7.7 The Prologue, Tale, and Epilogue of the Nun's Priest

The Prologue of the Nun's Priest's Tale

The Prologue of the Nonnes Preestes Tale.

2767         "Hoo!" quod the Knyght, "good sire, namoore of this!
                    "Whoa!" said the Knight, "good sire, no more of this!
2768         That ye han seyd is right ynough, ywis,
                    What you have said is quite enough, indeed,
2769         And muchel moore; for litel hevynesse
                    And much more; for a little sadness
2770         Is right ynough to muche folk, I gesse.
                    Is quite enough for many people, I guess.
2771         I seye for me, it is a greet disese,
                    I say for myself, it is a great distress,
2772         Whereas men han been in greet welthe and ese,
                    When men have been in great wealth and ease,
2773         To heeren of hire sodeyn fal, allas!
                    To hear of their sudden fall, alas!
2774         And the contrarie is joye and greet solas,
                    And the contrary is joy and great comfort,
2775         As whan a man hath been in povre estaat,
                    As when a man has been in a poor condition,
2776         And clymbeth up and wexeth fortunat,
                    And climbs up and becomes fortunate,
2777         And there abideth in prosperitee.
                    And there remains in prosperity.
2778         Swich thyng is gladsom, as it thynketh me,
                    Such a thing is pleasing, as it seems to me,
2779         And of swich thyng were goodly for to telle."
                    And of such a thing it would be good to tell."
2780         "Ye," quod oure Hooste, "by Seint Poules belle!
                    "Yea," said our Host, "by Saint Paul's bell!
2781         Ye seye right sooth; this Monk he clappeth lowde.
                    You say the very truth; this Monk he chatters noisily.
2782         He spak how Fortune covered with a clowde
                    He spoke of how Fortune covered with a cloud
2783         I noot nevere what; and als of a tragedie
                    I know not what; and also of a tragedy
2784         Right now ye herde, and pardee, no remedie
                    Just now you heard, and by God, no remedy
2785         It is for to biwaille ne compleyne
                    Is it to bewail or lament
2786         That that is doon, and als it is a peyne,
                    That which is done, and also it is a pain,
2787         As ye han seyd, to heere of hevynesse.
                    As you have said, to hear of sadness.
2788         "Sire Monk, namoore of this, so God yow blesse!
                    "Sir Monk, no more of this, as God may you bless!
2789         Youre tale anoyeth al this compaignye.
                    Your tale annoys all this company.
2790         Swich talkyng is nat worth a boterflye,
                    Such talking is not worth a butterfly,
2791         For therinne is ther no desport ne game.
                    For in it there is no pleasure nor amusement.
2792         Wherfore, sire Monk, daun Piers by youre name,
                    Therefore, Sir Monk, dan Piers by your name,
2793         I pray yow hertely telle us somwhat elles;
                    I pray yow earnestly tell us something else;
2794         For sikerly, nere clynkyng of youre belles
                    For truly, were it not for the clinking of your bells
2795         That on youre bridel hange on every syde,
                    That on your bridle hang on every side,
2796         By hevene kyng that for us alle dyde,
                    By heaven's King who for us all died,
2797         I sholde er this han fallen doun for sleep,
                    I should before this have fallen down because of sleepiness,
2798         Althogh the slough had never been so deep;
                    Although the mud had never been so deep;
2799         Thanne hadde your tale al be toold in veyn.
                    Then had your tale been told all in vain.
2800         For certeinly, as that thise clerkes seyn,
                    For certainly, as these clerks say,
2801         Whereas a man may have noon audience,
                    Where a man may have no hearers,
2802         Noght helpeth it to tellen his sentence.
                    It is no use to tell his opinion.
2803         "And wel I woot the substance is in me,
                    "And well I know the capacity of appreciation is in me,
2804         If any thyng shal wel reported be.
                    If any thing shall be well told.
2805         Sir, sey somwhat of huntyng, I yow preye."
                    Sir, say something about hunting, I you pray."
2806         "Nay," quod this Monk, "I have no lust to pleye.
                    "Nay," said this Monk, "I have no desire to play.
2807         Now lat another telle, as I have toold."
                    Now let another tell, as I have told."
2808         Thanne spak oure Hoost with rude speche and boold,
                    Then spoke oure Host with rude speech and bold,
2809         And seyde unto the Nonnes Preest anon,
                    And said unto the Nun's Priest straightway,
2810         "Com neer, thou preest, com hyder, thou sir John!
                    "Come near, thou priest, come hither, thou sir John!
2811         Telle us swich thyng as may oure hertes glade.
                    Tell us such thing as may our hearts gladden.
2812         Be blithe, though thou ryde upon a jade.
                    Be happy, though thou ride upon a nag.
2813         What thogh thyn hors be bothe foul and lene?
                    What if thy horse be both poor and lean?
2814         If he wol serve thee, rekke nat a bene.
                    If he will serve thee, care not a bean.
2815         Looke that thyn herte be murie everemo."
                    See that thy heart be merry evermore."
2816         "Yis, sir," quod he, "yis, Hoost, so moot I go,
                    "Yes indeed, sir," said he, "yes indeed, Host, as I may I prosper,
2817         But I be myrie, ywis I wol be blamed."
                    Unless I be merry, indeed I will be blamed."
2818         And right anon his tale he hath attamed,
                    And right away his tale he has begun,
2819         And thus he seyde unto us everichon,
                    And thus he said unto us every one,
2820         This sweete preest, this goodly man sir John.
                    This sweet priest, this goodly man sir John.


The Nun's Priest's Tale

Heere bigynneth the Nonnes Preestes Tale of the Cok and Hen,
Chauntecleer and Pertelote

2821         A povre wydwe, somdeel stape in age,
                      A poor widow, somewhat advanced in age,
2822         Was whilom dwellyng in a narwe cotage,
                      Was once dwelling in a small cottage,
2823         Biside a grove, stondynge in a dale.
                      Beside a grove, standing in a dale.
2824         This wydwe, of which I telle yow my tale,
                      This widow, of whom I tell you my tale,
2825         Syn thilke day that she was last a wyf
                      Since that same day that she was last a wife
2826         In pacience ladde a ful symple lyf,
                      In patience led a very simple life,
2827         For litel was hir catel and hir rente.
                      For little was her possessions and her income.
2828         By housbondrie of swich as God hire sente
                      By husbandry of such as God sent her
2829         She foond hirself and eek hir doghtren two.
                      She provided for herself and also her two daughters.
2830         Thre large sowes hadde she, and namo,
                      She had three large sows, and no more,
2831         Three keen, and eek a sheep that highte Malle.
                      Three cows, and also a sheep that is called Malle.
2832         Ful sooty was hire bour and eek hir halle,
                      Full sooty was her bedchamber and also her hall,
2833         In which she eet ful many a sklendre meel.
                      In which she ate very many a scanty meal.
2834         Of poynaunt sauce hir neded never a deel.
                      She needed not a bit of spicy sauce.
2835         No deyntee morsel passed thurgh hir throte;
                      No dainty morsel passed through her throat;
2836         Hir diete was accordant to hir cote.
                      Her diet was such as her farm produced.
2837         Repleccioun ne made hire nevere sik;
                      Overeating never made her sick;
2838         Attempree diete was al hir phisik,
                      Moderate diet was all her medical treatment,
2839         And exercise, and hertes suffisaunce.
                      And exercise, and a contented heart.
2840         The goute lette hire nothyng for to daunce,
                      The gout not at all prevented her from dancing,
2841         N' apoplexie shente nat hir heed.
                      And apoplexy harmed not her head.
2842         No wyn ne drank she, neither whit ne reed;
                      No wine she drank, neither white nor red;
2843         Hir bord was served moost with whit and blak --
                      Her board was provided mostly with white and black --
2844         Milk and broun breed, in which she foond no lak,
                      Milk and dark bread, in which she found no lack,
2845         Seynd bacoun, and somtyme an ey or tweye,
                      Broiled bacon, and sometimes an egg or two,
2846         For she was, as it were, a maner deye.
                      For she was, as it were, a sort of dairywoman.
