The Franklin’s Tale

From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

FranT 729 In Armorik, that called is Britayne,
FranT 730 Ther was a knyght that loved and dide his payne
FranT 731 To serve a lady in his beste wise;
FranT 732 And many a labour, many a greet emprise,
FranT 733 He for his lady wroghte er she were wonne.
FranT 734 For she was oon the faireste under sonne,
FranT 735 And eek therto comen of so heigh kynrede
FranT 736 That wel unnethes dorste this knyght, for drede,
FranT 737 Telle hire his wo, his peyne, and his distresse.
FranT 738 But atte laste she, for his worthynesse,
FranT 739 And namely for his meke obeysaunce,
FranT 740 Hath swich a pitee caught of his penaunce
FranT 741 That pryvely she fil of his accord
FranT 742 To take hym for hir housbonde and hir lord,
FranT 743 Of swich lordshipe as men han over hir wyves.
FranT 744 And for to lede the moore in blisse hir lyves,
FranT 745 Of his free wyl he swoor hire as a knyght
FranT 746 That nevere in al his lyf he, day ne nyght,
FranT 747 Ne sholde upon hym take no maistrie
FranT 748 Agayn hir wyl, ne kithe hire jalousie,
FranT 749 But hire obeye, and folwe hir wyl in al,
FranT 750 As any lovere to his lady shal,
FranT 751 Save that the name of soveraynetee,
FranT 752 That wolde he have for shame of his degree.
FranT 753 She thanked hym, and with ful greet humblesse
FranT 754 She seyde, “Sire, sith of youre gentillesse
FranT 755 Ye profre me to have so large a reyne,
FranT 756 Ne wolde nevere God bitwixe us tweyne,
FranT 757 As in my gilt, were outher werre or stryf.
FranT 758 Sire, I wol be youre humble trewe wyf —
FranT 759 Have heer my trouthe — til that myn herte breste.”
FranT 760 Thus been they bothe in quiete and in reste.
FranT 761 For o thyng, sires, saufly dar I seye,
FranT 762 That freendes everych oother moot obeye,
FranT 763 If they wol longe holden compaignye.
FranT 764 Love wol nat been constreyned by maistrye.
FranT 765 Whan maistrie comth, the God of Love anon
FranT 766 Beteth his wynges, and farewel, he is gon!
FranT 767 Love is a thyng as any spirit free.
FranT 768 Wommen, of kynde, desiren libertee,
FranT 769 And nat to been constreyned as a thral;
FranT 770 And so doon men, if I sooth seyen shal.
FranT 771 Looke who that is moost pacient in love,
FranT 772 He is at his avantage al above.
FranT 773 Pacience is an heigh vertu, certeyn,
FranT 774 For it venquysseth, as thise clerkes seyn,
FranT 775 Thynges that rigour sholde nevere atteyne.
FranT 776 For every word men may nat chide or pleyne.
FranT 777 Lerneth to suffre, or elles, so moot I goon,
FranT 778 Ye shul it lerne, wher so ye wole or noon;
FranT 779 For in this world, certein, ther no wight is
FranT 780 That he ne dooth or seith somtyme amys.
FranT 781 Ire, siknesse, or constellacioun,
FranT 782 Wyn, wo, or chaungynge of complexioun
FranT 783 Causeth ful ofte to doon amys or speken.
FranT 784 On every wrong a man may nat be wreken.
FranT 785 After the tyme moste be temperaunce
FranT 786 To every wight that kan on governaunce.
FranT 787 And therfore hath this wise, worthy knyght,
FranT 788 To lyve in ese, suffrance hire bihight,
FranT 789 And she to hym ful wisly gan to swere
FranT 790 That nevere sholde ther be defaute in here.
FranT 791 Heere may men seen an humble, wys accord;
FranT 792 Thus hath she take hir servant and hir lord —
FranT 793 Servant in love, and lord in mariage.
FranT 794 Thanne was he bothe in lordshipe and servage.
FranT 795 Servage? Nay, but in lordshipe above,
FranT 796 Sith he hath bothe his lady and his love;
FranT 797 His lady, certes, and his wyf also,
FranT 798 The which that lawe of love acordeth to.
FranT 799 And whan he was in this prosperitee,
FranT 800 Hoom with his wyf he gooth to his contree,
FranT 801 Nat fer fro Pedmark, ther his dwellyng was,
FranT 802 Where as he lyveth in blisse and in solas.
FranT 803 Who koude telle, but he hadde wedded be,
FranT 804 The joye, the ese, and the prosperitee
FranT 805 That is bitwixe an housbonde and his wyf?
FranT 806 A yeer and moore lasted this blisful lyf,
FranT 807 Til that the knyght of which I speke of thus,
FranT 808 That of Kayrrud was cleped Arveragus,
FranT 809 Shoop hym to goon and dwelle a yeer or tweyne
FranT 810 In Engelond, that cleped was eek Briteyne,
FranT 811 To seke in armes worshipe and honour —
FranT 812 For al his lust he sette in swich labour —
FranT 813 And dwelled there two yeer; the book seith thus.
FranT 814 Now wol I stynten of this Arveragus,
FranT 815 And speken I wole of Dorigen his wyf,
FranT 816 That loveth hire housbonde as hire hertes lyf.
FranT 817 For his absence wepeth she and siketh,
FranT 818 As doon thise noble wyves whan hem liketh.
FranT 819 She moorneth, waketh, wayleth, fasteth, pleyneth;
FranT 820 Desir of his presence hire so destreyneth
FranT 821 That al this wyde world she sette at noght.
FranT 822 Hire freendes, whiche that knewe hir hevy thoght,
FranT 823 Conforten hire in al that ever they may.
FranT 824 They prechen hire, they telle hire nyght and day
FranT 825 That causelees she sleeth hirself, allas!
FranT 826 And every confort possible in this cas
FranT 827 They doon to hire with al hire bisynesse,
FranT 828 Al for to make hire leve hire hevynesse.
FranT 829 By proces, as ye knowen everichoon,
FranT 830 Men may so longe graven in a stoon
FranT 831 Til som figure therinne emprented be.
FranT 832 So longe han they conforted hire til she
FranT 833 Receyved hath, by hope and by resoun,
FranT 834 The emprentyng of hire consolacioun,
FranT 835 Thurgh which hir grete sorwe gan aswage;
FranT 836 She may nat alwey duren in swich rage.
FranT 837 And eek Arveragus, in al this care,
FranT 838 Hath sent hire lettres hoom of his welfare,
FranT 839 And that he wol come hastily agayn;
FranT 840 Or elles hadde this sorwe hir herte slayn.
FranT 841 Hire freendes sawe hir sorwe gan to slake
FranT 842 And preyde hire on knees, for Goddes sake,
FranT 843 To come and romen hire in compaignye,
FranT 844 Awey to dryve hire derke fantasye.
