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Is signe that a man is wel i-schreve.
For if he gaf, he dorste make avaunt,
He wiste that a man was repentaunt.
For many a man so hard is of his herte,
may not wepe though him sore smerte. Therfore in stede of wepyng
prayeres, Men mooten given silver to the pore
His typet was ay farsud ful of knyfes
And pynnes, for to give faire wyfes.
And certayn he hadde a mery noote.
Wel couthe he synge and pleye on a rote.
Of yeddynges he bar utturly the prys.
His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys.
Therto he strong was as a champioun,
He knew wel the tavernes in every toun,
And every ostiller or gay tapstere,
Bet than a lazer, or a beggere,
For unto such a worthi man as he
Acorded not, as by his faculté,
To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
It is not honest, it may not avaunce,
For to delen with such poraile,
But al with riche and sellers of vitaille.
And over al, ther eny profyt schulde arise,
Curteys he was, and lowe of servyse.
Ther was no man nowher so vertuous.
He was the beste begger in al his hous :
237.-yeddynges. MS. C. 2, reads weddinges.
[And gave a certaine ferme for the grant,
Non of his bretheren came in his haunt].
For though a widewe hadde but oo schoo,
So plesaunt was his In principio,
Yet wolde he have a ferthing or he wente.
His purchace was bettur than his rente.
And rage he couthe and pleye as a whelpe,
In love-dayes ther couthe he mochil helpe.
For ther was he' not like a cloysterer,
With a thredbare cope, as a pore scoler,
But he was like a maister or a pope.
Of double worstede was his semy-cope,
That rounded was as a belle out of
Somwhat he lipsede, for wantounesse,
To make his Englissch swete upon his tunge ;
And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde sunge,
His eyghen twynkeled in his heed aright,
As don the sterres in the frosty night.
This worthi lymytour was called Huberd.
A MARCHAUNT was ther with a forked berd,
253, 254.—These two lines are wanting in all the MSS. I have con. sulted, a circumstance of which Tyrwhitt takes no notice, though they are an evident interpolation. He seems to have taken them from the old printed editions.
258.--purchace. This sentiment, or proverb, is taken literally from a line in the Romance of the Rose,
“Mieux vault mon pourchas que ma rente." 272.forked berd. In Shottesbrooke church, Berks, there is a brass of a Franklin, of the time of Edward III, in which he is represented with a forked beard, as the accompanying cut, which seems to have been the fashionable mode of dressing the beard among the bourgeoisie. The Anglo-Saxons wore forked beards.
In motteleye, and high on horse he sat,
Uppon his heed a Flaundrisch bever hat.
His botus clapsud faire and fetously.
His resons he spak ful solempnely,
Sownynge alway the encres of his wynnyng.
He wolde the see were kepud for eny thing
Betwixe Middulburgh and Orewelle.
Wel couthe he in eschange scheeldes selle.
This worthi man ful wel his witte bisette ;
Ther wiste no 'man that he was in dette,
So estately was he of governaunce,
With his bargayns, and with his chevysaunce.
For sothe he was a worthi man withalle,
But soth to say, I not what men him calle.
A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also,
That unto logik hadde longe i-go.
Al so lene was his hors as is a rake,
And he was not right fat, I undertake ;
But lokede holwe, and therto soburly.
Ful thredbare was his overest courtepy,
For he hadde nought geten him yit a benefice,
Ne was not worthy to haven an office.
For him was lever have at his beddes heed
Twenty bookes, clothed in blak and reed,
Of Aristotil, and of his philosophie,
Then robus riche, or fithul, or sawtrie.
But al though he were a philosophre,
Yet hadde he but litul gold in cofre,
But al that he might of his frendes hente,
On bookes and his lernyng he it spente,
And busily gan for the soules pray
Of hem that gaf him wherwith to scolay.
Of studie tooke he most cure and heede.
Not oo word spak he more than was neede ;
Al that he spak it was of heye prudence,
And schort and quyk, and ful of gret sentence.
Sownynge in moral manere was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.
A SERGEANT OF LAWE, war and wys,
That often hadde ben atte parvys,
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discret he was, and of gret reverence:
He semed such, his wordes were so wise,
Justice he was ful often in assise,
By patent, and by pleyn commissioun;
For his science, and for his heih renoun,
Of fees and robes had he many oon.
So gret a purchasour was ther nowher noon.
Al was fee symple to him in effecte,
301.-might of his frendes hente.—This is the reading of most of the MSS., and appears to be the right one. The MS. Harl. reads, might gete and his frondes sende.
304.-gaf him. An allusion to the common practice, at this period, of poor scholars in the universities, who wandered about the country, beg. ging, to raise money to support them in their studies. See Piers Ploughman, 1. 4525, and note.
312.-parvys. This is generally explained as a portico before a church. The parvis at London, supposed to be that of St. Paul's, was anciently frequented by sergeants at-law, as we learn from Fortescue, de Laud. leg. Angl. c. 51,-“Post meridiem curiæ non tenentur ; sed placitantes tunc se divertunt ad pervisum et alibi, consulentes cum servientibus ad legem, et aliis consiliariis suis." See also Warton's Hist. of Eng. Poetry, edit. of 1810, vol. ii. p. 212.
His purchasyng might nought ben to him suspecte.
Nowher so besy a man as he ther nas,
And yit he semed besier than he was.
In termes hadde caas and domes alle,
That fro the tyme of kyng Will. were falle.
Therto he couthe endite, and make a thing,
Ther couthe no man pynche at his writyng.
statute couthe he pleyn by roote.
He rood but hoomly in a medled coote,
Gird with a seynt of silk, with barres smale ;
Of his array telle I no lenger tale.
A FRANKELEYN ther was in his companye;
Whit was his berde, as the dayesye.
Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
Wel loved he in the morn a sop of wyn.
To lyve in delite was al his wone,
For he was Epicurius owne sone,
That heeld opynyoun that pleyn delyt
Was verraily felicité perfyt.
An househaldere, and that a gret, was he;
Seynt Julian he was in his countré.
His breed, his ale, was alway after oon ;
A bettre envyned man was nowher noon.
Withoute bake mete was never his hous,
Of fleissch and fissch, and that so plentyvous,
It snewed in his hous of mete and drynk, 347
Of alle deyntees that men cowde thynke,
Aftur the sondry sesouns of the yeer,
312. St. Julian was the patron of hospitality.