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The Canterbury Tales and Other Works of Chaucer (Middle English), by Geoffery Chaucer, [14th cent.], at

The Canterbury Tales

The Squire's Tale

 At Sarray, in the land of Tartarye,
10 Ther dwelte a kyng that werreyed Russye,
 Thurgh which ther dyde many a doughty man.
 This noble kyng was cleped Cambyuskan,
 Which in his tyme was of so greet renoun
 That ther was nowher in no regioun
 So excellent a lord in alle thyng:
 Hym lakked noght that longeth to a kyng.
 As of the secte of which that he was born
 He kepte his lay, to which that he was sworn;
 And therto he was hardy, wys, and riche,
20 And pitous and just, alwey yliche;
 Sooth of his word, benigne, and honurable;
 Of his corage as any centre stable;
 Yong, fressh, and strong, in armes desirous
 As any bacheler of al his hous.
 A fair persone he was and fortunat,
 And kept alwey so wel roial estat
 That ther was nowher swich another man.
 This noble kyng, this Tartre Cambyuskan,
 Hadde two sones on Elpheta his wyf,
30 Of whiche the eldeste highte Algarsyf;
 That oother sone was cleped Cambalo.
 A doghter hadde this worthy kyng also,
 That yongest was, and highte Canacee.
 But for to telle yow al hir beautee,
 It lyth nat in my tonge, n' yn my konnyng;
 I dar nat undertake so heigh a thyng.
 Myn Englissh eek is insufficient.
 It moste been a rethor excellent
 That koude his colours longynge for that art,
40 If he sholde hire discryven every part.
 I am noon swich, I moot speke as I kan.
 And so bifel that whan this Cambyuskan
 Hath twenty wynter born his diademe,
 As he was wont fro yeer to yeer, I deme,
 He leet the feeste of his nativitee
 Doon cryen thurghout Sarray his citee,
 The laste Idus of March, after the yeer.
 Phebus the sonne ful joly was and cleer,
 For he was neigh his exaltacioun
50 In Martes face and in his mansioun
 In Aries, the colerik hoote signe.
 Ful lusty was the weder and benigne,
 For which the foweles, agayn the sonne sheene,
 What for the sesoun and the yonge grene,
 Ful loude songen hire affecciouns.
 Hem semed han geten hem protecciouns
 Agayn the swerd of wynter, keene and coold.
 This Cambyuskan, of which I have yow toold,
 In roial vestiment sit on his deys,
60 With diademe, ful heighe in his paleys,
 And halt his feeste so solempne and so ryche
 That in this world ne was ther noon it lyche;
 Of which if I shal tellen al th' array,
 Thanne wolde it occupie a someres day,
 And eek it nedeth nat for to devyse
 At every cours the ordre of hire servyse.
 I wol nat tellen of hir strange sewes,
 Ne of hir swannes, ne of hire heronsewes.
 Eek in that lond, as tellen knyghtes olde,
70 Ther is som mete that is ful deynte holde
 That in this lond men recche of it but smal;
 Ther nys no man that may reporten al.
 I wol nat taryen yow, for it is pryme
 And for it is no fruyt but los of tyme;
 Unto my firste I wole have my recours.
 And so bifel that after the thridde cours,
 Whil that this kyng sit thus in his nobleye,
 Herknynge his mynstralles hir thynges pleye
 Biforn hym at the bord deliciously,
80 In at the halle dore al sodeynly
 Ther cam a knyght upon a steede of bras,
 And in his hand a brood mirour of glas.
 Upon his thombe he hadde of gold a ryng,
 And by his syde a naked swerd hangyng;
 And up he rideth to the heighe bord.
 In al the halle ne was ther spoken a word
 For merveille of this knyght; hym to biholde
 Ful bisily they wayten, yonge and olde.
