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2821: A povre wydwe, somdeel stape in age
2822: Was whilom dwellyng in a narwe cotage,
2823: Biside a grove, stondynge in a dale.
2824: This wydwe, of which I telle yow my tale,
2825: Syn thilke day that she was last a wyf,
2826: In pacience ladde a ful symple lyf,
2827: For litel was hir catel and hir rente.
2828: By housbondrie of swich as God hire sente
2829: She foond hirself and eek hir doghtren two.
2830: Thre large sowes hadde she, and namo,
2831: Three keen, and eek a sheep that highte malle.
2832: Ful sooty was hire bour and eek hir halle,
2833: In which she eet ful many a sklendre meel.
2834: Of poynaunt sauce hir neded never a deel.
2835: No deyntee morsel passed thurgh hir throte;
2836: Hir diete was accordant to hir cote.
2837: Repleccioun ne made hire nevere sik;
2838: Attempree diete was al hir phisik,
2839: And exercise, and hertes suffisaunce.
2840: The goute lette hire nothyng for to daunce,
2841: N' apoplexie shente nat hir heed.
2842: No wyn ne drank she, neither whit ne reed;
2843: Hir bord was served moost with whit and blak, --
2844: Milk and broun breed, in which she foond no lak,
2845: Seynd bacoun, and somtyme an ey or tweye;
2846: For she was, as it were, a maner deye.
2847: A yeerd she hadde, enclosed al aboute
2848: With stikkes, and a drye dych withoute,
2849: In which she hadde a cok, hight chauntecleer.
2850: In al the land, of crowyng nas his peer.
2851: His voys was murier than the murie orgon
2852: On messe-dayes that in the chirche gon.
2853: Wel sikerer was his crowyng in his logge
2854: Than is a clokke or an abbey orlogge.
2855: By nature he knew ech ascencioun
2856: Of the equynoxial in thilke toun;
2857: For whan degrees fiftene weren ascended,
2858: Thanne crew he, that it myghte nat been amended.
2859: His coomb was redder than the fyn coral,
2860: And batailled as it were a castel wal;
2861: His byle was blak, and as the jeet it shoon;
2862: Lyk asure were his legges and his toon;
2863: His nayles whitter than the lylye flour,
2864: And lyk the burned gold was his colour.
2865: This gentil cok hadde in his governaunce
2866: Sevene hennes for to doon al his plesaunce,
2867: Whiche were his sustres and his paramours,
2868: And wonder lyk to hym, as of colours;
2869: Of whiche the faireste hewed on hir throte
2870: Was cleped faire damoysele pertelote.
2871: Curteys she was, discreet, and debonaire,
2872: And compaignable, and bar hyrself so faire,
2873: Syn thilke day that she was seven nyght oold,
2874: That trewely she hath the herte in hoold
2875: Of chauntecleer, loken in every lith;
2876: He loved hire so that wel was hym therwith.
2877: But swich a joye was it to here hem synge,
2878: Whan that the brighte sonne gan to sprynge,
2879: In sweete accord, my lief is faren in londe!
2880: For thilke tyme, as I have understonde,
2881: Beestes and briddes koude speke and synge.
2882: And so bifel that in a dawenynge,
2883: As chauntecleer among his wyves alle
2884: Sat on his perche, that was in the halle,
2885: And next hym sat this faire pertelote,
2886: This chauntecleer gan gronen in his throte,
2887: As man that in his dreem is drecched soore.
2888: And whan that pertelote thus herde hym roore,
2889: She was agast, and seyde, herte deere,
2890: What eyleth yow, to grone in this manere?
2891: Ye been a verray sleper; fy, for shame!
2892: And he answerde, and seyde thus: madame,
2893: I pray yow that ye take it nat agrief.
2894: By god, me mette I was in swich meschief
2895: Right now, that yet myn herte is soore afright.
2896: Now god, quod he, my swevene recche aright,
2897: And kepe my body out of foul prisoun!
