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Ful wel sche sang the servise devyne,
122 Entuned in hire nose ful semyly; And Frensch sche spak ful faire and fetysly, Aftur the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, For Frensch of Parys was to hire unknowe. At mete wel i-taught was sche withalle; Sche leet no morsel from hire lippes falle, Ne wette hire fyngres in hire sauce deepe. Wel cowde sche carie a morsel, and wel keepe, That no drope fil uppon
hire brest. In curtesie was sett al hire lest. Hire overlippe wypud sche so clene, That in hire cuppe was no ferthing sene Of grees, whan sche dronken hadde hire draught. Ful semely aftur hire mete sche raught. And sikurly sche was of gret disport, And ful plesant, and amyable of port, And peyned hire to counterfete cheere Of court, and ben estatlich of manere, And to ben holden digne of reverence. But for to speken of hire conscience, Sche was só charitable and so pitous,
120.-Sl. Loy. Probably a corruption of St. Eloy, or St. Eligius. It is the reading of all the MSS., and Tyrwhitt ought not to have changed it. The same oath occurs in the Freres Tale, 1. 7143.
124,-Frensch. The French taught in England was the debased form of the old Anglo-Norman, somewhat similar to that used at a later period in the courts of law; and it was this at which Chaucer, and some of his contemporaries, sneered. The writer of the Visions of Piers Ploughman speaks of Fre ch of Norfolk, 1. 2949
127.- At mete. These remarks agree, almost literally, with the directions contained in the different medieval tracts written for the purpose of teaching manners at table.
Sche wolde weepe if that sche sawe a mous
149.—men smot. The word men, used in this phrase, appears here construed with a singular verb, as though it had been man (on frappa). So again below, l. 169, men might. So in a poem in my Political Songs, p. 330,“ Whore shal men nu finde."
132.-eyen grey. This appears to have been the favourite colour of ladies' eyes in the time of Chaucer. The young girl, in the Reves Tale, is described
“ With camoys nose, and eyghen gray as glas." 160.- a broch. In 1845 a brooch, of the form of an A,
MER TO represented in the accompanying cut, was found in a field in Dorsetshire. It appears to be of the fourteenth century, and affords a curious illustration of this passage of Chaucer. The inscription on one side seems to be,
“ 10 FAS AMER DOZ DE AMER."
On which was first i-writen a crowned A,
A Monk ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
The monks of the middle ages were extremely attached to bunting and field-sports, and this was a frequent subject of complaint with the more austere ecclesiastics, and of satire with the laity.
170.-gyngle. It was a universal practice among riders who wished to be thought fashionable, to have their horses' bridles hung with bells. The Templars were blamed for this vanity, in the thirteenth century. In the romance of Richard Cæur de Lion, the sultan of Damas has a trusty mare, of which we are told,
Hys crouper heeng al ful of belles,
Three myle myghte men hear the sown." Wycliffe, in his Triloge, inveighs against the priests of his time for their "fair hors, and joly and gay sadeles, and bridles ringing by the way."
At a much later period, Spencer describes a lady's steed,
“Her wanton palfrey all was overspread
With tinsel trappings, woven like a wave, Whose bridle rung with golden bells and bosses brave." 173.-The reule. The rules of St. Maure and St. Benet were the oldest forms of monastic discipline in the Romish church.
175.-olde thinges. This is the reading of most of the MSS., and I have adopted it instead of that of the MS. Harl., forby hem, which appears to give no clear sense.
And helde aftur the newe world the space.
grys, and that the fynest of a lond. And for to festne his hood undur his chyn He hadde of gold y-wrought a curious pyn : A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was. His heed was ballid, and schon as eny glas, And eek his face, as he hadde be anoynt. He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt.
179.-cloysterles. This is also the reading of a Cambridge MS. The passage is a literal translation of one from the Decretal of Gratian, as cited by Tyrwhitt,—"Sicut piscis sine aqua caret vita, ita sine monasterio monachus." The other readings, rekkeles, recheles, &c., found in most of the MSS., present considerable difficulties; and Tyrwhitt's explanation seems hardly admissible.
His eyen steep, and rollyng in his heed,
A FRERE ther was, a wantoun and a merye,
203.-souple. “ This is part of the description of a smart abbot, by an anonymous writer of the thirteenth century : :-Ocreas habebat in cruribus, quasi innata essent, sine plica porrectas.'—MS. Bodl., James, n. 6. p. 121.”—Tyrwhitt.