 This strange knyght, that cam thus sodeynly,
90 Al armed, save his heed, ful richely,
 Saleweth kyng and queene and lordes alle,
 By ordre, as they seten in the halle,
 With so heigh reverence and obeisaunce,
 As wel in speche as in contenaunce,
 That Gawayn, with his olde curteisye,
 Though he were comen ayeyn out of Fairye,
 Ne koude hym nat amende with a word.
 And after this, biforn the heighe bord,
 He with a manly voys seide his message,
100 After the forme used in his langage,
 Withouten vice of silable or of lettre;
 And for his tale sholde seme the bettre,
 Accordant to his wordes was his cheere,
 As techeth art of speche hem that it leere.
 Al be that I kan nat sowne his stile,
 Ne kan nat clymben over so heigh a style,
 Yet seye I this, as to commune entente:
 Thus muche amounteth al that evere he mente,
 If it so be that I have it in mynde.
110 He seyde, "The kyng of Arabe and of Inde,
 My lige lord, on this solempne day
 Saleweth yow, as he best kan and may,
 And sendeth yow, in honour of youre feeste,
 By me, that am al redy at youre heeste,
 This steede of bras, that esily and weel
 Kan in the space of o day natureel --
 This is to seyn, in foure and twenty houres --
 Wher-so yow lyst, in droghte or elles shoures,
 Beren youre body into every place
120 To which youre herte wilneth for to pace,
 Withouten wem of yow, thurgh foul or fair;
 Or, if yow lyst to fleen as hye in the air
 As dooth an egle whan hym list to soore,
 This same steede shal bere yow evere moore,
 Withouten harm, til ye be ther yow leste,
 Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste,
 And turne ayeyn with writhyng of a pyn.
 He that it wroghte koude ful many a gyn.
 He wayted many a constellacion
130 Er he had doon this operacion,
 And knew ful many a seel and many a bond.
 "This mirour eek, that I have in myn hond,
 Hath swich a myght that men may in it see
 Whan ther shal fallen any adversitee
 Unto youre regne or to youreself also,
 And openly who is youre freend or foo.
 "And over al this, if any lady bright
 Hath set hire herte on any maner wight,
 If he be fals, she shal his tresoun see,
140 His newe love, and al his subtiltee,
 So openly that ther shal no thyng hyde.
 Wherfore, ageyn this lusty someres tyde,
 This mirour and this ryng, that ye may see,
 He hath sent to my lady Canacee,
 Youre excellente doghter that is heere.
 "The vertu of the ryng, if ye wol heere,
 Is this: that if hire lust it for to were
 Upon hir thombe or in hir purs it bere,
 Ther is no fowel that fleeth under the hevene
150 That she ne shal wel understonde his stevene,
 And knowe his menyng openly and pleyn,
 And answere hym in his langage ageyn;
 And every gras that groweth upon roote
 She shal eek knowe, and whom it wol do boote,
 Al be his woundes never so depe and wyde.
 "This naked swerd, that hangeth by my syde,
 Swich vertu hath that what man so ye smyte
 Thurghout his armure it wole kerve and byte,
 Were it as thikke as is a branched ook;
160 And what man that is wounded with the strook
 Shal never be hool til that yow list, of grace,
 To stroke hym with the plat in thilke place
 Ther he is hurt; this is as muche to seyn,
 Ye moote with the platte swerd ageyn
 Stroke hym in the wounde, and it wol close.
 This is a verray sooth, withouten glose;
 It failleth nat whils it is in youre hoold."
 And whan this knyght hath thus his tale toold,
 He rideth out of halle and doun he lighte.
170 His steede, which that shoon as sonne brighte,
 Stant in the court, stille as any stoon.
 This knyght is to his chambre lad anoon,
 And is unarmed, and to mete yset.
 The presentes been ful roially yfet --
 This is to seyn, the swerd and the mirour --
 And born anon into the heighe tour
 With certeine officers ordeyned therfore;
 And unto Canacee this ryng is bore
 Solempnely, ther she sit at the table.
180 But sikerly, withouten any fable,
 The hors of bras, that may nat be remewed,
 It stant as it were to the ground yglewed.