2898: Me mette how that I romed up and doun
2899: Withinne our yeerd, wheer as I saugh a beest
2900: Was lyk an hound, and wolde han maad areest
2901: Upon my body, and wolde han had me deed.
2902: His colour was bitwixe yelow and reed,
2903: And tipped was his tayl and bothe his eeris
2904: With blak, unlyk the remenant of his heeris;
2905: His snowte smal, with glowynge eyen tweye.
2906: Yet of his look for feere almoost I deye;
2907: This caused me my gronyng, doutelees.
2908: Avoy! quod she, fy on yow, hertelees!
2909: Allas! quod she, for, by that God above,
2910: Now han ye lost myn herte and al my love.
2911: I kan nat love a coward, by my feith!
2912: For certes, what so any womman seith,
2913: We alle desiren, if it myghte bee,
2914: To han housbondes hardy, wise, and free,
2915: And secree, and no nygard, ne no fool,
2916: Ne hym that is agast of every tool,
2917: Ne noon avauntour, by that God above!
2918: How dorste ye seyn, for shame, unto youre love
2919: That any thyng myghte make yow aferd?
2920: Have ye no mannes herte, and han a berd?
2921: Allas! and konne ye been agast of swevenys?
2922: Nothyng, God woot, but vanitee in sweven is.
2923: Swevenes engendren of replecciouns,
2924: And ofte of fume and of complecciouns,
2925: Whan humours been to habundant in a wight.
2926: Certes this dreem, which ye han met to-nyght,
2927: Cometh of the greete superfluytee
2928: Of youre rede colera, pardee,
2929: Which causeth folk to dreden in hir dremes
2930: Of arwes, and of fyr with rede lemes,
2931: Of rede beestes, that they wol hem byte,
2932: Of contek, and of whelpes, grete and lyte;
2933: Right as the humour of malencolie
2934: Causeth ful many a man in sleep to crie
2935: For feere of blake beres, or boles blake,
2936: Or elles blake develes wole hem take.
2937: Of othere humours koude I telle also
2938: That werken many a man sleep ful wo;
2939: But I wol passe as lightly as I kan.
2940: Lo catoun, which that was so wys a man,
2941: Seyde he nat thus, -- ne do no fors of dremes? --
2942: Now sire, quod she, whan we flee for the bemes,
2943: For goddes love, as taak som laxatyf.
2944: Up peril of my soule and of my lyf,
2945: I conseille yow the beste, I wol nat lye,
2946: That bothe of colere and of malencolye
2947: Ye purge yow; and for ye shal nat tarie,
2948: Though in this toun is noon apothecarie,
2949: I shal myself to gerbes techen yow
2950: That shul been for youre hele and for youre prow;
2951: And in oure yeerd tho herbes shal I fynde
2952: The whiche han of hire propretee by kynde
2953: To purge yow bynethe and eek above.
2954: Foryet nat this, for goddes owene love!
2955: Ye been ful coleryk of compleccioun;
2956: Ware the sonne in his ascencioun
2957: Ne fynde yow nat repleet of humours hoote.
2958: And if it do, I dar wel leye a grote,
2959: That ye shul have a fevere tercaine,
2960: Of an agu, that may be youre bane.
2961: A day or two ye shul have digestyves
2962: Of wormes, er ye take youre laxatyves
2963: Of lawriol, centaure, and fumetere,
2964: Or elles of ellebor, that groweth there,
2965: Of katapuce, or of gaitrys beryis,
2966: Of herbe yve, growyng in oure yeerd, ther mery is;
2967: Pekke hem up right as they growe and ete hem yn.
2968: By myrie, housbonde, for youre fader kyn~
2969: Dredeth no dreem, I kan sey yow namoore.
2970: Madame, quod he, graunt mercy of youre loore.