2847         A yeerd she hadde, enclosed al aboute
                      She had a yard, enclosed all around
2848         With stikkes, and a drye dych withoute,
                      With sticks, and a dry ditch outside it,
2849         In which she hadde a cok, hight Chauntecleer.
                      In which she had a cock, called Chauntecleer.
2850         In al the land, of crowyng nas his peer.
                      In all the land, there was not his peer in crowing.
2851         His voys was murier than the murie orgon
                      His voice was merrier than the merry organ
2852         On messe-dayes that in the chirche gon.
                      That goes in the church on mass-days.
2853         Wel sikerer was his crowyng in his logge
                      Well more accurate was his crowing in his lodge
2854         Than is a clokke or an abbey orlogge.
                      Than is a clock or an abbey timepiece.
2855         By nature he knew ech ascencioun
                      By nature he knew (the hour of) each ascension
2856         Of the equynoxial in thilke toun;
                      Of the celestial equator in that same town;
2857         For whan degrees fiftene weren ascended,
                      For when degrees fifteen were ascended,
2858         Thanne crew he that it myghte nat been amended.
                      Then he crowed so that it could not be improved.
2859         His coomb was redder than the fyn coral,
                      His comb was redder than the fine coral,
2860         And batailled as it were a castel wal;
                      And notched with battlements as if it were a castle wall;
2861         His byle was blak, and as the jeet it shoon;
                      His bill was black, and it shone like the jet stone;
2862         Lyk asure were his legges and his toon;
                      Like azure were his legs and his toes;
2863         His nayles whitter than the lylye flour,
                      His nails whiter than the lily flour,
2864         And lyk the burned gold was his colour.
                      And like the burnished gold was his color.
2865         This gentil cok hadde in his governaunce
                      This gentle cock had in his governance
2866         Sevene hennes for to doon al his plesaunce,
                      Seven hens to do all his pleasure,
2867         Whiche were his sustres and his paramours,
                      Which were his sisters and his concubines,
2868         And wonder lyk to hym, as of colours;
                      And wonderfully like him, in their colors;
2869         Of whiche the faireste hewed on hir throte
                      Of which the fairest colored on her throat
2870         Was cleped faire damoysele Pertelote.
                      Was called fair demoiselle Pertelote.
2871         Curteys she was, discreet, and debonaire,
                      Courteous she was, discreet, and gracious,
2872         And compaignable, and bar hyrself so faire
                      And companionable, and bore herself so fair
2873         Syn thilke day that she was seven nyght oold
                      Since that same day that she was seven nights old
2874         That trewely she hath the herte in hoold
                      That truly she has in possession the heart
2875         Of Chauntecleer, loken in every lith;
                      Of Chauntecleer, locked in every limb (completely);
2876         He loved hire so that wel was hym therwith.
                      He loved her so that well was him because of that.
2877         But swich a joye was it to here hem synge,
                      But such a joy it was to hear them sing,
2878         Whan that the brighte sonne gan to sprynge,
                      When the bright sun began to spring,
2879         In sweete accord, "My lief is faren in londe!" --
                      In sweet accord, "My love has gone to the country!" --
2880         For thilke tyme, as I have understonde,
                      For in that same time, as I have understood,
2881         Beestes and briddes koude speke and synge.
                      Beasts and birds could speak and sing.
2882         And so bifel that in a dawenynge,
                      And so befell that in a dawning,
2883         As Chauntecleer among his wyves alle
                      As Chauntecleer among all his wives
2884         Sat on his perche, that was in the halle,
                      Sat on his perch, that was in the hall,
2885         And next hym sat this faire Pertelote,
                      And next to him sat this faire Pertelote,
2886         This Chauntecleer gan gronen in his throte,
                      This Chauntecleer began to groan in his throat,
2887         As man that in his dreem is drecched soore.
                      As one that in his dream is deeply troubled.
2888         And whan that Pertelote thus herde hym roore,
                      And when Pertelote thus heard him roar,
2889         She was agast and seyde, "Herte deere,
                      She was aghast and said, "Dear heart,
2890         What eyleth yow, to grone in this manere?
                      What ails you, to groan in this manner?
2891         Ye been a verray sleper; fy, for shame!"
                      You are a true (sound) sleeper; fie, for shame!"
2892         And he answerde, and seyde thus: "Madame,
                      And he answered, and said thus: "Madame,
2893         I pray yow that ye take it nat agrief.
                      I pray you that you take it not amiss.
2894         By God, me mette I was in swich meschief
                      By God, I dreamed I was in such mischief
2895         Right now that yet myn herte is soore afright.
                      Right now that yet my heart is grievously frightened.
2896         Now God," quod he, "my swevene recche aright,
                      Now God," said he, "interpret my dream correctly,
2897         And kepe my body out of foul prisoun!
                      And keep my body out of foul prison!
2898         Me mette how that I romed up and doun
                      I dreamed how I roamed up and down
2899         Withinne our yeerd, wheer as I saugh a beest
                      Within our yard, where I saw a beast
2900         Was lyk an hound, and wolde han maad areest
                      Was like a hound, and would have seized
2901         Upon my body, and wolde han had me deed.
                      Upon my body, and would have had me dead.
2902         His colour was bitwixe yelow and reed,
                      His color was between yellow and red,
2903         And tipped was his tayl and bothe his eeris
                      And tipped was his tail and both his ears
2904         With blak, unlyk the remenant of his heeris;
                      With black, unlike the rest of his hair;
2905         His snowte smal, with glowynge eyen tweye.
                      His snout small, with two glowing eyes.
2906         Yet of his look for feere almoost I deye;
                      Yet for fear of his look I almost die;
2907         This caused me my gronyng, doutelees."
                      This caused my groaning, doubtless."
2908         "Avoy!" quod she, "fy on yow, hertelees!
                      "Shame!" said she, "fie on you, coward!
2909         Allas," quod she, "for, by that God above,
                      Alas," said she, "for, by that God above,
2910         Now han ye lost myn herte and al my love!
                      Now have you lost my heart and all my love!
2911         I kan nat love a coward, by my feith!
                      I can not love a coward, by my faith!
2912         For certes, what so any womman seith,
                      For certainly, whatever any woman says,
2913         We alle desiren, if it myghte bee,
                      We all desire, if it might be,
2914         To han housbondes hardy, wise, and free,
                      To have husbands hardy, wise, and generous,
2915         And secree -- and no nygard, ne no fool,
                      And secret -- and no miser, nor no fool,
2916         Ne hym that is agast of every tool,
                      Nor him who is afraid of every weapon,
2917         Ne noon avauntour, by that God above!
                      Nor any boaster, by that God above!
2918         How dorste ye seyn, for shame, unto youre love
                      How dare you say, for shame, unto your love
2919         That any thyng myghte make yow aferd?
                      That any thing might make you afraid?
2920         Have ye no mannes herte, and han a berd?
                      Have you no man's heart, and have a beard?
2921         Allas! And konne ye been agast of swevenys?
                      Alas! And can you be frightened of dreams?
2922         Nothyng, God woot, but vanitee in sweven is.
                      Nothing, God knows, but foolishness is in dreams.
2923         Swevenes engendren of replecciouns,
                      Dreams are produced by overeating,
2924         And ofte of fume and of complecciouns,
                      And often by stomach vapors and by the mixture of bodily humors,
2925         Whan humours been to habundant in a wight.
                      When humors are too abundant in a person.
2926         Certes this dreem, which ye han met to-nyght,
                      Certainly this dream, which you have dreamed to-night,
2927         Cometh of the greete superfluytee
                      Comes of the great superfluity
2928         Of youre rede colera, pardee,
                      Of your red choleric humor, indeed,
2929         Which causeth folk to dreden in hir dremes
                      Which causes folk in their dreams to be afraid
2930         Of arwes, and of fyr with rede lemes,
                      Of arrows, and of fire with red flames,
2931         Of rede beestes, that they wol hem byte,
                      Of red beasts, (fearing) that they will bite them,
2932         Of contek, and of whelpes, grete and lyte;
                      Of strife, and of dogs, big and little;
2933         Right as the humour of malencolie
                      Right as the humor of melancholy
2934         Causeth ful many a man in sleep to crie
                      Causes very many a man in sleep to cry
2935         For feere of blake beres, or boles blake,
                      For fear of black bears, or black bulls,
2936         Or elles blake develes wole hem take.
                      Or else black devils will take them.
