The Squire’s Tale

From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

SqT 9 At Sarray, in the land of Tartarye,
SqT 10 Ther dwelte a kyng that werreyed Russye,
SqT 11 Thurgh which ther dyde many a doughty man.
SqT 12 This noble kyng was cleped Cambyuskan,
SqT 13 Which in his tyme was of so greet renoun
SqT 14 That ther was nowher in no regioun
SqT 15 So excellent a lord in alle thyng:
SqT 16 Hym lakked noght that longeth to a kyng.
SqT 17 As of the secte of which that he was born
SqT 18 He kepte his lay, to which that he was sworn;
SqT 19 And therto he was hardy, wys, and riche,
SqT 20 And pitous and just, alwey yliche;
SqT 21 Sooth of his word, benigne, and honurable;
SqT 22 Of his corage as any centre stable;
SqT 23 Yong, fressh, and strong, in armes desirous
SqT 24 As any bacheler of al his hous.
SqT 25 A fair persone he was and fortunat,
SqT 26 And kept alwey so wel roial estat
SqT 27 That ther was nowher swich another man.
SqT 28 This noble kyng, this Tartre Cambyuskan,
SqT 29 Hadde two sones on Elpheta his wyf,
SqT 30 Of whiche the eldeste highte Algarsyf;
SqT 31 That oother sone was cleped Cambalo.
SqT 32 A doghter hadde this worthy kyng also,
SqT 33 That yongest was, and highte Canacee.
SqT 34 But for to telle yow al hir beautee,
SqT 35 It lyth nat in my tonge, n’ yn my konnyng;
SqT 36 I dar nat undertake so heigh a thyng.
SqT 37 Myn Englissh eek is insufficient.
SqT 38 It moste been a rethor excellent
SqT 39 That koude his colours longynge for that art,
SqT 40 If he sholde hire discryven every part.
SqT 41 I am noon swich, I moot speke as I kan.
SqT 42 And so bifel that whan this Cambyuskan
SqT 43 Hath twenty wynter born his diademe,
SqT 44 As he was wont fro yeer to yeer, I deme,
SqT 45 He leet the feeste of his nativitee
SqT 46 Doon cryen thurghout Sarray his citee,
SqT 47 The laste Idus of March, after the yeer.
SqT 48 Phebus the sonne ful joly was and cleer,
SqT 49 For he was neigh his exaltacioun
SqT 50 In Martes face and in his mansioun
SqT 51 In Aries, the colerik hoote signe.
SqT 52 Ful lusty was the weder and benigne,
SqT 53 For which the foweles, agayn the sonne sheene,
SqT 54 What for the sesoun and the yonge grene,
SqT 55 Ful loude songen hire affecciouns.
SqT 56 Hem semed han geten hem protecciouns
SqT 57 Agayn the swerd of wynter, keene and coold.
SqT 58 This Cambyuskan, of which I have yow toold,
SqT 59 In roial vestiment sit on his deys,
SqT 60 With diademe, ful heighe in his paleys,
SqT 61 And halt his feeste so solempne and so ryche
SqT 62 That in this world ne was ther noon it lyche;
SqT 63 Of which if I shal tellen al th’ array,
SqT 64 Thanne wolde it occupie a someres day,
SqT 65 And eek it nedeth nat for to devyse
SqT 66 At every cours the ordre of hire servyse.
SqT 67 I wol nat tellen of hir strange sewes,
SqT 68 Ne of hir swannes, ne of hire heronsewes.
SqT 69 Eek in that lond, as tellen knyghtes olde,
SqT 70 Ther is som mete that is ful deynte holde
SqT 71 That in this lond men recche of it but smal;
SqT 72 Ther nys no man that may reporten al.
SqT 73 I wol nat taryen yow, for it is pryme
SqT 74 And for it is no fruyt but los of tyme;
SqT 75 Unto my firste I wole have my recours.
SqT 76 And so bifel that after the thridde cours,
SqT 77 Whil that this kyng sit thus in his nobleye,
SqT 78 Herknynge his mynstralles hir thynges pleye
SqT 79 Biforn hym at the bord deliciously,
SqT 80 In at the halle dore al sodeynly
SqT 81 Ther cam a knyght upon a steede of bras,
SqT 82 And in his hand a brood mirour of glas.
SqT 83 Upon his thombe he hadde of gold a ryng,
SqT 84 And by his syde a naked swerd hangyng;
SqT 85 And up he rideth to the heighe bord.
SqT 86 In al the halle ne was ther spoken a word
SqT 87 For merveille of this knyght; hym to biholde
SqT 88 Ful bisily they wayten, yonge and olde.
SqT 89 This strange knyght, that cam thus sodeynly,
SqT 90 Al armed, save his heed, ful richely,
SqT 91 Saleweth kyng and queene and lordes alle,
SqT 92 By ordre, as they seten in the halle,
SqT 93 With so heigh reverence and obeisaunce,
SqT 94 As wel in speche as in contenaunce,
SqT 95 That Gawayn, with his olde curteisye,
SqT 96 Though he were comen ayeyn out of Fairye,
SqT 97 Ne koude hym nat amende with a word.