2971: But nathelees, as touchyng daun catoun,
2972: That hath of wysdom swich a greet renoun,
2973: Though that he bad no dremes for to drede,
2974: By god, men may in olde bookes rede
2975: Of many a man moore of auctorite
2976: Than evere caton was, so moot I thee,
2977: That al the revers seyn of this sentence,
2978: And han wel founden by experience
2979: That dremes been significaciouns
2980: As wel of joye as of tribulaciouns
2981: That folk enduren in this lif present.
2982: Ther nedeth make of this noon argument;
2983: The verray preeve sheweth it in dede.
2984: Oon of the gretteste auctour that men rede
2985: Seith thus: that whilom two felawes wente
2986: On pilgrimage, in a ful good entente;
2987: And happed so, yhey coomen in a toun
2988: Wher as ther was swich congregacioun
2989: Of peple, and eek so streit of herbergage,
2990: That they ne founde as muche as cotage
2991: In which they bothe myghte ylogged bee.
2992: Wherfore they mosten of necessitee,
2993: As for that nyght,departen compaignye;
2994: And ech of hem gooth to his hostelrye,
2995: And took his loggyng as it wolde falle.
2996: That oon of hem was logged in a stalle,
2997: Fer in a yeerd, with oxen of the plough;
2998: That oother man was logged wel ynough,
2999: As was his aventure or his fortune,
3000: That us governeth alle as in commune.
3001: And so bifel that, longe er it were day,
3002: This man mette in his bed, ther as he lay
3003: How that his felawe gan upon hym calle,
3004: And seyde,, -- allas! for in an oxes stalle
3005: This nyght I shal be mordred ther I lye.
3006: Now help me,deere brother, or I dye.
3007: In alle haste com to me! -- he sayde.
3008: This man out of his sleep for feere abrayde;
3009: But whan that he was wakened of this sleep,
3010: He turned hym, and took of this no keep.
3011: Hym thoughte his dreem nas but a vanitte.
3012: Thus twies in his slepyng dremed hee;
3013: And atte thridde tyme yet his felawe
3014: Cam, as hym thoughte, and seide, -- I am now slawe.
3015: Bihood my bloody woundes depe and wyde!
3016: Arys up erly in the morwe tyde,
3017: And at the west gate of the toun, -- quod he,
3018: -- A carte ful of dong ther shaltow se,
3019: In which my body is hid ful prively;
3020: Do thilke carte arresten boldely.
3021: My gold caused my mordre, sooth to sayn.,
3022: And tolde hym every point how he was slayn,
3023: With a ful pitous face, pale of hewe.
3024: And truste wel, his dreem he foond ful trewe,
3025: For on the morwe, as soone as it was day,
3026: To his felawes in he took the way;
3027: And whan that he cam to his oxes stalle,
3028: After his felawe he bigan to calle.
3029: The hostiler answerede hym anon,
3030: And seyde,,sire, your felawe is agon.
3031: As soone as day he wente out of the toun.,
3032: This man gan fallen suspecioun,
3033: Remembrynge on his dremes that he mette,
3034: And forth he gooth no lenger wolde he lette
3035: Unto the west gate of the toun, and fond
3036: A dong carte, wente as it were to donge lond,
3037: That was arrayed in that same wise
3038: As ye han herd the dede man devyse.
3039: And with an hardy herte he gan to crye
3040: Vengeance and justice of this felonye.
3041: My felawe mordred is this same nyght,
3042: And in this carte he lith gapyng upright.
3043: I crye out on the ministres, -- quod he,
3044: -- That sholden kepe and reulen this citee.
3045: Harrow! allas! heere lith my felawe slayn! --
3046: What sholde I moore unto this tale sayn?
3047: The peple out sterte and caste the cart to grounde,
3048: And in the myddel of the dong they founde
3049: The dede man, that mordred was al newe.
3050: O blisful god, that art so just and trewe,
3051: Lo, how that thou biwryest mordre alway!
3052: Mordre wol out, that se we day by day.
3053: Mordre is so wlatsom and abhomynable
3054: To god, that is so just and resonable,
3055: That he ne wol nat suffre it heled be,
3056: Though it abyde a yeer, or two, or thre.