2937         Of othere humours koude I telle also
                      Of other humors could I tell also
2938         That werken many a man sleep ful wo;
                      That cause many a man much woe (in) sleep;
2939         But I wol passe as lightly as I kan.
                      But I will pass over as lightly as I can.
2940         "Lo Catoun, which that was so wys a man,
                      "Lo Cato, who was so wise a man,
2941         Seyde he nat thus, `Ne do no fors of dremes'?
                      Said he not thus, `Attach no importance to dreams'?
2942         "Now sire," quod she, "whan we flee fro the bemes,
                      "Now sir," said she, "when we fly from the beams,
2943         For Goddes love, as taak som laxatyf.
                      For God's love, take some laxative.
2944         Up peril of my soule and of my lyf,
                      Upon peril of my soul and of my life,
2945         I conseille yow the beste -- I wol nat lye --
                      I counsel you the best -- I will not lie --
2946         That bothe of colere and of malencolye
                      That both of choler and of melancholy
2947         Ye purge yow; and for ye shal nat tarie,
                      You purge yourself; and so that you shall not delay,
2948         Though in this toun is noon apothecarie,
                      Though in this town is no apothecary,
2949         I shal myself to herbes techen yow
                      I shall myself guide you to herbs
2950         That shul been for youre hele and for youre prow;
                      That shall be for your health and for your benefit;
2951         And in oure yeerd tho herbes shal I fynde
                      And in our yard I shall find those herbs
2952         The whiche han of hire propretee by kynde
                      The which by nature have the power
2953         To purge yow bynethe and eek above.
                      To purge you beneath and also above.
2954         Foryet nat this, for Goddes owene love!
                      Forget not this, for God's own love!
2955         Ye been ful coleryk of compleccioun;
                      You are dominated by the choleric humor;
2956         Ware the sonne in his ascencioun
                      Beware the sun when it is high in the sky
2957         Ne fynde yow nat repleet of humours hoote.
                      And do not find yourself with an excess of hot humors.
2958         And if it do, I dar wel leye a grote,
                      And if there be an excess, I dare well bet four pence,
2959         That ye shul have a fevere terciane,
                      That you shall have a fever recurring every three days,
2960         Or an agu that may be youre bane.
                      Or an ague that may be your death.
2961         A day or two ye shul have digestyves
                      A day or two you shall have digestives
2962         Of wormes, er ye take youre laxatyves
                      Of worms, before you take your laxatives
2963         Of lawriol, centaure, and fumetere,
                      Of spurge laurel, centaury, and fumitory,
2964         Or elles of ellebor, that groweth there,
                      Or else of hellebore, that grows there,
2965         Of katapuce, or of gaitrys beryis,
                      Of caper-spurge, or of rhamus,
2966         Of herbe yve, growyng in oure yeerd, ther mery is;
                      Of ground ivy, growing in our yard, where it is pleasant;
2967         Pekke hem up right as they growe and ete hem yn.
                      Peck them up right as they grow and eat them in.
2968         Be myrie, housbonde, for youre fader kyn!
                      Be merry, husband, for your father's kin!
2969         Dredeth no dreem; I kan sey yow namoore."
                      Dread no dream; I can say you no more."
2970         "Madame," quod he, "graunt mercy of youre loore.
                      "Madame," said he, "great thanks for your learning.
2971         But nathelees, as touchyng daun Catoun,
                      But nonetheless, as touching dan Cato,
2972         That hath of wysdom swich a greet renoun,
                      That has of wisdom such a great renown,
2973         Though that he bad no dremes for to drede,
                      Though he commanded (us) to dread no dreams,
2974         By God, men may in olde bookes rede
                      By God, men may in old books read
2975         Of many a man moore of auctorite
                      Of many a man of more authority
2976         Than evere Caton was, so moot I thee,
                      Than Cato ever was, as I may prosper,
2977         That al the revers seyn of this sentence,
                      Who say all the reverse of this sentence,
2978         And han wel founden by experience
                      And have well found by experience
2979         That dremes been significaciouns
                      That dreams are significations
2980         As wel of joye as of tribulaciouns
                      As well of joy as of tribulations
2981         That folk enduren in this lif present.
                      That folk endure in this present life.
2982         Ther nedeth make of this noon argument;
                      There need be no argument about this;
2983         The verray preeve sheweth it in dede.
                      The proof itself shows it in the deed.
2984         "Oon of the gretteste auctour that men rede
                      "One of the greatest author that men read
2985         Seith thus: that whilom two felawes wente
                      Says thus: that once two fellows went
2986         On pilgrimage, in a ful good entente,
                      On pilgrimage, with a very good intention,
2987         And happed so, they coomen in a toun
                      And it so happened, they came in a town
2988         Wher as ther was swich congregacioun
                      Where there was such a gathering
2989         Of peple, and eek so streit of herbergage,
                      Of people, and also such a scantiness of lodging,
2990         That they ne founde as muche as o cotage
                      That they found not so much as one cottage
2991         In which they bothe myghte ylogged bee.
                      In which they both might be lodged.
2992         Wherfore they mosten of necessitee,
                      Therefore they must of necessity,
2993         As for that nyght, departen compaignye;
                      For that night, part company;
2994         And ech of hem gooth to his hostelrye,
                      And each of them goes to his hostelry,
2995         And took his loggyng as it wolde falle.
                      And took his lodging as it would befall.
2996         That oon of hem was logged in a stalle,
                      The one of them was lodged in a stall,
2997         Fer in a yeerd, with oxen of the plough;
                      Far in a yard, with oxen of the plough;
2998         That oother man was logged wel ynough,
                      That other man was lodged well enough,
2999         As was his aventure or his fortune,
                      As was his adventure or his fortune,
3000         That us governeth alle as in commune.
                      Which us governs all in common.
3001         "And so bifel that, longe er it were day,
                      "And it so befell that, long before it was day,
3002         This man mette in his bed, ther as he lay,
                      This man dreamed in his bed, where he lay,
3003         How that his felawe gan upon hym calle,
                      How his fellow began to call upon him,
3004         And seyde, `Allas, for in an oxes stalle
                      And said, `Alas, for in an oxen's stall
3005         This nyght I shal be mordred ther I lye!
                      This night I shall be murdered where I lie!
3006         Now help me, deere brother, or I dye.
                      Now help me, dear brother, or I die.
3007         In alle haste com to me!' he sayde.
                      In all haste come to me!' he said.
3008         This man out of his sleep for feere abrayde;
                      This man out of his sleep for fear awakened suddenly;
3009         But whan that he was wakened of his sleep,
                      But when he was wakened of his sleep,
3010         He turned hym and took of this no keep.
                      He turned himself and took no heed of this.
3011         Hym thoughte his dreem nas but a vanitee.
                      He thought his dream was nothing but a fantasy.
3012         Thus twies in his slepyng dremed hee;
                      Thus twice in his sleeping he dreamed;
3013         And atte thridde tyme yet his felawe
                      And at third time yet his fellow
3014         Cam, as hym thoughte, and seide, `I am now slawe.
                      Came, as it seemed to him, and said, `I am now slain.
3015         Bihoold my bloody woundes depe and wyde!
                      Behold my bloody wounds deep and wide!
3016         Arys up erly in the morwe tyde,
                      Arise up early in the morning time,
3017         And at the west gate of the toun,' quod he,
                      And at the west gate of the town,' he said,
3018         `A carte ful of dong ther shaltow se,
                      `A cart full of dung there shalt thou see,
3019         In which my body is hid ful prively;
                      In which my body is hid very secretly;
3020         Do thilke carte arresten boldely.
                      Have that same cart immediately seized.
3021         My gold caused my mordre, sooth to sayn,'
                      My gold caused my murder, to say the truth,'
3022         And tolde hym every point how he was slayn,
                      And told him in full detail how he was slain,
3023         With a ful pitous face, pale of hewe.
                      With a very piteous face, pale of hue.