 Ther may no man out of the place it dryve
 For noon engyn of wyndas or polyve;
 And cause why? For they kan nat the craft.
 And therfore in the place they han it laft
 Til that the knyght hath taught hem the manere
 To voyden hym, as ye shal after heere.
 Greet was the prees that swarmeth to and fro
190 To gauren on this hors that stondeth so,
 For it so heigh was, and so brood and long,
 So wel proporcioned for to been strong,
 Right as it were a steede of Lumbardye;
 Therwith so horsly, and so quyk of ye,
 As it a gentil Poilleys courser were.
 For certes, fro his tayl unto his ere
 Nature ne art ne koude hym nat amende
 In no degree, as al the people wende.
 But everemoore hir mooste wonder was
200 How that it koude gon, and was of bras;
 It was a fairye, as the peple semed.
 Diverse folk diversely they demed;
 As many heddes, as manye wittes ther been.
 They murmureden as dooth a swarm of been,
 And maden skiles after hir fantasies,
 Rehersynge of thise olde poetries,
 And seyden it was lyk the Pegasee,
 The hors that hadde wynges for to flee;
 Or elles it was the Grekes hors Synon,
210 That broghte Troie to destruccion,
 As men in thise olde geestes rede.
 "Myn herte," quod oon, "is everemoore in drede;
 I trowe som men of armes been therinne,
 That shapen hem this citee for to wynne.
 It were right good that al swich thyng were knowe."
 Another rowned to his felawe lowe,
 And seyde, "He lyeth, for it is rather lyk
 An apparence ymaad by som magyk,
 As jogelours pleyen at thise feestes grete."
220 Of sondry doutes thus they jangle and trete,
 As lewed peple demeth comunly
 Of thynges that been maad moore subtilly
 Than they kan in hir lewednesse comprehende;
 They demen gladly to the badder ende.
 And somme of hem wondred on the mirour,
 That born was up into the maister-tour,
 Hou men myghte in it swiche thynges se.
 Another answerde and seyde it myghte wel be
 Naturelly, by composiciouns
230 Of anglis and of slye reflexiouns,
 And seyde that in Rome was swich oon.
 They speken of Alocen, and Vitulon,
 And Aristotle, that writen in hir lyves
 Of queynte mirours and of perspectives,
 As knowen they that han hir bookes herd.
 And oother folk han wondred on the swerd
 That wolde percen thurghout every thyng,
 And fille in speche of Thelophus the kyng,
 And of Achilles with his queynte spere,
240 For he koude with it bothe heele and dere,
 Right in swich wise as men may with the swerd
 Of which right now ye han youreselven herd.
 They speken of sondry hardyng of metal,
 And speke of medicynes therwithal,
 And how and whanne it sholde yharded be,
 Which is unknowe, algates unto me.
 Tho speeke they of Canacees ryng,
 And seyden alle that swich a wonder thyng
 Of craft of rynges herde they nevere noon,
250 Save that he Moyses and kyng Salomon
 Hadde a name of konnyng in swich art.
 Thus seyn the peple and drawen hem apart.
 But nathelees somme seiden that it was
 Wonder to maken of fern-asshen glas,
 And yet nys glas nat lyk asshen of fern;
 But, for they han yknowen it so fern,
 Therfore cesseth hir janglyng and hir wonder.
 As soore wondren somme on cause of thonder,
 On ebbe, on flood, on gossomer, and on myst,
260 And alle thyng, til that the cause is wyst.
 Thus jangle they, and demen, and devyse
 Til that the kyng gan fro the bord aryse.
 Phebus hath laft the angle meridional,
 And yet ascendynge was the beest roial,
 The gentil Leon, with his Aldiran,
 Whan that this Tartre kyng, Cambyuskan,
 Roos fro his bord, ther as he sat ful hye.
 Toforn hym gooth the loude mynstralcye
 Til he cam to his chambre of parementz,
270 Ther as they sownen diverse instrumentz
 That it is lyk an hevene for to heere.
