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9. THE SUMMONER'S TALE
1665 This Somonour in his styropes hye stood;
1666 Upon this Frere his herte was so wood
1667 That lyk an aspen leef he quook for ire.
1668 "Lordynges," quod he, "but o thyng I desire;
1669 I yow biseke that, of youre curteisye,
1670 Syn ye han herd this false Frere lye,
1671 As suffreth me I may my tale telle.
1672 This Frere bosteth that he knoweth helle,
1673 And God it woot, that it is litel wonder;
1674 Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder.
1675 For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle
1676 How that a frere ravysshed was to helle
1677 In spirit ones by a visioun;
1678 And as an angel ladde hym up and doun,
1679 To shewen hym the peynes that ther were,
1680 In al the place saugh he nat a frere;
1681 Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo.
1682 Unto this angel spak the frere tho:
1683 `Now, sire,' quod he, `han freres swich a grace
1684 That noon of hem shal come to this place?'
1685 `Yis' quod this angel, `many a millioun!'
1686 And unto Sathanas he ladde hym doun.
1687 ` And now hath Sathanas,' seith he, `a tayl
1688 Brodder than of a carryk is the sayl.
1689 Hold up thy tayl, thou Sathanas!' quod he;
1690 `Shewe forth thyn ers, and lat the frere se
1691 Where is the nest of freres in this place!'
1692 And er that half a furlong wey of space,
1693 Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,
1694 Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve
1695 Twenty thousand freres on a route,
1696 And thurghout helle swarmed al aboute,
1697 And comen agayn as faste as they may gon,
1698 And in his ers they crepten everychon.
1699 He clapte his tayl agayn and lay ful stille.
1700 This frere, whan he looked hadde his fille
1701 Upon the tormentz of this sory place,
1702 His spirit God restored, of his grace,
1703 Unto his body agayn, and he awook.
1704 But natheles, for fere yet he quook,
1705 So was the develes ers ay in his mynde,
1706 That is his heritage of verray kynde.
1707 God save yow alle, save this cursed Frere!
1708 My prologe wol I ende in this manere."
1709 Lordynges, ther is in Yorkshire, as I gesse,
1710 A mersshy contree called Holdernesse,
1711 In which ther wente a lymytour aboute
1712 To preche, and eek to begge, it is no doute.
1713 And so bifel that on a day this frere
1714 Hadde preched at a chirche in his manere,
1715 And specially, aboven every thyng,
1716 Excited he the peple in his prechyng
1717 To trentals, and to yeve, for Goddes sake,
1718 Wherwith men myghte hooly houses make,
1719 Ther as divine servyce is honoured,
1720 Nat ther as it is wasted and devoured,
1721 Ne ther it nedeth nat for to be yive,
1722 As to possessioners, that mowen lyve,
1723 Thanked be God, in wele and habundaunce.
1724 "Trentals," seyde he, "deliveren fro penaunce
1725 Hir freendes soules, as wel olde as yonge --
1726 Ye, whan that they been hastily ysonge,
1727 Nat for to holde a preest joly and gay --
1728 He syngeth nat but o masse in a day.
1729 Delivereth out," quod he, "anon the soules!
1730 Ful hard it is with flesshhook or with oules
1731 To been yclawed, or to brenne or bake.
1732 Now spede yow hastily, for Cristes sake!"
1733 And whan this frere had seyd al his entente,
1734 With qui cum patre forth his wey he wente.
1735 Whan folk in chirche had yeve him what hem leste,
1736 He wente his wey; no lenger wolde he reste.
1737 With scrippe and tipped staf, ytukked hye,
1738 In every hous he gan to poure and prye,
1739 And beggeth mele and chese, or elles corn.
1740 His felawe hadde a staf tipped with horn,
1741 A peyre of tables al of yvory,
1742 And a poyntel polysshed fetisly,
1743 And wroot the names alwey, as he stood,
