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Barouns and burgeis" / and bondages “alse" I saugh in that semble," / as ye schul heren aftur, Bakers, bochers, / and breusters" monye, Wollene-websteris,*/ and weveris of lynen, Taillours, tanneris, / and tokkeris" bothe, Masons, minours, / and mony other craftes, Dykers, and delvers, / that don heore dedes ille,” And driveth forth the longe day/with “Deu save Dam Emme!” Cookes and heare knaves */ cryen “Hote pies, hote! “Goode gees and grys "/ Go we dyne, go wel” Taverners to hem tolde / the same tale, Iod With wyn of Oseye */ and win of Gaskoyne, Of the Ryn" and of the Rochel, / the rost to defye,” Al this I saugh slepynge / and seve sithes” more...y

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THE FABLE OF BELLING THE CAT, From THE PROLOGUE (B-TEXT)

With that ran there a route */ of ratones” at ones," And smale mys” with hem" / mothen a thousande,

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And comen' to a conseille / for here * comune profit; For a cat of a courte / cam whan hym lyked, 149 And overlepe hem lyghtlich / and laughte” hem at his wille, And pleyde with hem perilouslych / and possed" hem aboute. “For doute" of dyverse dredes"/we darnoughte wel loke; And yif' we grucche * of his gamen"/ he wil greve us alle, Cracche" us, or clawe us / and in his cloches” holde, That us lotheth the lyf/or” he lete us passe. 155 Myghte we with any witte / his wille withstonde, We myghte be lordes aloft/and lyven at owreese.” A raton" of renon,” / most renable" of tonge, Seide for a sovereygne / help to hymselve: " — “I have y-sein" segges,”" quod he, / “in the cité of London Beren beighes” ful brighte/abouten here nekkes, And some colers of crafty werk; / uncoupled thei

wenden” 162 Both in wareine” and in waste / where hem leve lyketh;”

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To bugge” a belle of brasse / or of brighte sylver And knitten on a colere / for owre comune profit, And hangen it upon the cattes hals; * / than here * we mowen " Where" he ritt" or rest / or renneth * to playe. And yif him list for to laike,” / thenne loke we mowen, 17.2 And peren” in his presence / ther-while hym plaie liketh; * And yif him wrattheth,” be y-war / and his weye shonye.”” Alle this route of ratones / to this reson thei assented. 175 Ac tho” the belle wasy-bought / and on the beighe hanged,

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PIERS THE PLOWMAN 27

Therne was ratoun in alle the route, / for alle the rewme' of Fraunce, That dorst have y-bounden the belle / aboute the cattis nekke, - Nehangen it aboute the cattes hals / al Engelond

to wynne; And helden hem unhardy”/ and here conseille feble, 18o And leten” here laboure lost / and alle here longe studye. A mous that moche good / couthe," as me thoughte,

Stroke forth sternly / and stode biforn hem alle, And to the route of ratones / reherced these

wordes: — “Though we culled * the catte / yut" sholde ther come another 185

To cracchy us and al owre kynde, / though we croupe' under benches. For-thi” I conseille alle the comune / to lat the catte worthe,” And be we never so bolde / the belle hym to shewe; For I herde my sire seyn,”/ is sevene yere y

p There" the catte is a kitoun / the courte is ful elyng; * 190 That witnisseth Holi-write, /who-so wil it rede, Ve terre ubi puer rex est,” &c. For may no renke “there rest have / for ratones bi nyghte. The while he caccheth conynges */ he coveiteth nought owre caroyne," But fet” hym al with venesoun,” / defame we hym nevere. For better is a litel losse / than a longe sorwe, The mase” amonge us alle / though we mysse” a shrewe.” 196 For many mannes malt / we mys wolde destruye, And also ye route * of ratones/rende mennes

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TROILUS AND CRISEYDE

“I have herd told, pardieux, of your livinge,
Ye lovers, and your lewede' observaunces,
And which * a labour folk han” in winninge
Of love, and, in the keping which "doutaunces;"
And whan your preye is lost, wo and penaunces;
Overrey foles! nyce" and blinde be ye; 2O2
Ther nis" not oon can war' by other be.”

And with that word he gan cast up the browe,
Ascaunces,” “Lo! is this nought wysly spoken?”
At which the god of love gan loken rowe" 206
Right for despyt, and shoop" for to ben wroken;"
He kidde” anoon his bowe nas not broken;
For sodeynly he hit him at the fulle; —
And yet as proud a pekok can he pulle!” 210
O blinde world, O blinde entencioun “
How ofte falleth al theffect" contraire
Of surquidrye " and foul presumpcioun;
For caught is proud, and caught is debonaire.
This Troilus is clomben on the staire,
And litel weneth that he moot descenden.
But al-day” falleth thing that foles newenden.”

215

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29 But as she sat allone and thoughte thus, 6Io Thascry' aroos at skarmish al with-oute, And men cryde in the strete, “See, Troilus Hath right now put to flight the Grekes route 1”? With that gan al hir meynee * for to shoute, “All go we see, caste up the latis" wyde; For thurgh this strete he moot to palays ryde;

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And with that thought, for pure a-shamed," she Gan in hir heed to pulle, and that as faste, Whyl he and al the peple for-by paste.

And gan to caste and rollen up and doun
With-inne hir thought his excellent prowesse, 660
And his estat, and also his renoun,
His wit, his shap, and eek his gentillesse;
But most hir favour was for * his distresse
Was al for hir, and thoughte it was a routhe *
To sleen * swich oon, if that he mente trouthe.
Now mighte some envyous jangle thus, 666
“This was a sodeyn love, how mighte it be
That she so lightly lovede Troilus
Right for the firste sighte; ye, pardee?”
Now who-so seyeth so, mote " he never thee!"
For everything, a ginning 'hath it nede
Eral be wrought, with-outen any drede.

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