3057: Mordre wol out, this my conclusioun.
3058: And right anon, ministres of that toun
3059: Han hent the carter and so soore hym pyned,
3060: And eek the hostiler so soore engyned,
3061: That they biknewe hire wikkednesse anon,
3062: And were anhanged by the nekke bon.
3063: Heere may men seen that dremes been to drede.
3064: And certes in the same book I rede,
3065: Right in the nexte chapitre after this
3066: I gabbe nat, so have I joye or blis
3067: Two men that wolde han passed over see,
3068: For certeyn cause, into a fer contree,
3069: If that the wynd ne hadde been contrarie,
3070: That made hem in a citee for to tarie
3071: That stood ful myrie upon an haven-syde;
3072: But on a day, agayn the even-tyde,
3073: The wynd gan chaunge, and blew right as hem leste.
3074: Jolif and glad they wente unto hir reste,
3075: And casten hem ful erly for to saille.
3076: But to that o man fil a greet mervaille:
3077: That oon of hem,in slepyng as he lay,
3078: Hym mette a wonder dreem agayn the day.
3079: Hym thoughte a man stood by his beddes syde,
3080: And hym comanded that he sholde abyde,
3081: And seyde hym thus: -- if thou tomorwe wende,
3082: Thow shalt be dreynt; my tale is at an ende.
3083: He wook, and tolde his felawe what he mette,
3084: And preyde hym his viage for to lette;
3085: As for that day, he preyde hym to byde.
3086: His felawe, that lay by his beddes syde,
3087: Gan for to laughe, and scorned him ful faste.
3088: -- no dreem, -- quod he, -- may so myn herte agaste
3089: That I wol lette for to do my thynges.
3090: I sette nat a straw by thy dremynges,
3091: For swevenes been but vantees and japes.
3092: Men dreme alday of owles and of apes,
3093: And eek of many a maze therwithal;
3094: Men dreme of thyng that nevere was ne shal.
3095: But sith I see that thou wolt heere abyde,
3096: And thus forslewthen wilfully thy tyde,
3097: God woot, it reweth me; and have good day! --
3098: And thus he took his leve, and wente his way.
3099: But er that he hadde half his cours yseyled,
3100: Noot I nat why, ne what myschaunce it eyled,
3101: But casuelly the shippes botme rente,
3102: And ship and man under the water wente
3103: In sighte of othere shippes it bisyde,
3104: That with hem seyled at the same tyde.
3105: And therfore, faire pertelote so deere,
3106: By swiche ensamples olde maistow leere
3107: That no man sholde been to recchelees
3108: Of dremes; for I seye thee, doutelees,
3109: That many a dreem ful soore is for to drede.
3110: Lo, in the lyf of seint kenelm I rede,
3111: That was kenulphus sone, the noble kyng
3112: Of mercenrike, how kenelm mette a thyng.
3113: A lite er he was mordred, on a day,
3114: His mordre in his avysioun he say.
3115: His norice hym expowned every deel
3116: His sweven, and bad hym for to kepe hym weel
3117: For traisoun; but he nas but seven yeer oold,
3118: And therfore lite tale hath he toold
3119: Of any dreem, so hooly was his herte.
3120: By god! I hadde levere than my sherte
3121: That ye hadde rad his legende, as have I.
3122: Dame pertelote, I sey yow trewely,
3123: Macrobeus, that writ the avisioun
3124: In affrike of the worthy cipioun,
3125: Affermeth dremes, and seith that they been
3126: Warnynge of thynges that men after seen.
3127: And forthermoore, I pray yow, looketh wel
3128: In the olde testament, of daniel,
3129: If he heeld dremes any vanitee.
3130: Reed eek of joseph, and ther shul ye see
3131: Wher dremes be somtyme -- I sey nat alle --
3132: Warnynge of thynges that shul after falle.