1744 Of alle folk that yaf hym any good,
1745 Ascaunces that he wolde for hem preye.
1746 "Yif us a busshel whete, malt, or reye,
1747 A Goddes kechyl, or a trype of chese,
1748 Or elles what yow lyst, we may nat cheese;
1749 A Goddes halfpeny, or a masse peny,
1750 Or yif us of youre brawn, if ye have eny;
1751 A dagon of youre blanket, leeve dame,
1752 Oure suster deere -- lo! Heere I write youre name --
1753 Bacon or beef, or swich thyng as ye fynde."
1754 A sturdy harlot wente ay hem bihynde,
1755 That was hir hostes man, and bar a sak,
1756 And what men yaf hem, leyde it on his bak.
1757 And whan that he was out at dore, anon
1758 He planed awey the names everichon
1759 That he biforn had writen in his tables;
1760 He served hem with nyfles and with fables.
1761 "Nay, ther thou lixt, thou Somonour!" quod the Frere.
1762 "Pees," quod oure Hoost, "for Cristes mooder deere!
1763 Tel forth thy tale, and spare it nat at al."
1764 "So thryve I," quod this Somonour, "so I shal!"
1765 So longe he wente, hous by hous, til he
1766 Cam til an hous ther he was wont to be
1767 Refresshed moore than in an hundred placis.
1768 Syk lay the goode man whos that the place is;
1769 Bedrede upon a couche lowe he lay.
1770 "Deus hic!" quod he, "O Thomas, freend, good day!"
1771 Seyde this frere, curteisly and softe.
1772 "Thomas," quod he, "God yelde yow! Ful ofte
1773 Have I upon this bench faren ful weel;
1774 Heere have I eten many a myrie meel."
1775 And fro the bench he droof awey the cat,
1776 And leyde adoun his potente and his hat,
1777 And eek his scrippe, and sette hym softe adoun.
1778 His felawe was go walked into toun
1779 Forth with his knave, into that hostelrye
1780 Where as he shoop hym thilke nyght to lye.
1781 "O deere maister," quod this sike man,
1782 "How han ye fare sith that March bigan?
1783 I saugh yow noght this fourtenyght or moore."
1784 "God woot," quod he, "laboured I have ful soore,
1785 And specially for thy savacion
1786 Have I seyd many a precious orison,
1787 And for oure othere freendes, God hem blesse!
1788 I have to day been at youre chirche at messe,
1789 And seyd a sermon after my symple wit --
1790 Nat al after the text of hooly writ,
1791 For it is hard to yow, as I suppose,
1792 And therfore wol I teche yow al the glose.
1793 Glosynge is a glorious thyng, certeyn,
1794 For lettre sleeth, so as we clerkes seyn --
1795 There have I taught hem to be charitable,
1796 And spende hir good ther it is resonable;
1797 And there I saugh oure dame -- A! Where is she?"
1798 "Yond in the yerd I trowe that she be,"
1799 Seyde this man, "and she wol come anon."
1800 "Ey, maister, welcome be ye, by Seint John!"
1801 Seyde this wyf, "How fare ye, hertely?"
1802 The frere ariseth up ful curteisly,
1803 And hire embraceth in his armes narwe,
1804 And kiste hire sweete, and chirketh as a sparwe
1805 With his lyppes: "Dame," quod he, "right weel,
1806 As he that is youre servant every deel,
1807 Thanked be God, that yow yaf soule and lyf!
1808 Yet saugh I nat this day so fair a wyf
1809 In al the chirche, God so save me!"
1810 "Ye, God amende defautes, sire," quod she.
1811 " Algates, welcome be ye, by my fey!"
1812 "Graunt mercy, dame, this have I founde alwey.
1813 But of youre grete goodnesse, by youre leve,
1814 I wolde prey yow that ye nat yow greve,
1815 I wole with Thomas speke a litel throwe.
1816 Thise curatz been ful necligent and slowe
1817 To grope tendrely a conscience
1818 In shrift; in prechyng is my diligence,
1819 And studie in Petres wordes and in Poules.
1820 I walke and fisshe Cristen mennes soules
1821 To yelden Jhesu Crist his propre rente;
1822 To sprede his word is set al myn entente."
1823 "Now, by youre leve, o deere sire," quod she,
1824 "Chideth him weel, for seinte Trinitee!