 Now dauncen lusty Venus children deere,
 For in the Fyssh hir lady sat ful hye,
 And looketh on hem with a freendly ye.
 This noble kyng is set upon his trone.
 This strange knyght is fet to hym ful soone,
 And on the daunce he gooth with Canacee.
 Heere is the revel and the jolitee
 That is nat able a dul man to devyse.
280 He moste han knowen love and his servyse
 And been a feestlych man as fressh as May,
 That sholde yow devysen swich array.
 Who koude telle yow the forme of daunces
 So unkouthe, and swiche fresshe contenaunces,
 Swich subtil lookyng and dissymulynges
 For drede of jalouse mennes aperceyvynges?
 No man but Launcelot, and he is deed.
 Therfore I passe of al this lustiheed;
 I sey namoore, but in this jolynesse
290 I lete hem til men to the soper dresse.
 The styward bit the spices for to hye,
 And eek the wyn, in al this melodye.
 The usshers and the squiers been ygoon,
 The spices and the wyn is come anoon.
 They ete and drynke, and whan this hadde an ende,
 Unto the temple, as reson was, they wende.
 The service doon, they soupen al by day.
 What nedeth yow rehercen hire array?
 Ech man woot wel that a kynges feeste
300 Hath plentee to the meeste and to the leeste,
 And deyntees mo than been in my knowyng.
 At after-soper gooth this noble kyng
 To seen this hors of bras, with al a route
 Of lordes and of ladyes hym aboute.
 Swich wondryng was ther on this hors of bras
 That syn the grete sege of Troie was,
 Theras men wondreden on an hors also,
 Ne was ther swich a wondryng as was tho.
 But fynally the kyng axeth this knyght
310 The vertu of this courser and the myght,
 And preyde hym to telle his governaunce.
 This hors anoon bigan to trippe and daunce,
 Whan that this knyght leyde hand upon his reyne,
 And seyde, "Sire, ther is namoore to seyne,
 But, whan yow list to ryden anywhere,
 Ye mooten trille a pyn, stant in his ere,
 Which I shal yow telle bitwix us two.
 Ye moote nempne hym to what place also,
 Or to what contree, that yow list to ryde.
320 And whan ye come ther as yow list abyde,
 Bidde hym descende, and trille another pyn,
 For therin lith th' effect of al the gyn,
 And he wol doun descende and doon youre wille,
 And in that place he wol abyde stille.
 Though al the world the contrarie hadde yswore,
 He shal nat thennes been ydrawe ne ybore.
 Or, if yow liste bidde hym thennes goon,
 Trille this pyn, and he wol vanysshe anoon
 Out of the sighte of every maner wight,
330 And come agayn, be it by day or nyght,
 Whan that yow list to clepen hym ageyn
 In swich a gyse as I shal to yow seyn
 Bitwixe yow and me, and that ful soone.
 Ride whan yow list; ther is namoore to doone."
 Enformed whan the kyng was of that knyght,
 And hath conceyved in his wit aright
 The manere and the forme of al this thyng,
 Ful glad and blithe, this noble doughty kyng
 Repeireth to his revel as biforn.
340 The brydel is unto the tour yborn
 And kept among his jueles leeve and deere.
 The hors vanysshed, I noot in what manere,
 Out of hir sighte; ye gete namoore of me.
 But thus I lete in lust and jolitee
 This Cambyuskan his lordes festeiynge
 Til wel ny the day bigan to sprynge.
 The norice of digestioun, the sleep,
 Gan on hem wynke and bad hem taken keep
 That muchel drynke and labour wolde han reste;
350 And with a galpyng mouth hem alle he keste,
 And seyde that it was tyme to lye adoun,
 For blood was in his domynacioun.
 "Cherisseth blood, natures freend," quod he.
 They thanken hym galpynge, by two, by thre,
 And every wight gan drawe hym to his reste,
 As sleep hem bad; they tooke it for the beste.
 Hire dremes shul nat now been toold for me;
 Ful were hire heddes of fumositee,
 That causeth dreem of which ther nys no charge.
