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Withoutin any subtilte
Of speche, or grete prolixyte
Of termis of philosophie,
Of figuris of poetrie,
Or colouris of rhetorike?
Perde it oughtin the to like,
For harde langage and harde matere
Is incombrous for the to here
At onis, wofte thou not wel this?
And I answerid and said, Yes.
Ah ha! (quod he) lo! so I can
Leudlye unto a leudè man
Yspeke, and shewin him soche skilles
That he maye hake 'hem by the bylles,
So palpable they shuldin be;
But tel me this nowe praye I the,
Howe thinketh the my conclufioun?
Parde a gode persuasioun
(Quod I) it is, and lyke to be,
Right so as thou haste provid me.
By God (quod he) and as I leve
Thou shalte have it or it be eve,
Of every worde of this sentence
A profe by thine experience,
And with thine eris herin wel
The coppe and taile, and every del,
That every worde that spokin is
Comith into Fame's House ywis
As I have saide ; what wilte thou more?
And with this worde uppir to sore
He began, and saide, By fainte Jame
Nowe wyll we spekin al of game.
Howe farest thou now? quod he to me.
Right wel, (quod I.) Now se (quod he)
By thy trouthè yondir adowne,
Where that thou knowift any towne
Or house, or any othir thinge,
And whan thou haste of ought knowynge
Tho lokith that thou warnè me,
And I anone íhal tellin the
How farre that thou arte nowe therfro.
And I adowne gan
And behelde feldis and plainis,
Nowe hyllis and nowe mountainis,
Nowe valeys and nowe forestis,
And nowe unnethis grete beftis,
Nowe riveris nowe citeis,
Nowe townis and nowe grete treis,
Nowe shippis sailinge in the fe;
But thus fone in a while he
Was flowin fro the grounde fo hye
That al the worlde, as to myne eye,
No more ysemid than a pricke,
Or ellis was the eyre fo thicke
That I ne might it not discerne;
With that he spake to me so yerne,
And said, Seist thou any token,
Or ought that in this worlde’s of spoken?
I answered Naye. No wondir is,
(Quod he) for halfe so hye as this
N'as Alexandre', of Macedon
Kynge, ne of Rome Dan Scipion,
That sawe in dreme at pointe devise
Heven and erthe, hel and paradise,
Ne eke the bold wretche Dædalus,
Ne yet his childe, nice Icarus,
That flewe so hiè that the hete
Hys wingis molte, and he fel wete
In mydde the se, and there he dreinte,
For whom was made a grete complainte.
Nowe tourne upwarde (quod he) thy face,
And beholde here this large place,
but loke that thou ne be
Adrad of 'hem that thou shalt se,
For in this regioun certaine
Dwellith many a citizeine,
Of whiche yspekith Dan Plato,
These ben the eyrishe bestis, lo!
And tho sawe I al the menye
and also flye.
Lo there! (quod he) cast up thine eye,
Se yondir, lo! the Galasie,
The whiche men clepe The Milky Way,
For it is white, and some parfay
Ycallin it han Watlynge strete,
That onis was brente with the hete,
Whan that the funn'is sonne the rede,
Which that hite Phaëton, wolde lede
Algate his fathir’s carte and gie.
The carte horlis
That he ne coude no govirnaunce,
And gonin for to lepe and praunce,
And bere him now up and nowe downe
Tyl that he sawe the Scorpiowne,
Whiche that in heven a signe is yit,
And he for fere ylofte his wit
Of that, and let the reinis
Of his horfis, and they anone
Sone up to mounte and downe difcende,
Tyl bothe the eyre and erthe ybrende,
Tyl Jupiter, lo! at the latte
Hym slewe, and fro the carte ycaste.
Lo! is it not a grete mischaunce
To let a fole bave govirnaunce
Of tbinges that he can not demaine?
And with this worde, sothe for to faine,
He gan alway uppir to fore,
And gladid me than more and more,
So faithfully to me spake he.
Tho gan I to loke undir me,
And behelde the eyrishe bestis
Cloudis, mystis, and tempistis,
Snowis, hailis, rainis, and windes,
And the engendringe in ther kindes,
Althe way thoroughe whiche I came;
O God! (quod I) that made Adame,
Moche is thy myght and noblenes!
And tho thought I upon Boece,
That writech a thought may flye so hic
With fethirs of philosophie
To paslin everyche element;
And when he hath so farre ywent
ben fene behinde his backe
Cloude, erthe, and al that I of spake.
I wexin in a were,
And said, I wote wel I am here,
But whether in body or in gost
I n'ot ywis, but God thou woft,
For a more clere entendement
N'as to me nevir yet ysent.
And than thought I on Marcian,
And eke of Anticlaudian,
That sothe was ther discripcion
Of al the hevin's region,
As farre as that I sawe the preve,
And therfore I can 'hem beleve.
With that the egle gan to crie,
Let be (quod he) thy fantasie:
Wylte thou lernin of sterris ought?
Nay, certainly, (quod I) right nought.