3133: Looke of egipte the kyng, daun pharao,
3134: His bakere and his butiller also,
3135: Wher they ne felte noon effect in dremes.
3136: Whoso wol seken actes of sondry remes
3137: May rede of dremes many a wonder thyng.
3138: Lo cresus, which that was of lyde kyng,
3139: Mette he nat that he sat upon a tree,
3140: Which signified he sholde anhanged bee?
3141: Lo heere andromacha, ectores wyf,
3142: That day that ector sholde lese his lyf,
3143: She dremed on the same nyght biforn
3144: How that the lyf of ector sholde be lorn,
3145: If thilke day he wente into bataille.
3146: She warned hym, but it myghte nat availle;
3147: He wente for to fighte natheles,
3148: But he was slayn anon of achilles.
3149: But thilke tale is al to longe to telle,
3150: And eek it is ny day, I may nat dwelle.
3151: Shortly I seye, as for conclusioun,
3152: That I shal han of this avisioun
3153: Adversitee; and I seye forthermoor,
3154: That I ne telle of laxatyves no stoor,
3155: For they been venymous, I woot it weel;
3156: I hem diffye, I love hem never a deel!
3157: Now let us speke of myrthe, and stynte al this.
3158: Madame pertelote, so have I blis,
3159: Of o thyng God hath sent me large grace;
3160: For whan I se the beautee of youre face,
3161: Ye been so scarlet reed aboute youre yen,
3162: It maketh al my drede for to dyen;
3163: For al so siker as in principio,
3164: Mulier est hominis confusio, --
3165: Madame, the sentence of this latyn is,
3166: -- womman is mannes joye and al his blis. --
3167: For whan I feele a-nyght your softe syde,
3168: Al be it that I may nat on yow ryde,
3169: For that oure perche is maad so narwe, allas!
3170: I am so ful of joye and of solas,
3171: That I diffye bothe sweven and dreem.
3172: And with that word he fley doun fro the beem,
3173: For it was day, and eke his hennes alle,
3174: And with a chuk he gan hem for to calle,
3175: For he hadde founde a corn, lay in the yerd.
3176: Real he was, he was namoore aferd.
3177: He fethered pertelote twenty tyme,
3178: And trad hire eke as ofte, er it was pryme.
3179: He looketh as it were a grym leoun,
3180: And on his toos he rometh up and doun;
3181: Hym deigned nat to sette his foot to grounde.
3182: He chukketh whan he hath a corn yfounde,
3183: And to hym rennen thanne his wyves alle.
3184: Thus roial, as a prince is in his halle,
3185: Leve I this chauntecleer in his pasture,
3186: And after wol I telle his aventure.
3187: Whan that the month in which the world bigan,
3188: That highte march, whan God first maked man,
3189: Was compleet, and passed were also,
3190: Syn march bigan, thritty dayes and two,
3191: Bifel that chauntecleer in al his pryde,
3192: His sevene wyves walkynge by his syde,
3193: Caste up his eyen to the brighte sonne,
3194: That in the signe of taurus hadde yronne
3195: Twenty degrees and oon, and somwhat moore,
3196: And knew by kynde, and by noon oother loore,
3197: That it was pryme, and crew with blisful stevene.
3198: The sonne, he seyde, is clomben up on-evene
3199: Fourty degrees and oon, and moore ywis.
3200: Madame pertelote, my worldes blis,
3201: Herkneth thise blisful briddes how they synge,
3202: And se the fresshe floures how they sprynge;
3203: Ful is myn herte of revel and solas!
3204: But sodeynly hym fil a sorweful cas,
3205: For evere the latter ende of joye is wo.
3206: God woot that worldly joye is soone ago;
3207: And if a rethor koude faire endite,
3208: He in a cronycle saufly myghte it write
3209: As for a sovereyn notabilitee.
3210: Now every wys man, lat him herkne me;
3211: This storie is also trewe, I undertake,
3212: As is the book of launcelot de lake,
3213: That wommen holde in ful greet reverence.
3214: Now wol I torne agayn to my sentence.
