The Tale of Sir Thopas

From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Thop 712 Listeth, lordes, in good entent,
Thop 713 And I wol telle verrayment
Thop 714 Of myrthe and of solas,
Thop 715 Al of a knyght was fair and gent
Thop 716 In bataille and in tourneyment;
Thop 717 His name was sire Thopas.
Thop 718 Yborn he was in fer contree,
Thop 719 In Flaundres, al biyonde the see,
Thop 720 At Poperyng, in the place.
Thop 721 His fader was a man ful free,
Thop 722 And lord he was of that contree,
Thop 723 As it was Goddes grace.
Thop 724 Sire Thopas wax a doghty swayn;
Thop 725 Whit was his face as payndemayn,
Thop 726 His lippes rede as rose;
Thop 727 His rode is lyk scarlet in grayn,
Thop 728 And I yow telle in good certayn
Thop 729 He hadde a semely nose.
Thop 730 His heer, his berd was lyk saffroun,
Thop 731 That to his girdel raughte adoun;
Thop 732 His shoon of cordewane.
Thop 733 Of Brugges were his hosen broun,
Thop 734 His robe was of syklatoun,
Thop 735 That coste many a jane.
Thop 736 He koude hunte at wilde deer,
Thop 737 And ride an haukyng for river
Thop 738 With grey goshauk on honde;
Thop 739 Therto he was a good archeer;
Thop 740 Of wrastlyng was ther noon his peer,
Thop 741 Ther any ram shal stonde.
Thop 742 Ful many a mayde, bright in bour,
Thop 743 They moorne for hym paramour,
Thop 744 Whan hem were bet to slepe;
Thop 745 But he was chaast and no lechour,
Thop 746 And sweete as is the brembul flour
Thop 747 That bereth the rede hepe.
Thop 748 And so bifel upon a day,
Thop 749 For sothe, as I yow telle may,
Thop 750 Sire Thopas wolde out ride.
Thop 751 He worth upon his steede gray,
Thop 752 And in his hand a launcegay,
Thop 753 A long swerd by his side.
Thop 754 He priketh thurgh a fair forest,
Thop 755 Therinne is many a wilde best,
Thop 756 Ye, bothe bukke and hare;
Thop 757 And as he priketh north and est,
Thop 758 I telle it yow, hym hadde almest
Thop 759 Bitid a sory care.
Thop 760 Ther spryngen herbes grete and smale,
Thop 761 The lycorys and the cetewale,
Thop 762 And many a clowe-gylofre;
Thop 763 And notemuge to putte in ale,
Thop 764 Wheither it be moyste or stale,
Thop 765 Or for to leye in cofre.
Thop 766 The briddes synge, it is no nay,
Thop 767 The sparhauk and the papejay,
Thop 768 That joye it was to heere;
Thop 769 The thrustelcok made eek hir lay,
Thop 770 The wodedowve upon the spray
Thop 771 She sang ful loude and cleere.
Thop 772 Sire Thopas fil in love-longynge,
Thop 773 Al whan he herde the thrustel synge,
Thop 774 And pryked as he were wood.
Thop 775 His faire steede in his prikynge
Thop 776 So swatte that men myghte him wrynge;
Thop 777 His sydes were al blood.
Thop 778 Sire Thopas eek so wery was
Thop 779 For prikyng on the softe gras,
Thop 780 So fiers was his corage,
Thop 781 That doun he leyde him in that plas
Thop 782 To make his steede som solas,
Thop 783 And yaf hym good forage.
Thop 784 “O Seinte Marie, benedicite!
Thop 785 What eyleth this love at me
Thop 786 To bynde me so soore?
Thop 787 Me dremed al this nyght, pardee,
Thop 788 An elf-queene shal my lemman be
Thop 789 And slepe under my goore.
Thop 790 “An elf-queene wol I love, ywis,
Thop 791 For in this world no womman is
Thop 792 Worthy to be my make
Thop 793 In towne;
Thop 794 Alle othere wommen I forsake,
Thop 795 And to an elf-queene I me take
Thop 796 By dale and eek by downe!”