FranT 845 And finally she graunted that requeste,
FranT 846 For wel she saugh that it was for the beste.
FranT 847 Now stood hire castel faste by the see,
FranT 848 And often with hire freendes walketh shee
FranT 849 Hire to disporte upon the bank an heigh,
FranT 850 Where as she many a ship and barge seigh
FranT 851 Seillynge hir cours, where as hem liste go.
FranT 852 But thanne was that a parcel of hire wo,
FranT 853 For to hirself ful ofte, “Allas!” seith she,
FranT 854 “Is ther no ship, of so manye as I se,
FranT 855 Wol bryngen hom my lord? Thanne were myn herte
FranT 856 Al warisshed of his bittre peynes smerte.”
FranT 857 Another tyme ther wolde she sitte and thynke,
FranT 858 And caste hir eyen dounward fro the brynke.
FranT 859 But whan she saugh the grisly rokkes blake,
FranT 860 For verray feere so wolde hir herte quake
FranT 861 That on hire feet she myghte hire noght sustene.
FranT 862 Thanne wolde she sitte adoun upon the grene,
FranT 863 And pitously into the see biholde,
FranT 864 And seyn right thus, with sorweful sikes colde:
FranT 865 “Eterne God, that thurgh thy purveiaunce
FranT 866 Ledest the world by certein governaunce,
FranT 867 In ydel, as men seyn, ye no thyng make.
FranT 868 But, Lord, thise grisly feendly rokkes blake,
FranT 869 That semen rather a foul confusion
FranT 870 Of werk than any fair creacion
FranT 871 Of swich a parfit wys God and a stable,
FranT 872 Why han ye wroght this werk unresonable?
FranT 873 For by this werk, south, north, ne west, ne eest,
FranT 874 Ther nys yfostred man, ne bryd, ne beest;
FranT 875 It dooth no good, to my wit, but anoyeth.
FranT 876 Se ye nat, Lord, how mankynde it destroyeth?
FranT 877 An hundred thousand bodyes of mankynde
FranT 878 Han rokkes slayn, al be they nat in mynde,
FranT 879 Which mankynde is so fair part of thy werk
FranT 880 That thou it madest lyk to thyn owene merk.
FranT 881 Thanne semed it ye hadde a greet chiertee
FranT 882 Toward mankynde; but how thanne may it bee
FranT 883 That ye swiche meenes make it to destroyen,
FranT 884 Whiche meenes do no good, but evere anoyen?
FranT 885 I woot wel clerkes wol seyn as hem leste,
FranT 886 By argumentz, that al is for the beste,
FranT 887 Though I ne kan the causes nat yknowe.
FranT 888 But thilke God that made wynd to blowe
FranT 889 As kepe my lord! This my conclusion.
FranT 890 To clerkes lete I al disputison.
FranT 891 But wolde God that alle thise rokkes blake
FranT 892 Were sonken into helle for his sake!
FranT 893 Thise rokkes sleen myn herte for the feere.”
FranT 894 Thus wolde she seyn, with many a pitous teere.
FranT 895 Hire freendes sawe that it was no disport
FranT 896 To romen by the see, but disconfort,
FranT 897 And shopen for to pleyen somwher elles.
FranT 898 They leden hire by ryveres and by welles,
FranT 899 And eek in othere places delitables;
FranT 900 They dauncen and they pleyen at ches and tables.
FranT 901 So on a day, right in the morwe-tyde,
FranT 902 Unto a gardyn that was ther bisyde,
FranT 903 In which that they hadde maad hir ordinaunce
FranT 904 Of vitaille and of oother purveiaunce,
FranT 905 They goon and pleye hem al the longe day.
FranT 906 And this was on the sixte morwe of May,
FranT 907 Which May hadde peynted with his softe shoures
FranT 908 This gardyn ful of leves and of floures;
FranT 909 And craft of mannes hand so curiously
FranT 910 Arrayed hadde this gardyn, trewely,
FranT 911 That nevere was ther gardyn of swich prys
FranT 912 But if it were the verray paradys.
FranT 913 The odour of floures and the fresshe sighte
FranT 914 Wolde han maked any herte lighte
FranT 915 That evere was born, but if to greet siknesse
FranT 916 Or to greet sorwe helde it in distresse,
FranT 917 So ful it was of beautee with plesaunce.
FranT 918 At after-dyner gonne they to daunce,
FranT 919 And synge also, save Dorigen allone,
FranT 920 Which made alwey hir compleint and hir moone,
FranT 921 For she ne saugh hym on the daunce go
FranT 922 That was hir housbonde and hir love also.
FranT 923 But nathelees she moste a tyme abyde
FranT 924 And with good hope lete hir sorwe slyde.
FranT 925 Upon this daunce, amonges othere men,
FranT 926 Daunced a squier biforn Dorigen,
FranT 927 That fressher was and jolyer of array,
FranT 928 As to my doom, than is the month of May.
FranT 929 He syngeth, daunceth, passynge any man
FranT 930 That is, or was, sith that the world bigan.
FranT 931 Therwith he was, if men sholde hym discryve,
FranT 932 Oon of the beste farynge man on lyve;
FranT 933 Yong, strong, right vertuous, and riche, and wys,
FranT 934 And wel biloved, and holden in greet prys.
FranT 935 And shortly, if the sothe I tellen shal,
FranT 936 Unwityng of this Dorigen at al,
FranT 937 This lusty squier, servant to Venus,
FranT 938 Which that ycleped was Aurelius,
FranT 939 Hadde loved hire best of any creature
FranT 940 Two yeer and moore, as was his aventure,
FranT 941 But nevere dorste he tellen hire his grevaunce.
FranT 942 Withouten coppe he drank al his penaunce.
FranT 943 He was despeyred; no thyng dorste he seye,
FranT 944 Save in his songes somwhat wolde he wreye
FranT 945 His wo, as in a general compleynyng;
FranT 946 He seyde he lovede and was biloved no thyng.
FranT 947 Of swich matere made he manye layes,
FranT 948 Songes, compleintes, roundels, virelayes,
FranT 949 How that he dorste nat his sorwe telle,
FranT 950 But langwissheth as a furye dooth in helle;
FranT 951 And dye he moste, he seyde, as dide Ekko
FranT 952 For Narcisus, that dorste nat telle hir wo.
FranT 953 In oother manere than ye heere me seye,
FranT 954 Ne dorste he nat to hire his wo biwreye,
FranT 955 Save that, paraventure, somtyme at daunces,
FranT 956 Ther yonge folk kepen hir observaunces,
FranT 957 It may wel be he looked on hir face
FranT 958 In swich a wise as man that asketh grace;
FranT 959 But nothyng wiste she of his entente.