3215: A col-fox, ful of sly iniquitee,
3216: That in th grove hadde woned yeres three,
3217: By heigh ymaginacioun forncast,
3218: The same nyght thurghout the hegges brast
3219: Into the yerd ther chauntecleer the faire
3220: Was wont, and eek his wyves, to repaire;
3221: And in a bed of wortes stille he lay,
3222: Til it was passed undren of the day,
3223: Waitynge his tyme on chauntecleer to falle,
3224: As gladly doon thise homycides alle
3225: That in await liggen to mordre men.
3226: O false mordrour, lurkynge in thy den!
3227: O newe scariot, newe genylon,
3228: False dissymulour, o greek synon,
3229: That broghtest troye al outrely to sorwe!
3230: O chauntecleer, acursed be that morwe
3231: That thou into that yerd flaugh fro the bemes!
3232: Thou were ful wel ywarned by thy dremes
3233: That thilke day was perilous to thee;
3234: But what that God forwoot moot nedes bee,
3235: After the opinioun of certein clerkis.
3236: Witnesse on hym that any parfit clerk is,
3237: That in scole is greet altercacioun
3238: In this mateere, and greet disputisoun,
3239: And hath been of an hundred thousand men.
3240: But I ne kan nat bulte it to the bren
3241: As kan the hooly doctour augustyn,
3242: Or boece, or the bisshop bradwardyn,
3243: Wheither that goddes worthy forwityng
3244: Streyneth me nedely for to doon a thyng, --
3245: Nedely clepe I symple necessitee;
3246: Or elles, if free choys be graunted me
3247: To do that same thyng, or do it noght,
3248: Though God forwoot it er that was wroght;
3249: Or if his wityng streyneth never a deel
3250: But by necessitee condicioneel.
3251: I wol nat han to do of swich mateere;
3252: My tale is of a cok, as ye may heere,
3253: That tok his conseil of his wyf, with sorwe,
3254: To walken in the yerd upon that morwe
3255: That he hadde met that dreem that I yow tolde.
3256: Wommennes conseils been ful ofte colde;
3257: Wommannes conseil broghte us first to wo,
3258: And made adam fro paradys to go,
3259: Ther as he was ful myrie and wel at ese.
3260: But for I noot to whom it myght displese,
3261: If I conseil of wommen wolde blame,
3262: Passe over, for I seyde it in my game.
3263: Rede auctours, where they trete of swich mateere,
3264: And what they seyn of wommen ye may heere.
3265: Thise been the cokkes wordes, and nat myne;
3266: I kan noon harm of no womman divyne.
3267: Faire in the soond, to bathe hire myrily,
3268: Lith pertelote, and alle hire sustres by,
3269: Agayn the sonne, and chauntecleer so free
3270: Soong murier than the mermayde in the see;
3271: For phisiologus seith sikerly
3272: How that they syngen wel and myrily.
3273: And so bifel that, as he caste his ye
3274: Among the wortes on a boterflye,
3275: He was war of this fox, that lay ful lowe.
3276: Nothyng ne liste hym thanne for to crowe,
3277: But cride anon, cok! cok! and up he sterte
3278: As man that was affrayed in his herte.
3279: For natureelly a beest desireth flee
3280: Fro his contrarie, if he may it see,
3281: Though he never erst hadde seyn it with his ye.
3282: This chauntecleer, whan he gan hym espye,
3283: He wolde han fled, but that the fox anon
3284: Seyde, gentil sire, allas! wher wol ye gon?
3285: Be ye affrayed of me that am youre freend?
3286: Now, certes, I were worse than a feend,
3287: If I to yow wolde harm or vileynye!
3288: I am nat come youre conseil for t' espye,
3289: But trewely, the cause of my comynge
3290: Was oonly for to herkne how that ye synge.
3291: For trewely, ye have as myrie a stevene
3292: As any aungel hath that is in hevene.
