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From hous to hous, to heren sondry tales)
That Jankin clerk, and my gossib dame Ales,
And I myself, into the feldes went.
Myn husbond was at London all that Lent;
I had the better leiser for to pleie,
And for to see, and eke for to be seie
Of lusty folk; what wist I wher my grace
To vigilies, and to processions,
To prechings eke, and to thise pilgrimages,
To playes of miracles, and mariages,
And wered upon my gay skarlet gites.
Thise wormes, ne thise mothes, ne thise mites
Upon my paraille frett hem never a del,
And wost thou why? for they were used wel.
“ Now wol I tellen forth what happed me: He is now in his grave and in his chest.
I say, that in the feldes walked we,
Till trewely we had swiche daliance
This clerk and I, that of my purveance
I spake to him, and said him how that he,
If I were widewe, shulde wedden me.
For certainly, I say for no bobance,
Yet was I never without purveance
Of mariage, ne of other thinges eke:
I hold a mouses wit not worth a leke,
That hath but on hole for to sterten to,
And if that faille, than is all ydo.
*] bare hiin on hond, he hath enchanted me; Was of his love so dangerous to me.
(My dame taughte me that subtiltee)
And cke I sayd, I mette of him all night,
He wold han slain me, as I lay upright,
But yet I hope that ye shuln do me good:
For blood betokeneth gold, as me was taught.
And al was false, I dremed of him right naught,
But as I folwed ay my dames lore,
As wel of that as other thinges more.
“ But now, sire, let me see, what shall I sain? This knoweth every woman that is wise.
A ha, by God I have my tale again.
I wept algate and made a sory chere,
As wives moten, for it is the usage;
And with my coverchefe covered my visage;
But, for that I was purveyed of a make,
To chirche was myn husbond born a-morwe
With neigheboures that for him maden sowre,
And Jankin oure clerk was on of tho:
As helpe me God, whan that I saw him go
After the bere, me thought he had a paire
Of legges and of feet, so clene and faire,
That all my herte I yave unto his hold.
Hle was, I trow, a twenty winter old,
And I was fourty, if I shal say soth,
But yet I had alway a coltes toth.
Gat-tothed I was, and that became me wele,
I had the print of seinte Venus sele.
As helpe me God, I was a lusty on, · And so befell that ones in a Lent,
And faire, and richc, and yonge, and wel begon: (so often times I to my gossib went, Forever yet I loved to be gay,
And trewely, as min husbondes tolden me,
I had the beste queint that mighte be.
For certes I am 'all vencrian
He cleped it Valerie, and Theophrast, In feling, and my herte is marcian:
And with that book he lough alway ful fast. Venus me yave my lust and likerousnesse,
And eke ther was a clerk somtime at Rome, And Mars yave me my sturdy hardinesse.
A cardinal, that highte Seint Jerome, Min ascendent was Taure, and Mars therinne: That made a book against Jovinian, Alas, alas, that ever love was sinne!
Which book was ther, and eke Tertullian, i folwed ay min inclination
Crisippus, Tortula, and Helowis, By vertue of my constellation :
That was abbesse not fer fro Paris; That made me that I coude nat withdraw
And eke the paraboles of Salomon, My chambre of Venus from a good felaw.
Ovides art, and bourdes many on ; Yet have I Martes merke upon my face,
And alle thise were bonden in o volume. And also in another privee place.
And every night and day was his custume For God so wisly be my salvation,
(Whan he had leiser and vacation I loved never by no discresion,
From other worldly occupation) But ever folwed min appetit,
To reden in this book of wikked wives. All were he shorte, longe, blake, or white,
He knew of hem mo legendes and mo lives, I toke no kepe, so that he liked me,
Than ben of goode wives in the Bible. How poure he was, ne eke of what degree.
“For trusteth wel, it is an impossible, “What shuld I saye? but at the monthes ende That any clerk wol spoken good of wives, This jolly clerk Jankin, that was so hende, (But if it be of holy seintes lives) Hath wedded me with gret solempnitee,
Ne of non other woman never the mo. And to him yave I all the lond and fee,
Who peinted the leon, telleth me, who? That ever was me yeven therbefore:
By God, if wimmen hadden written stories, But afterward repented me ful sore.
As clerkes han, within hir oratories, He n'olde suffre nothing of my list.
They wol have writ of men more wikkednesse By God he smote me ones with his fist,
Than all the merke of Adam may redresse. For that I rent out of his book a lefe,
The children of Mercury and of Venus That of the stroke myn ere wex al defe.
Ben in hir werking ful contrarious. Stibborn I was, as is a leonesse,
Mercury loveth wisdom and science, And of my tonge a veray jangleresse,
And Venus loveth riot and dispence. And walk I wold, as I had don beforn,
And for hir divers disposition, Fro house to house, although he had it sworn: Eche falleth in others exaltation. For which he oftentimes wolde preche,
As thus, God wote, Mercury is desolat And me of olde Romaine gestes teche.
In Pisces, wher Venus is 'exaltat, “ How he Sulpitius Gallus left his wif,
And Venus falleth wher Mercury is reised. And hire forsoke for terme of all his lif,
Therfore no woman of no clerk is preised. Not but for open-heded he hire say
The clerk whan he is old, and may nought do Loking out at his dore upon a day.
Of Venus werkes not worth his old sho, “Another Romaine told he me by name,
Than siteth he doun, and writeth in his dotage, That, for his wif was at a sommer game
That wimmen cannot kepe hir mariage. Without his weting, he forsoke hire eke.
But now to purpos, why I tolde thee, “ And than wold he upon his Bible seke
That I was beten for a book parde. That ilke proverbe of Ecclesiaste,
“Upon a night Jankin, that was our sire, Wher he commandeth, and forbedeth faste, Red on his book, as he sate by the fire, Man shal not suffer his wife go roule about.