FranT 960 Nathelees it happed, er they thennes wente,
FranT 961 By cause that he was hire neighebour,
FranT 962 And was a man of worshipe and honour,
FranT 963 And hadde yknowen hym of tyme yoore,
FranT 964 They fille in speche; and forth, moore and moore,
FranT 965 Unto his purpos drough Aurelius,
FranT 966 And whan he saugh his tyme, he seyde thus:
FranT 967 “Madame,” quod he, “by God that this world made,
FranT 968 So that I wiste it myghte youre herte glade,
FranT 969 I wolde that day that youre Arveragus
FranT 970 Wente over the see, that I, Aurelius,
FranT 971 Hadde went ther nevere I sholde have come agayn.
FranT 972 For wel I woot my servyce is in vayn;
FranT 973 My gerdon is but brestyng of myn herte.
FranT 974 Madame, reweth upon my peynes smerte;
FranT 975 For with a word ye may me sleen or save.
FranT 976 Heere at youre feet God wolde that I were grave!
FranT 977 I ne have as now no leyser moore to seye;
FranT 978 Have mercy, sweete, or ye wol do me deye!”
FranT 979 She gan to looke upon Aurelius;
FranT 980 “Is this youre wyl,” quod she, “and sey ye thus?
FranT 981 Nevere erst,” quod she, “ne wiste I what ye mente.
FranT 982 But now, Aurelie, I knowe youre entente,
FranT 983 By thilke God that yaf me soule and lyf,
FranT 984 Ne shal I nevere been untrewe wyf
FranT 985 In word ne werk, as fer as I have wit;
FranT 986 I wol been his to whom that I am knyt.
FranT 987 Taak this for fynal answere as of me.”
FranT 988 But after that in pley thus seyde she:
FranT 989 “Aurelie,” quod she, “by heighe God above,
FranT 990 Yet wolde I graunte yow to been youre love,
FranT 991 Syn I yow se so pitously complayne.
FranT 992 Looke what day that endelong Britayne
FranT 993 Ye remoeve alle the rokkes, stoon by stoon,
FranT 994 That they ne lette ship ne boot to goon —
FranT 995 I seye, whan ye han maad the coost so clene
FranT 996 Of rokkes that ther nys no stoon ysene,
FranT 997 Thanne wol I love yow best of any man;
FranT 998 Have heer my trouthe, in al that evere I kan.”
FranT 999 “Is ther noon oother grace in yow?” quod he.
FranT 1000 “No, by that Lord,” quod she, “that maked me!
FranT 1001 For wel I woot that it shal never bityde.
FranT 1002 Lat swiche folies out of youre herte slyde.
FranT 1003 What deyntee sholde a man han in his lyf
FranT 1004 For to go love another mannes wyf,
FranT 1005 That hath hir body whan so that hym liketh?”
FranT 1006 Aurelius ful ofte soore siketh;
FranT 1007 Wo was Aurelie whan that he this herde,
FranT 1008 And with a sorweful herte he thus answerde:
FranT 1009 “Madame,” quod he, “this were an inpossible!
FranT 1010 Thanne moot I dye of sodeyn deth horrible.”
FranT 1011 And with that word he turned hym anon.
FranT 1012 Tho coome hir othere freendes many oon,
FranT 1013 And in the aleyes romeden up and doun,
FranT 1014 And nothyng wiste of this conclusioun,
FranT 1015 But sodeynly bigonne revel newe
FranT 1016 Til that the brighte sonne loste his hewe;
FranT 1017 For th’ orisonte hath reft the sonne his lyght —
FranT 1018 This is as muche to seye as it was nyght —
FranT 1019 And hoom they goon in joye and in solas,
FranT 1020 Save oonly wrecche Aurelius, allas!
FranT 1021 He to his hous is goon with sorweful herte.
FranT 1022 He seeth he may nat fro his deeth asterte;
FranT 1023 Hym semed that he felte his herte colde.
FranT 1024 Up to the hevene his handes he gan holde,
FranT 1025 And on his knowes bare he sette hym doun,
FranT 1026 And in his ravyng seyde his orisoun.
FranT 1027 For verray wo out of his wit he breyde.
FranT 1028 He nyste what he spak, but thus he seyde;
FranT 1029 With pitous herte his pleynt hath he bigonne
FranT 1030 Unto the goddes, and first unto the sonne:
FranT 1031 He seyde, “Appollo, god and governour
FranT 1032 Of every plaunte, herbe, tree, and flour,
FranT 1033 That yevest, after thy declinacion,
FranT 1034 To ech of hem his tyme and his seson,
FranT 1035 As thyn herberwe chaungeth lowe or heighe,
FranT 1036 Lord Phebus, cast thy merciable eighe
FranT 1037 On wrecche Aurelie, which that am but lorn.
FranT 1038 Lo, lord! My lady hath my deeth ysworn
FranT 1039 Withoute gilt, but thy benignytee
FranT 1040 Upon my dedly herte have som pitee.
FranT 1041 For wel I woot, lord Phebus, if yow lest,
FranT 1042 Ye may me helpen, save my lady, best.
FranT 1043 Now voucheth sauf that I may yow devyse
FranT 1044 How that I may been holpen and in what wyse.
FranT 1045 “Youre blisful suster, Lucina the sheene,
FranT 1046 That of the see is chief goddesse and queene
FranT 1047 (Though Neptunus have deitee in the see,
FranT 1048 Yet emperisse aboven hym is she),
FranT 1049 Ye knowen wel, lord, that right as hir desir
FranT 1050 Is to be quyked and lighted of youre fir,
FranT 1051 For which she folweth yow ful bisily,
FranT 1052 Right so the see desireth naturelly
FranT 1053 To folwen hire, as she that is goddesse
FranT 1054 Bothe in the see and ryveres moore and lesse.
FranT 1055 Wherfore, lord Phebus, this is my requeste —
FranT 1056 Do this miracle, or do myn herte breste —
FranT 1057 That now next at this opposicion
FranT 1058 Which in the signe shal be of the Leon,
FranT 1059 As preieth hire so greet a flood to brynge
FranT 1060 That fyve fadme at the leeste it oversprynge
FranT 1061 The hyeste rokke in Armorik Briteyne;
FranT 1062 And lat this flood endure yeres tweyne.
FranT 1063 Thanne certes to my lady may I seye,
FranT 1064 ‘Holdeth youre heste, the rokkes been aweye.’
FranT 1065 “Lord Phebus, dooth this miracle for me.
FranT 1066 Preye hire she go no faster cours than ye;
FranT 1067 I seye, preyeth your suster that she go
FranT 1068 No faster cours than ye thise yeres two.
