Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Nun’s Priest’s Tale
By Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400)
A POORÈ widow somedeal stope 1 in age,
Was whilom dwelling in a narrow cottàge,
Beside a grovè, standing in a dale.
This widow, of which I tellè you my tale,
Since thilkè day that she was last a wife,        5
In patìénce led a full simple life.
For little was her cattel 2 and her rent: 3
By husbandry 4 of such as God her sent
She found 5 herself, and eke her daughtren two.
Three largè sowès had she, and no mo;        10
Three kine, and eke a sheep that hightè 6 Mall.
Full sooty was her bower, and eke her hall,
In which she ate full many a slender meal.
Of poignant sauce her needed never a deal. 7
No dainty morsel passèd through her throat;        15
Her diet was accordant to her cote. 8
Repletìón ne made her never sick;
Attemper 9 diet was all her physíc,
And exercise, and heartès súffisánce. 10
The goutè let 11 her nothing for to dance,        20
N’ apoplexy ne shentè 12 not her head.
No wine ne drank she, neither white ne red:
Her board was servèd most with white and black,
Milk and brown bread, in which she found no lack,
Seind 13 bacon, and sometime an egg or twey;        25
For she was as it were a manner dey. 14
  A yard she had, enclosèd all about
With stickès, and a dryè ditch without,
In which she had a cock hight Chanticleer,
In all the land of crowing was none his peer.        30
His voice was merrier than the merry orgón,
On massè days that in the churchè gon.
Well sikerer 15 was his crowing in his lodge,
Than is a clock, or an abbéy horloge. 16
By nature he knew each ascensìón        35
Of the equinoctìál in thilkè town;
For when degrees fifteenè were ascended,
Then crew he, that it might not be amended.
  His comb was redder than the fine corál,
And battled, 17 as it were a castle wall.        40
His bill was black, and as the jet it shone;
Like azure were his leggès and his ton; 18
His nailès whiter than the lily flower,
And like the burnèd 19 gold was his colóur.
  This gentle cock had in his governánce        45
Seven hennès, for to do all his pleasánce,
Which were his sisters and his paramours,
And wonder like to him, as of coloúrs;
Of which the fairest huèd on her throat
Was clepèd fairè Damosel Partelote.        50
Courteous she was, discreet, and debonair,
And cómpanáble, 20 and bare herself so fair,
Sin 21 thilkè day that she was sevennight old,
That truèly she hath the heart in hold 22
Of Chanticleer, locken 23 in every lith; 24        55
He loved her so, that well was him therewith.
But such a joy was it to hear hem sing,
When that the brightè sunnè gan to spring,
In sweet accord, ‘My lief is faren on land.’ 25
For thilkè time, as I have understande,        60
Beastès and birdès couldè speak and sing.
  And so befell, that in a dawèning,
As Chanticleer among his wivès all
Sat on his perchè, that was in the hall,
And next him sat this fairè Partèlote,        65
This Chanticleer gan groanen in his throat,
As man that in his dream is drecchèd 26 sore,
And when that Partèlote thus heard him roar,
She was aghast, and said, “O heartè dear,
What aileth you to groan in this mannére?        70
Ye be a very sleeper, fie, for shame!”
  And he answéred and saidè thus: “Madáme,
I pray you that ye take it not agrief; 27
By God, me met 28 I was in such mischiéf 29
Right now, that yet mine heart is sore affright.        75
Now God,” quoth he, “my sweven 30 read 31 aright,
And keep my body out of foul prisón.
Me met how that I roamèd up and down
Within our yard, where-as I saw a beast
Was like an hound, and would have made arrest        80
Upon my body, and have had me dead.
His colour was betwixè yellow and red;
And tippèd was his tail, and both his ears
With black, unlike the remnant of his hairs.
His snoutè small, with glowing eyen twey;        85
Yet of his look for fear almost I dey: 32
This causèd me my groaning doubtèless.”
  “Avoy!” quoth she, “fie on you heartèless!