360 They slepen til that it was pryme large,
 The mooste part, but it were Canacee.
 She was ful mesurable, as wommen be;
 For of hir fader hadde she take leve
 To goon to reste soone after it was eve.
 Hir liste nat appalled for to be,
 Ne on the morwe unfeestlich for to se,
 And slepte hire firste sleep, and thanne awook.
 For swich a joye she in hir herte took
 Bothe of hir queynte ryng and hire mirour,
370 That twenty tyme she changed hir colour;
 And in hire sleep, right for impressioun
 Of hire mirour, she hadde a visioun.
 Wherfore, er that the sonne gan up glyde,
 She cleped on hir maistresse hire bisyde,
 And seyde that hire liste for to ryse.
 Thise olde wommen that been gladly wyse,
 As is hire maistresse, answerde hire anon,
 And seyde, "Madame, whider wil ye goon
 Thus erly, for the folk been alle on reste?"
380 "I wol," quod she, "arise, for me leste
 Ne lenger for to slepe, and walke aboute."
 Hire maistresse clepeth wommen a greet route,
 And up they rysen, wel a ten or twelve;
 Up riseth fresshe Canacee hireselve,
 As rody and bright as dooth the yonge sonne,
 That in the Ram is foure degrees up ronne --
 Noon hyer was he whan she redy was --
 And forth she walketh esily a pas,
 Arrayed after the lusty seson soote
390 Lightly, for to pleye and walke on foote,
 Nat but with fyve or sixe of hir meynee;
 And in a trench forth in the park gooth she.
 The vapour which that fro the erthe glood
 Made the sonne to seme rody and brood;
 But nathelees it was so fair a sighte
 That it made alle hire hertes for to lighte,
 What for the seson and the morwenynge,
 And for the foweles that she herde synge.
 For right anon she wiste what they mente
400 Right by hir song, and knew al hire entente.
 The knotte why that every tale is toold,
 If it be taried til that lust be coold
 Of hem that han it after herkned yoore,
 The savour passeth ever lenger the moore,
 For fulsomnesse of his prolixitee;
 And by the same resoun, thynketh me,
 I sholde to the knotte condescende,
 And maken of hir walkyng soone an ende.
 Amydde a tree, for drye as whit as chalk,
410 As Canacee was pleyyng in hir walk,
 Ther sat a faucon over hire heed ful hye,
 That with a pitous voys so gan to crye
 That all the wode resouned of hire cry.
 Ybeten hadde she hirself so pitously
 With bothe hir wynges til the rede blood
 Ran endelong the tree ther-as she stood.
 And evere in oon she cryde alwey and shrighte,
 And with hir beek hirselven so she prighte
 That ther nys tygre, ne noon so crueel beest
420 That dwelleth outher in wode or in forest,
 That nolde han wept, if that he wepe koude,
 For sorwe of hire, she shrighte alwey so loude.
 For ther nas nevere yet no man on lyve,
 If that I koude a faucon wel discryve,
 That herde of swich another of fairnesse,
 As wel of plumage as of gentillesse
 Of shap, of al that myghte yrekened be.
 A faucon peregryn thanne semed she
 Of fremde land; and everemoore, as she stood,
430 She swowneth now and now for lak of blood,
 Til wel neigh is she fallen fro the tree.
 This faire kynges doghter, Canacee,
 That on hir fynger baar the queynte ryng,
 Thurgh which she understood wel every thyng
 That any fowel may in his leden seyn,
 And koude answeren hym in his ledene ageyn,
 Hath understonde what this faucon seyde,
 And wel neigh for the routhe almoost she deyde.
 And to the tree she gooth ful hastily,
440 And on this faukon looketh pitously,
 And heeld hir lappe abrood, for wel she wiste
 The faukon moste fallen fro the twiste,
 Whan that it swowned next, for lak of blood.
 A longe whil to wayten hire she stood
 Til atte laste she spak in this manere
 Unto the hauk, as ye shal after heere:
 "What is the cause, if it be for to telle,
 That ye be in this furial pyne of helle?"
