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For certainly, I say for no bobance,

For that I rent out of his book a lefe, Yet was I never without purveance

That of the stroke myn ere wex al defe. Of mariage, ne of other thinges eke:

Stibborn I was, as is a leonesse, I hold a mouses wit not worth a leke,

And of my tonge a veray jangleresse, That hath but on hole for to sterten to,

And walk I wold, as I had don beforn, And if that faille, than is all ydo.

Fro house to house, although he had it sworn : “ I bare him on hond, he hath enchanted me; For which he oftentimes wolde preche, (My dame taughte me that subtiltee)

And me of olde Romaine gestes teche. And eke I sayd, I mette of him all night,

“ How he Sulpitius Gallus left his wif, He wold han slain me, as I lay upright,

And hire forsoke for terme of all his lif, -And all my bed was full of veray blood;

Not but for open-heded he hire say But yet I hope that ye shuln do me good :

Loking out at his dore upon a day. For blood betokeneth gold, as me was taught.

“ Another Romaine told he me by name, And al was false, I dremed of him right naught; That, for his wif was at a sommer game But as I folwed ay my dames lore,

Without his weting, he forsoke hire eke. As wel of that as other thinges more.

“ And than wold he upon his Bible seke “ But now, sire, let me sec, what shall I sain ? That ilke proverbe of Ecclesiaste, A ha, by God I have my tale again.

Wher he commandeth, and forbedeth faste, Whan that my fourthe husbonde was on bere, Man shal not suffer his wife go roule about. I wept algate and made a sory chere,

“ Than wold he say right thus withouten doute : As wives moten, for it is the usage;

· Who so that bildeth his house all of salwes, And with my coverchefe covered my visage ; And pricketh his blind hors over the falwes, But, for that I was purveyed of a make,

And suffereth his wif to go seken halwes, I wept but smal, and that I undertake.

Is worthy to be honged on the galwes.' To chirche was myn husbond born a-morwe

“But all for nought, I sette not an hawe With neigheboures that for him maden sowre, Of his proverbes, ne of his olde sawe ; And Jankin oure clerk was on of tho :

Ne I wold not of him corrected be. As helpe me God, whan that I saw him go

I hate hem that my vices tellen me, After the bere, me thought he had a paire

And so do mo of us (God wote) than I. Of legges and of feet, so clene and faire,

This made him wood with me all utterly ; That all my herte I yave unto his hold.

I n'olde not forbere him in no cas. He was, I trow, a twenty winter old,

“Now wol I say you soth by Seint Thomas, And I was fourty, if I shal say soth,

Why that I rent of his book a lefe, But yet I had alway a coltes toth.

For which he smote me, so that I was defe. Gat-tothed I was, and that became me wele,

“ He had a book, that gladly night and day I had the print of seinte Venus sele.

For his disport he wolde it rede alway,
As helpe me God, I was a lusty on,

He cleped it Valerie, and Theophrast,
And faire, and riche, and yonge, and wel begon : And with that book he lough alway ful fast.
And trewely, as min husbondes tolden me,

And eke ther was a clerk somtime at Rome,
I had the beste queint that mighte be.

A cardinal, that highte Seint Jerome, For certes I am all venerian

That made a book against Jovinian, In feling, and my herte is marcian :

Which book was ther, and eke Tertullian, Venus me yave my lust and likerousnesse,

Crisippus, Tortula, and Helowis, And Mars yave me my sturdy hardinesse.

That was abbesse not fer fro Paris; Min ascendent was Taure, and Mars therinne: And eke the paraboles of Salomon, Alas, alas, that ever love was sinne!

Ovides art, and bourdes many on; I folwed ay min inclination

And alle thise .were bonden in o volumc. By vertue of my constellation :

And every night and day was his custume That made me that I coude nat withdraw

(Whan he had leiser and vacation My chambre of Venus from a good felaw.

From other worldly occupation) Yet have I Martes merke upon my face,

To reden in this book of wikked wives. And also in another privee place.

ļe knew of hem mo legendes and mo lives, For God so wisly be my salvation,

Than ben of goode wives in the Bible. I loved never by no discresion,

“ For trusteth wel, it is an impossible, But ever folwed min appetit,

That any clerk wol spoken good of wives, All were he shorte, longe, blake, or white,

(But if it be of holy seintes lives) I toke no kepe, so that he liked me,

Ne of non other woman never the mo. How poure he was, ne eke of what degree.