3024         And truste wel, his dreem he foond ful trewe,
                      And trust well, his dream he found very true,
3025         For on the morwe, as soone as it was day,
                      For on the morrow, as soon as it was day,
3026         To his felawes in he took the way;
                      To his fellow's inn he took the way;
3027         And whan that he cam to this oxes stalle,
                      And when he came to this oxen's stall,
3028         After his felawe he bigan to calle.
                      After his fellow he began to call.
3029         "The hostiler answerede hym anon,
                    "The innkeeper answered him straightway,
3030         And seyde, `Sire, your felawe is agon.
                      And said, `Sir, your fellow is gone.
3031         As soone as day he wente out of the toun.'
                      As soon as it was day he went out of the town.'
3032         "This man gan fallen in suspecioun,
                      "This man began to fall in suspicion,
3033         Remembrynge on his dremes that he mette,
                      Remembering his dreams that he dreamed,
3034         And forth he gooth -- no lenger wolde he lette --
                      And forth he goes -- no longer would he delay --
3035         Unto the west gate of the toun, and fond
                      Unto the west gate of the town, and found
3036         A dong-carte, wente as it were to donge lond,
                      A dung-cart, which went as if it were to dung land,
3037         That was arrayed in that same wise
                      That was drawn up in that same manner
3038         As ye han herd the dede man devyse.
                      As you have heard the dead man tell.
3039         And with an hardy herte he gan to crye
                      And with a hardy heart he began to cry for
3040         Vengeance and justice of this felonye:
                      Vengeance and justice of this felony:
3041         `My felawe mordred is this same nyght,
                      `My fellow is murdered this same night,
3042         And in this carte he lith gapyng upright.
                      And in this cart he lies gaping upright.
3043         I crye out on the ministres,' quod he,
                      I cry out on the officials,' said he,
3044         `That sholden kepe and reulen this citee.
                      `Who should guard and rule this city.
3045         Harrow! Allas! Heere lith my felawe slayn!'
                      Help! Alas! Here lies my fellow slain!'
3046         What sholde I moore unto this tale sayn?
                      What should I more unto this tale say?
3047         The peple out sterte and caste the cart to grounde,
                      The people rushed out and cast the cart to ground,
3048         And in the myddel of the dong they founde
                      And in the middle of the dung they found
3049         The dede man, that mordred was al newe.
                      The dead man, who was just recently murdered.
3050         "O blisful God, that art so just and trewe,
                      "O blissful God, that art so just and true,
3051         Lo, how that thou biwreyest mordre alway!
                      Lo, how thou always reveal murder!
3052         Mordre wol out; that se we day by day.
                      Murder will out; we see that day by day.
3053         Mordre is so wlatsom and abhomynable
                      Murder is so disgusting and abominable
3054         To God, that is so just and resonable,
                      To God, who is so just and reasonable,
3055         That he ne wol nat suffre it heled be,
                      That He will not suffer it to be hidden,
3056         Though it abyde a yeer, or two, or thre.
                      Though it may wait a year, or two, or three.
3057         Mordre wol out, this my conclusioun.
                      Murder will out, this is my conclusion.
3058         And right anon, ministres of that toun
                      And immediately, officials of that town
3059         Han hent the carter and so soore hym pyned,
                      Have seized the carter and so painfully tortured him,
3060         And eek the hostiler so soore engyned,
                      And also the hosteller so grievously tortured,
3061         That they biknewe hire wikkednesse anon,
                      That they straightway acknowledged their wickedness,
3062         And were anhanged by the nekke-bon.
                      And were hanged by the neck-bone.
3063         "Heere may men seen that dremes been to drede.
                      "Here men may seen that dreams are to be feared.
3064         And certes in the same book I rede,
                      And certainly in the same book I read,
3065         Right in the nexte chapitre after this --
                      Right in the next chapter after this --
3066         I gabbe nat, so have I joye or blis --
                      I do not lie, as I may have joy or bliss --
3067         Two men that wolde han passed over see,
                      Two men that would have passed over see,
3068         For certeyn cause, into a fer contree,
                      For a certain reason, into a far country,
3069         If that the wynd ne hadde been contrarie,
                      If that the wind had not been contrary,
3070         That made hem in a citee for to tarie
                      That made them to tarry in a city
3071         That stood ful myrie upon an haven-syde;
                      That stood very merrily upon an haven-side;
3072         But on a day, agayn the even-tyde,
                      But on a day, toward the evening time,
3073         The wynd gan chaunge, and blew right as hem leste.
                      The wind began to change, and blew exactly as they desired.
3074         Jolif and glad they wente unto hir reste,
                      Jolly and glad they went unto their rest,
3075         And casten hem ful erly for to saille.
                      And they planned to sail very early.
3076         But herkneth! To that o man fil a greet mervaille:
                      But listen! To that one man befell a great marvel:
3077         That oon of hem, in slepyng as he lay,
                      The one of them, in sleeping as he lay,
3078         Hym mette a wonder dreem agayn the day.
                      He dreamed a wondrous dream before the day.
3079         Hym thoughte a man stood by his beddes syde,
                      He thought a man stood by his bed's side,
3080         And hym comanded that he sholde abyde,
                      And commanded him that he should stay,
3081         And seyde hym thus: `If thou tomorwe wende,
                      And said to him thus: `If thou travel tomorrow,
3082         Thow shalt be dreynt; my tale is at an ende.'
                      Thou shalt be drowned; my tale is at an end.'
3083         He wook, and tolde his felawe what he mette,
                      He woke, and told his fellow what he dreamed,
3084         And preyde hym his viage for to lette;
                      And prayed him to delay his voyage;
3085         As for that day, he preyde hym to byde.
                      For that day, he prayed him to wait.
3086         His felawe, that lay by his beddes syde,
                      His fellow, that lay by his bed's side,
3087         Gan for to laughe, and scorned him ful faste.
                      Began to laugh, and vigorously scorned him.
3088         `No dreem,' quod he, `may so myn herte agaste
                      `No dream,' said he, `may so frighten my heart
3089         That I wol lette for to do my thynges.
                      That I will desist from doing my tasks.
3090         I sette nat a straw by thy dremynges,
                      I set not a straw by (put no value on) thy dreams,
3091         For swevenes been but vanytees and japes.
                      For dreams are but fantasies and foolishness.
3092         Men dreme alday of owles and of apes,
                      Men dream all the time of owls and of apes,
3093         And of many a maze therwithal;
                      And of many a source of amazement indeed;
3094         Men dreme of thyng that nevere was ne shal.
                      Men dream of a thing that never was nor shall be.
3095         But sith I see that thou wolt heere abyde,
                      But since I see that thou will remain here,
3096         And thus forslewthen wilfully thy tyde,
                      And thus willfully waste thy tide,
3097         God woot, it reweth me; and have good day!'
                      God knows, it makes me sorry; and have good day!'
3098         And thus he took his leve, and wente his way.
                      And thus he took his leave, and went his way.
3099         But er that he hadde half his cours yseyled,
                      But before he had sailed half his course,
3100         Noot I nat why, ne what myschaunce it eyled,
                      I know not why, nor what mischance harmed it,
3101         But casuelly the shippes botme rente,
                      But by chance the ship's bottom broke open,
3102         And ship and man under the water wente
                      And ship and man went under the water
3103         In sighte of othere shippes it bisyde,
                      In sight of other ships beside it,
3104         That with hem seyled at the same tyde.
                      That with them sailed on the same tide.
3105         And therfore, faire Pertelote so deere,
                      And therefore, faire Pertelote so dear,
3106         By swiche ensamples olde maistow leere
                      By such old examples thou may learn
3107         That no man sholde been to recchelees
                      That no man should be too heedless
3108         Of dremes; for I seye thee, doutelees,
                      Of dreams; for I say to thee, doubtless,
3109         That many a dreem ful soore is for to drede.
                      That many a dream is very greatly to be feared.
3110         "Lo, in the lyf of Seint Kenelm I rede,
                      "Lo, I read in the life of Saint Kenelm,
3111         That was Kenulphus sone, the noble kyng
                      That was son of Kenulphus, the noble king
3112         Of Mercenrike, how Kenelm mette a thyng.
                      Of Mercia, how Kenelm dreamed a thing.