FranT 1069 Thanne shal she been evene atte fulle alway,
FranT 1070 And spryng flood laste bothe nyght and day.
FranT 1071 And but she vouche sauf in swich manere
FranT 1072 To graunte me my sovereyn lady deere,
FranT 1073 Prey hire to synken every rok adoun
FranT 1074 Into hir owene dirke regioun
FranT 1075 Under the ground, ther Pluto dwelleth inne,
FranT 1076 Or nevere mo shal I my lady wynne.
FranT 1077 Thy temple in Delphos wol I barefoot seke.
FranT 1078 Lord Phebus, se the teeris on my cheke,
FranT 1079 And of my peyne have som compassioun.”
FranT 1080 And with that word in swowne he fil adoun,
FranT 1081 And longe tyme he lay forth in a traunce.
FranT 1082 His brother, which that knew of his penaunce,
FranT 1083 Up caughte hym and to bedde he hath hym broght.
FranT 1084 Dispeyred in this torment and this thoght
FranT 1085 Lete I this woful creature lye;
FranT 1086 Chese he, for me, wheither he wol lyve or dye.
FranT 1087 Arveragus, with heele and greet honour,
FranT 1088 As he that was of chivalrie the flour,
FranT 1089 Is comen hoom, and othere worthy men.
FranT 1090 O blisful artow now, thou Dorigen,
FranT 1091 That hast thy lusty housbonde in thyne armes,
FranT 1092 The fresshe knyght, the worthy man of armes,
FranT 1093 That loveth thee as his owene hertes lyf.
FranT 1094 No thyng list hym to been ymaginatyf,
FranT 1095 If any wight hadde spoke, whil he was oute,
FranT 1096 To hire of love; he hadde of it no doute.
FranT 1097 He noght entendeth to no swich mateere,
FranT 1098 But daunceth, justeth, maketh hire good cheere;
FranT 1099 And thus in joye and blisse I lete hem dwelle,
FranT 1100 And of the sike Aurelius wol I telle.
FranT 1101 In langour and in torment furyus
FranT 1102 Two yeer and moore lay wrecche Aurelyus,
FranT 1103 Er any foot he myghte on erthe gon;
FranT 1104 Ne confort in this tyme hadde he noon,
FranT 1105 Save of his brother, which that was a clerk.
FranT 1106 He knew of al this wo and al this werk,
FranT 1107 For to noon oother creature, certeyn,
FranT 1108 Of this matere he dorste no word seyn.
FranT 1109 Under his brest he baar it moore secree
FranT 1110 Than evere dide Pamphilus for Galathee.
FranT 1111 His brest was hool, withoute for to sene,
FranT 1112 But in his herte ay was the arwe kene.
FranT 1113 And wel ye knowe that of a sursanure
FranT 1114 In surgerye is perilous the cure,
FranT 1115 But men myghte touche the arwe or come therby.
FranT 1116 His brother weep and wayled pryvely,
FranT 1117 Til atte laste hym fil in remembraunce,
FranT 1118 That whiles he was at Orliens in Fraunce —
FranT 1119 As yonge clerkes that been lykerous
FranT 1120 To reden artes that been curious
FranT 1121 Seken in every halke and every herne
FranT 1122 Particuler sciences for to lerne —
FranT 1123 He hym remembred that, upon a day,
FranT 1124 At Orliens in studie a book he say
FranT 1125 Of magyk natureel, which his felawe,
FranT 1126 That was that tyme a bacheler of lawe,
FranT 1127 Al were he ther to lerne another craft,
FranT 1128 Hadde prively upon his desk ylaft;
FranT 1129 Which book spak muchel of the operaciouns
FranT 1130 Touchynge the eighte and twenty mansiouns
FranT 1131 That longen to the moone, and swich folye
FranT 1132 As in oure dayes is nat worth a flye —
FranT 1133 For hooly chirches feith in oure bileve
FranT 1134 Ne suffreth noon illusioun us to greve.
FranT 1135 And whan this book was in his remembraunce,
FranT 1136 Anon for joye his herte gan to daunce,
FranT 1137 And to hymself he seyde pryvely:
FranT 1138 “My brother shal be warisshed hastily;
FranT 1139 For I am siker that ther be sciences
FranT 1140 By whiche men make diverse apparences,
FranT 1141 Swiche as thise subtile tregetoures pleye.
FranT 1142 For ofte at feestes have I wel herd seye
FranT 1143 That tregetours withinne an halle large
FranT 1144 Have maad come in a water and a barge,
FranT 1145 And in the halle rowen up and doun.
FranT 1146 Somtyme hath semed come a grym leoun;
FranT 1147 And somtyme floures sprynge as in a mede;
FranT 1148 Somtyme a vyne, and grapes white and rede;
FranT 1149 Somtyme a castel, al of lym and stoon;
FranT 1150 And whan hem lyked, voyded it anon.
FranT 1151 Thus semed it to every mannes sighte.
FranT 1152 “Now thanne conclude I thus: that if I myghte
FranT 1153 At Orliens som oold felawe yfynde
FranT 1154 That hadde thise moones mansions in mynde,
FranT 1155 Or oother magyk natureel above,
FranT 1156 He sholde wel make my brother han his love.
FranT 1157 For with an apparence a clerk may make,
FranT 1158 To mannes sighte, that alle the rokkes blake
FranT 1159 Of Britaigne weren yvoyded everichon,
FranT 1160 And shippes by the brynke comen and gon,
FranT 1161 And in swich forme enduren a wowke or two.
FranT 1162 Thanne were my brother warisshed of his wo;
FranT 1163 Thanne moste she nedes holden hire biheste,
FranT 1164 Or elles he shal shame hire atte leeste.”
FranT 1165 What sholde I make a lenger tale of this?
FranT 1166 Unto his brotheres bed he comen is,
FranT 1167 And swich confort he yaf hym for to gon
FranT 1168 To Orliens that he up stirte anon,
FranT 1169 And on his wey forthward thanne is he fare
FranT 1170 In hope for to been lissed of his care.
FranT 1171 Whan they were come almoost to that citee,
FranT 1172 But if it were a two furlong or thre,
FranT 1173 A yong clerk romynge by hymself they mette,
FranT 1174 Which that in Latyn thriftily hem grette,
FranT 1175 And after that he seyde a wonder thyng:
FranT 1176 “I knowe,” quod he, “the cause of youre comyng.”
FranT 1177 And er they ferther any foote wente,
FranT 1178 He tolde hem al that was in hire entente.
FranT 1179 This Briton clerk hym asked of felawes
FranT 1180 The whiche that he had knowe in olde dawes,
FranT 1181 And he answerde hym that they dede were,
FranT 1182 For which he weep ful ofte many a teere.