SqT 98 And after this, biforn the heighe bord,
SqT 99 He with a manly voys seide his message,
SqT 100 After the forme used in his langage,
SqT 101 Withouten vice of silable or of lettre;
SqT 102 And for his tale sholde seme the bettre,
SqT 103 Accordant to his wordes was his cheere,
SqT 104 As techeth art of speche hem that it leere.
SqT 105 Al be that I kan nat sowne his stile,
SqT 106 Ne kan nat clymben over so heigh a style,
SqT 107 Yet seye I this, as to commune entente:
SqT 108 Thus muche amounteth al that evere he mente,
SqT 109 If it so be that I have it in mynde.
SqT 110 He seyde, “The kyng of Arabe and of Inde,
SqT 111 My lige lord, on this solempne day
SqT 112 Saleweth yow, as he best kan and may,
SqT 113 And sendeth yow, in honour of youre feeste,
SqT 114 By me, that am al redy at youre heeste,
SqT 115 This steede of bras, that esily and weel
SqT 116 Kan in the space of o day natureel —
SqT 117 This is to seyn, in foure and twenty houres —
SqT 118 Wher-so yow lyst, in droghte or elles shoures,
SqT 119 Beren youre body into every place
SqT 120 To which youre herte wilneth for to pace,
SqT 121 Withouten wem of yow, thurgh foul or fair;
SqT 122 Or, if yow lyst to fleen as hye in the air
SqT 123 As dooth an egle whan hym list to soore,
SqT 124 This same steede shal bere yow evere moore,
SqT 125 Withouten harm, til ye be ther yow leste,
SqT 126 Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste,
SqT 127 And turne ayeyn with writhyng of a pyn.
SqT 128 He that it wroghte koude ful many a gyn.
SqT 129 He wayted many a constellacion
SqT 130 Er he had doon this operacion,
SqT 131 And knew ful many a seel and many a bond.
SqT 132 “This mirour eek, that I have in myn hond,
SqT 133 Hath swich a myght that men may in it see
SqT 134 Whan ther shal fallen any adversitee
SqT 135 Unto youre regne or to youreself also,
SqT 136 And openly who is youre freend or foo.
SqT 137 “And over al this, if any lady bright
SqT 138 Hath set hire herte on any maner wight,
SqT 139 If he be fals, she shal his tresoun see,
SqT 140 His newe love, and al his subtiltee,
SqT 141 So openly that ther shal no thyng hyde.
SqT 142 Wherfore, ageyn this lusty someres tyde,
SqT 143 This mirour and this ryng, that ye may see,
SqT 144 He hath sent to my lady Canacee,
SqT 145 Youre excellente doghter that is heere.
SqT 146 “The vertu of the ryng, if ye wol heere,
SqT 147 Is this: that if hire lust it for to were
SqT 148 Upon hir thombe or in hir purs it bere,
SqT 149 Ther is no fowel that fleeth under the hevene
SqT 150 That she ne shal wel understonde his stevene,
SqT 151 And knowe his menyng openly and pleyn,
SqT 152 And answere hym in his langage ageyn;
SqT 153 And every gras that groweth upon roote
SqT 154 She shal eek knowe, and whom it wol do boote,
SqT 155 Al be his woundes never so depe and wyde.
SqT 156 “This naked swerd, that hangeth by my syde,
SqT 157 Swich vertu hath that what man so ye smyte
SqT 158 Thurghout his armure it wole kerve and byte,
SqT 159 Were it as thikke as is a branched ook;
SqT 160 And what man that is wounded with the strook
SqT 161 Shal never be hool til that yow list, of grace,
SqT 162 To stroke hym with the plat in thilke place
SqT 163 Ther he is hurt; this is as muche to seyn,
SqT 164 Ye moote with the platte swerd ageyn
SqT 165 Stroke hym in the wounde, and it wol close.
SqT 166 This is a verray sooth, withouten glose;
SqT 167 It failleth nat whils it is in youre hoold.”
SqT 168 And whan this knyght hath thus his tale toold,
SqT 169 He rideth out of halle and doun he lighte.
SqT 170 His steede, which that shoon as sonne brighte,
SqT 171 Stant in the court, stille as any stoon.
SqT 172 This knyght is to his chambre lad anoon,
SqT 173 And is unarmed, and to mete yset.
SqT 174 The presentes been ful roially yfet —
SqT 175 This is to seyn, the swerd and the mirour —
SqT 176 And born anon into the heighe tour
SqT 177 With certeine officers ordeyned therfore;
SqT 178 And unto Canacee this ryng is bore
SqT 179 Solempnely, ther she sit at the table.
SqT 180 But sikerly, withouten any fable,
SqT 181 The hors of bras, that may nat be remewed,
SqT 182 It stant as it were to the ground yglewed.
SqT 183 Ther may no man out of the place it dryve
SqT 184 For noon engyn of wyndas or polyve;
SqT 185 And cause why? For they kan nat the craft.
