« PreviousContinue »
Enspirud hath in every holte and heeth
The holy blisful martir for to seeke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
Byfel that, in that sesoun on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabbard as I lay,
In felaschipe, and pilgryms were thei alle,
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
8.-the Ram. Tyrwhitt thinks Chaucer has made a mistake, and that it ought to be the Bull, because, the showers of April having pierced the drouth of March to the root, the sun must have passed through the sign of the Ram and entered that of the Bull.
14. ferne. Nearly all the MSS. I have examined, and certainly the best, agree in this reading. Tyrwhitt has adopted the reading serve, which probably originated in mistaking "ferne" for "ferue,"- ferne halwes means distant saints.
And schortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
To take oure weye ther as I yow devyse.
Me thinketh it acordant to resoun,
To telle yow alle the condicioun
A KNIGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,
43.-A knight. It was a common thing, in this age, for knights to seek employment in foreign countries which were at war. Tyrwhitt cites from Leland the epitaph of a knight of this period, Matthew de Gournay, who "en sa vie fu à la bataille de Benamarin, et ala après à la siege d'Algezire sur les Sarazines, et aussi à les batailles de L'Escluse, de Cressy, de Deyngenesse, de Peyteres, de Nazare, d'Ozrey, et à pulsours autres batailles et asseges."
51.-Alisandre. Alexandria, in Egypt, was taken by Pierre de Lusignan, king of Cyprus, in 1365, but immediately afterwards abandoned.
Aboven alle naciouns in Pruce.
In Lettowe hadde reyced and in Ruce,
Whan they were wonne; and in the Greete see
At mortal batailles hadde he ben fiftene,
In al his lyf, unto no maner wight.
He was a verray perfight gentil knight.
53.- Pruce. The knights of the Teutonic order, in Prussia, were engaged in continual warfare with their pagan neighbours in Lithuania (Lettowe), Russia, &c.
56.-Gernade. The city of Algezir was taken from the Moorish king of Granada, in 1344. Belmarie appears to have been one of the Moorish states in Africa. Layas (Lieys) in Armenia, was taken from the Turks by Pierre de Lusignan, ab ut 367. Satalie was taken by the same prince soon after 1352. Tremessen was one of the Moorish states in Africa. Palathia, in Anatolia, was one of the lordships held by Christian knights after the Turkish conquests.
Of fustyan he wered a gepoun
Al bysmoterud with his haburgeoun,
A lovyer, and a lusty bacheler,
He cowde songes wel make and endite,
Justne and eek daunce, and wel purtray and write. So hote he lovede, that by nightertale
He sleep nomore than doth a nightyngale.
85-chivachie. Every reader of the contemporary histories of Edward the Third's wars in France, knows the pride which the knights took in shewing their courage in the continual chevachies, or little excursions, into the enemy's country.
94.-faire. I have substituted this reading from other MSS., in place of wel cowde he, given by the Harl. MS., which appears to be a mere blundering repetition.
And carf byforn his fadur at the table.
A YEMAN had he, and servantes nomoo
An horn he bar, the bawdrik was of grene;
Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE,
104.-pocok arwes. Arrows fledged with peacock's feathers. They appear to have been larger than the common arrows. In a compotus of the Bishop of Winchester, in 1471 (cited by Warton, Hist. E. P. ii. p. 211), we have one head:-"Sagittæ magnæ. Et de cxliv. sagittis magnis barbatis cum pennis pavonum."
115.-A Cristofre. A figure of St. Christopher used as a brooch. On the use of these brooches, or signs, see an interesting paper, by Mr. C. Roach Smith, in the Journal of the British Archæological Association, vol. i. p. 200. The figure of St. Christopher was looked upon with particular reverence among the middle and lower classes; and was supposed to possess the power of shielding the person who looked on it from hidden dangers.