3293: Therwith ye han in musyk moore feelynge
3294: Than hadde boece, or any that kan synge.
3295: My lord youre fader -- God his soule blesse! --
3296: And eek youre mooder, of hire gentillesse,
3297: Han in myn hous ybeen to my greet ese;
3298: And certes, sire, ful fayn wolde I yow plese.
3299: But, for men speke of syngyng, I wol seye, --
3300: So moote I brouke wel myne eyen tweye, --
3301: Save yow, I herde nevere man so synge
3302: As dide youre fader in the morwenynge.
3303: Certes, it was of herte, al that he song.
3304: And for to make his voys the moore strong,
3305: He wolde so peyne hym that with bothe his yen
3306: He moste wynke, so loude he wolde cryen,
3307: And stonden on his tiptoon therwithal,
3308: And strecche forth his nekke long and smal.
3309: And eek he was of swich descrecioun
3310: That ther nas no man in no regioun
3311: That hym in song or wisedom myghte passe.
3312: I have wel rad in -- daun burnel the asse -- ,
3313: Among his vers, how that ther was a cok,
3314: For that a preestes sone yaf hym a knok
3315: Upon his leg whil he was yong and nyce,
3316: He made hym for to lese his benefice.
3317: But certeyn, ther nys no comparisoun
3318: Bitwixe the wisedom and discrecioun
3319: Of youre fader and of his subtiltee.
3320: Now syngeth, sire, for seinte charitee;
3321: Lat se, konne ye youre fader countrefete?
3322: This chauntecleer his wynges gan to bete,
3323: As man that koude his traysoun nat espie,
3324: So was he ravysshed with his flaterie.
3325: Allas! ye lordes, many a fals flatour
3326: Is in youre courtes, and many a losengeour,
3327: That plesen yow wel moore, by my feith,
3328: Than he that soothfastnesse unto yow seith.
3329: Redeth ecclesiaste of flaterye;
3330: Beth war, ye lordes, of hir trecherye.
3331: This chauntecleer stoond hye upon his toos,
3332: Strecchynge his nekke, and heeld his eyen cloos,
3333: And gan to crowe loude for the nones.
3334: And daun russell the fox stirte up atones,
3335: And by the gargat hente chauntecleer,
3336: And on his bak toward the wode hym beer,
3337: For yet ne was ther no man that hym sewed.
3338: O destinee, that mayst nat been eschewed!
3339: Allas, that chauntecleer fleigh fro the bemes!
3340: Allas, his wyf ne roghte nat of dremes!
3341: And on a friday fil al this meschaunce.
3342: o venus, that art goddesse of plesaumce,
3343: Syn that thy servant was this chauntecleer,
3344: And in thy servyce dide al his poweer,
3345: Moore for delit than world to multiplye,
3346: Why woldestow suffre hym on thy day to dye?
3347: O gaufred, deere maister soverayn,
3348: That whan thy worthy kyng richard was slayn
3349: With shot, compleynedest his deeth so soore,
3350: Why ne hadde I now thy sentence and thy loore,
3351: The friday for to chide, as diden ye?
3352: For on a friday, soothly, slayn was he.
3353: Thanne wolde I shewe yow how that I koude pleyne
3354: For chauntecleres drede and for his peyne.
3355: Certes, swich cry ne lamentacion,
3356: Was nevere of ladyes maad whan ylion
3357: Was wonne, and pirrus with his streite swerd,
3358: Whan he hadde hent kyng priam by the berd,
3359: And slayn hym, as seith us eneydos,
3360: As maden alle the hennes in the clos,
3361: Whan they had seyn of chauntecleer the sighte.
3362: But sovereynly dame pertelote shrighte
3363: Ful louder than dide hasdrubales wyf,
3364: Whan that hir housbonde hadde lost his lyf,
3365: And that the romayns hadde brend cartage.
3366: She was so ful of torment and of rage
3367: That wilfully into the fyr she sterte,
3368: And brende hirselven with a stedefast herte.