Alas!” quoth she, “for by that God above
Now have ye lost mine heart and all my love;        90
I cannot love a coward, by my faith.
For certes, what so any woman saith,
We all desiren, if it mightè be,
To have husbándès, hardy, wise, and free,
And secre, 33 and no niggard ne no fool,        95
Ne him that is aghast of every tool,
Ne none avantour 34 by that God above.
How durst ye say for shame unto your love,
That anything might maken you afeard?
Have ye no mannès heart, and have a beard?        100
Alas! and can ye be aghast of swevenès? 35
Nothing but vanity, God wot, in sweven is.
Swevens engender of repletìóns,
And oft of fume, and of complexìóns, 36
When humours be too abundant in a wight.        105
Certes this dream, which ye have met 37 to-night,
Cometh of the greatè superfluity
Of yourè redè colera, 38 pardié,
Which causeth folk to dreamen in hir dreams
Of arrows, and of fire with redè leames, 39        110
Of greatè beastès, that they will hem bite,
Of contek 40 and of whelpès great and lite; 41
Right as the humour of meláncholy
Causeth full many a man in sleep to cry,
For fear of blackè beares or bullès blake,        115
Or ellès blackè devils will hem take.
Of other humours could I tell also,
That worken many a man in sleep full woe:
But I will pass as lightly 42 as I can.
Lo Cato, which that was so wise a man,        120
Said he not thus? ‘Ne do no force 43 of dreams.’”
  “Now, Sir,” quoth she, “when ye fly from the beams,
For Godès love, as take some laxative:
Up 44 peril of my soul, and of my live,
I counsel you the best, I will not lie,        125
That both of choler, and of meláncholy
Ye purgè you; and for ye shall not tarry,
Though in this town is none apothecary,
I shall myself to herbès teachen you,
That shall be for your heal 45 and for your prow; 46        130
And in our yard tho 47 herbès shall I find,
The which have of hir property by kind 48
To purgen you beneath, and eke above.
Forget not this for Godès owen love;
Ye be full choleric of complexìón;        135
Ware the sun in his ascensìón
Ne find you not replete of humours hot:
And if it do, I dare well lay a groat,
That ye shall have a fever tertìán,
Or an agúe, that may be yourè bane.        140
A day or two ye shall have dígestíves
Of wormès, ere ye take your laxatíves,
Of lauriol, centaury, and fumetere, 49
Or else of hellebore, that groweth there,
Of catapucè, 50 or of gaitres-berríès, 51        145
Of herb ivy growing in our yard, that merry is:
Pick hem up right as they grow, and eat hem in.
Be merry, husband, for your father kin
Dreadeth no dream; I can say you no more.”
  “Madame,” quoth he, “grand mercy of 52 your lore.        150
But nathèless, as touching Dan Caton,
That hath of wisdom such a great renown,
Though that he bade no dreamès for to drede,
By God, men may in oldè bookès read,
Of many a man, more of authority        155
Than ever Cato was, so mote I the, 53
That all the réverse say of this senténce,
And have well founden by experiénce,
That dreamès be significatìóns
As well of joy, as of tribulatìóns,        160
That folk enduren in this life presént.
There needeth make of this none argument;
The very prevè 54 sheweth it indeed.
  “One of the greatest authors that men read,
Saith thus, that whilom two fellówès went        165
On pilgrimage in a full good intent;
And happèd so, they came into a town,
Where-as there was such congregatìón
Of people, and eke so strait of herbergage, 55
That they ne found as much as one cottáge,        170
In which they bothè might ylodgèd be:
Wherefore they musten of necessity,
As for that night, departen 56 company;
And each of hem goeth to his hostelry,
And took his lodging as it wouldè fall.        175
That one of hem was lodgèd in a stall,
Far in a yard, with oxen of the plow;
That other man was lodgèd well enow,
As was his áventúre, or his fortúne,
That us govérneth all, as in commúne.        180
And so befell, that, long ere it were day,
This man met 57 in his bed, there-as he lay,
How that his fellow gan upon him call,
And said, ‘Alas! for in an oxès stall
This night I shall be murdered, there I lie.        185
Now help me, dearè brother, or I die;
In allè hastè come to me,’ he said.
