)
(Saide this yeman) wolt thou fer to-day?

This Sompnour him answered, and faide Nay.
Here faste by (quod he) is min entent
To reiden, for to reisen up a rent
That longeth to my lordes duetee.
A! art thou then a baillif? Ye, quod he.
(He dorste not for veray filth and shame
Say that he was a Sompnour for the name.)

De par dieux, quod this yeman, leve brother,
Thou art a baillif, and I am another.
I am unknowen as in this contree;
Of thin acquaintance I wol prayen thee,
And eke of brotherhed, if that thee lift.
I have gold and silver lying in my chist;
If that thee hap to come in to our shire,
Al shal be thin, right as thou wolt desire.
Grand mercy, quod this Sompnour, by my

faith.
Everich in others hond his trouthe laith
For to be fworne brethren til they dey,
In daliaunce 28) they riden forth and pley.
This Sompnour, which that was as ful of jan-

gles
As ful of venime ben thife wariangels, 29)
And ever enquering upon every thing,
Brother, quod he, wher is now your dwelling,
Another day if that I shuld you feche ?

This yeman him answerd in softe fpeche,
Brother, quod he, fer in the north contree,
Wheras I hope somtime I shal thee fee.

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Or 24) arrows. 35) a short cloak. 26) fellow. 27) fhade. 28) chearfulness, 29) rávenous infects or birds (würgmgelt.

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Chaucer.

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ye

!

Or we depart I shal thee so wel wisse, 30)
That of min hous ne shalt thou never misse.
Now brother, quod this Sompnour, I you

pray,
Teche me, while that we riden by the way,
(Sith that

ben a baillif as am 1)
Some fubtiltee, and tell me faithfully
In min office how I may moste winne;
And spareth not for conscience and for finne,
But as my brother tell me how do ye.

Now by my trouthe, brother min, said he,
As I shall tellen thee a faithful Tale.
My wages ben ful streit and eke ful sınale;
My lord is hard to me and dangerous,
And mine office is tul laborious,
And tbarfore by extortion I leve;
Forsoth I take all that men wol me yeve:
Algates 31) by fleighte or by violence
Fro yere to yere I win al my difpence:
I can no better tellen faithfully.

Now certes (quod this Sompnour) fo fare I;
I spare not to taken, God it wote,
But if it be to hevy or to hote.
What I may gete in conseil prively,
No maner conscience of that have I.
N'ere nin extortion I might not liven,
Ne of swiche japes 32) wol I not be shriven. 33)
Stomak ne conscience know I non;
I shrew thile shrifte faders everich on:
Wel be we met by God and by Seint Jame.
But, leve brother, tell me than thy name,
Quod this Sompnour. Right in this mene while
This yeman gan a litel for to smile.

Brother, quod he, wold thou that I thee tell
I am a fend, my dwelling is in hell,
And here I ride about my.pourchasing
To wote wher men wol give me any thing:
My pourchas is th’effect of all my rent,

Loke

4
30) direct. 31) Always, by any means.
33) not make my confeilion.

32) tricks.

ye?

;

Chaucer. , Loke how thou ridest for the same entent:

To winnen good thou rekkest never how:
Right fo fare I, for riden wol I now
Unto the worldes ende for a praye.

A, quod this Sompnour, benedicite! what say
I wend ye were a yeman trewely,
Yė have a mannes shape as well as I;
Have ye than a figure determinat
In hell, ther ye ben in your eftat?

Nay, certainly, quod he, ther have we nor,
But when us liketh, we can take us on,
Or elles make you wene that we ben shape
Somtime like a man, or like an ape,
Or like an angel can I ride or go;
It is no wonder thing though it be so;
A lousy jogelour can deceiven thee,
And parde yet can I more craft than he.
Why, quod the Sompnour, ride ye than or

gon
In fondry shape, and not alway in on?

For we, quod he, wol us swiche forme make
As most is able our preye for to take.

What maketh you to han al this labour?