Thop 797 Into his sadel he clamb anon,
Thop 798 And priketh over stile and stoon
Thop 799 An elf-queene for t’ espye,
Thop 800 Til he so longe hath riden and goon
Thop 801 That he foond, in a pryve woon,
Thop 802 The contree of Fairye
Thop 803 So wilde;
Thop 804 For in that contree was ther noon
Thop 805 That to him durste ride or goon,
Thop 806 Neither wyf ne childe;
Thop 807 Til that ther cam a greet geaunt,
Thop 808 His name was sire Olifaunt,
Thop 809 A perilous man of dede.
Thop 810 He seyde, “Child, by Termagaunt,
Thop 811 But if thou prike out of myn haunt,
Thop 812 Anon I sle thy steede
Thop 813 With mace.
Thop 814 Heere is the queene of Fayerye,
Thop 815 With harpe and pipe and symphonye,
Thop 816 Dwellynge in this place.”
Thop 817 The child seyde, “Also moote I thee,
Thop 818 Tomorwe wol I meete with thee,
Thop 819 Whan I have myn armoure;
Thop 820 And yet I hope, par ma fay,
Thop 821 That thou shalt with this launcegay
Thop 822 Abyen it ful sowre.
Thop 823 Thy mawe
Thop 824 Shal I percen, if I may,
Thop 825 Er it be fully pryme of day,
Thop 826 For heere thow shalt be slawe.”
Thop 827 Sire Thopas drow abak ful faste;
Thop 828 This geant at hym stones caste
Thop 829 Out of a fel staf-slynge.
Thop 830 But faire escapeth child Thopas,
Thop 831 And al it was thurgh Goddes gras,
Thop 832 And thurgh his fair berynge.
Thop 833 Yet listeth, lordes, to my tale
Thop 834 Murier than the nightyngale,
Thop 835 For now I wol yow rowne
Thop 836 How sir Thopas, with sydes smale,
Thop 837 Prikyng over hill and dale,
Thop 838 Is comen agayn to towne.
Thop 839 His myrie men comanded he
Thop 840 To make hym bothe game and glee,
Thop 841 For nedes moste he fighte
Thop 842 With a geaunt with hevedes three,
Thop 843 For paramour and jolitee
Thop 844 Of oon that shoon ful brighte.
Thop 845 “Do come,” he seyde, “my mynstrales,
Thop 846 And geestours for to tellen tales,
Thop 847 Anon in myn armynge,
Thop 848 Of romances that been roiales,
Thop 849 Of popes and of cardinales,
Thop 850 And eek of love-likynge.”
Thop 851 They fette hym first the sweete wyn,
Thop 852 And mede eek in a mazelyn,
Thop 853 And roial spicerye
Thop 854 Of gyngebreed that was ful fyn,
Thop 855 And lycorys, and eek comyn,
Thop 856 With sugre that is trye.
Thop 857 He dide next his white leere
Thop 858 Of cloth of lake fyn and cleere,
Thop 859 A breech and eek a sherte;
Thop 860 And next his sherte an aketoun,
Thop 861 And over that an haubergeoun
Thop 862 For percynge of his herte;
Thop 863 And over that a fyn hawberk,
Thop 864 Was al ywroght of Jewes werk,
Thop 865 Ful strong it was of plate;
Thop 866 And over that his cote-armour
Thop 867 As whit as is a lilye flour,
Thop 868 In which he wol debate.
Thop 869 His sheeld was al of gold so reed,
Thop 870 And therinne was a bores heed,
Thop 871 A charbocle bisyde;
Thop 872 And there he swoor on ale and breed
Thop 873 How that the geaunt shal be deed,
Thop 874 Bityde what bityde!
Thop 875 His jambeux were of quyrboilly,
Thop 876 His swerdes shethe of yvory,
Thop 877 His helm of latoun bright;
Thop 878 His sadel was of rewel boon,
Thop 879 His brydel as the sonne shoon,
Thop 880 Or as the moone light.
Thop 881 His spere was of fyn ciprees,
Thop 882 That bodeth werre, and nothyng pees,
Thop 883 The heed ful sharpe ygrounde;
Thop 884 His steede was al dappull gray,
Thop 885 It gooth an ambil in the way
Thop 886 Ful softely and rounde
Thop 887 In londe.
Thop 888 Loo, lordes myne, heere is a fit!
Thop 889 If ye wol any moore of it,
Thop 890 To telle it wol I fonde.