This man out of his sleep for fear abraid; 58
But when that he was wakened of his sleep,
He turnèd him, and took of this no keep; 59        190
Him thought his dream nas but a vanity.
Thus twiès in his sleeping dreamèd he.
And at the thirdè time yet his felláw
Came, as him thought, and said, ‘I am now slawe. 60
Behold my bloody woundès, deep and wide.        195
Arise up early, in the morrow tide,
And at the west gate of the town,’ quoth he,
‘A cartè full of dung there shalt thou see,
In which my body is hid full privily.
Do thilkè cart arresten boldèly.        200
My gold causèd my murder, sooth to sayn.’
And told him every point how he was slain
With a full piteous facè, pale of hue.
And trusteth well, his dream he found full true;
For on the morrow, as soon as it was day,        205
To his fellówès inn he took his way:
And when that he came to this oxès stall,
After his fellow he began to call.
The hostèler answérèd him anon,
And saidè, ‘Sir, your fellow is agone,        210
As soon as day he went out of the town.’
  “This man gan fallen in suspicìón
Remembering on his dreamès that he met, 61
And forth he goeth, no lenger would he let, 62
Unto the west gate of the town, and found        215
A dung cart, as it were to dungè lond,
That was arrayèd in that samè wise
As ye have heard the deadè man devise:
And with an hardy heart he gan to cry,
‘Vengeance and justice of this felony:        220
My fellow murdered is this samè night,
And in this cart he lieth, gaping upright. 63
I cry out on the ministers,’ quoth he,
‘That shouldè keep and rulen this city:
Harow! alas! here lieth my fellow slain.’        225
What should I more unto this talè sayn?
The people out start, 64 and cast the cart to ground,
And in the middle of the dung they found
The deadè man, that murdered was all new.
O blissful God! that art so just and true,        230
Lo, how that thou bewrayest 65 murder alway.
Murder will out, that see we day by day.
Murder is so wlatsom 66 and abomináble
To God, that is so just and reasonáble,
That he ne will not suffer it helèd 67 be,        235
Though it abide a year, or two, or three;
Murder will out, this is my conclusìón.
  “And right anon, minísters of that town
Have hent 68 the carter, and so sore him pined, 69
And eke the hostèler so sore engíned, 70        240
That they beknew 71 hir wickedness anon,
And were anhangèd by the neckè bone.
  “Here may men see that dreamès be to dread.
And certes in the samè book I read,
Right in the nextè chapter after this,        245
(I gabbè 72 not, so have I joy and bliss,)
Two men that would have passèd over sea
For certain cause into a far country,
If that the wind ne haddè been contráry,
That made hem in a city for to tarry,        250
That stood full merry upon an haven side.
But on a day, again 73 the even tide,
The wind gan change, and blew right as hem lest. 74
Jolly and glad they went unto hir rest,
And casten hem full early for to sail;        255
But to that one man fell a great marvail.
That one of them in sleeping as he lay,
He met 75 a wonder dream, again the day:
Him thought a man stood by his beddès side,
And him commanded that he should abide,        260
And said him thus: ‘If thou to-morrow wend,
Thou shalt be dreynt; 76 my tale is at an end.’
He woke, and told his fellow what he met,
And prayèd him his voyagè to let; 77
As for that day, he prayed him for to abide.        265
His fellow, that lay by his beddès side,
Gan for to laugh, and scornèd him full fast.
‘No dream,’ quoth he, ‘may so my heart aghast,
That I will letten for to do my things.
I settè not a straw by thy dreamíngs,        270
For swevens 78 be but vanities and japes. 79
Men dream all day of owlès or of apes,
And eke of many a masè 80 therewithal;
Men dream of thing that never was, ne shall.
But sith I see that thou wilt here abide,        275
And thus forslothen 81 wilfully thy tide,
God wot it rueth 82 me, and have good day.’
And thus he took his leave, and went his way.