Who peinted the leon, telleth me, who? “What shuld I saye? but at the monthes ende By God, if wimmen hadden written stories, This jolly clerk Jankin, that was so hende,

As clerkes han, within hir oratories, Hath wedded me with gret solempnitee,

They wol have writ of men more wikkednesse And to him yave I all the lond and fee,

Than all the merke of Adam may redresse. That ever was me yeven therbefore :

The children of Mercury and of Venus But afterward repented me ful sore.

Ben in hir werking ful contrarious. He n'olde suffre nothing of my list.

Mercury loveth wisdom and science, By God he smote me ones with his fist,

And Venus loveth riot and dispence.

And for hir divers disposition,

Som han hem yeven poison in hir drink : Eche falleth in others exaltation.

He spake more harm than herte may bethinke. As thus, God wote, Mercury is desolat

" And therwithall he knew of mo proverbes, In Pisces, wher Venus is exaltat,

Than in this world their growen gras or herbes. And Venus falleth wher Mercury is reised.

66 " Bet is' (quod he thin habitation Therfore no woman of no clerk is preised.

Be with a leon, or a foule dragon,
The clerk whan he is old, and may nought do Than with a woman using for to chide.
Of Venus werkes not worth his old sho,

Bet is' (quod he) • high in the roof abide, Than siteth he doun, and writeth in his dotage, Than with an angry woman doun in the hous, That wimmen cannot kepe hir mariage.

They ben so wikked and contrarious : But now to purpos, why I tolde thee,

They haten, that hir husbonds loven ay.' That I was beten for a book parde.

“He sayd, a woman cast hire shame away, “ Upon a night Jankin, that was our sire,

Whan she cast of hire smock; and furthermo, Red on his book, as he sate by the fire,

A faire woman, but she be chast also, Of Eva first, that for hire wikkednesse

Is like a gold ring in a sowes nose. Was all mankind brought to wretchedness,

“ Who coude wene, or who coude suppose For which that Jesu Crist himself was slain,

The wo that in min herte was, and the pine ? That bought us with his herte-blood again.

And whan I saw he n'olde never fine
“ Lo here expresse of wimmen may ye find, To reden on this cursed book all night,
That woman was the losse of all mankind.

Al sodenly three leves have I plight
“ Tho redde he me how Sampson lost his heres Out of his book, right as he redde, and eke
Sleping, his lemman kitte hem with hire sheres, I with my fist so toke him on the cheke,
Thurgh whiche treson lost he both his eyen.

That in oure fire he fell bakward adoun. “ Tho redde he me, if that I shal not lien, And he up sterte, as doth a wood leoun, Of Hercules, and of his Deianire,

And with his fist he smote me on the hed, That caused him to set himself a-fire.

That in the flore I lay as I were ded. “ Nothing forgat he the care and the wo,

And whan he saw how stille that I lay, That Socrates had with his wives two;

He was agast, and wold have fled away, How Xantippa cast pisse upon his hed.

Til at the last out of my swough I brayde. This sely man sat still, as he were ded,

• O, hast thou slain me, false theef ?' I sayde, He wiped his hed, no more dorst he sain,

And for my lond thus hast thou mordered me ? But, er the thonder stint, ther cometh rain.

Er I be ded, yet wol I kissen thee.' “Of Clitemnestra for hire lecherie

And nere he came, and kneled faire adoun, That falsely made hire husbond for to die,

And sayde ; ‘Dere suster Alisoun, He redde it with ful good devotion.

As helpe me God I shall thee never smite: “ He told me eke, for what occasion

That I have don it is thyself to wite, Amphiorax at Thebes lost his lif:

Foryeve it me, and that I thee beseke.' My husbond had a legend of his wif

And yet eftsones I hitte him on the cheke, Eriphile, that for an ouche of gold

And sayde; “Theef, thus much am I awreke, Hath prively unto the Grekes told,

Now wol I die, I may no longer speke.' Wher that hire husbond hidde him in a place,

“ But at the last with mochel care and wo For which he had at Thebes sory grace.

