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If ye wol any moore of it

To telle it wol I fonde.



Now holde youre mouth, par charitee,
Bothé knyght and lady free,

And herkneth to my spelle ;
Of batailles and of chivalry,
And of ladyës love-drury,

Anon I wol yow telle.


Men speken of romauns of prys, -
Of Hornchild, and of Ypotys,

Of Beves and of sir Gy,
Of sir Lybeux and Pleyn-damour;
But sir Thopas he bereth the flour

Of roial chivalry!


His goodė steede al he bistrood,
And forth upon his wey he rood,

As sparcle out of the bronde ;
Upon his creest he bar a tour,


2085. And of, etc., H reads of

ladys love and drew


love-drury, courtship. 2087. romauns, E5 romances. 2089. of sir Gy, H5 om. of. 2090. sir Lybeux, Li biaus

desconneus, or Libius
Disconius, “the fair un-

2091. he, om. H?.
2093. al, om. H?.
2094. rood, H6 glood.
2095. Sparcle, Ho spark.

And ther-inne stiked a lilie flour,

God shilde his cors fro shonde!


And for he was a knyght auntrous,
He noldė slepen in noon hous,

But liggen in his hoode;
His brightė helm was his wonger,
And by hym baiteth his dextrer

Of herbės fyne and goode ;


Hym self drank water of the well,
As dide the knyght sire Percyvell,

So worthy under wede;
Til on a day-

Heere the Hoost stynteth Chaucer of his Tale of



“Na moore of this, for Goddės dignitee !”
Quod ourė Hostė, "for thou makest me

wery of thy verray lewėdnesse
That, also wisly God my soulė blesse,
Min erės aken of thy drasty speche.
Now swich a rym the devel I biteche !
This may wel be rym dogerel,” quod he.


2098. shonde, harm.
2099. auntrous, adventurous.
2101. liggen, lie.
2102. wonger, pillow.
2103. dextrer, steed.

2107. worthy under wede, brave

under arms. 2111. lewednesse, stupidity. 2113. of, H for.

drasty, full of dregs,

2114. biteche, commit to.



“Why so ?” quod I; "why wiltow lette me Moore of my talė than another man, Syn that it is the bestė ryme I kan?”

“By God," quod he, "for pleynly at a word, Thy drasty rymyng is nat worth a toord ; Thou doost noght elles but despendest tyme; Sire, at o word, thou shalt no lenger ryme. Lat se wher thou kanst tellen aught in geeste, Or telle in prose somwhat, at the leeste, In which ther be som murthe, or some doctrýne.”

“Gladly," quod I, " by Goddės sweetė pyne ! I wol yow telle a litel thyng in prose That oghtė liken yow, as I suppose, Or elles, certės, ye been to daungerous. It is a moral talė vertuous, Al be it told somtyme in sondry wyse Of sundry folk, as I shal yow devyse.

“As thus; ye woot that every Evaungelist That telleth us the peyne of Jhesu Crist Ne seith nat alle thyng as his felawe dooth; 2135 But nathėlees hir sentence is al sooth, And alle acorden as in hire sentence, Al be ther in hir tellyng difference ; For somme of hem seyn moore, and sommė lesse, Whan they his pitous passioun expresse,



2131. told, E take.

2135. nat, om. H?.

2116. lette, hinder.
2118. ryme, E tale.
2123. aught in geeste, some

prose story.
2129. daungerous, difficult to

please. VOL. I

2137. sentence, meaning. 2139. lesse, E' seyn lesse.



I meene of Markė, Mathew, Luc and John, -
But doutėlees hir sentence is all oon.

“Therfore, lordyngės alle, I yow biseche
If that ye thynke I varie as in my speche,
As thus, though that I tellè somwhat moore
Of proverbés, than ye han herd bifoore
Comprehended in this litel tretys heere,
To enforcė with theffect of my mateere;
And though I nat the same wordės seye,
As ye han herd, yet to yow alle I preye,
Blameth me nat, for as in my sentence
Ye shul not fynden mochė difference
Fro the sentencė of this tretys lyte
After the which this murye tale I write;
And therfore herkneth what that I shal seye,
And lat me tellen al my tale, I preye.”




Heere bigynneth Chaucer's Tale of Melibee

A yong man called Melibeus, myghty and riche, bigat up on his wyf, that called was Prudence, a doghter which that called was Sophie.

2153. lyte, little.
2154. murye, H litel.
Chaucer's Tale of Melibee :

this very dull disserta-
tion is taken from Jean
de Meung's French
version of the Liber
Consolationis et Con-
silii of Albertano of

Brescia, composed ca.

1238. 2157. a doghter which that

called was Sophie, the first of many decasyllabic cadences in the early pages of Chaucer's prose.

Upon a day bifel, that he for his desport is went into the feeldes, hym to pleye; his wyf and eek his doghter hath he left inwith his hous, of which the dores weren fast y-shette. [2160] Thre of hise olde foes han it espyed, and setten laddres to the walles of his hous, and by wyndowes been entred, and betten his wyf, and wounded his doghter with fyve mortal woundes in fyve sondry places,--this is to seyn, in hir feet, in hir handes, in hir erys, in hir nose, and in hire mouth, and leften hire for deed, and wenten awey.

Whan Melibeus retourned was into his hous and saugh al this meschief, he, lyk a mad man, rentynge his clothes, gan to wepe and crie.

Prudence, his wyf, as ferforth as she dorste, bisoghte hym of his wepyng for to stynte; [2165] but nat for-thy he gan to crie and wepen evere lenger the moore.

This noble wyf Prudence remembred hire upon the sentence of Ovide, in his book that cleped is The Remedie of Love, where as he seith, “He is a fool that destourbeth the mooder to wepen in the deeth of hire child, til she have wept hir fille, as for a certein tyme, and thanne shal man doon his diligence with amyable wordes hire to reconforte, and preyen hire of hir wepyng for to stynte.” For which resoun this noble wyf Prudence suffred hir housbonde for to wepe and crie as for a certein space ; [2170] and whan she

2160. lyk a mad man, H lyk a

man mad. 2165. for-thy, therefore.

and wepen, om. H.

2165. Ovide, in his book : De

Rem. Am. i. 127-30 : Quis matrem, nisi mentis

inops, in funere nati Flere vetat?

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