But ere that he had half his course ysailed,
Nought I not 83 why, ne what mischance it ailed,        280
But casually the shippès bottom rent,
And ship and man under the water went
In sight of other shippès there beside,
That with hem sailèd at the samè tide.
  “And therefore, fairè Partèlote so dear,        285
By such ensamples old yet mayst thou lere, 84
That no man shouldè be too reckèless
Of dreamès, for I say thee doubtèless,
That many a dream full sore is for to dread.
  “Lo, in the life of Saint Kenelm I read,        290
That was Kenulphus son, the noble king
Of Mercenrike, 85 how Kenelm met 86 a thing.
A little ere he was murdered, on a day,
His murder in his ávisión 87 he say. 88
His norice 89 him expounded every del        295
His sweven, and bade him for to keep him well
For 90 treason; but he nas but seven year old,
And therefore little talè hath he told 91
Of any dream, so holy was his heart.
By God, I haddè liefer than my shirt,        300
That ye had read his legend, as have I.
  “Dame Partèlote, I say you truèly,
Macrobius, that writ the ávisión 92
In Afric of the worthy Scipion,
Affirmeth dreamès, and saith that they be        305
Warning of thingès that men after see.
And furthermore, I pray you looketh well
In the Oldè Testament, of Danìél,
If he held dreamès any vanity.
Read eke of Joseph, and there shall ye see        310
Where 93 dreamès be sometime (I say not all)
Warning of thingès that shall after fall.
Look of Egypt the king, Dan Pharao,
His baker and his butèler also,
Whether they ne felten none effect in dreams.        315
Whoso will seeken acts of sundry remes, 94
May read of dreamès many a wonder thing.
Lo Crœsus, which that was of Lydia king,
Met 95 he not that he sat upon a tree,
Which signified he should anhangèd be?        320
  “Lo here, Andromache, Hectórès wife,
That day that Hector shouldè lese 96 his life,
She dreamèd on the samè night beforn,
How that the life of Hector should be lorn, 97
If thilkè day he went into battáil:        325
She warnèd him, but it might not avail;
He wentè for to fighten nathèless,
And he was slain anon of Achillés.
But thilkè tale is all too long to tell,
And eke it is nigh day, I may not dwell.        330
  “Shortly I say, as for conclusìón,
That I shall have of this avisìón
Adversity: and I say furthermore,
That I ne tell 98 of laxatives no store,
For they be venomous, I wot it well:        335
I hem defy, I love hem never a del.
  “Now let us speak of mirth, and stint all this;
Madamè Partèlote, so have I bliss,
Of one thing God hath sent me largè grace:
For when I see the beauty of your face,        340
Ye be so scarlet red about your eyen,
It maketh all my dreadè for to dien,
For, also 99 sicker 100 as In principio,
Mulier est hominis confusio,
Madam, the sentence 101 of this Latin is,        345
Woman is mannès joy and all his bliss—
For when I feel a-night your softè side,
*        *        *        *        *
I am so full of joy and of soláce,
That I defyè bothè sweven 102 and dream.”
  And with that word he flew down from the beam,        350
For it was day, and eke his hennès all;
And with a chuck he gan hem for to call,
For he had found a corn, lay in the yard.
Royal he was, he was no more afeard;
*        *        *        *        *
He looketh as it were a grim lión;        355
And on his toes he roameth up and down,
Him deignèd not to set his feet to ground:
He chucketh, when he hath a corn yfound,
And to him rennen then his wivès all.
Thus royal, as a prince is in his hall,        360
Leave I this Chanticleer in his pastúre;
And after will I tell his áventúre.
  When that the month in which the world began,
That hightè March, when God first makèd man,
Was cómplete, and ypassèd were also,        365
Sithen 103 March began, thirty dayès and two,
Befell that Chanticleer in all his pride,
His seven wivès walking by his side,
Cast up his eyen to the brightè sun,
That in the sign of Taurus had yrun        370
Twenty degrees and one, and somewhat more:
He knew by kind, 104 and by none other lore,
That it was prime, and crew with blissful steven, 105
“The sun,” he said, “is clomben up on heaven
Forty degrees and one, and more ywis. 106        375
Madamè Partèlote, my worldès bliss,
Hearkeneth these blissful birdès how they sing,
And see the freshè flowers how they spring;
Full is mine heart of revel and soláce.”