3113         A lite er he was mordred, on a day,
                      A little before he was murdered, on a day,
3114         His mordre in his avysioun he say.
                      He saw his murder in his vision.
3115         His norice hym expowned every deel
                      His nurse completely explained to him
3116         His sweven, and bad hym for to kepe hym weel
                      His dream, and ordered him to guard himself well
3117         For traisoun; but he nas but seven yeer oold,
                      From treason; but he was only seven years old,
3118         And therfore litel tale hath he toold
                      And therefore he put little store
3119         Of any dreem, so hooly was his herte.
                      In any dream, so holy was his heart.
3120         By God! I hadde levere than my sherte
                      By God! I had rather than my shirt (give my shirt)
3121         That ye hadde rad his legende, as have I.
                      That you had read his legend, as have I.
3122         "Dame Pertelote, I sey yow trewely,
                      "Dame Pertelote, I say you truly,
3123         Macrobeus, that writ the avisioun
                      Macrobius, that wrote the vision
3124         In Affrike of the worthy Cipioun,
                      In Africa of the worthy Scipio,
3125         Affermeth dremes, and seith that they been
                      Affirms (the value of) dreams, and says that they are
3126         Warnynge of thynges that men after seen.
                      Warnings of things that men later see (come to pass)
3127         And forthermoore, I pray yow, looketh wel
                      And furthermore, I pray you, look well
3128         In the olde testament, of Daniel,
                      In the Old Testament, concerning Daniel,
3129         If he heeld dremes any vanitee.
                      If he held dreams (to be) any foolishness.
3130         Reed eek of Joseph, and ther shul ye see
                      Read also of Joseph, and there shall you see
3131         Wher dremes be somtyme -- I sey nat alle --
                      Whether dreams are sometimes -- I say not all --
3132         Warnynge of thynges that shul after falle.
                      Warnings of things that shall afterward befall.
3133         Looke of Egipte the kyng, daun Pharao,
                      Consider the king of Egypt, dan Pharaoh,
3134         His bakere and his butiller also,
                      His baker and his butler also,
3135         Wher they ne felte noon effect in dremes.
                      Whether or not they felt any effect in dreams.
3136         Whoso wol seken actes of sondry remes
                      Whoever will seek out the histories of various nations
3137         May rede of dremes many a wonder thyng.
                      May read many a wonderful thing about dreams.
3138         Lo Cresus, which that was of Lyde kyng,
                      Lo Croesus, who was king of Lydia,
3139         Mette he nat that he sat upon a tree,
                      Dreamed he not that he sat upon a tree,
3140         Which signified he sholde anhanged bee?
                      Which signified he should be hanged?
3141         Lo heere Andromacha, Ectores wyf,
                      Lo here Andromacha, Hector's wife,
3142         That day that Ector sholde lese his lyf,
                      That day that Hector should lose his life,
3143         She dremed on the same nyght biforn
                      She dreamed on the same night before
3144         How that the lyf of Ector sholde be lorn,
                      How the life of Hector should be lost,
3145         If thilke day he wente into bataille.
                      If that same day he went into battle.
3146         She warned hym, but it myghte nat availle;
                      She warned him, but it might not avail;
3147         He wente for to fighte natheles,
                      He went to fight nonetheless,
3148         But he was slayn anon of Achilles.
                      But he was slain straightway by Achilles.
3149         But thilke tale is al to longe to telle,
                      But that same tale is all too long to tell,
3150         And eek it is ny day; I may nat dwelle.
                      And also it is nigh day; I may not delay.
3151         Shortly I seye, as for conclusioun,
                      Shortly I say, as for conclusion,
3152         That I shal han of this avisioun
                      That I shall have of this vision
3153         Adversitee; and I seye forthermoor
                      Adversity; and I say furthermore
3154         That I ne telle of laxatyves no stoor,
                      That I put no store in laxatives,
3155         For they been venymes, I woot it weel;
                      For they are poisonous, I know it well;
3156         I hem diffye, I love hem never a deel!
                      I renounce them, I love them not at all!
3157         "Now let us speke of myrthe, and stynte al this.
                      "Now let us speak of mirth, and stop all this.
3158         Madame Pertelote, so have I blis,
                      Madame Pertelote, as I may have bliss,
3159         Of o thyng God hath sent me large grace;
                      Of one thing God has sent me a great favor;
3160         For whan I se the beautee of youre face,
                      For when I see the beauty of your face,
3161         Ye been so scarlet reed aboute youre yen,
                      You are so scarlet red about your eyes,
3162         It maketh al my drede for to dyen;
                      It makes all my dread die;
3163         For al so siker as In principio,
                      For as surely as `In the beginning,
3164         Mulier est hominis confusio --
                      `Woman is the ruin of man --'
3165         Madame, the sentence of this Latyn is,
                      Madame, the meaning of this Latin is,
3166         `Womman is mannes joye and al his blis.'
                      `Woman is man's joy and all his bliss.'
3167         For whan I feele a-nyght your softe syde --
                      For when I feel at night your soft side --
3168         Al be it that I may nat on yow ryde,
                      Although I can not on you ride,
3169         For that oure perche is maad so narwe, allas --
                      Because our perch is made so narrow, alas --
3170         I am so ful of joye and of solas,
                      I am so full of joy and of pleasure,
3171         That I diffye bothe sweven and dreem."
                      That I renounce both vision and dream."
3172         And with that word he fley doun fro the beem,
                      And with that word he flew down from the beam,
3173         For it was day, and eke his hennes alle,
                      For it was day, and also all his hens,
3174         And with a chuk he gan hem for to calle,
                      And with a cluck he began to call them,
3175         For he hadde founde a corn, lay in the yerd.
                      Because he had found a seed, which lay in the yard.
3176         Real he was, he was namoore aferd.
                      Royal he was, he was no longer afraid.
3177         He fethered Pertelote twenty tyme,
                      He embraced Pertelote twenty times,
3178         And trad hire eke as ofte, er it was pryme.
                      And copulated with her also as often, before it was 6 a.m..
3179         He looketh as it were a grym leoun,
                      He looks as if he were a grim lion,
3180         And on his toos he rometh up and doun;
                      And on his toes he roams up and down;
3181         Hym deigned nat to sette his foot to grounde.
                      He deigned not to set his foot to ground.
3182         He chukketh whan he hath a corn yfounde,
                      He clucks when he has found a seed,
3183         And to hym rennen thanne his wyves alle.
                      And then his wives all run to him.
3184         Thus roial, as a prince is in his halle,
                      Thus royal, as a prince is in his hall,
3185         Leve I this Chauntecleer in his pasture,
                      Leave I this Chauntecleer in his feeding place,
3186         And after wol I telle his aventure.
                      And after I will tell his adventure.
3187         Whan that the month in which the world bigan,
                      When the month in which the world began,
3188         That highte March, whan God first maked man,
                      Which is called March, when God first made man,
3189         Was compleet, and passed were also,
                      Was complete, and passed were also,
3190         Syn March [was gon], thritty dayes and two,
                      Since March had gone, thirty days and two,
3191         Bifel that Chauntecleer in al his pryde,
                      Befell that Chauntecleer in all his pride,
3192         His sevene wyves walkynge by his syde,
                      His seven wives walking by his side,
3193         Caste up his eyen to the brighte sonne,
                      Cast up his eyes to the bright sun,
3194         That in the signe of Taurus hadde yronne
                      That in the sign of Taurus had run
3195         Twenty degrees and oon, and somwhat moore,
                      Twenty degrees and one, and somewhat more,
3196         And knew by kynde, and by noon oother loore,
                      And knew by nature, and by none other knowledge,
3197         That it was pryme, and crew with blisful stevene.
                      That it was prime, and crowed with blissful voice.
3198         "The sonne," he seyde, "is clomben up on hevene
                      "The sun," he said, "has climbed up on heaven
3199         Fourty degrees and oon, and moore ywis.
                      Forty degrees and one, and more indeed.
3200         Madame Pertelote, my worldes blis,
                      Madame Pertelote, my world's bliss,
3201         Herkneth thise blisful briddes how they synge,
                      Listen to these blissful birds, how they sing,
3202         And se the fresshe floures how they sprynge;
                      And see the fresh flowers, how they spring;
3203         Ful is myn herte of revel and solas!"
                      My heart is full of revel and pleasure!"