Of Eva first, that for hire wikkednesse “Than wold he say right thus withouten doute: Was all mankind brought to wretchedness, “Who so that bildeth his house all of salwes, For which that Jesu Crist himself was slain, And pricketh his blind hors over the falwes, That bought us with his herte-blood again. And suffereth his wif to go seken halwes,
“Lo here expresse of wimmen may ye find, Is worthy to be honged on the galwes.'
That woman was the losse of all mankind. “But all for nought, I sette not an hawe
“ Tho redde he me how Sampson lost his heres Of his proverbes, ne of his olde sawe;
Sleping, his lemman kitte hem with hire sheres, Ne' I wold not of him corrected be.
Thurgh whiche treson lost he both his eyen. I hate hem that my vices tellen me,
Tho redde he me, if that I shal not lien, And so do mo of us (God wote) than I.
Of Hercules, and of his Deianire, This made him wood with me all utterly;
That caused him to set himself a-fire. I n'olde not forbere him in no cas.
Nothing forgat he the care and the wo, “Now wol I say you soth by Seint Thomas, That Socrates had with his wives two; Why that I rent of his book a lefe,
How Xantippa cast pisse upon his hed. For which he smote me, so that I was defe.
This sely man sat still, as he were ded, “ He had a book, that gladly night and day He wiped his hed, no more dorst he sain, For his disport he wolde it rede alway,
But, er the thonder stint, ther cometh rain,
And whan he saw how stille that I lay,
He was agast, and wold have fled away,
Til at the last out of my swough I brayde.
0, bast thou slain me, false theef?' I sayde, Amphiorax at Thebes lost his lif:
* And for my lond thus hast thou mordered me?
Er I be ded, yet wol I hissen thee.'
And nere he came, and kneled faire adoun,
And sayde; • Dere suster Alisoun,
That I have don it is thyself to wite,
Foryeve it me, and that I thee besehe.'
And yet eftsones I hitte him ou the cheke,
And sayde; • Theef, thus much am I awrehe,
Now wol I die, I may no longer speke.'
“ But at the last with mochel care and wo
We fell accorded by ourselven two:
He yaf me all the bridel in min hond
To han the governance of hous and lond,
And of his tonge, and of his hond also,
And made him brenne his book anon right tho.
“ And whan that I had getten unto me
By maistrie all the soverainetee,
And that he sayd, · Min owen trewe wif,
Do as thee list, the terme of all thy lif,
Kepe thin honour, alıd kepe eke min estat;'
After that day we never had debat.
God helpe me so; I was to him as kinde,
As any wif fro Denmark unto Inde.
And al so trewe, and so was he to me:
So blisse his soule; for his mercy dere.
Now wol I say my tale if ye wol here.”
The Frere lough whan he herd all this:
This is a long preamble of a tale."
And whan the Sompnour herd the Frere gale, " And therwithall he knew of mo proverbes,
“ Lo” (quod this Sompnour)“ Goddes armes two, Than in this world their growen gras or herbes.
A frere wol entermit him evermo:
Lo, goode men, a flie and eke a frere
Wol fall in every dish and eke matere,
What spehest thou of preambulatioun?
(Frere; They ben so wikked and contrarious :
“ Ye, wolt thou so, sire Sompnour?" quod the They haten, that hir husbonds loven ay.'
“ Now by my faith. I shal, er that I go,
That all the folk shal laughen in this place."
“ Now elles, Frere, I wol besbiewe thy face," Is like a gold ring in a sowes nose.
(Quod this Sompnour)" and I beslirewe me,
But if I telle tales two or three
That I shal make thin herte for to morne:
For wel I wot thy patience is gon.”
Our Hoste cried; " Pees, and that anon;"
And sayde; “Let the woman tell hire tale.
Ye fare as folk that dronken ben of ale.
Do, dame, tell forth your tale, and that is best."
Alredy, sire” (quod she), “ right as you lest, And with his fist he smote me on the hed,
If I have licence of this worthy frere.” [here." That in the flore I lay aj I were ded.
" Yes, dame" (quod he), " tell forth, and I wol
SIMILES FROM CHAUCER.
That stinteth first whan she beginneth sing, Redressen hem ayen the Sunne bright,
Whan that she heareth any herdes tale, And spreden in hir kindlie course by rowe; Or in the hedges any wight stirring, Right so began his eyev up to throw
And after sicker doth her voice outring; This Troilus, and seth, “ () Venus dere,
Right so Creseide whan her dred stent Thy might, thy grace, yheried be it here."
Opened her hart and told him her intent.
But right as when the Sunne shineth bright
Have ye not seen sometyme a pale face
Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,
pure an innocent, as that same lamb, She was in life and every virtuous lore, And by descent from royal lineage came Of ancient kings and queens, that had of yore Their sceptres stretcht from east to western shore, And all the world in their subjection held; Till that infernal fiend with foul uproar Forewasted all their land and them expell’d: Whom to avenge, she had this knight from far
[compellid. Behind her far away a dwarf did lag, That lazy seem'd in being ever last, Or wearied with bearing of her bag Of needments at his back. Thus as they past The day with clouds was sudden overcast,
THE CHARIOT OF PRIDE DRAWN BY
THE PASSIONS. Sudden upriseth from her stately place The royal dame, and for her coach doth call: All hurlen forth, and she with princely pace, (As fair Aurora in her purple pall, Out of the East the dawning day doth call) So forth she comes; her brightness broad doth blaze. The heaps of people, thronging in the hall, Doride each other, upon her to gaze : [amaze. ller glorious glittering light doth all men's eyes