  But suddenly him fell a sorrowful case;        380
For ever the latter end of joy is woe:
God wot that worldly joy is soon ago;
And if a rethor 107 couldè fair indite,
He in a chronique safely might it write,
As for a sovereign notability.        385
  Now every wise man, let him hearken me:
This story is also 108 true, I undertake,
As is the book of Launcelot de Lake,
That women hold in full great reverénce.
Now will I turn again to my senténce.        390
  A col fox, 109 full of sly iniquity,
That in the grove had wonèd 110 yearès three,
By high imaginatìón forncast, 111
The samè night throughout the hedges brast 112
Into the yard, there Chanticleer the fair        395
Was wont, and eke his wivès, to repair:
And in a bed of wortès 113 still he lay,
Till it was passèd undern 114 of the day,
Waiting his time on Chanticleer to fall:
As gladly do these homicidès all,        400
That in awaitè lie to murder men.
  O falsè murderer! lurking in thy den!
O newè ’Scariot, newè Genelon!
Falsè dissimulour, O Greek Sinon,
That broughtest Troy all utterly to sorrow!        405
O Chanticleer! accursèd be that morrow,
That thou into that yard flew from the beams,
Thou were full well ywarnèd by thy dreams,
That thilkè day was perilous to thee.
But what that God forewot 115 mote needès be,        410
After the opinìón of certain clerkès.
Witness on him that any perfect clerk is,
That in school is great altercatìón
In this mattér, and great disputison,
And hath been of an hundred thousand men.        415
But I ne cannot bolt 116 it to the bren, 117
As can the holy doctor Augustin,
Or Boece, or the bishop Bradwardin,
Whether that Godès worthy forewïtíng 118
Straineth me needly for to do a thing,—        420
Needly clepe I simple necessity—
Or ellès if free choice be granted me
To do that samè thing, or do it nought,
Though God forewot it ere that it was wrought;
Or if his witing 119 straineth never a del,        425
But by necessity conditionèl.
I will not have to do of such mattère;
My tale is of a cock, as ye may hear,
That took his counsel of his wife with sorrow
To walken in the yard upon that morrow        430
That he had met 120 the dream, that I of told.
Womenès counsels be full often cold;
Womanès counsel brought us first to woe,
And made Adám from Paradise to go,
There as he was full merry, and well at ease.        435
But for I not, 121 to whom it might displease,
If I counsél of women wouldè blame,
Pass over, for I said it in my game.
Read authors, where they treat of such mattére,
And what they say of women ye may hear.        440
These be the cockès wordès, and not mine;
I can none harm of no woman divine. 122
  Fair in the sand, to bathe her merrily,
Lieth Partelote, and all her sisters by,
Again the sun; and Chanticleer so free        445
Sang merrier than the mermaid in the sea;
For Physiologus saith sikerly, 123
How that they singen well and merrily.
  And so befell that as he cast his eye
Among the wortès on a butterfly,        450
He was ware of this fox that lay full low.
Nothing ne list him thennè for to crow,
But cried anon “Cock! cock!” and up he start, 124
As man that was affrayèd in his heart.
For naturally a beast desireth flee        455
From his contráry, if he may it see,
Though he ne’er erst 125 had seen it with his eye.
  This Chanticleer, when he gan him espy,
He would have fled, but that the fox anon
Said, “Gentle Sir, alas! why will ye gon?        460
Be ye afraid of me that am your friend?
Now certes, I were worsè than a fiend,
If I to you would harm or villainy.
I am not come your counsel for to espy,
But truèly the cause of my comíng        465
Was only for to hearken how that ye sing:
For truèly ye have as merry a steven, 126
As any angel hath that is in heaven;
Therewith ye have in music more feelíng,
Than had Boece, or any that can sing.        470
My lord your father! God his soulè bless
And eke your mother of her gentillesse,
Have in mine house ybeen, to my great ease:
And certes, sir, full fain would I you please.
