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His pourchas was wel better than his rent.
And rage he coude as it hadde ben a whelp;
In lovedayes, ther coude he mochel help.
For ther was he nat like a cloisterere,
With thredbare cope, as is a poure scolere,
But he was like a maister or a pope.
Of double worsted was his semicope,
That round was as a belle out of the presse.
Somwhat he lisped for his wantonnesse,
To make his English swete upon his tonge;
And in his harping, whan that he hadde songe,
His eyen twinkeled in his hed aright,
As don the sterres in a frosty night.
This worthy limitour was cleped Huberd.
A MARCHANT was ther with a forked berd,
In mottelee, and highe on hors he sat,
And on his hed a Flaundrish bever hat.
His botes clapsed fayre and fetisly.
His resons spake he ful solempnely,
Souning alway the encrese of his winning.
He wold the see were kept for any thing
Betwixen Middelburgh and Orewell.
Wel coud he in eschanges sheldes selle.
This worthy man ful wel his wit besette;
Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
So stedefastly didde he his governance,
With his bargeines, and with his chevisance.'
Forsothe he was a worthy man withalle,
But soth to sayn, I n'ot how men him calle.
A CLERK ther was of Oxenforde also,
That unto logike hadde long ygo.'
As lene was his hors as is a rake,
And he was not right fat, I undertake;
But loked holwe, and therto soberly.
Ful thredbare was his overest courtepy,'
For he hadde geten him yet no benefice,
Ne was nought worldly to have an office.
For him was lever han at his beedes hed
A twenty bokes, clothed in black or red,
Of Aristotle, and his philosophie,
Than robes riche, or fidel, or sautrie.
But all be that he was a philosophre,
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre,
But all that he might of his frendes hente,
On bokes and on lerning he it spente,
And besily gan for the soules praie
Of hem, that yave him wherwith to scolaie.3
Of studie toke he moste cure and hede,
Not a word spake he more than was nede;
And that was said in forme and reverence,
And short and quike, and ful of high sentence.
Souning in moral vertue was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.
A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE ware and wise,
That often hadde yben at the paruis,*
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discrete he was, and of gret reverence:
He semed swiche, his wordes were so wise,
3 To attend College.
2 Would rather have.
4 Church porch, where lawyers often met.
Justice he was ful often in assise,
By patent, and by pleine commissioun ;
For his science, and for his high renoun,
Of fees and robes had he many on.
So grete a pourchasour was nowher non.
All was fee simple to him in effect,
His pourchasing might not ben in suspect.
Nowher so besy a man as he ther n'as,
And yet he semed besier than he was.
In termes hadde he cas and domes' alle,
That fro the time of king Will. weren falle.
Therto he coude endite, and make a thing,
Ther coude no wight pinche at his writing.
And every statute coude he plaine by rote.
He rode but homely in a medlee cote,
Girt with a seint of silk, with barres smale;
Of his array tell I no lenger tale.
A FRANKELEIN was in this compagnie; White was his berd, as is the dayesie. Of his complexion he was sanguin. Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in win. To liven in delit was ever his wone,
For he was Epicures owen sone,
That held opinion, that plein delit
Was veraily felicite parfite.
An housholder, and that a grete was he;
Seint Julian he was in his contree,
I Dooms, judgments.
His brede, his ale, was alway after on;
A better envyned' man was no wher non.
Withouten bake mete never was his hous,
Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous,
It snewed in his hous of mete and drinke,
Of alle deintees that men coud of thinke,
After the sondry sesons of the yere,
So changed he his mete and his soupere.
Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in mewe,
And many a breme, and many a luce in stewe.
Wo was his coke, but if his sauce were
Poinant and sharpe, and redy all his gere.
His table dormant in his halle alway
Stode redy covered alle the longe day.
At sessions ther was he lord and sire.
Ful often time he was knight of the shire-
An anelace and a gipciere' all of silk,
Heng at his girdel, white as morwe milk.
A shereve hadde he ben, and a countour.
Was no wher swiche a worthy vavasour.
An HABERDASHER, and a CARPENTER, A WEBBE, a DEYER, and a TAPISER, Were alle yclothed in o livere
Of a solempne and grete fraternite.
Ful freshe and newe hir gere ypiked was.
Hir knives were ychaped not with bras,
1 Stored with wine.
4 Kind of knife.