We fell accorded by ourselven two: “ Of Lima told he me, and of Lucie :

He yaf me all the bridel in min hond They bothe made hir husbondes for to die,

To han the governance of hous and lond, That on for love, that other was for hate,

And of his tonge, and of his hond also, Lima hire husbond on an even late

And made him brenne his book anon right tho. Empoysoned hath, for that she was his fo:

“ And whan that I had getten unto me Lucia likerous loved hir husbond so,

By maistrie all the soverainetee, That for he shuld away upon her thinke,

And that he sayd, “Min owen trewe wif, She yave him swiche a maner love-drinke,

Do as thee list, the terme of all thy lif, That he was ded er it was by the morwe:

Kepe thin honour, and kepe eke min estat ;' And thus algates husbondes hadden sorwe.

After that day we never had debat. * Than told he me, how on Latumeus

God helpe me so; I was to him as kinde, Complained to his felaw Arius,

As any wif fro Denmark unto Inde. That in his garden growed swiche a tree,

Ard al so trewe, and so was he to me: On which he said how that his wives three

I pray to God that sit in majestee Honged hemself for hertes despitous.

So blisse his soule ; for his mercy dere. O leve brother,' quod this Arius,

Now wol I say my tale if ye wol here." Yeve me a plant of thilke blessed tree,

The Frere lough whan he herd all this: And in my gardin planted shal it be.'

“ Now dame" (quod he), “so have I joye and bliss, * Of later date of wives hath he redde,

This is a long preamble of a tale." That som had slain hir husbonds in hir bedde, And whan the Sompnour herd the Frere gale, And let hir lechour dight hem all the night, “Lo” (quod this Sompnour)“ Goddes armes two, While that the corps lay in the flore upright: A frere wol entermit him evermo: And som han driven nailes in hir brain,

Lo, goode men, a flie and eke a frere While that they slepe, and thus they han hem slain : Wol fall in every dish and eke matere.



What spekest thou of preambulatioun ?
What ? amble or trot; or pees, or go sit doun:
Thou lettest our disport in this matere.'

“Ye, wolt thou so, sire Sompnour?" quod the Frere; “ Now by my faith I shal, er that I go, Tell of a sompnour swiche a tale or two, That all the folk shal laughen in this place."

“ Now elles, Frere, I wol beshrewe thy face," (Quod this Sompnour)“ and I beshrewe me, But if I telle tales two or three

Of freres, or I come to Sidenborne,
That I shal make thin herte for to morne :
For wel I wot thy patience is gon.”

Our Hoste cried ; “ Pees, and that anon;"
And sayde; “ Let the woman tell hire tale.
Ye fare as folk that dronken ben of ale.
Do, dame, tell forth your tale, and that is best.”

“Alredy, sire" (quod she), “right as you lest, If I have licence of this worthy frere."

“Yes, dame” (quod he), “tell forth, and I wol here."


And as the newe-abashed nightingale,
That stinteth first whan she beginneth sing,
Whan that she heareth any herdes tale,
Or in the hedges any wight stirring,
And after sicker doth her voice outring ;
Right so Creseide whan her dred stent
Opened her hart and told him her intent.

But right as floures through the cold night
Inclosed stoupen in hir stalke lowe,
Redressen hem ayen the Sunne bright,
And spreden in hir kindlie course by rowe;
Right so began his eyen up to throw
This Troilus, and seth, “7 Venus dere,
Thy might, thy grace, yheried be it here.”
But right as when the Sunne shineth bright
In Marche that changeth ofttimes his face,
And that a cloud is put with winde to flight
Which oversprad the Sunne, as for a space
A cloudy thought gan through her soule to pace,
That oversprad her bright thoughts all,
So that for fear almost she gan to fall.

Have ye not seen sometyme a pale face
(Emong a prees) of hem that hath been lad
Toward his deth, wher as him get no grace,
And soch a colour in his face hath had
That men might know his face that was bestad
Emonges all the faces in that rout;
So standeth Custance, and loketh her about.

SPENSER-A.D. 1553-1598.