1825 He is as angry as a pissemyre,
1826 Though that he have al that he kan desire;
1827 Though I hym wrye a-nyght and make hym warm,
1828 And over hym leye my leg outher myn arm,
1829 He groneth lyk oure boor, lith in oure sty.
1830 Oother desport right noon of hym have I;
1831 I may nat plese hym in no maner cas."
1832 "O Thomas, je vous dy, Thomas! Thomas!
1833 This maketh the feend; this moste ben amended.
1834 Ire is a thyng that hye God defended,
1835 And therof wol I speke a word or two."
1836 "Now, maister," quod the wyf, "er that I go,
1837 What wol ye dyne? I wol go theraboute."
1838 "Now, dame," quod he, "now je vous dy sanz doute,
1839 Have I nat of a capon but the lyvere,
1840 And of youre softe breed nat but a shyvere,
1841 And after that a rosted pigges heed --
1842 But that I nolde no beest for me were deed --
1843 Thanne hadde I with yow hoomly suffisaunce.
1844 I am a man of litel sustenaunce;
1845 My spirit hath his fostryng in the Bible.
1846 The body is ay so redy and penyble
1847 To wake, that my stomak is destroyed.
1848 I prey yow, dame, ye be nat anoyed,
1849 Though I so freendly yow my conseil shewe.
1850 By God! I wolde nat telle it but a fewe."
1851 "Now, sire," quod she, "but o word er I go.
1852 My child is deed withinne thise wykes two,
1853 Soone after that ye wente out of this toun."
1854 "His deeth saugh I by revelacioun,"