SqT 186 And therfore in the place they han it laft
SqT 187 Til that the knyght hath taught hem the manere
SqT 188 To voyden hym, as ye shal after heere.
SqT 189 Greet was the prees that swarmeth to and fro
SqT 190 To gauren on this hors that stondeth so,
SqT 191 For it so heigh was, and so brood and long,
SqT 192 So wel proporcioned for to been strong,
SqT 193 Right as it were a steede of Lumbardye;
SqT 194 Therwith so horsly, and so quyk of ye,
SqT 195 As it a gentil Poilleys courser were.
SqT 196 For certes, fro his tayl unto his ere
SqT 197 Nature ne art ne koude hym nat amende
SqT 198 In no degree, as al the people wende.
SqT 199 But everemoore hir mooste wonder was
SqT 200 How that it koude gon, and was of bras;
SqT 201 It was a fairye, as the peple semed.
SqT 202 Diverse folk diversely they demed;
SqT 203 As many heddes, as manye wittes ther been.
SqT 204 They murmureden as dooth a swarm of been,
SqT 205 And maden skiles after hir fantasies,
SqT 206 Rehersynge of thise olde poetries,
SqT 207 And seyden it was lyk the Pegasee,
SqT 208 The hors that hadde wynges for to flee;
SqT 209 Or elles it was the Grekes hors Synon,
SqT 210 That broghte Troie to destruccion,
SqT 211 As men in thise olde geestes rede.
SqT 212 “Myn herte,” quod oon, “is everemoore in drede;
SqT 213 I trowe som men of armes been therinne,
SqT 214 That shapen hem this citee for to wynne.
SqT 215 It were right good that al swich thyng were knowe.”
SqT 216 Another rowned to his felawe lowe,
SqT 217 And seyde, “He lyeth, for it is rather lyk
SqT 218 An apparence ymaad by som magyk,
SqT 219 As jogelours pleyen at thise feestes grete.”
SqT 220 Of sondry doutes thus they jangle and trete,
SqT 221 As lewed peple demeth comunly
SqT 222 Of thynges that been maad moore subtilly
SqT 223 Than they kan in hir lewednesse comprehende;
SqT 224 They demen gladly to the badder ende.
SqT 225 And somme of hem wondred on the mirour,
SqT 226 That born was up into the maister-tour,
SqT 227 Hou men myghte in it swiche thynges se.
SqT 228 Another answerde and seyde it myghte wel be
SqT 229 Naturelly, by composiciouns
SqT 230 Of anglis and of slye reflexiouns,
SqT 231 And seyde that in Rome was swich oon.
SqT 232 They speken of Alocen, and Vitulon,
SqT 233 And Aristotle, that writen in hir lyves
SqT 234 Of queynte mirours and of perspectives,
SqT 235 As knowen they that han hir bookes herd.
SqT 236 And oother folk han wondred on the swerd
SqT 237 That wolde percen thurghout every thyng,
SqT 238 And fille in speche of Thelophus the kyng,
SqT 239 And of Achilles with his queynte spere,
SqT 240 For he koude with it bothe heele and dere,
SqT 241 Right in swich wise as men may with the swerd
SqT 242 Of which right now ye han youreselven herd.
SqT 243 They speken of sondry hardyng of metal,
SqT 244 And speke of medicynes therwithal,
SqT 245 And how and whanne it sholde yharded be,
SqT 246 Which is unknowe, algates unto me.
SqT 247 Tho speeke they of Canacees ryng,
SqT 248 And seyden alle that swich a wonder thyng
SqT 249 Of craft of rynges herde they nevere noon,
SqT 250 Save that he Moyses and kyng Salomon
SqT 251 Hadde a name of konnyng in swich art.
SqT 252 Thus seyn the peple and drawen hem apart.
SqT 253 But nathelees somme seiden that it was
SqT 254 Wonder to maken of fern-asshen glas,
SqT 255 And yet nys glas nat lyk asshen of fern;
SqT 256 But, for they han yknowen it so fern,
SqT 257 Therfore cesseth hir janglyng and hir wonder.
SqT 258 As soore wondren somme on cause of thonder,
SqT 259 On ebbe, on flood, on gossomer, and on myst,
SqT 260 And alle thyng, til that the cause is wyst.
SqT 261 Thus jangle they, and demen, and devyse
SqT 262 Til that the kyng gan fro the bord aryse.
SqT 263 Phebus hath laft the angle meridional,
SqT 264 And yet ascendynge was the beest roial,
SqT 265 The gentil Leon, with his Aldiran,
SqT 266 Whan that this Tartre kyng, Cambyuskan,
SqT 267 Roos fro his bord, ther as he sat ful hye.
SqT 268 Toforn hym gooth the loude mynstralcye
SqT 269 Til he cam to his chambre of parementz,
SqT 270 Ther as they sownen diverse instrumentz
SqT 271 That it is lyk an hevene for to heere.
SqT 272 Now dauncen lusty Venus children deere,
SqT 273 For in the Fyssh hir lady sat ful hye,
SqT 274 And looketh on hem with a freendly ye.