Ful many a cause, leve Sire Sompnour,
Saide this fend. But alle thing hath time;
The day is short, and it is passed prime,
And yet ne wan I nothing in this day;
I wol entend to winning if I may,
And not entend over thinges to declare;
For, brother min, thy wit is al to bare
To understanil, although I told hem thee.
But for thou axeft why labouren we?
For somtime we be Goddes instruments,
And menes to don his commandements,
Whan that him list, upon his creatures,
In divers acts and in divers figures:
Withouten him we have no might certain,
If that him list to stonden theragain.
And somtime at our praiere han we leve

Only

1.

Chaucer.

Only the body and the soul to greve;
Witnesse on Job, whom that we didden wo,
And lomtime han we might on bothe two;
This is to fain, on foul and body eke:
And somtime be we suffered for to seke
Upon a man, and don his foule unreste
And not his body, and all is for the beste:
Whan he withstandeth our temptation,
It is a cause of his salvation,
Al be it that it was not our entente
He shuld be fauf, but that we wold him hente.
And somtime be we servants unto man,
As to the Archebishop Seint Dunstan,
And to the apostle servant eke was I.

Yet tell me, quod this Sompnour, faithfully,
Make ye you newe bodies thus alway
Of elements? The fend answered Nay.
Somtime we feine, and somtime we arise
With ded bodies, in ful fondry wife,
And speke as renably, 34) and fair; and wel,
As to the Phitonesse 35) did Samuel;
And yet wol fome men say it was not he:
I do no force of your divinitee.
But o thing warne I thee, I wol not jape, 36)
Thou wolt algates wete how we be shape :
Thou shalt hereafterward, my brother dere,
Come wher thee nedeth not of me to lere, 57)
For thou shalt by thin owen experience
Conne in a chaiere rede of this sentence
Bet than Virgile, while he was on live,
Or Dant also. Now let us riden blive, 38)
For I wol holden compagnie with thee
Til it be so that thou forsake me.
Nay, quod this Sompnour, that Chal never be

tide.
I am yeman knowen is ful wide;
My trouthe wol I hold, as in this cas;
For though thou were the devil Sathanas,

15

My 34) reasonably. 35) Pythonefs; prophetess. 36) jeft. 37) to learn. 38) quickly.

Chaucer. My trouthe wol I hold to thee, my brother.

As I have fworne, and eche of us to other,
For to be trewe brethren in this cas,
And bothe we gon abouten our pourchas.
Take thou thy part, what that men wol thee yeve,
And I shal min, thus we may bothe leve;
And if that any of us have more than other,
Let him be trewe, and part it with his brother.

I graunte, quod the devil, by my fay.
And with that word they riden forth hir way,
And right at entring of the tounes ende
To which this Sompnour shope him for to wende
They saw a cart that charged was with hay,
Which that a carter drove forth on his

way.
Depe was the way, for which the carte stood;
The carter smote, and cried as he were wood,
Heit Scot, heit Brock; what, spare ye for the sto-

nes?
The fend! (quod he) you feeche body and bones,
As ferforthly 39) as ever ye were foled, 40)
So mochel 41) wo as I have with you tholed. 42)
The devils have al, bothe hors, and cart, and hay!

The Sompnour fayde, Here shalwe have a pray;
And nere the fend he drow, as nought ne were,
Full prively, and rouned in his ere,
Herken, my brother, herken, by thy faith ;,
Herest thou not how that the carter faith?
Hent it anon, for he hath yeve it thee,
Both hay and cart, and eke his caples 43) three.

Nay, quod the devil, God wot never a del;
It is not his entente, trust thou me wel;
Axe him thyself, if thou not trowest me,
Or alles stint a while, and thou shalt fee.
This carter thakketh his hors upon the

croupe,
And they begonne to drawen and to stoupe.
Heit now, quod he; ther, Jesu Chrift you bleste,
And all his hondes werk bothe more and lesse!

That 39) far forth. 40) foalech 41) much. 42) fuffcr'd. 43) horses.

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