1855 Seide this frere, "at hoom in oure dortour.
1856 I dar wel seyn that, er that half an hour
1857 After his deeth, I saugh hym born to blisse
1858 In myn avision, so God me wisse!
1859 So dide oure sexteyn and oure fermerer,
1860 That han been trewe freres fifty yeer;
1861 They may now -- God be thanked of his loone! --
1862 Maken hir jubilee and walke allone.
1863 And up I roos, and al oure covent eke,
1864 With many a teere trillyng on my cheke,
1865 Withouten noyse or claterynge of belles;
1866 Te Deum was oure song, and nothyng elles,
1867 Save that to Crist I seyde an orison,
1868 Thankynge hym of his revelacion.
1869 For, sire and dame, trusteth me right weel,
1870 Oure orisons been moore effectueel,
1871 And moore we seen of Cristes secree thynges,
1872 Than burel folk, although they weren kynges.
1873 We lyve in poverte and in abstinence,
1874 And burell folk in richesse and despence
1875 Of mete and drynke, and in hir foul delit.
1876 We han this worldes lust al in despit.
1877 Lazar and Dives lyveden diversly,
1878 And divers gerdon hadden they therby.
1879 Whoso wol preye, he moot faste and be clene,
1880 And fatte his soule, and make his body lene.
1881 We fare as seith th' apostle; clooth and foode
1882 Suffisen us, though they be nat ful goode.
1883 The clennesse and the fastynge of us freres
1884 Maketh that Crist accepteth oure preyeres.
1885 "Lo, Moyses fourty dayes and fourty nyght
1886 Fasted, er that the heighe God of myght
1887 Spak with hym in the mountayne of Synay.
1888 With empty wombe, fastynge many a day,
1889 Receyved he the lawe that was writen
1890 With Goddes fynger; and Elye, wel ye witen,
1891 In mount Oreb, er he hadde any speche
1892 With hye God, that is oure lyves leche,
1893 He fasted longe and was in contemplaunce.
1894 " Aaron, that hadde the temple in governaunce,
1895 And eek the othere preestes everichon,
1896 Into the temple whan they sholde gon
1897 To preye for the peple and do servyse,
1898 They nolden drynken in no maner wyse
1899 No drynke which that myghte hem dronke make,
1900 But there in abstinence preye and wake,
1901 Lest that they deyden. Taak heede what I seye!
1902 But they be sobre that for the peple preye,
1903 War that -- I seye namoore, for it suffiseth.
1904 "Oure Lord Jhesu, as hooly writ devyseth,
1905 Yaf us ensample of fastynge and preyeres.
1906 Therfore we mendynantz, we sely freres,
1907 Been wedded to poverte and continence,
1908 To charite, humblesse, and abstinence,
1909 To persecucioun for rightwisnesse,
1910 To wepynge, misericorde, and clennesse.
1911 And therfore may ye se that oure preyeres --
1912 I speke of us, we mendynantz, we freres --
1913 Been to the hye God moore acceptable
1914 Than youres, with youre feestes at the table.
1915 Fro Paradys first, if I shal nat lye,
1916 Was man out chaced for his glotonye;
1917 And chaast was man in Paradys, certeyn.
1918 "But herkne now, Thomas, what I shal seyn.
1919 I ne have no text of it, as I suppose,
1920 But I shal fynde it in a maner glose,
1921 That specially oure sweete Lord Jhesus
1922 Spak this by freres, whan he seyde thus:
1923 `Blessed be they that povere in spirit been.'
1924 And so forth al the gospel may ye seen,
1925 Wher it be likker oure professioun,
1926 Or hirs that swymmen in possessioun.
1927 Fy on hire pompe and on hire glotonye!
1928 And for hir lewednesse I hem diffye.
1929 "Me thynketh they been lyk Jovinyan,
1930 Fat as a whale, and walkynge as a swan,
1931 Al vinolent as botel in the spence.
1932 Hir preyere is of ful greet reverence,
1933 Whan they for soules seye the psalm of Davit:
1934 Lo, `buf!' they seye, `cor meum eructavit!'
1935 Who folweth Cristes gospel and his foore,
1936 But we that humble been, and chaast, and poore,
1937 Werkeris of Goddes word, nat auditours?
1938 Therfore, right as an hauk up at a sours
1939 Up springeth into th' eir, right so prayeres
1940 Of charitable and chaste bisy freres
1941 Maken hir sours to Goddes eres two.
1942 Thomas, Thomas! So moote I ryde or go,
1943 And by that lord that clepid is Seint Yve,
1944 Nere thou oure brother, sholdestou nat thryve.
1945 In our chapitre praye we day and nyght
1946 To Crist, that he thee sende heele and myght
1947 Thy body for to weelden hastily."
1948 "God woot," quod he, "no thyng therof feele I!