SqT 275 This noble kyng is set upon his trone.
SqT 276 This strange knyght is fet to hym ful soone,
SqT 277 And on the daunce he gooth with Canacee.
SqT 278 Heere is the revel and the jolitee
SqT 279 That is nat able a dul man to devyse.
SqT 280 He moste han knowen love and his servyse
SqT 281 And been a feestlych man as fressh as May,
SqT 282 That sholde yow devysen swich array.
SqT 283 Who koude telle yow the forme of daunces
SqT 284 So unkouthe, and swiche fresshe contenaunces,
SqT 285 Swich subtil lookyng and dissymulynges
SqT 286 For drede of jalouse mennes aperceyvynges?
SqT 287 No man but Launcelot, and he is deed.
SqT 288 Therfore I passe of al this lustiheed;
SqT 289 I sey namoore, but in this jolynesse
SqT 290 I lete hem til men to the soper dresse.
SqT 291 The styward bit the spices for to hye,
SqT 292 And eek the wyn, in al this melodye.
SqT 293 The usshers and the squiers been ygoon,
SqT 294 The spices and the wyn is come anoon.
SqT 295 They ete and drynke, and whan this hadde an ende,
SqT 296 Unto the temple, as reson was, they wende.
SqT 297 The service doon, they soupen al by day.
SqT 298 What nedeth yow rehercen hire array?
SqT 299 Ech man woot wel that a kynges feeste
SqT 300 Hath plentee to the meeste and to the leeste,
SqT 301 And deyntees mo than been in my knowyng.
SqT 302 At after-soper gooth this noble kyng
SqT 303 To seen this hors of bras, with al a route
SqT 304 Of lordes and of ladyes hym aboute.
SqT 305 Swich wondryng was ther on this hors of bras
SqT 306 That syn the grete sege of Troie was,
SqT 307 Theras men wondreden on an hors also,
SqT 308 Ne was ther swich a wondryng as was tho.
SqT 309 But fynally the kyng axeth this knyght
SqT 310 The vertu of this courser and the myght,
SqT 311 And preyde hym to telle his governaunce.
SqT 312 This hors anoon bigan to trippe and daunce,
SqT 313 Whan that this knyght leyde hand upon his reyne,
SqT 314 And seyde, “Sire, ther is namoore to seyne,
SqT 315 But, whan yow list to ryden anywhere,
SqT 316 Ye mooten trille a pyn, stant in his ere,
SqT 317 Which I shal yow telle bitwix us two.
SqT 318 Ye moote nempne hym to what place also,
SqT 319 Or to what contree, that yow list to ryde.
SqT 320 And whan ye come ther as yow list abyde,
SqT 321 Bidde hym descende, and trille another pyn,
SqT 322 For therin lith th’ effect of al the gyn,
SqT 323 And he wol doun descende and doon youre wille,
SqT 324 And in that place he wol abyde stille.
SqT 325 Though al the world the contrarie hadde yswore,
SqT 326 He shal nat thennes been ydrawe ne ybore.
SqT 327 Or, if yow liste bidde hym thennes goon,
SqT 328 Trille this pyn, and he wol vanysshe anoon
SqT 329 Out of the sighte of every maner wight,
SqT 330 And come agayn, be it by day or nyght,
SqT 331 Whan that yow list to clepen hym ageyn
SqT 332 In swich a gyse as I shal to yow seyn
SqT 333 Bitwixe yow and me, and that ful soone.
SqT 334 Ride whan yow list; ther is namoore to doone.”
SqT 335 Enformed whan the kyng was of that knyght,
SqT 336 And hath conceyved in his wit aright
SqT 337 The manere and the forme of al this thyng,
SqT 338 Ful glad and blithe, this noble doughty kyng
SqT 339 Repeireth to his revel as biforn.
SqT 340 The brydel is unto the tour yborn
SqT 341 And kept among his jueles leeve and deere.
SqT 342 The hors vanysshed, I noot in what manere,
SqT 343 Out of hir sighte; ye gete namoore of me.
SqT 344 But thus I lete in lust and jolitee
SqT 345 This Cambyuskan his lordes festeiynge
SqT 346 Til wel ny the day bigan to sprynge.
SqT 347 The norice of digestioun, the sleep,
SqT 348 Gan on hem wynke and bad hem taken keep
SqT 349 That muchel drynke and labour wolde han reste;
SqT 350 And with a galpyng mouth hem alle he keste,
SqT 351 And seyde that it was tyme to lye adoun,
SqT 352 For blood was in his domynacioun.
SqT 353 “Cherisseth blood, natures freend,” quod he.
SqT 354 They thanken hym galpynge, by two, by thre,
SqT 355 And every wight gan drawe hym to his reste,
SqT 356 As sleep hem bad; they tooke it for the beste.
SqT 357 Hire dremes shul nat now been toold for me;
SqT 358 Ful were hire heddes of fumositee,
SqT 359 That causeth dreem of which ther nys no charge.