FranT 1183 Doun of his hors Aurelius lighte anon,
FranT 1184 And with this magicien forth is he gon
FranT 1185 Hoom to his hous, and maden hem wel at ese.
FranT 1186 Hem lakked no vitaille that myghte hem plese.
FranT 1187 So wel arrayed hous as ther was oon
FranT 1188 Aurelius in his lyf saugh nevere noon.
FranT 1189 He shewed hym, er he wente to sopeer,
FranT 1190 Forestes, parkes ful of wilde deer;
FranT 1191 Ther saugh he hertes with hir hornes hye,
FranT 1192 The gretteste that evere were seyn with ye.
FranT 1193 He saugh of hem an hondred slayn with houndes,
FranT 1194 And somme with arwes blede of bittre woundes.
FranT 1195 He saugh, whan voyded were thise wilde deer,
FranT 1196 Thise fauconers upon a fair ryver,
FranT 1197 That with hir haukes han the heron slayn.
FranT 1198 Tho saugh he knyghtes justyng in a playn;
FranT 1199 And after this he dide hym swich plesaunce
FranT 1200 That he hym shewed his lady on a daunce,
FranT 1201 On which hymself he daunced, as hym thoughte.
FranT 1202 And whan this maister that this magyk wroughte
FranT 1203 Saugh it was tyme, he clapte his handes two,
FranT 1204 And farewel! Al oure revel was ago.
FranT 1205 And yet remoeved they nevere out of the hous,
FranT 1206 Whil they saugh al this sighte merveillous,
FranT 1207 But in his studie, ther as his bookes be,
FranT 1208 They seten stille, and no wight but they thre.
FranT 1209 To hym this maister called his squier,
FranT 1210 And seyde hym thus: “Is redy oure soper?
FranT 1211 Almoost an houre it is, I undertake,
FranT 1212 Sith I yow bad oure soper for to make,
FranT 1213 Whan that thise worthy men wenten with me
FranT 1214 Into my studie, ther as my bookes be.”
FranT 1215 “Sire,” quod this squier, “whan it liketh yow,
FranT 1216 It is al redy, though ye wol right now.”
FranT 1217 “Go we thanne soupe,” quod he, “as for the beste.
FranT 1218 Thise amorous folk somtyme moote han hir reste.”
FranT 1219 At after-soper fille they in tretee
FranT 1220 What somme sholde this maistres gerdon be
FranT 1221 To remoeven alle the rokkes of Britayne,
FranT 1222 And eek from Gerounde to the mouth of Sayne.
FranT 1223 He made it straunge, and swoor, so God hym save,
FranT 1224 Lasse than a thousand pound he wolde nat have,
FranT 1225 Ne gladly for that somme he wolde nat goon.
FranT 1226 Aurelius, with blisful herte anoon,
FranT 1227 Answerde thus: “Fy on a thousand pound!
FranT 1228 This wyde world, which that men seye is round,
FranT 1229 I wolde it yeve, if I were lord of it.
FranT 1230 This bargayn is ful dryve, for we been knyt.
FranT 1231 Ye shal be payed trewely, by my trouthe!
FranT 1232 But looketh now, for no necligence or slouthe
FranT 1233 Ye tarie us heere no lenger than to-morwe.”
FranT 1234 “Nay,” quod this clerk, “have heer my feith to borwe.”
FranT 1235 To bedde is goon Aurelius whan hym leste,
FranT 1236 And wel ny al that nyght he hadde his reste.
FranT 1237 What for his labour and his hope of blisse,
FranT 1238 His woful herte of penaunce hadde a lisse.
FranT 1239 Upon the morwe, whan that it was day,
FranT 1240 To Britaigne tooke they the righte way,
FranT 1241 Aurelius and this magicien bisyde,
FranT 1242 And been descended ther they wolde abyde.
FranT 1243 And this was, as thise bookes me remembre,
FranT 1244 The colde, frosty seson of Decembre.
FranT 1245 Phebus wax old, and hewed lyk laton,
FranT 1246 That in his hoote declynacion
FranT 1247 Shoon as the burned gold with stremes brighte;
FranT 1248 But now in Capricorn adoun he lighte,
FranT 1249 Where as he shoon ful pale, I dar wel seyn.
FranT 1250 The bittre frostes, with the sleet and reyn,
FranT 1251 Destroyed hath the grene in every yerd.
FranT 1252 Janus sit by the fyr, with double berd,
FranT 1253 And drynketh of his bugle horn the wyn;
FranT 1254 Biforn hym stant brawen of the tusked swyn,
FranT 1255 And “Nowel” crieth every lusty man.
FranT 1256 Aurelius in al that evere he kan
FranT 1257 Dooth to this maister chiere and reverence,
FranT 1258 And preyeth hym to doon his diligence
FranT 1259 To bryngen hym out of his peynes smerte,
FranT 1260 Or with a swerd that he wolde slitte his herte.
FranT 1261 This subtil clerk swich routhe had of this man
FranT 1262 That nyght and day he spedde hym that he kan
FranT 1263 To wayten a tyme of his conclusioun;
FranT 1264 This is to seye, to maken illusioun,
FranT 1265 By swich an apparence or jogelrye —
FranT 1266 I ne kan no termes of astrologye —
FranT 1267 That she and every wight sholde wene and seye
FranT 1268 That of Britaigne the rokkes were aweye,
FranT 1269 Or ellis they were sonken under grounde.
FranT 1270 So atte laste he hath his tyme yfounde
FranT 1271 To maken his japes and his wrecchednesse
FranT 1272 Of swich a supersticious cursednesse.
FranT 1273 His tables Tolletanes forth he brought,
FranT 1274 Ful wel corrected, ne ther lakked nought,
FranT 1275 Neither his collect ne his expans yeeris,
FranT 1276 Ne his rootes, ne his othere geeris,
FranT 1277 As been his centris and his argumentz
FranT 1278 And his proporcioneles convenientz
FranT 1279 For his equacions in every thyng.
FranT 1280 And by his eighte speere in his wirkyng
FranT 1281 He knew ful wel how fer Alnath was shove
FranT 1282 Fro the heed of thilke fixe Aries above,
FranT 1283 That in the ninthe speere considered is;
FranT 1284 Ful subtilly he kalkuled al this.
FranT 1285 Whan he hadde founde his firste mansioun,
FranT 1286 He knew the remenaunt by proporcioun,
FranT 1287 And knew the arisyng of his moone weel,
FranT 1288 And in whos face, and terme, and everydeel;
FranT 1289 And knew ful weel the moones mansioun
FranT 1290 Acordaunt to his operacioun,
FranT 1291 And knew also his othere observaunces
FranT 1292 For swiche illusiouns and swiche meschaunces
FranT 1293 As hethen folk useden in thilke dayes.
