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So hote he loved, that by nightertale ?
He slep no more than doth the nightingale.
Curteis he was, lowly, and servisable,
And carf” before his fader at the table.
Prologue of Canterbury Tales.
GOOD man ther was of religioun,
That was a poure Persone of a town :
But rich he was of holy thought and werk,
He also was a lerned man, and a clerk,
That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche.
His parishens devoutly wolde he teche.
Benigne he was, and wonder diligent,
And in adversitie ful patient :
And such he was i-proved often sithes 4.
Ful loth wer him to cursen for his tithes,
But rathere wolde he yeven, out of doute,
Unto his poure parishens aboute,
Of his offring, and eke of his substance.
He coude in litel thing have suffisance.
Wide was his parish, and houses fer asоnder,
But he ne left nought for no rain ne thunder,
In sicknesse and in mischief to visite
The ferrest in his parish, moche and lite",
Upon his fete, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his shepe he yaf,
That first he wrought, and afterward he taught.
Out of the gospel he the wordes caught,
And this figure he added yet therto,
That if gold ruste, what shuld iren do?
For if a preest be foule, on whom we truste,
No wonder is a lewed man to ruste:
? carved. sparson.
- high and low.
And shame it is if that a preest take kepe,
To see a shitten shepherd, and clene shepe :
Wel ought a preest ensample for to yeve,
By his clenenesse, how his shepe shulde live.
He sette not his benifice to hire,
And lette his shepe accombred in the mire,
And ran unto London, unto Seint Poules,
To seken him a chanterie for soules",
Or with a brotherhede to be withold.
But dwelt at home, and kepte well his fold,
So that the wolf ne made it not miscarie.
He was a shepherd, and no mercenarie.
And though he holy were, and virtuous,
He was to sinful men not dispitous,
Ne in his speche dangerous ne digne ?,
But in his teching descrete and benigne.
To drawen folk to heven, with fairenesse,
By good ensample, was his bisinesse :
But it were any person obstinat,
What so he were of highe, or low estat,
Him wolde he snibben sharply for the nones 3.
A better preest I trowe that nowher non is,
He waited after no pompe ne reverence,
He maked him no spicedo conscience,
But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve,
He taught, but first he folwed it himselve.
Prologue of Canterbury Tales.
CONSTANCE AND HER CHILD.
W EPEN both yong and old in al that place,
When that the king this cursed lettre sent :
And Constance with a dedly pale face,
The fourthe day, toward the ship she wente:
But natheless she taketh in good entente
* An endowment for saying masses.
? haughty. 3 occasion,
• nice, fastidious.
The will of Crist, and kneeling on the strond,
She sayde, ‘Lord, ay welcome be thy sond'!
'He that me kepte fro the false blame,
While I was in the lond amonges you,
He can me kepe fro harme and eke fro shame
In the salt see, although I se not how:
As strong as ever he was he is yet now;
In him trust I, and in his mother dere,
That is to me my sail and eke my stere ?!
Hire litel child lay weping in hire arm,
And, kneling, pitously to him she sayde,
'Pees, litel sone, I wol do thee no harme :'
With that hire couverchief of hire hed she braid, 3
And over his litel eyen she it layde,
And in hire arme she lulleth it ful fast,
And into the heven hire eyen up she cast.
Moder,' quod she, “and mayden bright Marie,
Soth is, that thurgh woman's eggement *
Mankind was lorne and damned ay to die,
For which thy child was on a crois yrent :
Thy blissful eyen saw al his torment;
Than is ther no comparison betweene
Thy wo and any wo man may sustene.
'Thou saw thy child yslain before thin eyen,
And yet now liveth my litel child, parfay! 6
Now, lady bright, to whom all woful crien,
Thou glory of womankind, thou faire may,
Thou haven of refute, bright sterre of day,
Rew on my child, that of thy gentillnesse
Rewest on every rewful in destresse.
O litel child, alas ! what is thy gilt,
That never wroughtest sinne as yet pardel?
Why wolde thin harde father have thee spilt ??
O mercy, dere constable, (quod she)
"As let my litel child dwell here with thee :
And if thou darst not saven him fro blame,
So kisse him ones in his fadres name.'
Therwith she loketh backward to the lond,
And sayde ; ‘Farewel, housebond routheles !'
And up she rist 3 and walketh down the strond
Toward the ship, hire followeth all the prees".
And ever she praieth hire child to hold his pees,
And taketh hire leve, and with an holy entente,
She blesseth hire, and into the ship she wente.
Man of Lawes Tale. Canterbury Tales.
THE LAST VERSES OF CHAUCER.
(Written on his death-bed.) FLY from the press, and dwell with sothfastness; T Suffice unto thy good though it be small; For hoard hath hate, and climbing tickleness, Press hath envy, and weal is blent o'er all ; Savour no more than thee behoven shall ; Rede well thyself, that other folk canst rede, And truth thee shall deliver 't is no drede.
Pain thee not each crooked to redress
In trust of her that turneth as a ball;
Great rest standeth in little business;
Beware also to spurn against a nalle ;
Strive not as doth a croché with a wall :
Deemeth thyself that deemest other's deed,
And truth thee shall deliver 't is no drede.
That thee is sent receive in buxomness ;
The wrestling of this world asketh a fall;
Here is no home, here is but wilderness;
Forth, pilgrim, forth ; O beast out of thy stall ;
Look up on high, and thank thy God of all ;
Waiveth thy lust and let thy ghost thee lead,
And truth thee shall deliver it is no drede.