SqT 360 They slepen til that it was pryme large,
SqT 361 The mooste part, but it were Canacee.
SqT 362 She was ful mesurable, as wommen be;
SqT 363 For of hir fader hadde she take leve
SqT 364 To goon to reste soone after it was eve.
SqT 365 Hir liste nat appalled for to be,
SqT 366 Ne on the morwe unfeestlich for to se,
SqT 367 And slepte hire firste sleep, and thanne awook.
SqT 368 For swich a joye she in hir herte took
SqT 369 Bothe of hir queynte ryng and hire mirour,
SqT 370 That twenty tyme she changed hir colour;
SqT 371 And in hire sleep, right for impressioun
SqT 372 Of hire mirour, she hadde a visioun.
SqT 373 Wherfore, er that the sonne gan up glyde,
SqT 374 She cleped on hir maistresse hire bisyde,
SqT 375 And seyde that hire liste for to ryse.
SqT 376 Thise olde wommen that been gladly wyse,
SqT 377 As is hire maistresse, answerde hire anon,
SqT 378 And seyde, “Madame, whider wil ye goon
SqT 379 Thus erly, for the folk been alle on reste?”
SqT 380 “I wol,” quod she, “arise, for me leste
SqT 381 Ne lenger for to slepe, and walke aboute.”
SqT 382 Hire maistresse clepeth wommen a greet route,
SqT 383 And up they rysen, wel a ten or twelve;
SqT 384 Up riseth fresshe Canacee hireselve,
SqT 385 As rody and bright as dooth the yonge sonne,
SqT 386 That in the Ram is foure degrees up ronne —
SqT 387 Noon hyer was he whan she redy was —
SqT 388 And forth she walketh esily a pas,
SqT 389 Arrayed after the lusty seson soote
SqT 390 Lightly, for to pleye and walke on foote,
SqT 391 Nat but with fyve or sixe of hir meynee;
SqT 392 And in a trench forth in the park gooth she.
SqT 393 The vapour which that fro the erthe glood
SqT 394 Made the sonne to seme rody and brood;
SqT 395 But nathelees it was so fair a sighte
SqT 396 That it made alle hire hertes for to lighte,
SqT 397 What for the seson and the morwenynge,
SqT 398 And for the foweles that she herde synge.
SqT 399 For right anon she wiste what they mente
SqT 400 Right by hir song, and knew al hire entente.
SqT 401 The knotte why that every tale is toold,
SqT 402 If it be taried til that lust be coold
SqT 403 Of hem that han it after herkned yoore,
SqT 404 The savour passeth ever lenger the moore,
SqT 405 For fulsomnesse of his prolixitee;
SqT 406 And by the same resoun, thynketh me,
SqT 407 I sholde to the knotte condescende,
SqT 408 And maken of hir walkyng soone an ende.
SqT 409 Amydde a tree, for drye as whit as chalk,
SqT 410 As Canacee was pleyyng in hir walk,
SqT 411 Ther sat a faucon over hire heed ful hye,
SqT 412 That with a pitous voys so gan to crye
SqT 413 That all the wode resouned of hire cry.
SqT 414 Ybeten hadde she hirself so pitously
SqT 415 With bothe hir wynges til the rede blood
SqT 416 Ran endelong the tree ther-as she stood.
SqT 417 And evere in oon she cryde alwey and shrighte,
SqT 418 And with hir beek hirselven so she prighte
SqT 419 That ther nys tygre, ne noon so crueel beest
SqT 420 That dwelleth outher in wode or in forest,
SqT 421 That nolde han wept, if that he wepe koude,
SqT 422 For sorwe of hire, she shrighte alwey so loude.
SqT 423 For ther nas nevere yet no man on lyve,
SqT 424 If that I koude a faucon wel discryve,
SqT 425 That herde of swich another of fairnesse,
SqT 426 As wel of plumage as of gentillesse
SqT 427 Of shap, of al that myghte yrekened be.
SqT 428 A faucon peregryn thanne semed she
SqT 429 Of fremde land; and everemoore, as she stood,
SqT 430 She swowneth now and now for lak of blood,
SqT 431 Til wel neigh is she fallen fro the tree.
SqT 432 This faire kynges doghter, Canacee,
SqT 433 That on hir fynger baar the queynte ryng,
SqT 434 Thurgh which she understood wel every thyng
SqT 435 That any fowel may in his leden seyn,
SqT 436 And koude answeren hym in his ledene ageyn,
SqT 437 Hath understonde what this faucon seyde,
SqT 438 And wel neigh for the routhe almoost she deyde.
SqT 439 And to the tree she gooth ful hastily,
SqT 440 And on this faukon looketh pitously,
SqT 441 And heeld hir lappe abrood, for wel she wiste
SqT 442 The faukon moste fallen fro the twiste,
SqT 443 Whan that it swowned next, for lak of blood.
SqT 444 A longe whil to wayten hire she stood
SqT 445 Til atte laste she spak in this manere
SqT 446 Unto the hauk, as ye shal after heere:
SqT 447 “What is the cause, if it be for to telle,
SqT 448 That ye be in this furial pyne of helle?”