1949 As help me Crist, as I in fewe yeres,
1950 Have spent upon diverse manere freres
1951 Ful many a pound; yet fare I never the bet.
1952 Certeyn, my good have I almoost biset.
1953 Farwel, my gold, for it is al ago!"
1954 The frere answerde, "O Thomas, dostow so?
1955 What nedeth yow diverse freres seche?
1956 What nedeth hym that hath a parfit leche
1957 To sechen othere leches in the toun?
1958 Youre inconstance is youre confusioun.
1959 Holde ye thanne me, or elles oure covent,
1960 To praye for yow been insufficient?
1961 Thomas, that jape nys nat worth a myte.
1962 Youre maladye is for we han to lyte.
1963 A, yif that covent half a quarter otes!
1964 A, yif that covent foure and twenty grotes!
1965 A, yif that frere a peny, and lat hym go!
1966 Nay, nay, Thomas, it may no thyng be so!
1967 What is a ferthyng worth parted in twelve?
1968 Lo, ech thyng that is oned in himselve
1969 Is moore strong than whan it is toscatered.
1970 Thomas, of me thou shalt nat been yflatered;
1971 Thou woldest han oure labour al for noght.
1972 The hye God, that al this world hath wroght,
1973 Seith that the werkman worthy is his hyre.
1974 Thomas, noght of youre tresor I desire
1975 As for myself, but that al oure covent
1976 To preye for yow is ay so diligent,
1977 And for to buylden Cristes owene chirche.
1978 Thomas, if ye wol lernen for to wirche,
1979 Of buyldynge up of chirches may ye fynde
1980 If it be good in Thomas lyf of Inde.
1981 Ye lye heere ful of anger and of ire,
1982 With which the devel set youre herte afyre,
1983 And chiden heere the sely innocent,
1984 Youre wyf, that is so meke and pacient.
1985 And therfore, Thomas, trowe me if thee leste,
1986 Ne stryve nat with thy wyf, as for thy beste;
1987 And ber this word awey now, by thy feith;
1988 Touchynge swich thyng, lo, what the wise seith:
1989 `Withinne thyn hous ne be thou no leon;
1990 To thy subgitz do noon oppression,
1991 Ne make thyne aqueyntances nat to flee.'
1992 And, Thomas, yet eft-soones I charge thee,
1993 Be war from Ire that in thy bosom slepeth;
1994 War fro the serpent that so slily crepeth
1995 Under the gras and styngeth subtilly.
1996 Be war, my sone, and herkne paciently
1997 That twenty thousand men han lost hir lyves
1998 For stryvyng with hir lemmans and hir wyves.
1999 Now sith ye han so hooly meke a wyf,
2000 What nedeth yow, Thomas, to maken stryf?
2001 Ther nys, ywys, no serpent so cruel,
2002 Whan man tret on his tayl, ne half so fel,
2003 As womman is, whan she hath caught an ire;
2004 Vengeance is thanne al that they desire.
2005 Ire is a synne, oon of the grete of sevene,
2006 Abhomynable unto the God of hevene;
2007 And to hymself it is destruccion.
2008 This every lewed viker or person
2009 Kan seye, how ire engendreth homycide.
2010 Ire is, in sooth, executour of pryde.
2011 I koude of ire seye so muche sorwe,
2012 My tale sholde laste til to-morwe.
2013 And therfore preye I God bothe day and nyght
2014 An irous man, God sende hym litel myght!
2015 It is greet harm and certes greet pitee
2016 To sette an irous man in heigh degree.
2017 "Whilom ther was an irous potestat,
2018 As seith Senek, that, durynge his estaat,
2019 Upon a day out ryden knyghtes two,
2020 And as Fortune wolde that it were so,
2021 That oon of hem cam hoom, that oother noght.
2022 Anon the knyght bifore the juge is broght,
2023 That seyde thus, `Thou hast thy felawe slayn,
2024 For which I deme thee to the deeth, certayn.'
2025 And to another knyght comanded he,
2026 `Go lede hym to the deeth, I charge thee.'
2027 And happed, as they wente by the weye
2028 Toward the place ther he sholde deye,
2029 The knyght cam which men wenden had be deed.
2030 Thanne thoughte they it were the beste reed
2031 To lede hem bothe to the juge agayn.
2032 They seiden, `Lord, the knyght ne hath nat slayn
2033 His felawe; heere he standeth hool alyve.'
2034 `Ye shul be deed,' quod he, `so moot I thryve!
2035 That is to seyn, bothe oon, and two, and thre!'
2036 And to the firste knyght right thus spak he,
2037 `I dampned thee; thou most algate be deed.
2038 And thou also most nedes lese thyn heed,
2039 For thou art cause why thy felawe deyth.'
2040 And to the thridde knyght right thus he seith,
2041 `Thou hast nat doon that I comanded thee.'
2042 And thus he dide doon sleen hem alle thre.
2043 "Irous Cambises was eek dronkelewe,
2044 And ay delited hym to been a shrewe.
2045 And so bifel, a lord of his meynee
2046 That loved vertuous moralitee
2047 Seyde on a day bitwix hem two right thus:
2048 "` A lord is lost, if he be vicius;
2049 And dronkenesse is eek a foul record
2050 Of any man, and namely in a lord.
2051 Ther is ful many an eye and many an ere
2052 Awaityng on a lord, and he noot where.
2053 For Goddes love, drynk moore attemprely!
2054 Wyn maketh man to lesen wrecchedly
2055 His mynde and eek his lymes everichon.'
2056 "`The revers shaltou se,' quod he, `anon,
2057 And preve it by thyn owene experience,
2058 That wyn ne dooth to folk no swich offence.
2059 Ther is no wyn bireveth me my myght
2060 Of hand ne foot, ne of myne eyen sight.'
2061 And for despit he drank ful muchel moore,
2062 An hondred part, than he hadde don bifoore;
2063 And right anon this irous, cursed wrecche
2064 Leet this knyghtes sone bifore hym fecche,
2065 Comandynge hym he sholde bifore hym stonde.
2066 And sodeynly he took his bowe in honde,
2067 And up the streng he pulled to his ere,
2068 And with an arwe he slow the child right there.
2069 `Now wheither have I a siker hand or noon?'
