|KNIGHTI am returning from the Holy Land|
|And go to pay my vows at Canterbury.|
|This is my son.|
Chaucer Go you to Canterbury
|As well, Sir Squire?|
[The Squire, putting down his flute, sighs deeply.] Knight My son, the gentleman
Squire Noble gentlemanAh me!
[He turns away.]
| Chaucer [follows him]My dearest heart and best beloved foe,|
|Why liketh you to do me all this woe?|
|What have I done that grieveth you, or said,|
|Save that I love and serve you, high and low?|
|And whilst I live I will do ever so.|| 10|
|Wherefore, my sweet, do not that I be dead;|
|For good and fair and gentle as ye be,|
|It were great wonder if but that ye had|
|A thousand thousand servants, good and bad:|
|The most unworthiest servantI am he!|| 15|
| SquireSir, by my ladys grace, you are a poet|
|And lover, like myself. We shall be brothers.|
|But pardon, sir, those verses are not yours.|
|Dan Chaucer wrote them. Ah, sir, know you Chaucer?|
| ChaucerTwelve stone of him!|
Squire Would I did! Is he not
|An amorous divinity? Looks he|
|Like pale Leander, or some ancient god?|
| ChaucerSooth, he is like old Bacchus round the middle.|
| SquireHow acts he when in love? What feathers wears he?|
|Doth he sigh oft? What lady doth he serve?|| 25|
[At a smile from Chaucer, he starts back and looks at him in awe: then hurries to the Knight. Chaucer walks among the pilgrims, talking with them severally.]
Miller [to Franklin] Ten gallon ale? Gods arms! I take thee.
Man of Law Whats
Franklin Yonder door; this miller here
|Shall break it, at a running, with his head.|
|The door is oak. The stakes ten gallon ale.|
| ShipmanHo, then, I bet the miller shall be drunk.|| 30|
| MerchantWhat bet?|
Shipman Twelve crown upon the miller.
[At the door appears the Prioress, accompanied by a Nun and her three priests, one of whom, Joannes, carries a little pup. The Host hurries up with a reverence.]
|HostWelcome, my lady dear. Vouchsafe to enter|
|Poor Harry Baileys inn.|
Host [to a serving-boy] Knave, show
|My lady Prioress to the blue chamber|
|Where His Majesty, King Richard, slept.|
|Mark, Paulus, stay! have you the little hound|
Joannes Yes, my lady.
Prioress Carry him before,
| Miller [to Yeoman] Here, nut-head, hold my hood.|
| YeomanWilt try bareheaded?|
Franklin Ho, for a skull!
|Miller, thou art as tough a knot as eer|
|The Devil tied. By God, mine ale is spilled.|
[The priests and Prioress have just reached the door left front, which the Miller is preparing to ram.]
| PloughmanThe door is locked.|
Joannes But, sir, the Prioress
| ShipmanHeigh! Clear the decks!|
[The Miller, with clenched fists and head doubled over, runs for the door.] Yeoman Harrow!
Parson Run, Robin.
Guild-Men [rise from their dice] Ho!
[With a crash, the Millers head strikes the door and splits it. At the shock, he rebounds against Joannes, and reaching to save himself from falling, seizes the puppy.]
Miller A twenty devils!
| Guild-Men [all but the Weaver, clambering over the table] Come on!|
Ploughman [to the Miller] What aileth thee?
| MillerThe priest hath bit my hand.|
Joannes Sweet sir, the puppy
|It was the puppy, sir.|
Miller Wring me its neck.
| PrioressAlas, Joanneshelp!|
Miller By Corpus bones!
|Give me the cur.|
Prioress St. Loy! Will no one help?
| ChaucerMadame, what may I do?|
Prioress My little hound
|The churlMy little hound! The churl will hurt it.|
|If you would fetch to me my little hound|
| ChaucerMadame, Id fetch you Cerberus from hell.|
| MillerLo, masters! See a dogs neck-wrung!|
Chaucer [breaking through the crowd, seizes the Miller by the throat] Which dogs?
| MillerLeave go!Sdeath! Take the whelp, a devils name.|
| ChaucerKneel! Ask grace of this lady here.|
Miller [sullenly] What lady?
| ChaucerOf her whom gentles call St. Charity|
|In every place and time.|
[Turns then towards Prioress.] What other name
|This lady bears, I have not yet been honored|| 60|
Miller [morosely; kneels] Lady, I axe your pardon.
| ChaucerMadame, your little hound is safe.|
Prioress [nestles the little hound with tender effusiveness; then turns shyly to Chaucer] Merci!
|My name is Madame Eglantine.|
[Hurries out, left.] Chaucer [aside] Hold, Geoffrey!
|Yon beasties quaking side thumped not as thine|
|Thumps now. And wilt thou ape a little hound?|| 65|
|Ah, Madame Eglantine, unless ye be|
|To me, as well as him, St. Charity!|
| FranklinWho is the man?|
Miller The Devil, by his eye.
|They say King Richard hath to court a wrastler|
|Can grip ten men. I guess that he be him.|| 70|
| CookHo! milksop of a miller!|
Miller [seizing him] Say it twice;
Cook Nay, thou art a bull at bucking doors.
| FranklinLet ribs be hoops for twenty gallon ale|
|And stop your wind-bags. Come.|
Miller [with a grin, follows the Franklin] By Corpus bones!
| ShipmanTwelve crown.|
Merchant Twelve, say you? See my man of law.
| Weaver [springs to his feet]The throw is mine!|
Dyer A lie! When we were away
|You changed the dice!|
Weaver My throw was cinq and three.
| DyerA lie! Have it in your gullet!|
[Draws his knife. They fight.] Carpenter Part them!
| HostHarrow! Dick Weaver, hold! Fie, Master Dyer,|
|Heres not a dyeing stablishment; we want|| 80|
|No crimson clothClap hands now: Knave, more ale.|
| Chaucer [to the Doctor]If then, as by hypothesis, this cook|
|Hath broke his nose, it follows first that we|
|Must calculate the ascendent of his image.|
| DoctorPrecisely! Pray proceed. I am fortunate|| 85|
|To have met a fellow-doctor at this inn.|
| ChaucerNext, treating him by magic natural,|
|Provide him well with old authorities,|
|As Esculapius, Diescorides,|
|Damascien, Constantinus, Averrois,|| 90|
|Hippocrates, Serapion, Razis,|
|Bernardus, Galienus, Gilbertinus|
| DoctorBut, sir, the fellow cannot read|
Chaucer Why, true;
|Then there remains but one sure remedy,|
|Thus: bid him, fasting, when the moon is wane,|| 95|
|And Venus rises in the house of Pisces,|
|To rub it nine times with a herrings tail.|
| DoctorYea, Pisces is a fish.I thank you, sir.|
[He hurries off to the Cook, whose nose he has patched.]
| Host [to the Reeve, who enters]God save thee, Osewold! Whats oclock? Thou lookst|
|As puckered as a pear at Candlemas.|| 100|
| ReeveThere be too many fold i the world; and none|
|Is ripe till he be rotten.|
[Sits at table.] Pennyorth ale!
| SquireMy lord, father!|
Knight Well, son?
Squire [looking at Chaucer] Sir, saw you ever
|So knightly, sweet, and sovereign a man,|
|With eyes so glad and shrewdly innocent?|| 105|
|O, when I laid my hand in his, and looked|
|Into his eyes, meseemed I rode on horse|
|Into the April open fields, and heard|
|The larks upsinging in the sun. Sir, have|
|You guessed who tis?|
Knight To judge him by his speech,
|Some valiant officer.|
Squire Nay, I have guessed.