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And on the Monday, whan it drew to night,
He shette his dore, withouten candel light,
And dressed all thing as it shulde bee.
And shortly up they clomben alle three.
They sitten stille wel a furlong way.
Now, Pater noster, clum, said Nicholay,
And clum, quod John, and clum, said Alison :
This carpenter said his devotion,
And still he sit, and biddeth his praiere,
Awaiting on the rain, if he it here.
The dede slepe, for wery besinesse,
Fell on this carpenter, right as I gesse,
Abouten curfew-time, or litel more.
For travaille of his gost he groneth sore,
And eft he routeth, for his hed mislay.
Doun of the ladder stalketh Nicholay,
And Alison ful soft adoun hire spedde.
Withouten wordes mo they went to bedde,
Ther as the carpenter was wont to lie;
Ther was the revel, and the melodie.
And thus lith Alison, and Nicholas,
In besinesse of mirthe and in solas,
Til that the bell of laudes gan to ring,
And freres in the chancel gon to sing.
This parish clerk, this amorous Absolon,
That is for love alway so wo-begon,
Upon the Monday was at Osenay
With compagnie, him to disport and play;
And asked upon cas a cloisterer
Ful prively after John the carpenter;
And he drew him apart out of the chirche.
He said, I n'ot; I saw him not here wirche
Sith Saturday; I trow that he be went
For timbre, ther our abbot hath him sent.
For he is wont for timbre for to go,
And dwellen at the Grange a day or two:
Or elles he is at his hous certain.
Wher that he be, I cannot sothly sain.
This Absolon ful joly was and light,
And thoughte, now is time to wake al night,
For sikerly, I saw him nat stiring
About his dore, sin day began to spring.
So mote I thrive, I shal at cockes crow
Ful prively go knocke at his window,
That stant ful low upon his boures wall:
To Alison wol I now tellen all
My love-longing; for yet I shall not misse,
That at the leste way I shal hire kisse.
Some maner comfort shal I have parfay,
My mouth hath itched all this longe day:
That is a signe of kissing at the leste.
All night me mette eke, I was at a feste.
Therfore I wol go slepe an houre or twey,
And all the night than wol I wake and pley.
Whan that the firste cock hath crowe, anon Up rist this joly lover Absolon, And him arayeth gay, at point devise. But first he cheweth grein and licorise, To smellen sote, or he had spoke with here. Under his tonge a trewe love he bere, For therby wend he to ben gracious. He cometh to the carpenteres hous, And still he stant under the shot window; Unto his brest it raught, it was so low; And soft he cougheth with a semisoun.
What do ye honycombe, swete Alisoun? My faire bird, my swete sinamome, Awaketh, lemman min, and speketh to me.
Ful litel thinken ye upon my wo,
That for your love I swete ther as I go.
No wonder is though that I swelte and swete.
I mourne as doth a lamb after the tete.
Ywis, lemman, I have swiche love-longing,
That like a turtel trewe is my mourning.
I may not ete no more than a maid.
Go fro the window, jacke fool, she said:
As helpe me God, it wol not be, compame.
I love another, or elles I were to blame,
Wel bet than thee by Jesu, Absolon.
Go forth thy way, or I wol cast a ston;
And let me slepe; a twenty divel way, .
Alas! (quod Absolon) and wala wa!
That trewe love was ever so yvel besette:
Than kisse me, sin that it may
be no bette, For Jesus love, and for the love of me.
Wilt thou than go thy way therwith? quod she. Ya certes, lemman, quod this Absolon. Than make thee redy, (quod she) I come anon,
This Absolon doun set him on his knees, And saide; I am a lord at all degrees: For after this I hope ther cometh more; Lemman, thy grace, and, swete bird, thyn ore.
The window she undoth, and that in haste. Have don,(quod she)come of, and spede thee faste, Lest that our neigheboures thee espie.
This Absolon gan wipe his mouth ful drie.
Derke was the night, as pitch or as the cole,
And at the window she put out hire hole,
And Absolon him felle ne bet ne wers,
But with his mouth he kist hire naked ers
Ful savorly, er he was ware of this.
Abak he sterte, and thought it was amis,
For wel he wist a woman hath no berd.
He felt a thing all rowe, and long yherd,
And saide; fy, alas! what have I do?
Te he, quod she, and clapt the window to; And Absolon goth forth a sory pas.
A berd, a berd, said hendy Nicholas; By goddes corpus, this goth faire and wel.
This sely Absolon herd every del, And on his lippe he gan
anger And to himself he said, I shal thee quite. Who rubbeth now, who froteth now his lippes With dust, with sond, with straw, with cloth,
But Absolon? that saith full oft, alas!
My soule betake I unto Sathanas,
But me were lever than all this toun (quod he)
Of this despit awroken for to be.
Alas! alas! that I ne had yblent.
His hote love is cold, and all yqueint.
For fro that time that he had kist hire ers,
Of paramours ne raught he not a kers,
For he was heled of his maladie;
And wepe as doth a child that is ybete.
he went him over the strete
Until a smith, men callen dan Gerveis,
That in his forge smithed plow-harneis;
He sharpeth share and cultre besily.
This Absolon knocketh all esily,
And said; Undo, Gerveis, and that anon.
What, who art thou? It am I Absolon.
What? Absolon, what? Cristes swete tre,
Why rise ye so rath? ey benedicite,
What eileth you? some gay girle, God it wote,
Hath brought you thus upon the viretote:
By Seint Neote, ye wote wel what I mene.
This Absolon ne raughte not a bene
Of all his play; no word again he yaf.
He hadde more tawe on his distaf
Than Gerveis knew, and saide; Frend so dere,
That hote culter in the cheminee here
As lene it me, I have therwith to don:
I wol it bring again to thee ful sone.
Gerveis answered; Certes, were it gold,
Or in a poke nobles all untold,
Thou shuldest it have, as I am trewe smith.
Ey, Cristes foot, what wol ye don therwith?
Therof, quod Absolon, be as be may;
I shal wel tellen thee another day:
And caught the culter by the colde stele.
Ful soft out at the dore he gan to stele,
And went unto the carpenteres wall.
He coughed first, and knocked therwithall
Upon the window, right as he did er.
This Alison answered; Who is ther
That knocketh so? I warrant him a thefe.
Nay, nay, (quod he) God wot, my swete lefe, I am thin Absolon, thy dereling. Of gold (quod he) I have thee brought a ring, My mother
it me, so God me save, Ful fine it is, and therto wel ygrave: This wol I yeven thee, if thou me kisse.
This Nicholas was risen for to pisse,
And thought he wolde amenden all the jape,
He shulde kisse his ers er that he scape:
And up the window did he hastily, ,
And out his ers he putteth prively