But for men speak of singing, I will say,        475
So mote I brooken 127 well my eyen tway,
Save you, I heardè never man so sing,
As did your father in the morwening.
Certes it was of heart all that he sung.
And for to make his voice the morè strong,        480
He would so pain him, that with both his eyen
He mustè wink, so loud he wouldè crien,
And standen on his tipton therewithal,
And stretchen forth his neckè long and small.
And eke he was of such discretìón,        485
That there nas no man in no regìón,
That him in song or wisdom mightè pass.
I have well read in Dan Burnel the ass
Among his verse, how that there was a cock,
For that a priestès son gave him a knock        490
Upon his leg, while he was young and nice, 128
He made him for to lese his benefice.
But certain there nis no comparisón
Betwix the wisdom and discretìón
Of your fathèr, and of his subtilty.        495
Now singeth, sir, for saintè Charity,
Let see, can ye your father counterfeit?”
  This Chanticleer his wingès gan to beat,
As man that could his treason not espy,
So was he ravished with his flattery.        500
Alas! ye lordès, many a false flatour 129
Is in your courts, and many a losengeour,
That pleasen you well morè, by my faith,
Than he that soothfastness 130 unto you saith.
Readeth Ecclesiast of flattèry,        505
Beware, ye lordès, of hir treachery.
  This Chanticleer stood high upon his toes
Stretching his neck, and held his eyen close,
And gan to crowen loudè for the nonce:
And Dan Russèl the fox start up at once,        510
And by the garget 131 hentè 132 Chanticleer,
And on his back toward the wood him bare.
For yet ne was there no man that him sued. 133
  O destiny, that mayst not be eschewed!
Alas, that Chanticleer flew from the beams!        515
Alas, his wife ne raughtè 134 not of dreams!
And on a Friday fell all this mischance.
O Venus, that art goddess of pleasánce,
Sin that thy servant was this Chanticleer,
And in thy service did all his powér,        520
More for delight, than world to multiply,
Why wouldst thou suffer him on thy day to die?
  O Gaufrid, dearè master sovèreígn,
That, when thy worthy king Richárd was slain
With shot, complainedest his death so sore,        525
Why nad 135 I now thy sentence and thy lore,
The Friday for to chide, as diden ye?—
For on a Friday soothly slain was he,—
Then would I shew you how that I could plain
For Chanticleerès dread, and for his pain.        530
  Certes such cry, ne lamentatìón
Was ne’er of ladies made, when Ilión
Was won, and Pyrrhus with his streitè 136 swerd,
When he had hent king Priam by the beard,
And slain him, as saith us Ænéidós,        535
As maden all the hennès in the close,
When they had seen of Chanticleer the sight.
But sovereignly Dame Partèlotè shright, 137
Full louder than did Hasdrubalès wife,
When that her husband haddè lost his life,        540
And that the Romans haddè burnt Cartháge.
She was so full of torment and of rage,
That willfully into the fire she start,
And brent 138 herselven with a steadfast heart.
  O woful hennès! right so crieden ye,        545
As when that Nero brentè the city
Of Romè, crieden senatorès wives
For that their husbands losten all hir lives;
Withouten guilt this Nero hath hem slain.
  Now will I turnè to my tale again;        550
This sely 139 widow, and eke her daughters two,
Hearden these hennès cry and maken woe,
And out at doorès starten they anon,
And saw the fox toward the grovè gon,
And bare upon his back the cock away:        555
They crieden, “Out! harow and welawa!
Ha, ha! the fox!” and after him they ran,
And eke with stavès many another man;
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot, and Garland,
And Malkin with a distaff in her hand;        560
Ran cow and calf, and eke the very hoggès,
So were they feared for barking of the doggès,
And shouting of the men and women eke,
They rannen so, hem thought hir heartè breke. 140
They yellèden as fiendès do in hell:        565
The duckès crieden as men would hem quell:
The geese for fearè flewen o’er the trees,
Out of the hivè came the swarm of bees,
So hideous was the noise, a! ben’cite!