FranT 1294 For which no lenger maked he delayes,
FranT 1295 But thurgh his magik, for a wyke or tweye,
FranT 1296 It semed that alle the rokkes were aweye.
FranT 1297 Aurelius, which that yet despeired is
FranT 1298 Wher he shal han his love or fare amys,
FranT 1299 Awaiteth nyght and day on this myracle;
FranT 1300 And whan he knew that ther was noon obstacle,
FranT 1301 That voyded were thise rokkes everychon,
FranT 1302 Doun to his maistres feet he fil anon,
FranT 1303 And seyde, “I woful wrecche, Aurelius,
FranT 1304 Thanke yow, lord, and lady myn Venus,
FranT 1305 That me han holpen fro my cares colde.”
FranT 1306 And to the temple his wey forth hath he holde,
FranT 1307 Where as he knew he sholde his lady see.
FranT 1308 And whan he saugh his tyme, anon-right hee,
FranT 1309 With dredful herte and with ful humble cheere,
FranT 1310 Salewed hath his sovereyn lady deere:
FranT 1311 “My righte lady,” quod this woful man,
FranT 1312 “Whom I moost drede and love as I best kan,
FranT 1313 And lothest were of al this world displese,
FranT 1314 Nere it that I for yow have swich disese
FranT 1315 That I moste dyen heere at youre foot anon,
FranT 1316 Noght wolde I telle how me is wo bigon.
FranT 1317 But certes outher moste I dye or pleyne;
FranT 1318 Ye sle me giltelees for verray peyne.
FranT 1319 But of my deeth thogh that ye have no routhe,
FranT 1320 Avyseth yow er that ye breke youre trouthe.
FranT 1321 Repenteth yow, for thilke God above,
FranT 1322 Er ye me sleen by cause that I yow love.
FranT 1323 For, madame, wel ye woot what ye han hight —
FranT 1324 Nat that I chalange any thyng of right
FranT 1325 Of yow, my sovereyn lady, but youre grace —
FranT 1326 But in a gardyn yond, at swich a place,
FranT 1327 Ye woot right wel what ye bihighten me;
FranT 1328 And in myn hand youre trouthe plighten ye
FranT 1329 To love me best — God woot, ye seyde so,
FranT 1330 Al be that I unworthy am therto.
FranT 1331 Madame, I speke it for the honour of yow
FranT 1332 Moore than to save myn hertes lyf right now —
FranT 1333 I have do so as ye comanded me;
FranT 1334 And if ye vouche sauf, ye may go see.
FranT 1335 Dooth as yow list; have youre biheste in mynde,
FranT 1336 For, quyk or deed, right there ye shal me fynde.
FranT 1337 In yow lith al to do me lyve or deye —
FranT 1338 But wel I woot the rokkes been aweye.”
FranT 1339 He taketh his leve, and she astoned stood;
FranT 1340 In al hir face nas a drope of blood.
FranT 1341 She wende nevere han come in swich a trappe.
FranT 1342 “Allas,” quod she, “that evere this sholde happe!
FranT 1343 For wende I nevere by possibilitee
FranT 1344 That swich a monstre or merveille myghte be!
FranT 1345 It is agayns the proces of nature.”
FranT 1346 And hoom she goth a sorweful creature;
FranT 1347 For verray feere unnethe may she go.
FranT 1348 She wepeth, wailleth, al a day or two,
FranT 1349 And swowneth, that it routhe was to see.
FranT 1350 But why it was to no wight tolde shee,
FranT 1351 For out of towne was goon Arveragus.
FranT 1352 But to hirself she spak, and seyde thus,
FranT 1353 With face pale and with ful sorweful cheere,
FranT 1354 In hire compleynt, as ye shal after heere:
FranT 1355 “Allas,” quod she, “on thee, Fortune, I pleyne,
FranT 1356 That unwar wrapped hast me in thy cheyne,
FranT 1357 Fro which t’ escape woot I no socour,
FranT 1358 Save oonly deeth or elles dishonour;
FranT 1359 Oon of thise two bihoveth me to chese.
FranT 1360 But nathelees, yet have I levere to lese
FranT 1361 My lif than of my body to have a shame,
FranT 1362 Or knowe myselven fals, or lese my name;
FranT 1363 And with my deth I may be quyt, ywis.
FranT 1364 Hath ther nat many a noble wyf er this,
FranT 1365 And many a mayde, yslayn hirself, allas,
FranT 1366 Rather than with hir body doon trespas?
FranT 1367 “Yis, certes, lo, thise stories beren witnesse:
FranT 1368 Whan thritty tirauntz, ful of cursednesse,
FranT 1369 Hadde slayn Phidon in Atthenes atte feste,
FranT 1370 They comanded his doghtres for t’ areste
FranT 1371 And bryngen hem biforn hem in despit,
FranT 1372 Al naked, to fulfille hir foul delit,
FranT 1373 And in hir fadres blood they made hem daunce
FranT 1374 Upon the pavement, God yeve hem meschaunce!
FranT 1375 For which thise woful maydens, ful of drede,
FranT 1376 Rather than they wolde lese hir maydenhede,
FranT 1377 They prively been stirt into a welle
FranT 1378 And dreynte hemselven, as the bookes telle.
FranT 1379 “They of Mecene leete enquere and seke
FranT 1380 Of Lacedomye fifty maydens eke,
FranT 1381 On whiche they wolden doon hir lecherye.
FranT 1382 But was ther noon of al that compaignye
FranT 1383 That she nas slayn, and with a good entente
FranT 1384 Chees rather for to dye than assente
FranT 1385 To been oppressed of hir maydenhede.
FranT 1386 Why sholde I thanne to dye been in drede?
FranT 1387 Lo, eek, the tiraunt Aristoclides,
FranT 1388 That loved a mayden, heet Stymphalides,
FranT 1389 Whan that hir fader slayn was on a nyght,
FranT 1390 Unto Dianes temple goth she right,
FranT 1391 And hente the ymage in hir handes two,
FranT 1392 Fro which ymage wolde she nevere go.
FranT 1393 No wight ne myghte hir handes of it arace
FranT 1394 Til she was slayn, right in the selve place.
FranT 1395 “Now sith that maydens hadden swich despit
FranT 1396 To been defouled with mannes foul delit,
FranT 1397 Wel oghte a wyf rather hirselven slee
FranT 1398 Than be defouled, as it thynketh me.
FranT 1399 What shal I seyn of Hasdrubales wyf,
FranT 1400 That at Cartage birafte hirself hir lyf?
FranT 1401 For whan she saugh that Romayns wan the toun,
FranT 1402 She took hir children alle, and skipte adoun
FranT 1403 Into the fyr, and chees rather to dye
FranT 1404 Than any Romayn dide hire vileynye.