3369: O woful hennes, right so criden ye,
3370: As, whan that nero brende the citee
3371: Of rome, cryden senatoures wyves
3372: For that hir husbondes losten alle hir lyves, --
3373: Withouten gilt this nero hath hem slayn.
3374: Now wole I turne to my tale agayn.
3375: This sely wydwe and eek hir doghtres two
3376: Herden thise hennes crie and maken wo,
3377: And out at dores stirten they anon,
3378: And syen the fox toward the grove gon,
3379: And bar upon his bak the cok away,
3380: And cryden, out! harrow! and weylaway!
3381: Ha! ha! the fox! and after hym they ran,
3382: And eek with staves many another man,
3383: Ran colle oure dogge, and talbot and gerland,
3384: And malkyn, with a dystaf in hir hand;
3385: Ran cow and calf, and eek the verray hogges,
3386: So fered for the berkyng of the dogges
3387: And shoutyng of the men and wommen eeke,
3388: They ronne so hem thoughte hir herte breeke.
3389: They yolleden as feendes doon in helle;
3390: The dokes cryden as men wolde hem quelle;
3391: The gees for feere flowen over the trees;
3392: Out of the hyve cam the swarm of bees.
3393: So hydous was the noyse, a, benedicitee!
3394: Certes, he jakke straw and his meynee
3395: Ne made nevere shoutes half so shrille
3396: Whan that they wolden any flemyng kille,
3397: As thilke day was maad upon the fox.
3398: Of bras they broghten bemes, and of box,
3399: Of horn, of boon, in whiche they blewe and powped,
3400: And therwithal they skriked and they howped.
3401: It semed as that hevene sholde falle.
3402: Now, goode man, I prey yow herkenth alle:
3403: Lo, how fortune turneth sodeynly
3404: The hope and pryde eek of hir enemy!
3405: This cok, that lay upon the foxes bak,
3406: In al his drede unto the fox he spak,
3407: And seyde, sire, if that I were as ye,
3408: Yet sholde I seyn, as wys God helpe me,
3409: Turneth agayn, ye proude cherles alle!
3410: A verray pestilence upon yow falle!
3411: Now am I come unto the wodes syde;
3412: Maugree youre heed, the cok shal heere abyde.
3413: I wol hym ete, in feith, and that anon!
3414: The fox answerde, in feith, it shal be don.
3415: And as he spak that word, al sodeynly
3416: This cok brak from his mouth delyverly,
3417: And heighe upon a tree he fleigh anon.
3418: And whan the fox saugh that the cok was gon,
3419: Allas! quod he, o chauntecleer, allas!
3420: I have to yow, quod he, ydoon trespas,
3421: In as muche as I maked yow aferd
3422: Whan I yow hente and broghte out of the yerd.
3423: But, sire, I dide it in no wikke entente.
3424: Com doun, and I shal telle yow what I mente;
3425: I shal seye sooth to yow, God help me so!
3426: Nay thanne, quod he, I shrewe us bothe two.
3427: And first I shrewe myself, bothe blood and bones,
3428: If thou bigyle me ofter than ones.
3429: Thou shalt namoore, thurgh thy flaterye,
3430: Do me to synge and wynke with myn ye;
3431: For he that wynketh, whan he sholde see,
3432: Al wilfully, God lat him nevere thee!
3433: Nay, quod the fox, but God yeve hym meschaunce,
3434: That is so undiscreet of governaunce
3435: That jangleth whan he sholde holde his pees.
3436: Lo, swich it is for to be recchelees
3437: And necligent, and truste on flaterye.
3438: But ye that holden this tale a folye,
3439: As of a fox, or of a cok and hen,
3440: Taketh the moralite, goode men.
3441: For seint paul seith that al that writen is,
3442: To oure doctrine it is ywrite, ywis;
3443: Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be stille.
3444: Now, goode god, if that it be thy wille,
3445: As seith my lord, so make us alle goode men,
3446: And brynge us to his heighe blisse! amen.