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He chaunged hem at mete and at soper.
Ful many a fat partrich had he in mewe,
And many a brem and many a luce in stewe.
Woo was his cook, but if his sauce were
Poynant and scharp, and redy al his gere.
His table dormant in his halle alway
Stood redy covered al the longe day.
At sessions ther was he lord and sire.
Ful ofte tyme he was knight of the schire.
An anlas and a gipser al of silk

Heng at his gerdul, whit as morne mylk.
A schirreve hadde he ben, and a counter;
Was nowher such a worthi vavaser.

Weren with us eeke, clothed in oo lyveré,
Of a solempne and gret fraternité.
Ful freissh and newe here gere piked was ;
Here knyfes were i-chapud nat with bras,
But al with silver wrought ful clene and wel,
Here gurdles and here pouches every del.
Wel semed eche of hem a fair burgeys,
To sitten in a geldehalle, on the deys.
Every man for the wisdom that he can,
Was schaply for to ben an aldurman.




352.-in stewe; i. e., in a fish-pond. The great consumption of fish under the Romish regime rendered a fish-pond a necessary accessory to every gentleman's house.

355.-table dormant. Probably the fixed table at the end of the hall.


For catel hadde they inough and rente,
And eek here wyfes wolde it wel assente:
And elles certeyn hadde thei ben to blame.
It is right fair for to be clept madame,
And for to go to vigilies al byfore,
And han a mantel rially i-bore.

A Cook thei hadde with hem for the nones,
To boyle chiknes and the mary bones,
And poudre marchant, tart, and galyngale.
Wel cowde he knowe a draught of Londone ale.
He cowde roste, sethe, broille, and frie,
Make mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
But gret harm was it, as it semede me,
That on his schyne a mormal hadde he;
For blankmanger he made with the beste.

A SCHIPMAN was ther, wonyng fer by weste:
For ought I woot, he was of Dertemouthe.
He rood upon a rouncy, as he couthe,
In a gowne of faldyng to the kne.
A dagger hangyng on a laas hadde he
Aboute his nekke under his arm adoun.

The hoote somer had maad his hew al broun;
And certeinly he was a good felawe.

Ful many a draught of wyn had he drawe



384-London ale. Tyrwhitt has cited a passage of an old writer, which shews that London ale was prized above that of other parts of the country.

396.-the hoote somer. Perhaps this is a reference to the summer of the year 1351, which was long remembered as the dry and hot summer. Other allusions in this general prologue seem to shew that Chaucer intended to lay the plot of his Canterbury pilgrimage soon after this date.

From Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman sleep.
Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
If that he foughte, and hadde the heigher hand,
By water he sente hem hoom to every land.
But of his craft to rikne wel the tydes,
His stremes and his dangers him bisides,
His herbergh and his mone, his lodemenage,
Ther was non such from Hulle to Cartage.
Hardy he was, and wys to undertake :
With many a tempest hadde his berd ben schake.
He knew wel alle the havenes, as thei were,
From Scotlond to the cape of Fynestere,
And every cryk in Bretayne and in Spayne:
His barge y-clepud was the Magdelayne.

Ther was also a DOCTOUR OF PHISIK,
In al this world ne was ther non him lyk
To speke of phisik and of surgerye :
For he was groundud in astronomye.
He kepte his pacient a ful gret del
In houres by his magik naturel.
Wel cowde he fortune the ascendent
Of his ymages for his pacient.

He knew the cause of every maladye,
Were it of cold, or hete, or moyst, or drye,




410.-Scotland. Most of the MSS. have Gotland, the reading adopted by Tyrwhitt, and perhaps the correct one.

416.—Astronomye. A great portion of the medical science of the middle ages depended trological and other superstitious observ


417.-a ful gret del. This is the reading of most of the MSS.; the MS. Harl. has wondurly wel.

And where thei engendrid, and of what humour;
He was a verrey parfight practisour.

The cause i-knowe, and of his harm the roote,
Anon he gaf the syke man his boote.
Ful redy hadde he his apotecaries,
To sende him dragges, and his letuaries,
For eche of hem made othur for to wynne:
Here friendschipe nas not newe to begynne.
Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
And Deiscorides, and eeke Rufus;
Old Ypocras, Haly, and Galien;
Serapyon, Razis, and Avycen;
Averrois, Damascen, and Constantyn;
Bernard, and Gatisden, and Gilbertyn.
Of his diete mesurable was he,

For it was of no superfluité,

But of gret norisching and digestible.
His studie was but litel on the Bible.



431.-Wel knew he. The authors mentioned here were the chief medical text-books of the middle ages. Rufus was a Greek physician, of Ephesus, of the age of Trajan; Haly, Serapion, and Avicen, were Arabian physicians and astronomers of the eleventh century; Rhasis was a Spanish Arab, of the tenth century; and Averroes was a Moorish scholar, who flourished in Morocco in the twelfth century; Johannes Damascenus was also an Arabian physician, but of a much earlier date; Constantius Afer, a native of Carthage, and afterwards a monk of Monte Cassino, was one of the founders of the school of Salerno,-he lived at the end of the eleventh century; Bernardus Gordonius, professor of medicine at Montpellier, appears to have been Chaucer's contemporary; John Gatisden was a distinguished physician of Oxford, in the earlier half of the fourteenth century; Gilbertyn is supposed by Warton to be the celebrated Gilbertus Anglicus. The other names mentioned here are too well known to need further observation. The names of Hippocrates and Galen were, in the middle ages, always (or nearly always) spelt Ipocras and Galienus.

In sangwin and in pers he clad was al,
Lyned with taffata, and with sendal.
And yit he was but esy in dispence:
He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
For gold in phisik is a cordial;
Therfore he lovede gold in special.

A good WIF was ther of byside BATHE,
/ But sche was somdel deef, and that was skathe.
Of cloth-makyng sche hadde such an haunt,
Sche passed hem of Ypris and of Gaunt.
In al the parisshe wyf ne was ther noon,
That to the offryng byforn hire schulde goon,
And if ther dide, certeyn so wroth was sche,
That sche was thanne out of alle charité.
Hire keverchefs weren ful fyne of grounde;
I durste swere, they weyghede ten pounde,
That on the Sonday were upon hire heed.
Hire hosen were of fyn scarlett reed,

Ful streyte y-teyed, and schoos ful moyste and newe.


444.-pestilence. An allusion, probably, to the great pestilences which devastated Europe in the middle of the fourteenth century, and to which we owe the two celebrated works, the Decameron of Boccacio, and the Visions of Piers Ploughman.

449.-cloth makyng. The west of England, and especially the neighbourhood of Bath, from which the "good wif" came, was celebrated, till a comparatively recent period, as the district of cloth-making. Ipres and Ghent were the great clothing marts on the Continent

456.-ten pounde, This is the reading of all the best MSS. I have consulted. Tyrwhitt has a pound. It is a satire on the fashionable head dresses of the ladies at this time, which appear in the illuminations to be composed of large quantities of heavy wadding, and the satirist takes the liberty of exaggerating a little.

459.-moyste. One of the Cambridge MSS. reads softe, which was, perhaps, originally a gloss to moyote.

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