FranT 1405 Hath nat Lucresse yslayn hirself, allas,
FranT 1406 At Rome, whan that she oppressed was
FranT 1407 Of Tarquyn, for hire thoughte it was a shame
FranT 1408 To lyven whan she hadde lost hir name?
FranT 1409 The sevene maydens of Milesie also
FranT 1410 Han slayn hemself, for verrey drede and wo,
FranT 1411 Rather than folk of Gawle hem sholde oppresse.
FranT 1412 Mo than a thousand stories, as I gesse,
FranT 1413 Koude I now telle as touchynge this mateere.
FranT 1414 Whan Habradate was slayn, his wyf so deere
FranT 1415 Hirselven slow, and leet hir blood to glyde
FranT 1416 In Habradates woundes depe and wyde,
FranT 1417 And seyde, ‘My body, at the leeste way,
FranT 1418 Ther shal no wight defoulen, if I may.”
FranT 1419 “What sholde I mo ensamples heerof sayn,
FranT 1420 Sith that so manye han hemselven slayn
FranT 1421 Wel rather than they wolde defouled be?
FranT 1422 I wol conclude that it is bet for me
FranT 1423 To sleen myself than been defouled thus.
FranT 1424 I wol be trewe unto Arveragus,
FranT 1425 Or rather sleen myself in som manere,
FranT 1426 As dide Demociones doghter deere
FranT 1427 By cause that she wolde nat defouled be.
FranT 1428 O Cedasus, it is ful greet pitee
FranT 1429 To reden how thy doghtren deyde, allas,
FranT 1430 That slowe hemself for swich manere cas.
FranT 1431 As greet a pitee was it, or wel moore,
FranT 1432 The Theban mayden that for Nichanore
FranT 1433 Hirselven slow, right for swich manere wo.
FranT 1434 Another Theban mayden dide right so;
FranT 1435 For oon of Macidonye hadde hire oppressed,
FranT 1436 She with hire deeth hir maydenhede redressed.
FranT 1437 What shal I seye of Nicerates wyf,
FranT 1438 That for swich cas birafte hirself hir lyf?
FranT 1439 How trewe eek was to Alcebiades
FranT 1440 His love, that rather for to dyen chees
FranT 1441 Than for to suffre his body unburyed be.
FranT 1442 Lo, which a wyf was Alceste,” quod she.
FranT 1443 “What seith Omer of goode Penalopee?
FranT 1444 Al Grece knoweth of hire chastitee.
FranT 1445 Pardee, of Laodomya is writen thus,
FranT 1446 That whan at Troie was slayn Protheselaus,
FranT 1447 Ne lenger wolde she lyve after his day.
FranT 1448 The same of noble Porcia telle I may;
FranT 1449 Withoute Brutus koude she nat lyve,
FranT 1450 To whom she hadde al hool hir herte yive.
FranT 1451 The parfit wyfhod of Arthemesie
FranT 1452 Honured is thurgh al the Barbarie.
FranT 1453 O Teuta, queene, thy wyfly chastitee
FranT 1454 To alle wyves may a mirour bee.
FranT 1455 The same thyng I seye of Bilyea,
FranT 1456 Of Rodogone, and eek Valeria.”
FranT 1457 Thus pleyned Dorigen a day or tweye,
FranT 1458 Purposynge evere that she wolde deye.
FranT 1459 But nathelees, upon the thridde nyght,
FranT 1460 Hoom cam Arveragus, this worthy knyght,
FranT 1461 And asked hire why that she weep so soore;
FranT 1462 And she gan wepen ever lenger the moore.
FranT 1463 “Allas,” quod she, “that evere was I born!
FranT 1464 Thus have I seyd,” quod she, “thus have I sworn” —
FranT 1465 And toold hym al as ye han herd bifore;
FranT 1466 It nedeth nat reherce it yow namoore.
FranT 1467 This housbonde, with glad chiere, in freendly wyse
FranT 1468 Answerde and seyde as I shal yow devyse:
FranT 1469 “Is ther oght elles, Dorigen, but this?”
FranT 1470 “Nay, nay,” quod she, “God helpe me so as wys!
FranT 1471 This is to muche, and it were Goddes wille.”
FranT 1472 “Ye, wyf,” quod he, “lat slepen that is stille.
FranT 1473 It may be wel, paraventure, yet to day.
FranT 1474 Ye shul youre trouthe holden, by my fay!
FranT 1475 For God so wisly have mercy upon me,
FranT 1476 I hadde wel levere ystiked for to be
FranT 1477 For verray love which that I to yow have,
FranT 1478 But if ye sholde youre trouthe kepe and save.
FranT 1479 Trouthe is the hyeste thyng that man may kepe” —
FranT 1480 But with that word he brast anon to wepe,
FranT 1481 And seyde, “I yow forbede, up peyne of deeth,
FranT 1482 That nevere, whil thee lasteth lyf ne breeth,
FranT 1483 To no wight telle thou of this aventure —
FranT 1484 As I may best, I wol my wo endure —
FranT 1485 Ne make no contenance of hevynesse,
FranT 1486 That folk of yow may demen harm or gesse.”
FranT 1487 And forth he cleped a squier and a mayde:
FranT 1488 “Gooth forth anon with Dorigen,” he sayde,
FranT 1489 “And bryngeth hire to swich a place anon.”
FranT 1490 They take hir leve, and on hir wey they gon,
FranT 1491 But they ne wiste why she thider wente.
FranT 1492 He nolde no wight tellen his entente.
FranT 1493 Paraventure an heep of yow, ywis,
FranT 1494 Wol holden hym a lewed man in this
FranT 1495 That he wol putte his wyf in jupartie.
FranT 1496 Herkneth the tale er ye upon hire crie.
FranT 1497 She may have bettre fortune than yow semeth;
FranT 1498 And whan that ye han herd the tale, demeth.
FranT 1499 This squier, which that highte Aurelius,
FranT 1500 On Dorigen that was so amorus,
FranT 1501 Of aventure happed hire to meete
FranT 1502 Amydde the toun, right in the quykkest strete,
FranT 1503 As she was bown to goon the wey forth right
FranT 1504 Toward the gardyn ther as she had hight.
FranT 1505 And he was to the gardyn-ward also;
FranT 1506 For wel he spyed whan she wolde go
FranT 1507 Out of hir hous to any maner place.
FranT 1508 But thus they mette, of aventure or grace,
FranT 1509 And he saleweth hire with glad entente,
FranT 1510 And asked of hire whiderward she wente;
FranT 1511 And she answerde, half as she were mad,
FranT 1512 “Unto the gardyn, as myn housbonde bad,
FranT 1513 My trouthe for to holde — allas, allas!”