3204         But sodeynly hym fil a sorweful cas,
                      But suddenly to him befell a sorrowful situation,
3205         For evere the latter ende of joye is wo.
                      For ever the latter end of joy is woe.
3206         God woot that worldly joye is soone ago;
                      God knows that worldly joy is soon gone;
3207         And if a rethor koude faire endite,
                      And if a rhetorician could fairly compose,
3208         He in a cronycle saufly myghte it write
                      He in a chronicle confidently could write it
3209         As for a sovereyn notabilitee.
                      As a supremely important fact.
3210         Now every wys man, lat him herkne me;
                      Now every wise man, let him listen to me;
3211         This storie is also trewe, I undertake,
                      This story is as true, I declare,
3212         As is the book of Launcelot de Lake,
                      As is the Book of Lancelot of the Lake,
3213         That wommen holde in ful greet reverence.
                      Which women hold in very great reverence.
3214         Now wol I torne agayn to my sentence.
                      Now will I turn again to my subject matter.
3215         A col-fox, ful of sly iniquitee,
                      A fox, full of sly iniquity,
3216         That in the grove hadde woned yeres three,
                      That in the grove had dwelled three years,
3217         By heigh ymaginacioun forncast,
                      By exalted imagination predestined,
3218         The same nyght thurghout the hegges brast
                      The same night through the hedges broke
3219         Into the yerd ther Chauntecleer the faire
                      Into the yard where the handsome Chauntecleer
3220         Was wont, and eek his wyves, to repaire;
                      Was accustomed, and also his wives, to repair;
3221         And in a bed of wortes stille he lay
                      And in a bed of cabbages he lay quietly
3222         Til it was passed undren of the day,
                      Until it had passed 9 a.m. of the day,
3223         Waitynge his tyme on Chauntecleer to falle,
                      Waiting his time on Chauntecleer to fall,
3224         As gladly doon thise homycides alle
                      As habitually do all these homicides
3225         That in await liggen to mordre men.
                      That in ambush lie to murder men.
3226         O false mordrour, lurkynge in thy den!
                      O false murderer, lurking in thy den!
3227         O newe Scariot, newe Genylon,
                      O new Judas Iscariot, new Genylon,
3228         False dissymulour, o Greek Synon,
                      False deceiver, O Greek Synon,
3229         That broghtest Troye al outrely to sorwe!
                      That brought all Troy completely to sorrow!
3230         O Chauntecleer, acursed be that morwe
                      O Chauntecleer, cursed be that morning
3231         That thou into that yerd flaugh fro the bemes!
                      That thou flew from the beams into that yard!
3232         Thou were ful wel ywarned by thy dremes
                      Thou were very well warned by thy dreams
3233         That thilke day was perilous to thee;
                      That that same day was perilous to thee;
3234         But what that God forwoot moot nedes bee,
                      But what God knows beforehand must by necessity be,
3235         After the opinioun of certein clerkis.
                      According to the opinion of certain scholars.
3236         Witnesse on hym that any parfit clerk is,
                      Take witness of him that is a thoroughly competent scholar,
3237         That in scole is greet altercacioun
                      That in the university is great disagreement
3238         In this mateere, and greet disputisoun,
                      In this matter, and great disputation,
3239         And hath been of an hundred thousand men.
                      And has been (disputed) by a hundred thousand men.
3240         But I ne kan nat bulte it to the bren
                      But I can not separate the valid and invalid arguments
3241         As kan the hooly doctour Augustyn,
                      As can the holy doctor Augustine,
3242         Or Boece, or the Bisshop Bradwardyn,
                      Or Boethius, or the Bishop Bradwardyn,
3243         Wheither that Goddes worthy forwityng
                      Whether God's worthy foreknowledge
3244         Streyneth me nedely for to doon a thyng --
                      Constrains me by need to do a thing --
3245         "Nedely" clepe I symple necessitee --
                      "Need" I call simple necessity --
3246         Or elles, if free choys be graunted me
                      Or else, if free choice be granted to me
3247         To do that same thyng, or do it noght,
                      To do that same thing, or do it not,
3248         Though God forwoot it er that I was wroght;
                      Though God knew it before I was born;
3249         Or if his wityng streyneth never a deel
                      Or if his knowledge constrains not at all
3250         But by necessitee condicioneel.
                      But by conditional necessity.
3251         I wol nat han to do of swich mateere;
                      I will not have to do with such matter;
3252         My tale is of a cok, as ye may heere,
                      My tale is of a cock, as you may hear,
3253         That tok his conseil of his wyf, with sorwe,
                      Who took his counsel from his wife, with sorrow,
3254         To walken in the yerd upon that morwe
                      To walk in the yard upon that morning
3255         That he hadde met that dreem that I yow tolde.
                      That he had dreamed that dream of which I told you.
3256         Wommennes conseils been ful ofte colde;
                      Women's counsels are very often fatal;
3257         Wommannes conseil broghte us first to wo
                      Woman's counsel brought us first to woe
3258         And made Adam fro Paradys to go,
                      And made Adam to go from Paradise,
3259         Ther as he was ful myrie and wel at ese.
                      Where he was very merry and well at ease.
3260         But for I noot to whom it myght displese,
                      But because I know not to whom it might displease,
3261         If I conseil of wommen wolde blame,
                      If I would blame counsel of women,
3262         Passe over, for I seyde it in my game.
                      Pass over, for I said it as a joke.
3263         Rede auctours, where they trete of swich mateere,
                      Read authors, where they treat of such matter,
3264         And what they seyn of wommen ye may heere.
                      And what they say of women you may hear.
3265         Thise been the cokkes wordes, and nat myne;
                      These are the cock's words, and not mine;
3266         I kan noon harm of no womman divyne.
                      I know no harm of any woman divine.
3267         Faire in the soond, to bathe hire myrily,
                      Fair in the sand, to bathe her merrily,
3268         Lith Pertelote, and alle hire sustres by,
                      Lies Pertelote, and all her sisters by her,
3269         Agayn the sonne, and Chauntecleer so free
                      In the sunshine, and Chauntecleer so noble
3270         Soong murier than the mermayde in the see
                      Sang more merrily than the mermaid in the sea
3271         (For Phisiologus seith sikerly
                      (For Phisiologus says surely
3272         How that they syngen wel and myrily).
                      How they sing well and merrily).
3273         And so bifel that, as he caste his ye
                      And so befell that, as he cast his eye
3274         Among the wortes on a boterflye,
                      On a butterfly among the cabbages,
3275         He was war of this fox, that lay ful lowe.
                      He was aware of this fox, that lay very low.
3276         Nothyng ne liste hym thanne for to crowe,
                      Not at all then did he want to crow,
3277         But cride anon, "Cok! cok!" and up he sterte
                      But cried straightway, "Cock! cock!" and up he leaped
3278         As man that was affrayed in his herte.
                      As one that was frightened in his heart.
3279         For natureelly a beest desireth flee
                      For naturally a beast desires to flee
3280         Fro his contrarie, if he may it see,
                      From his natural opponent, if he may see it,
3281         Though he never erst hadde seyn it with his ye.
                      Though he never before had seen it with his eye.
3282         This Chauntecleer, whan he gan hym espye,
                      This Chauntecleer, when he did espy him,
3283         He wolde han fled, but that the fox anon
                      He would have fled, but that the fox straightway
3284         Seyde, "Gentil sire, allas, wher wol ye gon?
                      Said, "Gentle sir, alas, where will you go?
3285         Be ye affrayed of me that am youre freend?
                      Are you afraid of me who is your friend?
3286         Now, certes, I were worse than a feend,
                      Now, certainly, I would be worse than a fiend,
3287         If I to yow wolde harm or vileynye!
                      If I to you would do harm or villainy!
3288         I am nat come youre conseil for t' espye,
                      I am not come to spy on your secrets,
3289         But trewely, the cause of my comynge
                      But truly, the cause of my coming
3290         Was oonly for to herkne how that ye synge.
                      Was only to hear how you sing.