SqT 449 Quod Canacee unto this hauk above.
SqT 450 “Is this for sorwe of deeth or los of love?
SqT 451 For, as I trowe, thise been causes two
SqT 452 That causen moost a gentil herte wo;
SqT 453 Of oother harm it nedeth nat to speke.
SqT 454 For ye youreself upon yourself yow wreke,
SqT 455 Which proveth wel that outher ire or drede
SqT 456 Moot been enchesoun of youre cruel dede,
SqT 457 Syn that I see noon oother wight yow chace.
SqT 458 For love of God, as dooth youreselven grace,
SqT 459 Or what may been youre help? For west nor est
SqT 460 Ne saugh I nevere er now no bryd ne beest
SqT 461 That ferde with hymself so pitously.
SqT 462 Ye sle me with youre sorwe verraily,
SqT 463 I have of yow so greet compassioun.
SqT 464 For Goddes love, com fro the tree adoun;
SqT 465 And as I am a kynges doghter trewe,
SqT 466 If that I verraily the cause knewe
SqT 467 Of youre disese, if it lay in my myght,
SqT 468 I wolde amenden it er that it were nyght,
SqT 469 As wisly helpe me grete God of kynde!
SqT 470 And herbes shal I right ynowe yfynde
SqT 471 To heel with youre hurtes hastily.”
SqT 472 Tho shrighte this faucon yet moore pitously
SqT 473 Than ever she dide, and fil to grounde anon,
SqT 474 And lith aswowne, deed and lyk a stoon,
SqT 475 Til Canacee hath in hire lappe hire take
SqT 476 Unto the tyme she gan of swough awake.
SqT 477 And after that she of hir swough gan breyde,
SqT 478 Right in hir haukes ledene thus she seyde:
SqT 479 “That pitee renneth soone in gentil herte,
SqT 480 Feelynge his similitude in peynes smerte,
SqT 481 Is preved alday, as men may it see,
SqT 482 As wel by werk as by auctoritee;
SqT 483 For gentil herte kitheth gentillesse.
SqT 484 I se wel that ye han of my distresse
SqT 485 Compassion, my faire Canacee,
SqT 486 Of verray wommanly benignytee
SqT 487 That Nature in youre principles hath set.
SqT 488 But for noon hope for to fare the bet,
SqT 489 But for to obeye unto youre herte free,
SqT 490 And for to maken othere be war by me,
SqT 491 As by the whelp chasted is the leon,
SqT 492 Right for that cause and that conclusion,
SqT 493 Whil that I have a leyser and a space,
SqT 494 Myn harm I wol confessen er I pace.”
SqT 495 And evere, whil that oon hir sorwe tolde,
SqT 496 That oother weep as she to water wolde
SqT 497 Til that the faucon bad hire to be stille,
SqT 498 And, with a syk, right thus she seyde hir wille:
SqT 499 “Ther I was bred — allas, that ilke day! —
SqT 500 And fostred in a roche of marbul gray
SqT 501 So tendrely that no thyng eyled me,
SqT 502 I nyste nat what was adversitee
SqT 503 Til I koude flee ful hye under the sky.
SqT 504 Tho dwelte a tercelet me faste by,
SqT 505 That semed welle of alle gentillesse;
SqT 506 Al were he ful of treson and falsnesse,
SqT 507 It was so wrapped under humble cheere,
SqT 508 And under hewe of trouthe in swich manere,
SqT 509 Under plesance, and under bisy peyne,
SqT 510 That no wight koude han wend he koude feyne,
SqT 511 So depe in greyn he dyed his coloures.
SqT 512 Right as a serpent hit hym under floures
SqT 513 Til he may seen his tyme for to byte,
SqT 514 Right so this god of loves ypocryte
SqT 515 Dooth so his cerymonyes and obeisaunces,
SqT 516 And kepeth in semblaunt alle his observaunces
SqT 517 That sownen into gentillesse of love.
SqT 518 As in a toumbe is al the faire above,
SqT 519 And under is the corps, swich as ye woot,
SqT 520 Swich was this ypocrite, bothe coold and hoot.
SqT 521 And in this wise he served his entente
SqT 522 That, save the feend, noon wiste what he mente,
SqT 523 Til he so longe hadde wopen and compleyned,
SqT 524 And many a yeer his service to me feyned,
SqT 525 Til that myn herte, to pitous and to nyce,
SqT 526 Al innocent of his crouned malice,
SqT 527 Forfered of his deeth, as thoughte me,
SqT 528 Upon his othes and his seuretee,
SqT 529 Graunted hym love, upon this condicioun,
SqT 530 That everemoore myn honour and renoun
SqT 531 Were saved, bothe privee and apert;
SqT 532 This is to seyn, that after his desert,
SqT 533 I yaf hym al myn herte and al my thoght —
SqT 534 God woot and he, that ootherwise noght —
SqT 535 And took his herte in chaunge of myn for ay.
SqT 536 But sooth is seyd, goon sithen many a day,
SqT 537 ‘A trewe wight and a theef thenken nat oon.’
