« PreviousContinue »
Of yeddinges' he bare utterly the pris.
His nekke was white as the four de lis.
Therto he strong was as a champioun,
And knew wel the tavèrnes in every toun,
And every hosteler and gay tapstère,
Better than a lazar or a beggère,
For unto swiche a worthy man as he
Accordeth nought, as by his facultè,
To haven with sike lazars acquaintance,
It is not honest, it may not avance,
As for to delen with no swiche pouràille,
But all with riche, and sellers of vitàille.
And over all, ther as profit shuld arise,
Curteis he was, and lowly of servise.
Ther n'as no man no wher so vertuous.
He was the beste beggèr'in all his hous:
And gave a certain fermè' for the grant,
Non of his bretheren came in his haunt.
For though a widewe haddè but a shoo,
(So plesant was his in principio)
Yet wold he have a ferthing or he went.
His pourchas' was wel better than his rent.
And rage he coude as it hadde ben a whelp,
In lovèdayes, there coude he mochel help.
For ther was he nat like a cloisterere,
With thredbare cope, as is a poure scholere,
But he was like a maister or a pope.
Of double worsted was his semicope,'
That round was as a belle out of the presse.
Somewhat he lisped for his wantonnesse,
To make his English swete upon his tongue;
And in his harping, whan that he hadde songe
His eyen twinkeled in his hed aright,
As don the sterrès in a frosty night.
This worthy limitour was cleped Hubèrd. · Story-telling.
A Clerk there was of Oxenforde alsò, That unto logike hadde long ygo. As lenè was his hors as is a rake, And he was not right fat, I undertake; But loked holwe,' and thereto soberly. Ful thredbare was his overest courtepy," For he hadde geten him yet no benefice, Ne was nought worldly to have an officè. For him was lever han at his beddes hed A twenty bokes, clothed in black and red, Of Aristotle, and his philosophie, Than robès riche, or fidel, or sautrie. But all be that he was a philosophre, Yet haddè he but litel gold in cofre, But all that he might of his frendès hente' On bokès and on lerning he it spente, And besily gan for the soulès praie Of hem, that yave him wherwith to scolaie.' Of studie toke he mostè cure and hede. Not a word spake he morè than was nede; And that was said in forme and reverence, And short and quike, and ful of high sentènce. Souning in moral vertue was his speche, And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.
A good man there was of religioun,
That was a pourè Persone of a toun :
But riche he was of holy thought and werk.
He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
That Cristès gospel trewely woldè preche.
His parishens devoutly wolde he teche.
Benigne he was, and wonder diligent,
And in adversite ful patient:
And swiche he was ypreved' often sithes.'
Ful loth were him to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven' out of doute,
Unto his pourè parishens aboute,
Of his offring, and eke of his substance.
He coulde in litel thing have suffisance.
Wide was his parish, and houses fer asоnder,
But he ne left nought for no rain ne thonder,
In sickėnesse and in mischief to visite
The ferrest in his parish, moche and lite,
Upon his fete, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his shepe he yaf,
That first he wrought and afterwards he taught.
Out of the gospel he the wordès caught,
And this figure he added yet thereto,
That if golde rustè, what shuld iren do?
For if a preest be foule, on whom we trust,
No wonder is a lewèd man to rust:
Wel ought a preest ensample for to yeve,
By his clenenessè, how his shepe shuld live.
He sette not his benefice to hire,
And lette his shepe accombred in the mire,
And ran unto London, unto Seinte Poules,
To seeken him a chanterie for soules,
Or with a brotherhede to be withold:
But dwelt at home, and keptè wel his fold,
So that the wolfe ne made it not miscarie.
He was a shepherd, and no mercenarie.
And though he holy were, and vertuous,
He was to sinful men not dispitous,
Ne of his spechè dangerous ne digne,
But in his teching discrete and benigne.
To drawen folk to heven, with fairènesse,
good ensample, was his besinesse :
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were, of highe or low estat,
Him wolde he snibben' sharply for the nonès.
A better preest I trowe that nowher’ non is.
He waited after no pompe ne reverence,
Ne maked him no spiced conscience,
But Cristès lore, and his apostles twelve,
He taught, but first he folwed it himselve.
With him ther rode a gentil Pardonere
Of Rouncevall, his friend and his compere,
That streit was comen from the court of Rome.
Ful loude he sang, Come hither, love, to me.
The Sompnour bare to him a stiff burdoun,
Was never trompe of half so gret a soun.
This pardoner had here as yelwe as wax,
But smoth it henge, as doth a strike of flax :
By unces' heng his lokkes that he hadde,
And therwith he his shulders overspradde.
Ful thinne it lay, by culpons" on and on,
But hode, for jolite, ne wered he non,
For it was trussed up in his wallet.
Him thought he rode al of the newe get,
Dishevele, sauf his cappe, he rode all bare.
Swiche glaring eyen hadde he, as an hare.
A vernicle hadde he sewed upon his cappe.
His wallet lay beforne him in his lappe,
Bret-ful" of pardon come from Rome al hote.
A vois he hadde, as smale as hath a gote.
No berd hadde he, ne never non shulde have,
As smothe it was as it were newe shave.
But of his craft, fro Berwike unto Ware, Ne was ther swiche an other pardonere. For in his male' he hadde a pilwebere, Which, as he saide, was Our Ladies veil : He said, he hadde a gobbet of the seyl Thatte seinte Peter had, whan that he went Upon the see, till Jesu Crist him hent." He had a crois of latono ful of stones, And in a glas he hadde pigges bones. But with these relikes, whanne that he fond A A poure Persone dwelling up on lond, Upon a day he gat him more moneie Than that the Persone gat in monethes tweie. And thus with fained flattering and japes, He made the Persone, and the peple, his apes.
But trewely to tellen atte last, He was in chirche a noble ecclesiast. Wel coude he rede a lesson or a storie, But alderbest' he sang an offertorie: For well he wiste, when that song was songe, He muste preche, and wel afile" his tonge, To winne silver, as he right wel coude : Therefore he sang the merrier and loude.