UNA AND THE REDCROSS KNIGHT. And angry Jove an hideous storm of rain

Did pour into his leman's lap so fast,
A GENTLE knight was pricking on the plain, That every wight to shroud it did constrain,
Yelad in mighty arms and silver shield,

And this fair couple eke to shroud themselves were fain.
Wherein old dints of deep wounds did remain,
The cruel marks of many a bloody field;

Enforc'd to seek some covert nigh at hand, Yet arms till that time did he never wield :

A shady grove not far away they spied, His angry steed did chide his foaming bit,

That promis'd aid the tempest to withstand ; As much disdaining to the curb to yield :

Whose lofty trees, yclad with summer's pride, Full jolly knight he seem'd, and fair did sit, Did spread so broad, they heaven's light did hide, As one for knightly jousts and fierce encounters fit. Not pierceable with power of any star :

And all within were paths and alleys wide, But on his breast a bloody cross he bore,

With footing worn, and leading inward far : The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,

Fair harbour, that them seems; so in they entred are. For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore, And dead (as living) ever him ador'd:

And forth they pass, with pleasure forward led, Upon his shield the like was also scor'd,

Joying to hear the birds' sweet harmony, For sovereign hope, which in his help he had : Which therein shrouded from the tempest's dread, Right faithful true he was in deed and word ; Seem'd in their song to scorn the cruel sky. But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad :

Much can they praise the trees so strait and high, Yet nothing did he dread ; but ever was ydrad. The sailing Pine, the Cedar proud and tall,

The vine-prop Elm, the Poplar never dry, Upon a great adventure he was bound,

The builder Oak, sole king of forests all, That greatest Gloriana to him gave,

The Aspin good for staves, the Cypress funeral, That greatest glorious queen of fairy lond, To win him worship, and her grace to have,

The Laurel, meed of mighty conquerors Which of all earthly things he most did crave; And poets sage, the Fir that weepeth still, And ever as he rode, his heart did yearn

The Willow, worn of forlorn paramours, To prove his puissance in battle brave

The Yew, obedient to the bender's will, Upon his foe, and his new force to learn ;

The Birch for shafts, the Sallow for the mill, Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern.

The Myrrh sweet bleeding in the bitter wound,

The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill, A lovely lady rode him fair beside,

The fruitful Olive, and the Plantain round, Upon a lowly ass more white than snow;

The carver Holme, the Maple seldom inward sound : Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide Under a veil, that wimpled was full low,

Led with delight, they thus beguile the way, And over all a black stole she did throw,

Untill the blustering storm is overblown, As one that inly mourn'd: so was she sad,

When, weening to return, whence they did stray, And heavy sat upon her palfrey slow;

They cannot find that path which first was shown, Seemed in heart some hidden care she had,

But wander to and fro in ways unknown, And by her in a line a milk white lamb she led. Furthest from end then, when they nearest ween,

That makes them doubt their wits be not their own : So pure an innocent, as that same lamb,

So many paths, so many turnings seen, She was in life and every virtuous lore,

That which of them to take, in divers doubt they been. And by descent from royal lineage came Of ancient kings and queens, that had of yore

THE CHARIOT OF PRIDE DRAWN BY Their sceptres stretcht from east to western shore,

And all the world in their subjection held ;
Till that infernal fiend with foul uproar

SUDDEN upriseth from her stately place
Forewasted all their land and them expellid : The royal dame, and for her coach doth call :
Whom to avenge, she had this knight from far com- All hurlen forth, and she with princely pace,

(pell’d. (As fair Aurora in her purple pall, Behind her far away a dwarf did lag,

Out of the East the dawning day doth call) That lazy seem'd in being ever last,

So forth she comes : her brightness broad doth blaze. Or wearied with bearing of her bag

The heaps of people, thronging in the hall,
Of needments at his back. Thus as they past Do ride each other, upon her to gaze :
The day with clouds was sudden overcast,

Her glorious glittering light doth all men's eyes amaze.


