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This gentle cock, for solace of his life, Six misses had, beside his lawful wife; Scandal, that spares no king, though ne'er so good, Says, they were all of his own flesh and blood; His sisters, both by sire and mother's side, And sure their likeness shewed them near allied. But make the worst, the monarch did no more, Than all the Ptolemys had done before ; When incest is for interest of a nation, 'Tis made no sin by holy dispensation. Some lines have been maintained by this alone, Which by their common ugliness are known.

But passing this as from our tale apart, Dame Partlet * was the sovereign of his heart; Ardent in love, outrageous in his play, He feathered her a hundred times a day; And she, that was not only passing fair, But was withal discreet, and debonair, Resolved the passive doctrine to fulfil, Though loth, and let him work his wicked will: At board and bed was affable and kind, According as their marriage-vow did bind, And as the church's precept had enjoined. Even since she was a se'nnight old, they say, Was chaste and humble to her dying day, Nor chick nor hen was known to disobey.

By this her husband's heart she did obtain; What cannot beauty, joined with virtue, gain! She was his only joy, and he her pride, She, when he walked, went pecking by his side;


* Partlet, or Perthelot, as the proper name of a hen, is a word of difficult and dubious etymology. Ruddiman, in his Glossary to Douglas's Virgil, gives several derivations; the most plausible is that which brings it from Partlet, an old word signifying a woman's ruff,

If, spurning up the ground, he sprung a corn,
The tribute in his bill to her was borne.
But oh! what joy it was to hear him sing
In summer, when the day began to spring,
Stretching his neck, and warbling in his throat,
Solus cum sola, then was all his note.
For in the days of yore, the birds of parts
Were bred to speak, and sing, and learn the liberal

It happ'd that perching on the parlour-beam,
Amidst his wives, he had a deadly dream,
Just at the dawn; and sighed, and groaned so fast,
As every breath he drew would be his last.
Dame Partlet, ever nearest to his side,
Heard all his piteous moan, and how he cried
For help from Gods and men; and sore aghast
She pecked and pulled, and wakened him at last.
Dear heart, said she, for love of heaven declare
Your pain, and make me partner of your care.
You groan, Sir, ever since the morning-light,
As something had disturbed your noble sprite.

And, madam, well I might, said Chanticleer, Never was shrovetide-cock in such a fear. Even still I run all over in a sweat, My princely senses not recovered yet. For such a dream I had of dire portent, That much I fear my body will be shent: It bodes I shall have wars and woeful strife, Or in a loathsome dungeon end my life. Know, dame, I dreamt within my troubled breast, That in our yard I saw a murderous beast, That on my body would have made arrest. With waking eyes I ne'er beheld his fellow; His colour was betwixt a red and yellow : Tipped was his tail, and both his pricking ears, With black, and much unlike his other hairs;

e thou a beardned,

The rest, in shape a beagle's whelp throughout
With broader forehead, and a sharper snout:
Deep in his front were sunk his glowing eyes,
That yet, methinks, I see him with surprise.
Reach out your hand, I drop with clammy sweat,
And lay it to my heart, and feel it beat. --
Now fie for shame! quoth she; by heaven above,
Thou hast for ever lost thy lady's love.
No woman can endure a recreant knight;
He must be bold by day, and free by night:
Our sex desires a husband or a friend,
Who can our honour and his own defend;
Wise, hardy, secret, liberal of his purse;
A fool is nauseous, but a coward worse:
No bragging coxcomb, yet no baffled knight,
How dar'st thou talk of love, and dar’st not fight?
How dar’st thou tell thy dame thou art affeared ?
Hast thou no manly heart, and hast a beard?

If aught from fearful dreams may be divined,
They signify a cock of dunghill kind.
All dreams, as in old Galen I have read,
Are from repletion and complexion bred;
From rising fumes of indigested food,
And noxious humours that infect the blood :
And sure, my lord, if I can read aright,
These foolish fancies, you have had to-night,
Are certain symptoms (in the canting style)
Of boiling choler, and abounding bile;
This yellow gall, that in your stomach floats,
Engenders all these visionary thoughts.
When choler overflows, then dreams are bred
Of flames, and all the family of red;
Red dragons, and red beasts, in sleep we view,
For humours are distinguished by their hue.
From hence we dream of wars and warlike things,
And wasps and hornets with their double wings.

Choler adust congeals our blood with fear, Then black bulls toss us, and black devils tear. In sanguine airy dreams aloft we bound; With rheums oppressed, we sink in rivers drowned.

More I could say, but thus conclude my theme, The dominating humour makes the dream. Cato was in his time accounted wise, And he condemns them all for empty lies. + Take my advice, and when we fly to ground, With laxatives preserve your body sound, And purge the peccant humours that abound. I should be loth to lay you on a bier; And though there lives no 'pothecary near, I dare for once prescribe for your disease, And save long bills, and a damned doctor's fees. .

Two sovereign herbs, which I by practice know, And both at hand, (for in our yard they grow,) , On peril of my soul shall rid you wholly Of yellow choler, and of melancholy: You must both purge and vomit; but obey, And for the love of heaven make no delay. Since hot and dry in your complexion join, Beware the sun when in a vernal sign; For when he mounts exalted in the Ram, If then he finds your body in a flame, Replete with choler, I dare lay a groat, . A tertian ague is at least your lot. Perhaps a fever (which the Gods forefend) May bring your youth to some untimely end; And therefore, sir, as you desire to live, A day or two before your laxative,

† Among the distiches ascribed to Cato, we do in fact find one to that purpose :

Somnia ne cures ---Lib. ii. distich 32.

Take just three worms, nor under nor above,
Because the Gods unequal numbers love.
These digestives prepare you for your purge;
Of fumetery, centaury, and spurge,
And of ground-ivy add a leaf, or two,
All which within our yard or garden grow.
Eat these, and be, my lord, of better cheer;
Your father's son was never born to fear.

Madam, quoth he, gramercy for your care,
But Cato, whom you quoted, you may spare.
'Tis true, a wise and worthy man he seems,
And (as you say) gave no belief to dreams;
But other men of more authority,
And, by the immortal powers, as wise as he,
Maintain, with sounder sense, that dreams forebode;
For Homer plainly says they come from God.
Nor Cato said it; but some modern fool
Imposed in Cato's name on boys at school.
- Believe me, madam, morning dreams foreshow
The events of things, and future weal or woe:
Some truths are not by reason to be tried,
But we have sure experience for our guide.
An ancient author, f equal with the best,
Relates this tale of dreams among the rest.

Two friends or brothers, with devout intent,
On some far pilgrimage together went.
It happened so, that, when the sun was down,
They just arrived by twilight at a town;
That day had been the baiting of a bull,
'Twas at a feast, and every inn so full,
That no void room in chamber, or on ground,
And but one sorry bed was to be found;

+ Cicero, who tells both the following stories in his treatise De Divinatione, lib. i. cap. 27. Chaucer has reversed their order, and added many picturesque circumstances.

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