2070 Quod he; `Is al my myght and mynde agon?
2071 Hath wyn bireved me myn eyen sight?'
2072 What sholde I telle th' answere of the knyght?
2073 His sone was slayn; ther is namoore to seye.
2074 Beth war, therfore, with lordes how ye pleye.
2075 Syngeth Placebo and `I shal, if I kan,'
2076 But if it be unto a povre man.
2077 To a povre man men sholde his vices telle,
2078 But nat to a lord, thogh he sholde go to helle.
2079 "Lo irous Cirus, thilke Percien,
2080 How he destroyed the ryver of Gysen,
2081 For that an hors of his was dreynt therinne,
2082 Whan that he wente Babiloigne to wynne.
2083 He made that the ryver was so smal
2084 That wommen myghte wade it over al.
2085 Lo, what seyde he that so wel teche kan?
2086 `Ne be no felawe to an irous man,
2087 Ne with no wood man walke by the weye,
2088 Lest thee repente;' I wol no ferther seye.
2089 "Now, Thomas, leeve brother, lef thyn ire;
2090 Thou shalt me fynde as just as is a squyre.
2091 Hoold nat the develes knyf ay at thyn herte --
2092 Thyn angre dooth thee al to soore smerte --
2093 But shewe to me al thy confessioun."
2094 "Nay," quod the sike man, "by Seint Symoun!
2095 I have be shryven this day at my curat.
2096 I have hym toold hoolly al myn estat;
2097 Nedeth namoore to speken of it," seith he,
2098 "But if me list, of myn humylitee."
2099 "Yif me thanne of thy gold, to make oure cloystre,"
2100 Quod he, "for many a muscle and many an oystre,
2101 Whan othere men han ben ful wel at eyse,
2102 Hath been oure foode, our cloystre for to reyse.
2103 And yet, God woot, unnethe the fundement
2104 Parfourned is, ne of our pavement
2105 Nys nat a tyle yet withinne oure wones.
2106 By God, we owen fourty pound for stones.
2107 "Now help, Thomas, for hym that harwed helle!
2108 For elles moste we oure bookes selle.
2109 And if yow lakke oure predicacioun,
2110 Thanne goth the world al to destruccioun.
2111 For whoso wolde us fro this world bireve,
2112 So God me save, Thomas, by youre leve,
2113 He wolde bireve out of this world the sonne.
2114 For who kan teche and werchen as we konne?
2115 And that is nat of litel tyme," quod he,
2116 "But syn Elye was, or Elise,
2117 Han freres been -- that fynde I of record --
2118 In charitee, ythanked be oure Lord!
2119 Now Thomas, help, for seinte charitee!"
2120 And doun anon he sette hym on his knee.
2121 This sike man wax wel ny wood for ire;
2122 He wolde that the frere had been on-fire
2123 With his false dissymulacioun.
2124 "Swich thyng as is in my possessioun,"
2125 Quod he, "that may I yeve, and noon oother.
2126 Ye sey me thus, how that I am youre brother?"
2127 "Ye, certes," quod the frere, "trusteth weel.
2128 I took oure dame oure lettre with oure seel."
2129 "Now wel," quod he, "and somwhat shal I yive
2130 Unto youre hooly covent whil I lyve;
2131 And in thyn hand thou shalt it have anon,
2132 On this condicion, and oother noon,
2133 That thou departe it so, my deere brother,
2134 That every frere have also muche as oother.
2135 This shaltou swere on thy professioun,
2136 Withouten fraude or cavillacioun."
2137 "I swere it," quod this frere, "by my feith!"