Thop 891 Now holde youre mouth, par charitee,
Thop 892 Bothe knyght and lady free,
Thop 893 And herkneth to my spelle;
Thop 894 Of bataille and of chivalry,
Thop 895 And of ladyes love-drury
Thop 896 Anon I wol yow telle.
Thop 897 Men speken of romances of prys,
Thop 898 Of Horn child and of Ypotys,
Thop 899 Of Beves and sir Gy,
Thop 900 Of sir Lybeux and Pleyndamour —
Thop 901 But sir Thopas, he bereth the flour
Thop 902 Of roial chivalry!
Thop 903 His goode steede al he bistrood,
Thop 904 And forth upon his wey he glood
Thop 905 As sparcle out of the bronde;
Thop 906 Upon his creest he bar a tour,
Thop 907 And therinne stiked a lilie flour —
Thop 908 God shilde his cors fro shonde!
Thop 909 And for he was a knyght auntrous,
Thop 910 He nolde slepen in noon hous,
Thop 911 But liggen in his hoode;
Thop 912 His brighte helm was his wonger,
Thop 913 And by hym baiteth his dextrer
Thop 914 Of herbes fyne and goode.
Thop 915 Hymself drank water of the well,
Thop 916 As dide the knyght sire Percyvell
Thop 917 So worly under wede,
Thop 918 Til on a day —
Thop 919 “Namoore of this, for Goddes dignitee,”
Thop 920 Quod oure Hooste, “for thou makest me
Thop 921 So wery of thy verray lewednesse
Thop 922 That, also wisly God my soule blesse,
Thop 923 Myne eres aken of thy drasty speche.
Thop 924 Now swich a rym the devel I biteche!
Thop 925 This may wel be rym dogerel,” quod he.
Thop 926 “Why so?” quod I, “why wiltow lette me
Thop 927 Moore of my tale than another man,
Thop 928 Syn that it is the beste rym I kan?”
Thop 929 “By God,” quod he, “for pleynly, at a word,
Thop 930 Thy drasty rymyng is nat worth a toord!
Thop 931 Thou doost noght elles but despendest tyme.
Thop 932 Sire, at o word, thou shalt no lenger ryme.
Thop 933 Lat se wher thou kanst tellen aught in geeste,
Thop 934 Or telle in prose somwhat, at the leeste,
Thop 935 In which ther be som murthe or som doctryne.”
Thop 936 “Gladly,” quod I, “by Goddes sweete pyne!
Thop 937 I wol yow telle a litel thyng in prose
Thop 938 That oghte liken yow, as I suppose,
Thop 939 Or elles, certes, ye been to daungerous.
Thop 940 It is a moral tale vertuous,
Thop 941 Al be it told somtyme in sondry wyse
Thop 942 Of sondry folk, as I shal yow devyse.
Thop 943 “As thus: ye woot that every Evaungelist
Thop 944 That telleth us the peyne of Jhesu Crist
Thop 945 Ne seith nat alle thyng as his felawe dooth;
Thop 946 But nathelees hir sentence is al sooth,
Thop 947 And alle acorden as in hire sentence,
Thop 948 Al be ther in hir tellyng difference.
Thop 949 For somme of hem seyn moore, and somme seyn lesse,
Thop 950 Whan they his pitous passioun expresse —
Thop 951 I meene of Mark, Mathew, Luc, and John —
Thop 952 But doutelees hir sentence is al oon.
Thop 953 Therfore, lordynges alle, I yow biseche,
Thop 954 If that yow thynke I varie as in my speche,
Thop 955 As thus, though that I telle somwhat moore
Thop 956 Of proverbes than ye han herd bifoore
Thop 957 Comprehended in this litel tretys heere,
Thop 958 To enforce with th’ effect of my mateere;
Thop 959 And though I nat the same wordes seye
Thop 960 As ye han herd, yet to yow alle I preye
Thop 961 Blameth me nat; for, as in my sentence,
Thop 962 Shul ye nowher fynden difference
Thop 963 Fro the sentence of this tretys lyte
Thop 964 After the which this murye tale I write.
Thop 965 And therfore herkneth what that I shal seye,
Thop 966 And lat me tellen al my tale, I preye.”