FranT 1514 Aurelius gan wondren on this cas,
FranT 1515 And in his herte hadde greet compassioun
FranT 1516 Of hire and of hire lamentacioun,
FranT 1517 And of Arveragus, the worthy knyght,
FranT 1518 That bad hire holden al that she had hight,
FranT 1519 So looth hym was his wyf sholde breke hir trouthe;
FranT 1520 And in his herte he caughte of this greet routhe,
FranT 1521 Considerynge the beste on every syde,
FranT 1522 That fro his lust yet were hym levere abyde
FranT 1523 Than doon so heigh a cherlyssh wrecchednesse
FranT 1524 Agayns franchise and alle gentillesse;
FranT 1525 For which in fewe wordes seyde he thus:
FranT 1526 “Madame, seyth to youre lord Arveragus
FranT 1527 That sith I se his grete gentillesse
FranT 1528 To yow, and eek I se wel youre distresse,
FranT 1529 That him were levere han shame (and that were routhe)
FranT 1530 Than ye to me sholde breke thus youre trouthe,
FranT 1531 I have wel levere evere to suffre wo
FranT 1532 Than I departe the love bitwix yow two.
FranT 1533 I yow relesse, madame, into youre hond
FranT 1534 Quyt every serement and every bond
FranT 1535 That ye han maad to me as heerbiforn,
FranT 1536 Sith thilke tyme which that ye were born.
FranT 1537 My trouthe I plighte, I shal yow never repreve
FranT 1538 Of no biheste, and heere I take my leve,
FranT 1539 As of the treweste and the beste wyf
FranT 1540 That evere yet I knew in al my lyf.
FranT 1541 But every wyf be war of hire biheeste!
FranT 1542 On Dorigen remembreth, atte leeste.
FranT 1543 Thus kan a squier doon a gentil dede
FranT 1544 As wel as kan a knyght, withouten drede.”
FranT 1545 She thonketh hym upon hir knees al bare,
FranT 1546 And hoom unto hir housbonde is she fare,
FranT 1547 And tolde hym al, as ye han herd me sayd;
FranT 1548 And be ye siker, he was so weel apayd
FranT 1549 That it were impossible me to wryte.
FranT 1550 What sholde I lenger of this cas endyte?
FranT 1551 Arveragus and Dorigen his wyf
FranT 1552 In sovereyn blisse leden forth hir lyf.
FranT 1553 Nevere eft ne was ther angre hem bitwene.
FranT 1554 He cherisseth hire as though she were a queene,
FranT 1555 And she was to hym trewe for everemoore.
FranT 1556 Of thise two folk ye gete of me namoore.
FranT 1557 Aurelius, that his cost hath al forlorn,
FranT 1558 Curseth the tyme that evere he was born:
FranT 1559 “Allas!” quod he. “Allas, that I bihighte
FranT 1560 Of pured gold a thousand pound of wighte
FranT 1561 Unto this philosophre! How shal I do?
FranT 1562 I se namoore but that I am fordo.
FranT 1563 Myn heritage moot I nedes selle,
FranT 1564 And been a beggere; heere may I nat dwelle
FranT 1565 And shamen al my kynrede in this place,
FranT 1566 But I of hym may gete bettre grace.
FranT 1567 But nathelees, I wole of hym assaye,
FranT 1568 At certeyn dayes, yeer by yeer, to paye,
FranT 1569 And thanke hym of his grete curteisye.
FranT 1570 My trouthe wol I kepe, I wol nat lye.”
FranT 1571 With herte soor he gooth unto his cofre,
FranT 1572 And broghte gold unto this philosophre,
FranT 1573 The value of fyve hundred pound, I gesse,
FranT 1574 And hym bisecheth, of his gentillesse,
FranT 1575 To graunte hym dayes of the remenaunt;
FranT 1576 And seyde, “Maister, I dar wel make avaunt,
FranT 1577 I failled nevere of my trouthe as yit.
FranT 1578 For sikerly my dette shal be quyt
FranT 1579 Towardes yow, howevere that I fare
FranT 1580 To goon a-begged in my kirtle bare.
FranT 1581 But wolde ye vouche sauf, upon seuretee,
FranT 1582 Two yeer or thre for to respiten me,
FranT 1583 Thanne were I wel; for elles moot I selle
FranT 1584 Myn heritage; ther is namoore to telle.”
FranT 1585 This philosophre sobrely answerde,
FranT 1586 And seyde thus, whan he thise wordes herde:
FranT 1587 “Have I nat holden covenant unto thee?”
FranT 1588 “Yes, certes, wel and trewely,” quod he.
FranT 1589 “Hastow nat had thy lady as thee liketh?”
FranT 1590 “No, no,” quod he, and sorwefully he siketh.
FranT 1591 “What was the cause? Tel me if thou kan.”
FranT 1592 Aurelius his tale anon bigan,
FranT 1593 And tolde hym al, as ye han herd bifoore;
FranT 1594 It nedeth nat to yow reherce it moore.
FranT 1595 He seide, “Arveragus, of gentillesse,
FranT 1596 Hadde levere dye in sorwe and in distresse
FranT 1597 Than that his wyf were of hir trouthe fals.”
FranT 1598 The sorwe of Dorigen he tolde hym als;
FranT 1599 How looth hire was to been a wikked wyf,
FranT 1600 And that she levere had lost that day hir lyf,
FranT 1601 And that hir trouthe she swoor thurgh innocence,
FranT 1602 She nevere erst hadde herde speke of apparence.
FranT 1603 “That made me han of hire so greet pitee;
FranT 1604 And right as frely as he sente hire me,
FranT 1605 As frely sente I hire to hym ageyn.
FranT 1606 This al and som; ther is namoore to seyn.”
FranT 1607 This philosophre answerde, “Leeve brother,
FranT 1608 Everich of yow dide gentilly til oother.
FranT 1609 Thou art a squier, and he is a knyght;
FranT 1610 But God forbede, for his blisful myght,
FranT 1611 But if a clerk koude doon a gentil dede
FranT 1612 As wel as any of yow, it is no drede!
FranT 1613 Sire, I releesse thee thy thousand pound,
FranT 1614 As thou right now were cropen out of the ground,
FranT 1615 Ne nevere er now ne haddest knowen me.
FranT 1616 For, sire, I wol nat taken a peny of thee
FranT 1617 For al my craft, ne noght for my travaille.
FranT 1618 Thou hast ypayed wel for my vitaille.
FranT 1619 It is ynogh, and farewel, have good day!”
FranT 1620 And took his hors, and forth he goth his way.
FranT 1621 Lordynges, this question, thanne, wol I aske now,
FranT 1622 Which was the mooste fre, as thynketh yow?
FranT 1623 Now telleth me, er that ye ferther wende.
FranT 1624 I kan namoore; my tale is at an ende.