Certes he Jackè Straw, and his meyné, 141        570
Ne maden never shoutès half so shrill,
When that they woulden any Fleming kill,
As thilkè day was made upon the fox.
Of brass they broughten beamès 142 and of box,
Of horn and bone, in which they blew and poopèd, 143        575
And therewithal they shriekèd and they hoopèd, 144
It seemèd as that heaven shouldè fall.
  Now, goodè men, I pray you hearkeneth all;
Lo, how Fortunè turneth suddenly
The hope and pride eke of her enemy.        580
This cock that lay upon the fox’s back,
In all his dread, unto the fox he spake,
And saidè, “Sir, if that I were as ye,
Yet would I say, as wis 145 God helpè me,
‘Turneth again, ye proudè churlès all;        585
A very pestilence upon you fall!
Now am I come unto the woodès side,
Maugre your head, the cock shall here abide:
I will him eat in faith, and that anon.’”
  The fox answéred, “In faith, it shall be done:”        590
And as he spake that word, all suddenly
This cock brake from his mouth deliverly, 146
And high upon a tree he flew anon.
  And when the fox saw that he was ygone,
“Alas!” quoth he, “O Chanticleer, alas!        595
I have to you,” quoth he, “ydone trespáss,
Inasmuch as I makèd you afeard,
When I you hent, 147 and brought out of the yard;
But, sir, I did it of no wicke 148 intent:
Come down, and I shall tell you what I meant.        600
I shall say sooth to you, God help me so.”
  “Nay then,” quoth he, “I shrew 149 us bothè two,
And first I shrew myself, both blood and bonès,
If thou beguile me any ofter than onès.
Thou shalt no morè through thy flattery        605
Do 150 me to sing and winken with mine eye.
For he that winketh when he shouldè see,
All willfully, God let him never the!” 151
  “Nay,” quoth the fox, “but God give him mischance,
That is so indiscreet of governánce,        610
That jangleth 152 when he shouldè hold his peace.”
  Lo, such it is for to be reckèless
And negligent, and trust on flattery.
But ye that holden this tale a folly,
As of a fox, or of a cock and hen,        615
Take the morality thereof, good men.
For Saint Paul saith, That all that written is,
To our doctríne it is ywrit ywis, 153
Taketh the fruit, and let the chaff be still.
  Now goodè God, if that it be thy will,        620
As saith my lord, so make us all good men;
And bring us to his highè bliss.—Amen.
Note 1. Advanced. [back]
Note 2. Capital. [back]
Note 3. Income. [back]
Note 4. Economical management. [back]
Note 5. Supported. [back]
Note 6. Was called. [back]
Note 7. Whit. [back]
Note 8. Cottage. [back]
Note 9. Temperate. [back]
Note 10. Content. [back]
Note 11. Prevented. [back]
Note 12. Injured. [back]
Note 13. Singed, broiled. [back]
Note 14. A sort of dairy-woman. [back]
Note 15. Surer. [back]
Note 16. Clock, horologe. [back]
Note 17. Battlemented. [back]
Note 18. Toes. [back]
Note 19. Burnished. [back]
Note 20. Companionable. [back]
Note 21. Since. [back]
Note 22. Possession. [back]
Note 23. Locked, inclosed. [back]
Note 24. Limb. [back]
Note 25. “My love is gone to the country.” [back]
Note 26. Oppressed. [back]
Note 27. In offence. [back]
Note 28. I dreamed. [back]
Note 29. Misfortune. [back]
Note 30. Dream. [back]
Note 31. Interpret. [back]
Note 32. Die. [back]