 Quod Canacee unto this hauk above.
450 "Is this for sorwe of deeth or los of love?
 For, as I trowe, thise been causes two
 That causen moost a gentil herte wo;
 Of oother harm it nedeth nat to speke.
 For ye youreself upon yourself yow wreke,
 Which proveth wel that outher ire or drede
 Moot been enchesoun of youre cruel dede,
 Syn that I see noon oother wight yow chace.
 For love of God, as dooth youreselven grace,
 Or what may been youre help? For west nor est
460 Ne saugh I nevere er now no bryd ne beest
 That ferde with hymself so pitously.
 Ye sle me with youre sorwe verraily,
 I have of yow so greet compassioun.
 For Goddes love, com fro the tree adoun;
 And as I am a kynges doghter trewe,
 If that I verraily the cause knewe
 Of youre disese, if it lay in my myght,
 I wolde amenden it er that it were nyght,
 As wisly helpe me grete God of kynde!
470 And herbes shal I right ynowe yfynde
 To heel with youre hurtes hastily."
 Tho shrighte this faucon yet moore pitously
 Than ever she dide, and fil to grounde anon,
 And lith aswowne, deed and lyk a stoon,
 Til Canacee hath in hire lappe hire take
 Unto the tyme she gan of swough awake.
 And after that she of hir swough gan breyde,
 Right in hir haukes ledene thus she seyde:
 "That pitee renneth soone in gentil herte,
480 Feelynge his similitude in peynes smerte,
 Is preved alday, as men may it see,
 As wel by werk as by auctoritee;
 For gentil herte kitheth gentillesse.
 I se wel that ye han of my distresse
 Compassion, my faire Canacee,
 Of verray wommanly benignytee
 That Nature in youre principles hath set.
 But for noon hope for to fare the bet,
 But for to obeye unto youre herte free,
490 And for to maken othere be war by me,
 As by the whelp chasted is the leon,
 Right for that cause and that conclusion,
 Whil that I have a leyser and a space,
 Myn harm I wol confessen er I pace."
 And evere, whil that oon hir sorwe tolde,
 That oother weep as she to water wolde
 Til that the faucon bad hire to be stille,
 And, with a syk, right thus she seyde hir wille:
 "Ther I was bred -- allas, that ilke day! --
500 And fostred in a roche of marbul gray
 So tendrely that no thyng eyled me,
 I nyste nat what was adversitee
 Til I koude flee ful hye under the sky.
 Tho dwelte a tercelet me faste by,
 That semed welle of alle gentillesse;
 Al were he ful of treson and falsnesse,
 It was so wrapped under humble cheere,
 And under hewe of trouthe in swich manere,
 Under plesance, and under bisy peyne,
510 That no wight koude han wend he koude feyne,
 So depe in greyn he dyed his coloures.
 Right as a serpent hit hym under floures
 Til he may seen his tyme for to byte,
 Right so this god of loves ypocryte
 Dooth so his cerymonyes and obeisaunces,
 And kepeth in semblaunt alle his observaunces
 That sownen into gentillesse of love.
 As in a toumbe is al the faire above,
 And under is the corps, swich as ye woot,
520 Swich was this ypocrite, bothe coold and hoot.
 And in this wise he served his entente
 That, save the feend, noon wiste what he mente,
 Til he so longe hadde wopen and compleyned,
 And many a yeer his service to me feyned,
 Til that myn herte, to pitous and to nyce,
 Al innocent of his crouned malice,
 Forfered of his deeth, as thoughte me,
 Upon his othes and his seuretee,
 Graunted hym love, upon this condicioun,
530 That everemoore myn honour and renoun
 Were saved, bothe privee and apert;
 This is to seyn, that after his desert,
 I yaf hym al myn herte and al my thoght --
 God woot and he, that ootherwise noght --
 And took his herte in chaunge of myn for ay.
 But sooth is seyd, goon sithen many a day,
 `A trewe wight and a theef thenken nat oon.'