3291         For trewely, ye have as myrie a stevene
                      For truly, you have as merry a voice
3292         As any aungel hath that is in hevene.
                      As has any angel that is in heaven.
3293         Therwith ye han in musyk moore feelynge
                      Therewith you have in music more feeling
3294         Than hadde Boece, or any that kan synge.
                      Than had Boethius, or any that knows how to sing.
3295         My lord youre fader -- God his soule blesse! --
                      My lord your father -- God bless his soul! --
3296         And eek youre mooder, of hire gentillesse,
                      And also your mother, of her graciousness,
3297         Han in myn hous ybeen to my greet ese;
                      Have been in my house to my great pleasure;
3298         And certes, sire, ful fayn wolde I yow plese.
                      And certainly, sir, I would very eagerly please you.
3299         But, for men speke of syngyng, I wol seye --
                      But, insofar as men speak of singing, I will say --
3300         So moote I brouke wel myne eyen tweye --
                      As I may well have use of my two eyes --
3301         Save yow, I herde nevere man so synge
                      Except for you, I heard never man so sing
3302         As dide youre fader in the morwenynge.
                      As did your father in the morning.
3303         Certes, it was of herte, al that he song.
                      Certainly, it came from the heart, all that he sang.
3304         And for to make his voys the moore strong,
                      And to make his voice the more strong,
3305         He wolde so peyne hym that with bothe his yen
                      He would so exert himself that with both his eyes
3306         He moste wynke, so loude he wolde cryen,
                      He had to wink, so loud he would cry,
3307         And stonden on his tiptoon therwithal,
                      And stand on his tiptoes simultaneously,
3308         And strecche forth his nekke long and smal.
                      And stretch forth his neck long and small.
3309         And eek he was of swich discrecioun
                      And also he was of such sound judgment
3310         That ther nas no man in no regioun
                      That there was no man in any region
3311         That hym in song or wisedom myghte passe.
                      That might pass him in song or wisdom.
3312         I have wel rad in `Daun Burnel the Asse,'
                      I have well read in `Dan Burnel the Ass,'
3313         Among his vers, how that ther was a cok,
                      Among his verses, how there was a cock,
3314         For that a preestes sone yaf hym a knok
                      Because a priest's son gave him a knock
3315         Upon his leg whil he was yong and nyce,
                      Upon his leg while he was young and foolish,
3316         He made hym for to lese his benefice.
                      He made him lose his benefice.
3317         But certeyn, ther nys no comparisoun
                      But certainly, there is no comparison
3318         Bitwixe the wisedom and discrecioun
                      Between the wisdom and discretion
3319         Of youre fader and of his subtiltee.
                      Of your father and of his subtlety.
3320         Now syngeth, sire, for seinte charitee;
                      Now sing, sir, for Saint Charity;
3321         Lat se; konne ye youre fader countrefete?"
                      Let's see; can you imitate your father?"
3322         This Chauntecleer his wynges gan to bete,
                      This Chauntecleer began to beat his wings,
3323         As man that koude his traysoun nat espie,
                      As one that could not espy his treason,
3324         So was he ravysshed with his flaterie.
                      He was so ravished with his flattery.
3325         Allas, ye lordes, many a fals flatour
                      Alas, you lords, many a false flatterer
3326         Is in youre courtes, and many a losengeour,
                      Is in your courts, and many a sycophant,
3327         That plesen yow wel moore, by my feith,
                      Who please you well more, by my faith,
3328         Than he that soothfastnesse unto yow seith.
                      Than he who says the truth unto you.
3329         Redeth Ecclesiaste of flaterye;
                      Read Ecclesiastes about flattery;
3330         Beth war, ye lordes, of hir trecherye.
                      Beware, you lords, of their treachery.
3331         This Chauntecleer stood hye upon his toos,
                      This Chauntecleer stood high upon his toes,
3332         Strecchynge his nekke, and heeld his eyen cloos,
                      Stretching his neck, and held his eyes closed,
3333         And gan to crowe loude for the nones.
                      And began to crow loud for the occasion.
3334         And daun Russell the fox stirte up atones,
                      And dan Russell the fox leaped up at once,
3335         And by the gargat hente Chauntecleer,
                      And grabbed Chauntecleer by the throat,
3336         And on his bak toward the wode hym beer,
                      And carried him on his back toward the woods,
3337         For yet ne was ther no man that hym sewed.
                      For yet there was no one that pursued him.
3338         O destinee, that mayst nat been eschewed!
                      O destiny, that may not be escaped!
3339         Allas, that Chauntecleer fleigh fro the bemes!
                      Alas, that Chauntecleer flew from the beams!
3340         Allas, his wyf ne roghte nat of dremes!
                      Alas, his wife took no heed of dreams!
3341         And on a Friday fil al this meschaunce.
                      And on a Friday befell all this misfortune.
3342         O Venus, that art goddesse of plesaunce,
                      O Venus, who art goddess of pleasure,
3343         Syn that thy servant was this Chauntecleer,
                      Since this Chauntecleer was thy servant,
3344         And in thy servyce dide al his poweer,
                      And in thy service did all his power,
3345         Moore for delit than world to multiplye,
                      More for delight than to people the world,
3346         Why woldestow suffre hym on thy day to dye?
                      Why wouldest thou allow him to die on thy day?
3347         O Gaufred, deere maister soverayn,
                      O Gaufred, dear supreme master,
3348         That whan thy worthy kyng Richard was slayn
                      Who when thy worthy king Richard was slain
3349         With shot, compleynedest his deeth so soore,
                      By shot of an arrow, complained his death so grievously,
3350         Why ne hadde I now thy sentence and thy loore,
                      Why had I not now thy wisdom and thy learning,
3351         The Friday for to chide, as diden ye?
                      To chide the Friday, as you did?
3352         For on a Friday, soothly, slayn was he.
                      For on a Friday, truly, he was slain.
3353         Thanne wolde I shewe yow how that I koude pleyne
                      Then would I show you how that I could complain
3354         For Chauntecleres drede and for his peyne.
                      For Chanticleer's dread and for his pain.
3355         Certes, swich cry ne lamentation
                      Certainly, such cry nor lamentation
3356         Was nevere of ladyes maad whan Ylion
                      Was never made by ladies when Ilion (Troy)
3357         Was wonne, and Pirrus with his streite swerd,
                      Was won, and Pirrus with his drawn sword,
3358         Whan he hadde hent kyng Priam by the berd,
                      When he had seized king Priam by the beard,
3359         And slayn hym, as seith us Eneydos,
                      And slain him, as the Aeneid tells us,
3360         As maden alle the hennes in the clos,
                      As all the hens made in the yard,
3361         Whan they had seyn of Chauntecleer the sighte.
                      When they had seen the sight of Chauntecleer.
3362         But sovereynly dame Pertelote shrighte
                      But supremely dame Pertelote shrieked
3363         Ful louder than dide Hasdrubales wyf,
                      Much louder than did Hasdrubales' wife,
3364         Whan that hir housbonde hadde lost his lyf
                      When her husband had lost his life
3365         And that the Romayns hadde brend Cartage.
                      And the Romans had burned Carthage.
3366         She was so ful of torment and of rage
                      She was so full of torment and of rage
3367         That wilfully into the fyr she sterte
                      That willfully into the fire she leaped
3368         And brende hirselven with a stedefast herte.
                      And burned herself with a steadfast heart.
3369         O woful hennes, right so criden ye
                    O woeful hens, exactly so you cried
3370         As whan that Nero brende the citee
                      As when Nero burned the city
3371         Of Rome cryden senatoures wyves
                      Of Rome senators' wives cried
3372         For that hir husbondes losten alle hir lyves --
                      Because their husbands lost all their lives --
3373         Withouten gilt this Nero hath hem slayn.
                      Without guilt this Nero has them slain.
3374         Now wole I turne to my tale agayn.
                      Now will I turn to my tale again.
3375         This sely wydwe and eek hir doghtres two
                      This poor widow and also her two daughters
3376         Herden thise hennes crie and maken wo,
                      Heard these hens cry and make woe,
3377         And out at dores stirten they anon,
                      And out at doors they rush anon,
3378         And syen the fox toward the grove gon,
                      And see the fox go toward the grove,
3379         And bar upon his bak the cok away,
                      And carried the cock away upon his back,
3380         And cryden, "Out! Harrow and weylaway!
                      And cried, "Help! Help and alas!