Note 33. Secret. [back]
Note 34. Boaster of female favor. [back]
Note 35. Dreams. [back]
Note 36. Temperaments. [back]
Note 37. Dreamed. [back]
Note 38. Bile. [back]
Note 39. Flames. [back]
Note 40. Contention. [back]
Note 41. Little. [back]
Note 42. Quickly. [back]
Note 43. Make no account. [back]
Note 44. Upon. [back]
Note 45. Health. [back]
Note 46. Profit. [back]
Note 47. Those. [back]
Note 48. Nature. [back]
Note 49. Fumitory. [back]
Note 50. Spurge. [back]
Note 51. Dogwood berries. [back]
Note 52. Much obliged for. [back]
Note 53. Thrive. [back]
Note 54. Trial, experience. [back]
Note 55. Limited in accommodation. [back]
Note 56. Part. [back]
Note 57. Dreamed. [back]
Note 58. Awoke. [back]
Note 59. Heed. [back]
Note 60. Slain. [back]
Note 61. Dreamed. [back]
Note 62. Stay. [back]
Note 63. Prone on his back. [back]
Note 64. Started. [back]
Note 65. Revealest. [back]
Note 66. Loathsome. [back]
Note 67. Hidden. [back]
Note 68. Seized. [back]
Note 69. Tortured. [back]
Note 70. Racked. [back]
Note 71. Confessed. [back]
Note 72. Talk idly. [back]
Note 73. Toward. [back]
Note 74. Pleased. [back]
Note 75. Dreamed. [back]
Note 76. Drowned. [back]
Note 77. Stay. [back]
Note 78. Dreams. [back]
Note 79. Tricks. [back]
Note 80. Wild fancy. [back]
Note 81. Lose by sloth. [back]
Note 82. Moves my pity. [back]
Note 83. Know not. [back]
Note 84. Learn. [back]
Note 85. Mercia. [back]
Note 86. Dreamed. [back]
Note 87. Vision. [back]
Note 88. Saw. [back]
Note 89. Nurse. [back]
Note 90. For fear of. [back]
Note 91. Account hath he made. [back]
Note 92. Vision. [back]
Note 93. Whether. [back]
Note 94. Realms. [back]
Note 95. Dreamed. [back]
Note 96. Lose. [back]
Note 97. Lost. [back]
Note 98. Set no store. [back]
Note 99. As. [back]
Note 100. Certain. [back]
Note 101. Meaning. [back]
Note 102. Dream. [back]
Note 103. Since. [back]
Note 104. Instinct. [back]
Note 105. Voice. [back]
Note 106. Certainly. [back]
Note 107. Rhetorician. [back]
Note 108. As. [back]
Note 109. Crafty fox. [back]
Note 110. Dwelt. [back]
Note 111. Predestined. [back]
Note 112. Burst. [back]
Note 113. Herbs. [back]
Note 114. Mid-day meal time. [back]
Note 115. Foreknows. [back]
Note 116. Sift. [back]
Note 117. Bran. [back]
Note 118. Foreknowledge. [back]
Note 119. Knowledge. [back]
Note 120. Dreamed. [back]
Note 121. Know not. [back]
Note 122. Conjecture. [back]
Note 123. Certainly. [back]
Note 124. Started. [back]
Note 125. Before. [back]
Note 126. Voice. [back]
Note 127. Enjoy. [back]
Note 128. Foolish. [back]
Note 129. Flatterer. [back]
Note 130. Truth. [back]
Note 131. Throat. [back]
Note 132. Seized. [back]
Note 133. Followed. [back]
Note 134. Cared. [back]
Note 135. Had not. [back]
Note 136. Drawn. [back]
Note 137. Shrieked. [back]
Note 138. Burnt. [back]
Note 139. Simple. [back]
Note 140. Would break. [back]
Note 141. Followers. [back]
Note 142. Trumpets. [back]
Note 143. Trumpeted. [back]
Note 144. Whooped. [back]
Note 145. Surely. [back]
Note 146. Actively. [back]
Note 147. Seized. [back]
Note 148. Wicked. [back]
Note 149. Curse. [back]
Note 150. Cause. [back]
Note 151. Thrive. [back]
Note 152. Prateth. [back]
Note 153. Certainly. [back]

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