 And whan he saugh the thyng so fer ygoon
 That I hadde graunted hym fully my love
540 In swich a gyse as I have seyd above,
 And yeven hym my trewe herte as free
 As he swoor he yaf his herte to me,
 Anon this tigre, ful of doublenesse,
 Fil on his knees with so devout humblesse,
 With so heigh reverence, and, as by his cheere,
 So lyk a gentil lovere of manere,
 So ravysshed, as it semed, for the joye
 That nevere Jason ne Parys of Troye --
 Jason? certes, ne noon oother man
550 Syn Lameth was, that alderfirst bigan
 To loven two, as writen folk biforn --
 Ne nevere, syn the firste man was born,
 Ne koude man, by twenty thousand part,
 Countrefete the sophymes of his art,
 Ne were worthy unbokelen his galoche,
 Ther doublenesse or feynyng sholde approche,
 Ne so koude thonke a wight as he dide me!
 His manere was an hevene for to see
 Til any womman, were she never so wys,
560 So peynted he and kembde at point-devys
 As wel his wordes as his contenaunce.
 And I so loved hym for his obeisaunce,
 And for the trouthe I demed in his herte,
 That if so were that any thyng hym smerte,
 Al were it never so lite, and I it wiste,
 Me thoughte I felte deeth myn herte twiste.
 And shortly, so ferforth this thyng is went
 That my wyl was his willes instrument;
 This is to seyn, my wyl obeyed his wyl
570 In alle thyng, as fer as reson fil,
 Kepynge the boundes of my worshipe evere.
 Ne nevere hadde I thyng so lief, ne levere,
 As hym, God woot, ne nevere shal namo.
 "This laste lenger than a yeer or two,
 That I supposed of hym noght but good.
 But finally, thus atte laste it stood,
 That Fortune wolde that he moste twynne
 Out of that place which that I was inne.
 Wher me was wo, that is no questioun;
580 I kan nat make of it discripsioun.
 For o thyng dar I tellen boldely:
 I knowe what is the peyne of deeth therby;
 Swich harm I felte for he ne myghte bileve.
 So on a day of me he took his leve,
 So sorwefully eek that I wende verraily
 That he had felt as muche harm as I,
 Whan that I herde hym speke and saugh his hewe.
 But nathelees, I thoughte he was so trewe,
 And eek that he repaire sholde ageyn
590 Withinne a litel while, sooth to seyn;
 And resoun wolde eek that he moste go
 For his honour, as ofte it happeth so,
 That I made vertu of necessitee,
 And took it wel, syn that it moste be.
 As I best myghte, I hidde fro hym my sorwe,
 And took hym by the hond, Seint John to borwe,
 And seyde hym thus: `Lo, I am youres al;
 Beth swich as I to yow have been and shal.'
 What he answerde, it nedeth noght reherce;
600 Who kan sey bet than he, who kan do werse?
 Whan he hath al wel seyd, thanne hath he doon.
 `Therfore bihoveth hire a ful long spoon
 That shal ete with a feend,' thus herde I seye.
 So atte laste he moste forth his weye,
 And forth he fleeth til he cam ther hym leste.
 Whan it cam hym to purpos for to reste,
 I trowe he hadde thilke text in mynde,
 That `alle thyng, repeirynge to his kynde,
 Gladeth hymself;' thus seyn men, as I gesse.
610 Men loven of propre kynde newefangelnesse,
 As briddes doon that men in cages fede.
 For though thou nyght and day take of hem hede,
 And strawe hir cage faire and softe as silk,
 And yeve hem sugre, hony, breed and milk,
 Yet right anon as that his dore is uppe
 He with his feet wol spurne adoun his cuppe,
 And to the wode he wole and wormes ete;
 So newefangel been they of hire mete,
 And loven novelries of propre kynde,
620 No gentillesse of blood ne may hem bynde.
 "So ferde this tercelet, allas the day!