3381         Ha, ha! The fox!" and after hym they ran,
                      Ha, ha! The fox!" and after him they ran,
3382         And eek with staves many another man.
                      And also with staves many another man.
3383         Ran Colle oure dogge, and Talbot and Gerland,
                      Ran Colle our dog, and Talbot and Gerland,
3384         And Malkyn, with a dystaf in hir hand;
                      And Malkyn, with a distaff in her hand;
3385         Ran cow and calf, and eek the verray hogges,
                      Ran cow and calf, and also the very hogs,
3386         So fered for the berkyng of the dogges
                      So frightened for the barking of the dogs
3387         And shoutyng of the men and wommen eeke
                      And shouting of the men and women also
3388         They ronne so hem thoughte hir herte breeke.
                      They ran so hard that they thought their hearts would break.
3389         They yolleden as feendes doon in helle;
                      They yelled as fiends do in hell;
3390         The dokes cryden as men wolde hem quelle;
                      The ducks cried as if men would them kill;
3391         The gees for feere flowen over the trees;
                      The geese for fear flew over the trees;
3392         Out of the hyve cam the swarm of bees.
                      Out of the hive came the swarm of bees.
3393         So hydous was the noyse -- a, benedicitee! --
                      So hideous was the noise -- a, bless me! --
3394         Certes, he Jakke Straw and his meynee
                      Certainly, he Jack Straw and his company
3395         Ne made nevere shoutes half so shrille
                      Never made shouts half so shrill
3396         Whan that they wolden any Flemyng kille,
                      When they would any Fleming kill,
3397         As thilke day was maad upon the fox.
                      As that same day was made upon the fox.
3398         Of bras they broghten bemes, and of box,
                      They brought trumpets of brass, and of box-wood,
3399         Of horn, of boon, in whiche they blewe and powped,
                      Of horn, of bone, in which they blew and puffed,
3400         And therwithal they skriked and they howped.
                      And with that they shrieked and they whooped.
3401         It semed as that hevene sholde falle.
                      It seemed as if heaven should fall.
3402         Now, goode men, I prey yow herkneth alle:
                      Now, good men, I pray you all to listen:
3403         Lo, how Fortune turneth sodeynly
                      Lo, how Fortune turns suddenly
3404         The hope and pryde eek of hir enemy!
                      The hope and pride also of her enemy!
3405         This cok, that lay upon the foxes bak,
                      This cock, that lay upon the fox's back,
3406         In al his drede unto the fox he spak,
                      In all his dread unto the fox he spoke,
3407         And seyde, "Sire, if that I were as ye,
                      And said, "Sir, if I were you,
3408         Yet sholde I seyn, as wys God helpe me,
                      Yet should I say, as God may help me,
3409         `Turneth agayn, ye proude cherles alle!
                      `Turn again, all you proud churls!
3410         A verray pestilence upon yow falle!
                      May a true pestilence fall upon you!
3411         Now I am come unto the wodes syde;
                      Now I am come unto the wood's side;
3412         Maugree youre heed, the cok shal heere abyde.
                      Despite all you could do, the cock shall here remain.
3413         I wol hym ete, in feith, and that anon!'"
                      I will eat him, in faith, and that right away!'"
3414         The fox answerde, "In feith, it shal be don."
                      The fox answered, "In faith, it shall be done."
3415         And as he spak that word, al sodeynly
                      And as he spoke that word, all suddenly
3416         This cok brak from his mouth delyverly,
                      This cock nimbly broke from his mouth,
3417         And heighe upon a tree he fleigh anon.
                      And high upon a tree he quickly flew.
3418         And whan the fox saugh that the cok was gon,
                      And when the fox saw that the cock was gone,
3419         "Allas!" quod he, "O Chauntecleer, allas!
                      "Alas!" said he, "O Chauntecleer, alas!
3420         I have to yow," quod he, "ydoon trespas,
                      I have to you," said he, "done offense,
3421         In as muche as I maked yow aferd
                      In as much as I made you afraid
3422         Whan I yow hente and broghte out of the yerd.
                      When I seized you and brought you out of the yard.
3423         But, sire, I dide it in no wikke entente.
                      But, sir, I did it with no wicked intention.
3424         Com doun, and I shal telle yow what I mente;
                      Come down, and I shall tell you what I meant;
3425         I shal seye sooth to yow, God help me so!"
                      I shall say the truth to you, as God may help me!"
3426         "Nay thanne," quod he, "I shrewe us bothe two.
                      "Nay then," said he, "I curse both of us two.
3427         And first I shrewe myself, bothe blood and bones,
                      And first I curse myself, both blood and bones,
3428         If thou bigyle me ofter than ones.
                      If thou trick me more often than once.
3429         Thou shalt namoore thurgh thy flaterye
                      Thou shalt no more through thy flattery
3430         Do me to synge and wynke with myn ye;
                      Make me sing and close my eyes;
3431         For he that wynketh, whan he sholde see,
                      For he that closes his eyes, when he should see,
3432         Al wilfully, God lat him nevere thee!"
                      All willfully, God let him never prosper!"
3433         "Nay," quod the fox, "but God yeve hym meschaunce,
                      "Nay," said the fox, "but God give him misfortune,
3434         That is so undiscreet of governaunce
                      Who is so indiscreet of governance
3435         That jangleth whan he sholde holde his pees."
                      That he chatters when he should hold his peace."
3436         Lo, swich it is for to be recchelees
                      Lo, such it is to be careless
3437         And necligent, and truste on flaterye.
                      And negligent, and trust on flattery.
3438         But ye that holden this tale a folye,
                      But you who hold this tale a folly,
3439         As of a fox, or of a cok and hen,
                      As of a fox, or of a cock and hen,
3440         Taketh the moralite, goode men.
                      Take the morality, good men.
3441         For Seint Paul seith that al that writen is,
                      For Saint Paul says that all that is written,
3442         To oure doctrine it is ywrite, ywis;
                      Is written for our instruction, indeed;
3443         Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be stille.
                      Take the fruit, and let the chaff be still.
3444         Now, goode God, if that it be thy wille,
                      Now, good God, if it be thy will,
3445         As seith my lord, so make us alle goode men,
                      As says my lord, make us all good men,
3446         And brynge us to his heighe blisse! Amen.
                      And bring us to his high bliss! Amen.

Heere is ended the Noones Preestes Tale


Epilogue to the Nun's Priest's Tale

3447         ["Sire Nonnes Preest," oure Hooste seide anoon,
                    ["Sir Nun's Priest," our Host said straightway,
3448         "I-blessed be thy breche, and every stoon!
                    "Blessed be thy buttocks, and every testicle!
3449         This was a murie tale of Chauntecleer.
                    This was a merry tale of Chanticleer.
3450         But by my trouthe, if thou were seculer,
                    But by my troth, if thou were a layman,
3451         Thou woldest ben a trede-foul aright.
                    Thou would be an excellent copulator of fouls (rooster).
3452         For if thou have corage as thou hast myght,
                    For if thou have as much desire as thou hast might,
3453         Thee were nede of hennes, as I wene,
                    Thou would have need of hens, as I think,
3454         Ya, moo than seven tymes seventene.
                    Yea, more than seven times seventeen.
3455         See, whiche braunes hath this gentil preest,
                    See, what muscles has this gentle priest,
3456         So gret a nekke, and swich a large breest!
                    So big a neck, and such a large chest!
3457         He loketh as a sperhauk with his yen;
                    He looks like a sparrow-hauk with his eyes;
3458         Him nedeth nat his colour for to dyen
                    He needs not paint his complexion
3459         With brasile ne with greyn of Portyngale.
                    With red dye nor with grain of Portugal.
3460         Now, sire, faire falle yow for youre tale!"
                    Now, sir, may good fortune come to you for your tale!"
3461         And after that he, with ful merie chere,
                    And after that he, with a very merry manner,
3462         Seide unto another, as ye shuln heere.]
                    Said unto another, as you shall hear.]