2138 And therwithal his hand in his he leith,
2139 "Lo, heer my feith; in me shal be no lak."
2140 "Now thanne, put in thyn hand doun by my bak,"
2141 Seyde this man, "and grope wel bihynde.
2142 Bynethe my buttok there shaltow fynde
2143 A thyng that I have hyd in pryvetee."
2144 " A!" thoghte this frere, "That shal go with me!"
2145 And doun his hand he launcheth to the clifte
2146 In hope for to fynde there a yifte.
2147 And whan this sike man felte this frere
2148 Aboute his tuwel grope there and heere,
2149 Amydde his hand he leet the frere a fart;
2150 Ther nys no capul, drawynge in a cart,
2151 That myghte have lete a fart of swich a soun.
2152 The frere up stirte as dooth a wood leoun --
2153 " A, false cherl," quod he, "for Goddes bones!
2154 This hastow for despit doon for the nones.
2155 Thou shalt abye this fart, if that I may!"
2156 His meynee, whiche that herden this affray,
2157 Cam lepynge in and chaced out the frere;
2158 And forth he gooth, with a ful angry cheere,
2159 And fette his felawe, ther as lay his stoor.
2160 He looked as it were a wilde boor;
2161 He grynte with his teeth, so was he wrooth.
2162 A sturdy paas doun to the court he gooth,
2163 Wher as ther woned a man of greet honour,
2164 To whom that he was alwey confessour.
2165 This worthy man was lord of that village.
2166 This frere cam as he were in a rage,
2167 Where as this lord sat etyng at his bord;
2168 Unnethes myghte the frere speke a word,
2169 Til atte laste he seyde, "God yow see!"
2170 This lord gan looke, and seide, "Benedicitee!
2171 What, frere John, what maner world is this?
2172 I se wel that som thyng ther is amys;
2173 Ye looken as the wode were ful of thevys.
2174 Sit doun anon, and tel me what youre grief is,
2175 And it shal been amended, if I may."
2176 "I have," quod he, "had a despit this day,
2177 God yelde yow, adoun in youre village,
2178 That in this world is noon so povre a page
2179 That he nolde have abhomynacioun
2180 Of that I have receyved in youre toun.
2181 And yet ne greveth me nothyng so soore,
2182 As that this olde cherl with lokkes hoore
2183 Blasphemed hath oure hooly covent eke."
2184 "Now, maister," quod this lord, "I yow biseke --"
2185 "No maister, sire," quod he, "but servitour,
2186 Thogh I have had in scole that honour.
2187 God liketh nat that `Raby' men us calle,
2188 Neither in market ne in youre large halle."
2189 "No fors," quod he, "but tel me al youre grief."
2190 "Sire," quod this frere, "an odious meschief
2191 This day bityd is to myn ordre and me,
2192 And so, per consequens, to ech degree
2193 Of hooly chirche -- God amende it soone!"
2194 "Sire," quod the lord, "ye woot what is to doone.
2195 Distempre yow noght; ye be my confessour;
2196 Ye been the salt of the erthe and the savour.
2197 For Goddes love, youre pacience ye holde!
2198 Tel me youre grief." And he anon hym tolde,
2199 As ye han herd biforn -- ye woot wel what.
2200 The lady of the hous ay stille sat
2201 Til she had herd what the frere sayde.
2202 "Ey, Goddes mooder," quod she, "Blisful mayde!
2203 Is ther oght elles? Telle me feithfully."
2204 "Madame," quod he, "how thynke ye herby?"