 Though he were gentil born, and fressh and gay,
 And goodlich for to seen, and humble and free,
 He saugh upon a tyme a kyte flee,
 And sodeynly he loved this kyte so
 That al his love is clene fro me ago,
 And hath his trouthe falsed in this wyse.
 Thus hath the kyte my love in hire servyse,
 And I am lorn withouten remedie!"
630 And with that word this faucon gan to crie
 And swowned eft in Canacees barm.
 Greet was the sorwe for the haukes harm
 That Canacee and alle hir wommen made;
 They nyste hou they myghte the faucon glade.
 But Canacee hom bereth hire in hir lappe,
 And softely in plastres gan hire wrappe,
 Ther as she with hire beek hadde hurt hirselve.
 Now kan nat Canacee but herbes delve
 Out of the ground, and make salves newe
640 Of herbes preciouse and fyne of hewe
 To heelen with this hauk. Fro day to nyght
 She dooth hire bisynesse and al hire myght,
 And by hire beddes heed she made a mewe
 And covered it with veluettes blewe,
 In signe of trouthe that is in wommen sene.
 And al withoute, the mewe is peynted grene,
 In which were peynted alle thise false fowles,
 As ben thise tidyves, tercelettes, and owles;
 Right for despit were peynted hem bisyde,
650 Pyes, on hem for to crie and chyde.
 Thus lete I Canacee hir hauk kepyng;
 I wol namoore as now speke of hir ryng
 Til it come eft to purpos for to seyn
 How that this faucon gat hire love ageyn
 Repentant, as the storie telleth us,
 By mediacion of Cambalus,
 The kynges sone, of which I yow tolde.
 But hennesforth I wol my proces holde
 To speken of aventures and of batailles
660 That nevere yet was herd so grete mervailles.
 First wol I telle yow of Cambyuskan,
 That in his tyme many a citee wan;
 And after wol I speke of Algarsif,
 How that he wan Theodora to his wif,
 For whom ful ofte in greet peril he was,
 Ne hadde he ben holpen by the steede of bras;
 And after wol I speke of Cambalo,
 That faught in lystes with the bretheren two
 For Canacee er that he myghte hire wynne.
670 And ther I lefte I wol ayeyn bigynne.
 Appollo whirleth up his chaar so hye
 Til that the god Mercurius hous, the slye --
 "In feith, Squier, thow hast thee wel yquit
 And gentilly. I preise wel thy wit,"
 Quod the Frankeleyn, "considerynge thy yowthe,
 So feelyngly thou spekest, sire, I allow the!
 As to my doom, ther is noon that is heere
 Of eloquence that shal be thy peere,
 If that thou lyve; God yeve thee good chaunce,
680 And in vertu sende thee continuaunce,
 For of thy speche I have greet deyntee.
 I have a sone, and by the Trinitee,
 I hadde levere than twenty pound worth lond,
 Though it right now were fallen in myn hond,
 He were a man of swich discrecioun
 As that ye been! Fy on possessioun,
 But if a man be vertuous withal!
 I have my sone snybbed, and yet shal,
 For he to vertu listeth nat entende;
690 But for to pleye at dees, and to despende
 And lese al that he hath is his usage.
 And he hath levere talken with a page
 Than to comune with any gentil wight
 Where he myghte lerne gentillesse aright."
 "Straw for youre gentillesse!" quod oure Hoost.
 "What, Frankeleyn! Pardee, sire, wel thou woost
 That ech of yow moot tellen atte leste
 A tale or two, or breken his biheste."
 "That knowe I wel, sire," quod the Frankeleyn.
700 "I prey yow, haveth me nat in desdeyn,
 Though to this man I speke a word or two."
 "Telle on thy tale withouten wordes mo."
 "Gladly, sire Hoost," quod he, "I wole obeye
 Unto your wyl; now herkneth what I seye.
 I wol yow nat contrarien in no wyse
 As fer as that my wittes wol suffyse.
 I prey to God that it may plesen yow;
 Thanne woot I wel that it is good ynow."

Next: The Franklin's Prologue