The people upstert, and cast the cart to ground,
And in the middès of the dung they found
The deade man that murd'red was all new.
O blissful God, Thou art full just and true!
Lo how Thou bèwrayest murder all-day!
Murder will out-certes it is no nay.
Murder is so vlatsome and abominable
To God, that is so just and reasonable,
That he ne would not suffre it hilèd be.
Though it abide a year, or two or three,
Murder will out—this is my conclusioun.
And right anon the ministers of that toun
Han hent the carter; and so sore him pined,
And eke the hosteller so sore engined,
That they beknew here wickedness anon,
And were anhongèd by the necke-bone. —
Here may men see that dreames ben to dread:
And certes in the same took I read,
Right in the next chapitre after this
(I gabbe nought, so have I joy or bliss),
Two men that would have passed over sea
For certain causes into fer countrie,
If that the wind ne hadde been contrary,
That made hem in a city for to tarry,
That stood full merry upon an haven-side.
But on a day, again the eventide,
The wind gan change, and blew right as hem lest.
Jolyf and glad they wenten unto rest,
And casten hem full early for to sail.
But to that one man fell a great mervail.
That one of hem, in his sleeping as he lay,
Him mett a wonder dream again the day.
Him thought a man stood by his bedde's side,
And him commanded that he should abide,
And said him thus: 'If thou tomorwè wend,
Thou shalt be dreynt:6 my tale is at an end.'
He woke, and told his felaw what he mett,
And praydè him his viage to let:
As for that day he prayed him for to abide.
His felaw, that lay by his bedde's side,
Gan for to laugh, and scorned him full fast.
'No dream,'quod he, 'may so mine hearte ghast
That I will lette for to do my things.
I sette not a straw by thy dreamings,
For swevens ben but vanities and japes.
Men dream all day of owles and of apes,
And eke of many a mazė? therewithall:

1 Loathsome. 5 Confessed.

2 Equitable.

3 Hidden. 6 Drenched, drowned.

4 Racked, tortured. 7 Wild fancy,


Men dream of thinges that never be shall.
But, sith I see that thou wilt here abide,
And thus forslouthe1 wilfully thy tide,
God wot it rueth me—and have good day.'
And thus he took his leave, and went his way.
But, ere he hadde half his course ysailed
Noot I nought why, ne what mischance it ailed-
But casually the shippe's bottom rent ;
And ship and man under the water went
In sight of other shippes there-beside
That with him sailed at the same tide.
And therefore, faire Pertilote so dear,
By such ensamples olde maistou lear
That no man shoulde be too rechëless
Of dreames : for 1 say thee doubteless
That many a dream full sore is for to dread.
Lo! in the Life of Saint Kenelm I read
(That was Kenulphus' son, the noble King
Of Merkenricka) how Kenelm mett a thing.
A little or he was murd’red, upon a day,
His murdre in his avisïon he sey.
His norice him expounèd every del
His sweven, and bad him for to keep him well
For traison : but he nas but seven year old,
And therefore little tale hath he told
Of any dream, so holy was his hert.
By God, I hadde liever than my shirt

ye had rad his legend, as have I.-
Dame Pertilote, I say you truely,
Macrobius, that writ the avision
In Afric of the worthy Scipion,
Affirmeth dreames, and saith that they been
Warning of thinges that men after seen.
And furthermore I pray you looketh well
In the Old Testament, of Daniel,
If he huld dreames any vanity.
Read eke of Joseph, and there shall ye see
Whether dreams ben sometime (I say nought all)
Warning of thinges that shul after fall.
Look of Egỹpt the King, Daun Pharao,
His baker and his botteler also,
Whether they felte none effect in dreams.
Whoso wol seek actes of sundry rames
May read of dreames many a wonder thing.
Lo Croesus which that was of Lydes King,

Mett he not that he sat upon a tree, 1 Neglect, miss.

2. Mercia.' Kenelm, succeeding to the throne in childhood, was murdered by order of his aunt, Quenedreda. 3 Little account did he take.