SqT 538 And whan he saugh the thyng so fer ygoon
SqT 539 That I hadde graunted hym fully my love
SqT 540 In swich a gyse as I have seyd above,
SqT 541 And yeven hym my trewe herte as free
SqT 542 As he swoor he yaf his herte to me,
SqT 543 Anon this tigre, ful of doublenesse,
SqT 544 Fil on his knees with so devout humblesse,
SqT 545 With so heigh reverence, and, as by his cheere,
SqT 546 So lyk a gentil lovere of manere,
SqT 547 So ravysshed, as it semed, for the joye
SqT 548 That nevere Jason ne Parys of Troye —
SqT 549 Jason? certes, ne noon oother man
SqT 550 Syn Lameth was, that alderfirst bigan
SqT 551 To loven two, as writen folk biforn —
SqT 552 Ne nevere, syn the firste man was born,
SqT 553 Ne koude man, by twenty thousand part,
SqT 554 Countrefete the sophymes of his art,
SqT 555 Ne were worthy unbokelen his galoche,
SqT 556 Ther doublenesse or feynyng sholde approche,
SqT 557 Ne so koude thonke a wight as he dide me!
SqT 558 His manere was an hevene for to see
SqT 559 Til any womman, were she never so wys,
SqT 560 So peynted he and kembde at point-devys
SqT 561 As wel his wordes as his contenaunce.
SqT 562 And I so loved hym for his obeisaunce,
SqT 563 And for the trouthe I demed in his herte,
SqT 564 That if so were that any thyng hym smerte,
SqT 565 Al were it never so lite, and I it wiste,
SqT 566 Me thoughte I felte deeth myn herte twiste.
SqT 567 And shortly, so ferforth this thyng is went
SqT 568 That my wyl was his willes instrument;
SqT 569 This is to seyn, my wyl obeyed his wyl
SqT 570 In alle thyng, as fer as reson fil,
SqT 571 Kepynge the boundes of my worshipe evere.
SqT 572 Ne nevere hadde I thyng so lief, ne levere,
SqT 573 As hym, God woot, ne nevere shal namo.
SqT 574 “This laste lenger than a yeer or two,
SqT 575 That I supposed of hym noght but good.
SqT 576 But finally, thus atte laste it stood,
SqT 577 That Fortune wolde that he moste twynne
SqT 578 Out of that place which that I was inne.
SqT 579 Wher me was wo, that is no questioun;
SqT 580 I kan nat make of it discripsioun.
SqT 581 For o thyng dar I tellen boldely:
SqT 582 I knowe what is the peyne of deeth therby;
SqT 583 Swich harm I felte for he ne myghte bileve.
SqT 584 So on a day of me he took his leve,
SqT 585 So sorwefully eek that I wende verraily
SqT 586 That he had felt as muche harm as I,
SqT 587 Whan that I herde hym speke and saugh his hewe.
SqT 588 But nathelees, I thoughte he was so trewe,
SqT 589 And eek that he repaire sholde ageyn
SqT 590 Withinne a litel while, sooth to seyn;
SqT 591 And resoun wolde eek that he moste go
SqT 592 For his honour, as ofte it happeth so,
SqT 593 That I made vertu of necessitee,
SqT 594 And took it wel, syn that it moste be.
SqT 595 As I best myghte, I hidde fro hym my sorwe,
SqT 596 And took hym by the hond, Seint John to borwe,
SqT 597 And seyde hym thus: ‘Lo, I am youres al;
SqT 598 Beth swich as I to yow have been and shal.’
SqT 599 What he answerde, it nedeth noght reherce;
SqT 600 Who kan sey bet than he, who kan do werse?
SqT 601 Whan he hath al wel seyd, thanne hath he doon.
SqT 602 ‘Therfore bihoveth hire a ful long spoon
SqT 603 That shal ete with a feend,’ thus herde I seye.
SqT 604 So atte laste he moste forth his weye,
SqT 605 And forth he fleeth til he cam ther hym leste.
SqT 606 Whan it cam hym to purpos for to reste,
SqT 607 I trowe he hadde thilke text in mynde,
SqT 608 That ‘alle thyng, repeirynge to his kynde,
SqT 609 Gladeth hymself;’ thus seyn men, as I gesse.
SqT 610 Men loven of propre kynde newefangelnesse,
SqT 611 As briddes doon that men in cages fede.
SqT 612 For though thou nyght and day take of hem hede,
SqT 613 And strawe hir cage faire and softe as silk,
SqT 614 And yeve hem sugre, hony, breed and milk,
SqT 615 Yet right anon as that his dore is uppe
SqT 616 He with his feet wol spurne adoun his cuppe,
SqT 617 And to the wode he wole and wormes ete;
SqT 618 So newefangel been they of hire mete,
SqT 619 And loven novelries of propre kynde,
SqT 620 No gentillesse of blood ne may hem bynde.
SqT 621 “So ferde this tercelet, allas the day!