So forth she comes, and to her coach does climb, And a dry dropsy through his flesh did flow;
Adorned all with gold, and garlands gay,

Which by misdiet daily greater grew:
That seem'd as fresh as Flora in her prime, Such one was Gluttony, the second of that crew.
And strove to match, in royal rich array,
Great Juno's golden chair, the which they say And next to him rode lustful Lechery,
The Gods stand gazing on, when she does ride Upon a bearded goat, whose rugged hair
To Jove's high house through heaven's brass-pav'd And whaly eyes (the sign of jealousy)
Drawn of fair peacocks, that excel in pride, [way, Was like the person's self, whom he did bear:
And full of Argus eyes their tails disspreaden wide. Who rough, and black, and filthy did appear,

Unseemly man to please fair Lady's eye; But this was drawn of six unequal beasts,

Yet he of Ladies oft was loved dear, On which her six sage counsellors did ride,

When fairer faces were bid standen by: Taught to obey their bestial behests,

O! who does know the bent of women's fantasie ? With like conditions to their kinds applied : Of which the first, that all the rest did guide, In a green gown he clothed was full fair, Was sluggish Idleness, the nurse of sin;

Which underneath did hide his filthiness, Upon a slothful ass he chose to ride,

And in his hand a burning heart he bare, Array'd in habit black, and amice thin,

Full of vain follies, and new-fangleness : Like to an holy monk, the service to begin.

For he was false, and fraught with fickleness,

And learned had to love with secret looks, And in his hand his portice still he bare,

And well could dance and sing with ruefulness, That much was worn, but therein little read : And fortunes tell, and read in loving books, For of devotion he had little care,

And thousand other ways to bait his fleshly hooks. Still drown'd in sleep, and most of his days dead ; Scarce could he once uphold his heavy head, Inconstant man, that loved all he saw, To looken whether it were night or day.

And lusted after all that he did love, May seem the wain was very evil led,

Nor would his looser life be tied to law, When such an one had guiding of the way, But joy'd weak women's hearts to tempt and prove, That knew not, whether right he went, or else astray. If from their loyal loves he might them move;

Which lewdness fill'd him with reproachful pain From worldly cares he did himself essoine,

Of that foul evil, which all men reprove, And greatly shunned manly exercise:

That rots the marrow, and consumes the brain : From every work he challenged essoine,

Such one was Lechery, the third of all this train. For contemplation-sake: yet otherwise, His life he led in lawless riotise,

And greedy Avarice by him did ride, By which he grew to grievous malady ;

Upon a camel loaden all with gold; For in his listless limbs through evil guise

Two iron coffers hung on either side, A shaking fever reign'd continually ;

With precious metal full as they might hold, Such one was Idleness, first of this company. And in his lap an heap of coin he told;

For of his wicked pelf his God he made, And by his side rode loathsome Gluttony,

And unto hell himself for money sold ; Deformed creature, on a filthy swine;

Accursed usury was all his trade, His belly was up-blown with luxury,

And right and wrong alike in equal balance weigh'd.
And eke with fatness swollen were his eyne:
And like a crane his neck was long and fine, His life was nigh unto death's door yplac'd,
With which he swallowed up excessive feast, And threadbare coat, and cobbled shoes he ware,
For want whereof poor people oft did pine ;

Nor scarce good morsel all his life did taste,
But both from back and belly still did spare,
To fill his bags, and riches to compare ;

Yet child or kinsman living had he none
In green vine leaves he was right fitly clad ; To leave them to; but thorough daily care
For other clothes he could not wear for heat,

To get, and nightly fear to lose his own,
And on his head an ivy garland had,

He led a wretched life unto himself unknown.
From under which fast trickled down the sweat.
Still as he rode, he somewhat still did eat,

Most wretched wight, whom nothing might suffice, And in his hand did bear a boozing can,

Whose greedy lust did lack in greatest store, Of which he supt so oft, that on his seat

Whose need had end, but no end covetise, His drunken corse he scarce upholden can;

Whose wealth was want, whose plenty made him poor, In shape and life more like a monster, than a man. Who had enough, yet wished evermore ;

A vile disease, and eke in foot and hand Unfit he was for any worldly thing,

A grievous gout tormented him full sore, And eka unable once to stir or go;

That weh he could not touch, nor go, nor stand; Not meet to be of counsel to a king,

Such one was Avarice, the fourth of this fair band. Whose mind in meat and drink was drowned so, That from his friend he seldom knew his foe : And next to him malicious Envy rode Full of diseases was his carcase blue,

Upon a ravenous wolf, and still did chaw


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