4 Realms.

Which signified he should hanged be?
Lo her Andromachia, Ector's wife,
That day that Ector shoulde lese his life,
She dreamed on the same night beforn
How that the life of Ector should be lorn
If thilke day he wenté to battail.
She warned him, but it might nought avail :
He wente forth to fighte natheless,
And he was slain anon of Achilles.
But thilkè tale is all too long to tell :-
And eke it is nigh day—I may not dwell.
Shortly I say, as for conclusion,
That I shall have, of this avisïon,
Adversity : and I say furthermore
That I ne tell of laxatifs no store,
For they ben venemous, I wot it well :
I hem defy-I love hem never a del.-
Now let us speak of mirth, and let all this.
Madame Pertilote, so have I bliss,
Of o thing God hath me sent large grace :
For, whan I see the beauty of your face,
Ye been so scarlet-hue about your eyen
It maketh all my dreade for to dien;
For, all so sicker as in principio,
Mulier est hominis confusio :
Madam, the sentence of this Latin is,
Woman is manne's joy and manne's bliss.
For, whan I feel anight your softe side
(Albeit that I may not on you ride,
For that your perch is made so narrow, alas !)
I am so full of joy and of solas
That I defye both sweven and dream."
And with that word he fley doun fro the beam
(For it was day), and eke his hennes all ;
And with a chuck he gan hem for to call,
For he had found a corn lay in the yerd.
Reäl he was, he was no more afeard.
He feathered Pertiloté twenty time,
And trad as ofte, ere that it was prime.
He looketh as it were a grim lioun;
And on his toen he roameth up and doun,-
Him deigned not to set his foot to ground.
He chucketh whan he hath a corn yfound,
And to him rennen than his wives all.
Thus, rëal as a prince is in his hall,
Leave I this Chanticleer in his pastúre :
And after wol I tell his aventure.
Whan that the month in which the world began,
That hightè March, whan God makèd first man,
Was complete, and ypassèd were also,
Sin' March began, tway months and dayes two,
Befell that Chanticleer in all his pride,
His seven wives walking by his side,


to the brighte sun,
That in the sign of Taurus had yrun
Twenty degrees and one, and somewhat more :
He knew by kind, and by none other lore,
That it was prime, and crew with blissful steven."
"The sun,” he said, “is clomben up on heaven
Twenty degrees and one, and more, I wis.
Madamè Pertilote, my worlde's bliss,
Hearkeneth these blissful briddès how they sing,
And seeth these freshe flourès how they spring :
Full is mine heart of revel and solàce."
But suddenly him fell a sorrowful case,
For ever the latter end of joy is woe.
God wot that worldly joy is soon ago:
And, if a rhethor2 couthé fair indite,
He in a chronique saufly might it write
As for a sovereign notability.
Now every wise man let him hearkne me.
This story is all so true, I undertake,
As is the book of Lancelot the Lake,
That woman huld in full gret reverence.
Now wol I turn again to my sentence.
A cole-fox,3 full sly of iniquity,
That in the grove had wonnèd yeares three,
By high imagination forncast,
The same nighte thurgh the hedge brast
Into the yard there Chanticleer the fair
Was wont, and eke his wivès, to repair :
And in a bed of wortes 4 still he lay
Till it was passed undern of the day,
Waiting his time on Chanticleer to fall;
As gladly doon these homicidès all
That in awaite lien to murder men.
O falsè murd'rer lurking in thy den!
O newe Scariot, newe Ğenilon !
False dissimulor, O Greek Sinòn
That broughtest Troy all utterly to sorrow !

O Chanticleer, accursèd be the morrow 1 Voice,

2 Rhetorician. 3 The word "cole," used as a compound with other words, is a term of opprobrium. 4 Cabbages.

That thou into the yard flew fro the beams !
Thou werè full well warned by thy dreams
That thilkė day was perilous to thee !
But what that God forewot must needes be,
After the opinion of certain clerkes.
Witness on him that any parfit clerk is
That in school is gret altercation
In this matteer, and gret disputeson,
And hath been of an hundred-thousand men,
But yet I cannot bult it to the bren,?
As can the holy doctor Augustin,
Or Boece, or the bishop Bradwardin,
Whether that Goddes worthy foreweeting
Straineth me needly for to do a thing
(“Needly” clepe I simple necessity) ;
Or elles if free choice be granted me
To do that same thing or to do it nought,
Though God forewot it ere that it was wrought,
Or, of his witting, straineth never a deal
But by necessity conditionel.
I wol not have to do of such matteer.
My tale is of a cock, as ye shall hear,
That took his counsel of his wife with sorrow
To walken in the yard upon the morrow
That he had mett the dreame that I told.
Women's counseilės been full ofte cold :
Womane's counseil brought us first to woe,
And made Adám fro paradise to go,
Thereas he was full merry and well at ease.
But, for I not to whom it might displease
If I counseil of woman wouldè blame,
Pass over, for I said it in my game.
Read auctours where they treat of such matteer,
And what they sayn of women ye may hear.
These been the cocke's wordes, and not mine :
I can none harme of woman divine.

Fair in the sond, to bathe her merrily,
Li’th Pertilote, and all her susters by,
Again the sun: and Chanticleer so free
Sang merrier than the meermaid in the sea
For Physiologus 3 saith sickerly
How that they singen well and merrily.
And so befell that, as he cast his eye
Among the wortes on a butterfly,
He was ware of this fox that lay full low.
Nothing ne list him thannè for to crow;

2 Sand. 1 Bolt (sift) it to the bran. 3 A popular metrical Latin treatise on the nature of animals.

« ElőzőTovább »