SqT 622 Though he were gentil born, and fressh and gay,
SqT 623 And goodlich for to seen, and humble and free,
SqT 624 He saugh upon a tyme a kyte flee,
SqT 625 And sodeynly he loved this kyte so
SqT 626 That al his love is clene fro me ago,
SqT 627 And hath his trouthe falsed in this wyse.
SqT 628 Thus hath the kyte my love in hire servyse,
SqT 629 And I am lorn withouten remedie!”
SqT 630 And with that word this faucon gan to crie
SqT 631 And swowned eft in Canacees barm.
SqT 632 Greet was the sorwe for the haukes harm
SqT 633 That Canacee and alle hir wommen made;
SqT 634 They nyste hou they myghte the faucon glade.
SqT 635 But Canacee hom bereth hire in hir lappe,
SqT 636 And softely in plastres gan hire wrappe,
SqT 637 Ther as she with hire beek hadde hurt hirselve.
SqT 638 Now kan nat Canacee but herbes delve
SqT 639 Out of the ground, and make salves newe
SqT 640 Of herbes preciouse and fyne of hewe
SqT 641 To heelen with this hauk. Fro day to nyght
SqT 642 She dooth hire bisynesse and al hire myght,
SqT 643 And by hire beddes heed she made a mewe
SqT 644 And covered it with veluettes blewe,
SqT 645 In signe of trouthe that is in wommen sene.
SqT 646 And al withoute, the mewe is peynted grene,
SqT 647 In which were peynted alle thise false fowles,
SqT 648 As ben thise tidyves, tercelettes, and owles;
SqT 649 Right for despit were peynted hem bisyde,
SqT 650 Pyes, on hem for to crie and chyde.
SqT 651 Thus lete I Canacee hir hauk kepyng;
SqT 652 I wol namoore as now speke of hir ryng
SqT 653 Til it come eft to purpos for to seyn
SqT 654 How that this faucon gat hire love ageyn
SqT 655 Repentant, as the storie telleth us,
SqT 656 By mediacion of Cambalus,
SqT 657 The kynges sone, of which I yow tolde.
SqT 658 But hennesforth I wol my proces holde
SqT 659 To speken of aventures and of batailles
SqT 660 That nevere yet was herd so grete mervailles.
SqT 661 First wol I telle yow of Cambyuskan,
SqT 662 That in his tyme many a citee wan;
SqT 663 And after wol I speke of Algarsif,
SqT 664 How that he wan Theodora to his wif,
SqT 665 For whom ful ofte in greet peril he was,
SqT 666 Ne hadde he ben holpen by the steede of bras;
SqT 667 And after wol I speke of Cambalo,
SqT 668 That faught in lystes with the bretheren two
SqT 669 For Canacee er that he myghte hire wynne.
SqT 670 And ther I lefte I wol ayeyn bigynne.
SqT 671 Appollo whirleth up his chaar so hye
SqT 672 Til that the god Mercurius hous, the slye —
SqT 673 “In feith, Squier, thow hast thee wel yquit
SqT 674 And gentilly. I preise wel thy wit,”
SqT 675 Quod the Frankeleyn, “considerynge thy yowthe,
SqT 676 So feelyngly thou spekest, sire, I allow the!
SqT 677 As to my doom, ther is noon that is heere
SqT 678 Of eloquence that shal be thy peere,
SqT 679 If that thou lyve; God yeve thee good chaunce,
SqT 680 And in vertu sende thee continuaunce,
SqT 681 For of thy speche I have greet deyntee.
SqT 682 I have a sone, and by the Trinitee,
SqT 683 I hadde levere than twenty pound worth lond,
SqT 684 Though it right now were fallen in myn hond,
SqT 685 He were a man of swich discrecioun
SqT 686 As that ye been! Fy on possessioun,
SqT 687 But if a man be vertuous withal!
SqT 688 I have my sone snybbed, and yet shal,
SqT 689 For he to vertu listeth nat entende;
SqT 690 But for to pleye at dees, and to despende
SqT 691 And lese al that he hath is his usage.
SqT 692 And he hath levere talken with a page
SqT 693 Than to comune with any gentil wight
SqT 694 Where he myghte lerne gentillesse aright.”
SqT 695 “Straw for youre gentillesse!” quod oure Hoost.
SqT 696 “What, Frankeleyn! Pardee, sire, wel thou woost
SqT 697 That ech of yow moot tellen atte leste
SqT 698 A tale or two, or breken his biheste.”
SqT 699 “That knowe I wel, sire,” quod the Frankeleyn.
SqT 700 “I prey yow, haveth me nat in desdeyn,
SqT 701 Though to this man I speke a word or two.”
SqT 702 “Telle on thy tale withouten wordes mo.”
SqT 703 “Gladly, sire Hoost,” quod he, “I wole obeye
SqT 704 Unto your wyl; now herkneth what I seye.
SqT 705 I wol yow nat contrarien in no wyse
SqT 706 As fer as that my wittes wol suffyse.
SqT 707 I prey to God that it may plesen yow;
SqT 708 Thanne woot I wel that it is good ynow.”