2205 "How that me thynketh?" quod she. "So God me speede,
2206 I seye a cherl hath doon a cherles dede.
2207 What shold I seye? God lat hym nevere thee!
2208 His sike heed is ful of vanytee;
2209 I holde hym in a manere frenesye."
2210 "Madame," quod he, "by God, I shal nat lye,
2211 But I on oother wyse may be wreke,
2212 I shal disclaundre hym over al ther I speke,
2213 This false blasphemour that charged me
2214 To parte that wol nat departed be
2215 To every man yliche, with meschaunce!"
2216 The lord sat stille as he were in a traunce,
2217 And in his herte he rolled up and doun,
2218 "How hadde this cherl ymaginacioun
2219 To shewe swich a probleme to the frere?
2220 Nevere erst er now herde I of swich mateere.
2221 I trowe the devel putte it in his mynde.
2222 In ars-metrike shal ther no man fynde,
2223 Biforn this day, of swich a question.
2224 Who sholde make a demonstracion
2225 That every man sholde have yliche his part
2226 As of the soun or savour of a fart?
2227 O nyce, proude cherl, I shrewe his face!
2228 Lo, sires," quod the lord, "with harde grace!
2229 Who evere herde of swich a thyng er now?
2230 To every man ylike? Tel me how.
2231 It is an inpossible; it may nat be.
2232 Ey, nyce cherl, God lete him nevere thee!
2233 The rumblynge of a fart, and every soun,
2234 Nis but of eir reverberacioun,
2235 And evere it wasteth litel and litel awey.
2236 Ther is no man kan deemen, by my fey,
2237 If that it were departed equally.
2238 What, lo, my cherl, lo, yet how shrewedly
2239 Unto my confessour to-day he spak!
2240 I holde hym certeyn a demonyak!
2241 Now ete youre mete, and lat the cherl go pleye;
2242 Lat hym go honge hymself a devel weye!"
2243 Now stood the lordes squier at the bord,
2244 That karf his mete, and herde word by word
2245 Of alle thynges whiche I have yow sayd.
2246 "My lord," quod he, "be ye nat yvele apayd,
2247 I koude telle, for a gowne-clooth,
2248 To yow, sire frere, so ye be nat wrooth,
2249 How that this fart sholde evene deled be
2250 Among youre covent, if it lyked me."
2251 "Tel," quod the lord, "and thou shalt have anon
2252 A gowne-clooth, by God and by Seint John!"
2253 "My lord," quod he, "whan that the weder is fair,
2254 Withouten wynd or perturbynge of air,
2255 Lat brynge a cartwheel heere into this halle;
2256 But looke that it have his spokes alle --
2257 Twelve spokes hath a cartwheel comunly.
2258 And bryng me thanne twelve freres. Woot ye why?
2259 For thrittene is a covent, as I gesse.
2260 Youre confessour heere, for his worthynesse,
2261 Shal parfourne up the nombre of his covent.
2262 Thanne shal they knele doun, by oon assent,
2263 And to every spokes ende, in this manere,
2264 Ful sadly leye his nose shal a frere.
2265 Youre noble confessour -- there God hym save! --
2266 Shal holde his nose upright under the nave.
2267 Thanne shal this cherl, with bely stif and toght
2268 As any tabour, hyder been ybroght;
2269 And sette hym on the wheel right of this cart,
2270 Upon the nave, and make hym lete a fart.
2271 And ye shul seen, up peril of my lyf,
2272 By preeve which that is demonstratif,
2273 That equally the soun of it wol wende,
2274 And eke the stynk, unto the spokes ende,
2275 Save that this worthy man, youre confessour,
2276 By cause he is a man of greet honour,
2277 Shal have the firste fruyt, as resoun is.
2278 The noble usage of freres yet is this,
2279 The worthy men of hem shul first be served;
2280 And certeinly he hath it weel disserved.
2281 He hath to-day taught us so muche good
2282 With prechyng in the pulpit ther he stood,
2283 That I may vouche sauf, I sey for me,
2284 He hadde the firste smel of fartes thre;
2285 And so wolde al his covent hardily,
2286 He bereth hym so faire and hoolily."
2287 The lord, the lady, and ech man, save the frere,
2288 Seyde that Jankyn spak, in this matere,
2289 As wel as Euclide [dide] or Ptholomee.
2290 Touchynge the cherl, they seyde, subtiltee
2291 And heigh wit made hym speken as he spak;
2292 He nys no fool, ne no demonyak.
2293 And Jankyn hath ywonne a newe gowne --
2294 My tale is doon; we been almoost at towne.