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Almost fulfilled is
17330 I pray to God so
him right good chance That telleth us this Tale luftily.
Sire Preest, quod he, art thou a vicary, Or art thou a person? say foth by thy fay. Be what thou be ne breke thou not our play, 17335 For every man save thou hath told his Tale. Uubokel, and shew uis what is in thy male; For trewely me thinketh by thy chere Thou íhuldest knitte up wel a gret matere. Teil us a fable anon, for cockes bones.
17340 'This Person him answered al at ones; 'Thou getest fable non ytold for me, For Poule, that writeth unto Timothe, Repreveth hem that weiven fothfastnesse, And tellen fühles and swiche wretchednesse. 17345 Why shuld I sowen draf out of my fist Whan I may sowen whete if that me lift? For which I say, if that you list to here Moralitee and vertuous matere, And than that ye wol yeve me audience, 17350 I wold ful sain at Cristes reverence Don you piesance leful, as i can; But truftech wel iam a fotherne man; I cannot geite, rom, ram, ruf, by my letter,
V.17354. I cannot 324, 701, 7.2m, ruf] This is plainly a con. ten;tus manner of describing alliterative poetry; and the Persoo's prefatory declaration that“ he is a fotllerne man," would lead o!le to imagine tharcopotitions in that ity le were at this time chiefy confined to the northern provinces. It was observed long ago by Tidian of 111!
mbury, l. iji. Pontif: Angl. at the language of the north of England was so haril and un
And, God wote, rime hold I but litel better: 17355 And therfore if you lift, I wol not glose,
polished as to be scarce intelligible to a southern man.
propter vinciniam barbararum gentium, et propter remotio
nem regum quondam Anglorum modo Normanorum con"tigit, qui magis ad Auflrum quam ad Aquilonem diversati “nofcuntur.” From tlie fame causes we may presume that it was often long before the improvements in the poetical art which from time to time were made in the south could find their
way into the north, so that there the hobbling alliterative verse might ftill be in the highest requcft even after Chaucer had established the use of the heroick metre in this part of the island. Dr. Percy has quoted an alliterative poem by a Chethire man on the battle of Flodden in 1513, and he has remarked " that all such poets as used this kind of metre retained along " witis it many peculiar Saxon idioms.” Fjayon Merre of P.P. This may perhaps have been owing to their being generally inhabitants of the northern counties, where the old Saxon idioin underwent much fewer and flower alterations than it did in the neighbourhood of the capital.---- To gesle here is to relate jests. In ver. 13861 lie has called it to telle in geste. Both para sages seem to imply that gejies were chietly written in allitera. tive verse, but the latter passage more strongly than this. After the Hoft has told Chaucer that he ihall no longer rime he goes on
Let see wher thou can tellen ought in: see,
Or tellen in proje som what at the lefte. Gifte there seems to be put for a species of composition which was neither rhyme nor prose, and what that could be except alliterative metre I cannot guess. At the same time I must own that I know no other patlage which authorizes the interpretation of geste in this confined lente. In the H. of F. ii. 114, Chaucer speaks of himself as making
bokes, fonges, ditecs,
In rime, or elles in carmce where cadence, I think, mult mean a fpecies of poetical composition distinct froin rhyming verses. The name might be pro
I wol you tell a litel Tale in prose
But natheles this meditacion
17370 That I wol fanden to correction.
Upon this word we han assented fone; For as us femed it was for to don, To enden in som vertuous sentence, And for to yeve him space and audience, 7375 And hade our Hofte he fiulde to him say That alle we to tell kis Tale him pray.
Our Hoñc had the wordes for us alle: Sire Preelt, quod he, now faire you befalle; perly enough applied to the metre usid in the Ormurun, See the Fluir, C'ü. 11. 52,] but no work of Chaucer in any such metre, without rhyme, has come within my observation.
N.17378. nad the wordes] This is a French phrase: it is appolier! to the Speaker of the Commons in ROI Parl.51, E. III. 11.87.; " Monf. Thomas de Hungerford, Chivaler, qiyiniz "tes Incles purles Communes d'Angleterre en cott Pitle" meilt," ECO
Say what you list, and we shul gladly here.
THE PERSONES TALE. Our swete Lord God of heven, that no man wel per rish, but wol that we comen all to the knowleching of him, and to the hlisful lif that is pardurable, amone. fteth us by the prophet Jeremie, that fayth in this wise, Stondeth upon the wayes, and seeth and axeth of the olde pathes, that is to say, of olde sentences, which is the good way, and walketh in that way, and ye shul finde refreshing for your soules. Many ben the wayes fpirituel that leden folk to our Lord Jesu Crist and to the regne of glory, of which wayes ther is a ful noble way, and welcovenable, which may not faille to man ne to woman that thurgh sinne hath misyon fro the right way of Jerusalem celestial, and this way is cleped Penance, of which man fhuld gladly herken and enqueren with all his herte, to wete what is penance, and whennes it is cleped penance, and how many maacres ben of actions or werkings of penance, and how
The Persones Tale] Jerein. vi. ;“ State super vias, et videte, many spices ther ben of penance, and which thinges apnerteinen and behoven to penance, and which thinge's distroublen penance.
et interrogate de femitis antiquis, quz fit via bona, et ambu"late in eâ : et invenietis refrigerium animabus veftris.” L'rry'.
Seint Amigose fayth that penance is the plaining of man for the gilt that he hath don, and no more to do any thing for which him ought to plaine: and som doctour fayth, Penance is the waymenting of man that forwoth for his finne, and peineth himself for he hath mildon. Penance with certain circumstances is veray repentance of man, that holdeth himself in sorwe and other peine for his giltęs; and for he shal be veräy penitenthe Malfirft bewailen the finnes that he hath dofi, and itedfatty purposen in his herte to have shrift of mouth, and to don satisfaâion, and never to don thing for which him ought more to bewayle or complaine, and to continue in good werkes, or elles his repentance may not availe : for, as Seint Ifidor fayth, He is a japer and a gabber, and not very repentant, that eftfones Goth thing for which him oweth to repent. Weping, and not for to stint to do sinne, may not availe. But natheles men fhuld hope that at every time that man falleth, be it never so oft, that he may arise thurgh penance, if he have grace; but certain it is gret doute; for, as faith Seint Gregorie, Unnethes ariseth he out of finne that is charged with the charge of evil usage: and therfore repentant folk, chat stint for to finne, and forlete finne or that finne forlete hem *, holy chirche
* forlete finne or that finne forlute bem] The Came thought