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And right so,” quod this raton, “reson me sheweth To bugge a belle of brasse or of brighte sylver And knitten on a colere for owne comune profit,
And hangen it upon the cattes hals;” than here 3 we mowen " Where * he ritt 6 or rest or renneth 7 to playe. And yif him list for to laike,” we mowen, And peren 9 in his presence plaie liketh; " And yif him wrattheth," be y-war weye shonye.” ” Alle this route of ratones assented. I 75 Ac tho o the belle was y-bought and on the beighe hanged, Ther ne was ratoun in alle the route, the rewme 14 of Fraunce, That dorst have y-bounden the belle aboute the cattis nekke, Ne hangen it aboute the cattes hals, al Engelond to wynne; And helden hem unhardy 1" and here conseille feble, 18O And leten" here laboure lost and alle here longe studye. A mous that moche good couthe," as me
172 ther—while hym and his
to this reson thei
And right so,” said this rat then, “reason doth counsel To buy a bell of brass or of bright silver And clasp on a collar for our common profit, And knit it round the cat's neck; we know clearly Whether he rides or rests or runs to disport him. And if he pleases to play then may we press forward, 172 And appear in his presence while playing him pleases; And if wrathful he be, then beware and his way shun well.” All this rabble of rats to this reasoning assented. - I75 But when the bell had been bought and bound on the collar, There was no rat in all the rout the realm of France, Durst have bound that same bell about the cat's neck there, Nor have hung it about his head,
all England; And found themselves fearful, and of feeble
that, for all
For may no renke 1 there rest have for For rest there may no man reap for rats in ratones bi nyghte.
the night-time. The while he caccheth conynges ? he coveiteth While that he catcheth conies he coveteth nought owre caroyne,
not our carcases, But fet * hym al with venesoun, defame But feeds him all with venison, defame we we hym nevere.
him never. For better is a litel losse than a longe sorwe, For better is a little loss than a long sorrow, The mase 6 amonge us alle though we The maze among us all though we miss one mysse ? a shrewe.8
196 For many mannes malt we mys wolde For many a man's malt we mice would destruye,
destroy, And also ye route ' of ratones rende mennes And also ye rabble of rats would rend men's clothes,
clothing Nere 10 that cat of that courte that can yow But for that cat of that court that can overoverlepe;
leap you; For had ye rattes yowre wille, ye couthe 11 For had ye rats your will, ye could not rule nought reule 12 yowre-selve.
your own selves.
200 I sey for me," quod the mous, “I se so I say for me," said that mouse, “I see so mykel 13 after,
much after, Shal never the cat ne the kitoun bi my Shall never the cat nor the kitten by my conseille be greved,
counsel be grieved, Ne carpyng 14 of this coler that costed 15 me Nor chatter of this collar that cost me nothnevre.
ing. And though it had coste mecatel,16 biknowen! And though it had cost me cash, confess it it I nolde,18
I would not, But suffre as hym-self wolde to do as hym But suffer him as himself would to do as liketh,
doth please him,
205 Coupled and uncoupled to cacche what thei Coupled and uncoupled to catch all they are mowe. 19
able. For-thi uche 20 a wise wighte I warne wite 21
Therefore every wise wight I warn to watch wel his owne."
well his havings." What this meteles 22 bemeneth,23 ye men What the mystery means now, ye men that be merye,
that are merry, Devine ye, for I ne dar, 24 bi dere God in Divine ye, for I dare not, by dear God of hevene !
SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE? (D. 1371)
FROM CHAP. IV
And from Ephesim Men gon 25 throghe many And from Ephesus men go through many Iles in the See, unto the Cytee of Paterane, isles in the sea unto the city of Pateran, where where Seynt Nicholas was born, and so to St. Nicholas was born, and so to Martha, Martha, where he was chosen to ben 26 Bis- where he was chosen to be bishop; and there schoppe; and there growethe right gode Wyn groweth right good wine and strong; and and strong; and that Men callen Wyn of men call it Wine of Martha. And from Martha. And from thens 27 gon Men to the thence go men to the isle of Crete, which the Ile of Crete, that the Emperour yaf 28 som Emperor gave formerly to the Genoese. And
1 man, person 2 rabbits 3 flesh feeds 5 game 16 property 17 confess 18 would not 19 may 20 each & confusion ? get rid of 8 tyrant crowd
were 21 keep 22 dream 23 means dare not 25 go it not for 11 could 12 rule 13 much 14 talking 15 cost
27 thence 28 gave
tyme 1 to Janeweys. And thanne passen then men pass through the isles of Colos and Men thorghe the Isles of Colos and of Lango; Lango; of the which isles Hippocrates was of the whiche Iles Ypocras was Lord offe. lord. And some men say that in the isle of And some Men seyn, that in the Ile of Lango Lango is yet the daughter of Hippocrates, is yit* the Doughtre of Ypocras, in forme and in form and likeness of a great dragon that is lykeness of a gret Dragoun, that is a hundred a hundred fathoms in length, as men say; for Fadme 6 of lengthe, as Men seyn: For I have I have not seen her. And they of the isles not seen hire. And thei of the Isles callen call her Lady of the Land. And she lieth in hire, Lady of the Lond. And sche lyethe an old castle, in a cave, and appeareth twice in an olde castelle, in a Cave, and schewethe 7 or thrice in the year. And she doeth no twyes or thryes in the Yeer. And sche dothe harm to any man, unless men do harm to her. none harm to no Man, but-yif 8 Men don hire And she was thus changed and transformed harm. And sche was thus chaunged and from a fair damsel into likeness of a dragon by transformed, from a fair Damysele, in-to a goddess that was called Diana. And men lyknesse of a Dragoun, be a Goddesse, that say that she shall so continue in that form of a was clept 10 Deane. 11 And Men seyn, that dragon until the time that a knight shall come sche schalle so endure in that forme of a who is so hardy that he dares come to her and Dragoun, unto the tyme that a Knyghte come, kiss her on the mouth: and then shall she rethat is so hardy, that dar come to hire and kiss turn to her own nature and be a woman again : hire on the Mouthe: And then schalle sche but after that she shall not live long. And it turne ayen 12 to hire owne Kynde,13 and ben a is not long since that a knight of the Rhodes Woman ayen : But aftre that sche schalle not that was hardy and doughty in arms said that liven longe. And it is not long siththen, that he would kiss her. And when he was upon a Knyghte of the Rodes, that was hardy and his courser, and went to the castle, and doughty in Armes, seyde that he wolde entered into the cave, the dragon lifted up her kyssen hire. And whan he was upon his head against him. And when the knight Coursere, and wente to the Castelle, and saw her in that form, so hideous and so horentred into the Cave, the Dragoun lifte up rible, he fled away. And the dragon bore the hire Hed ayenst 15 him. And whan the knight upon a rock despite his efforts; and Knyghte saw hire in that Forme so hidous from the rock she cast him into the sea : and and so horrible, he fleyghe 16 awey. And the so was lost both horse and man. And also a Dragoun bare 17 the Knyghte upon a Roche,18 young man, that did not know about the mawgre his Hede; 19 and from that Roche, dragon, went out of a ship, and went through sche caste him in-to the See: and so was lost the isle till he came to the castle, and came bothe Hors and Man. And also a yonge into the cave; and went on till he found a Man, that wiste 21 not of the Dragoun, wente chamber, and there he saw a damsel that was out of a Schipp, and wente thorghe the Ile, combing her hair and looking in a mirror; and til that he come to the Castelle, and cam in to she had much treasure about her: and he the Cave; and wente so longe, til that he supposed that she was a common woman, who fond a Chambre, and there he saughe 22 dwelt there to receive men to foily. And he Damysele, that kembed 23 hire Hede, and waited till the damsel saw his shadow in the lokede in a Myrour; and sche hadde meche 24 mirror. And she turned herself toward him, Tresoure abouten hire: and he trowed,25 that and asked him what he wished. And he said sche hadde ben a comoun Woman, that he would be her lover or paramour. And dwelled there to receyve Men to Folye. And she asked him if he were a knight. And he he abode, tille the Damysele saughe the said, “Nay.” And then she said that he Schadewe of him in the Myrour. And sche could not be her lover: but she bade him go turned hire toward him, and asked hym, back to his fellows and make himself a knight, what he wolde. And he seyde, he wolde ben and come again upon the morrow, and she hire Limman 26 or Paramour. And sche asked would come out of the cave before him; and him, yif 27 that he were a Knyghte. And he then he should come and kiss her on the
1 formerly, once upon a time 2 the Genoese 3 say 15 against 16 fled 17 bore 18 rock 19 despite his head * yet 5 fathom bland ? appears
unless by (= despite all he could do) 20 young 21 knew 22 saw 18 called 11 Diana 12 again, back 13 nature 14 since combed 24 much 25 believed, thought 26 lover 27 if
thou see me in Lyknesse of a Dragoun. For thoughe thou see me hidouse and horrible to loken onne, I do “the to wytene," that it is made be Enchauntement. For withouten doute, I am non other than thou Seest now, a Woman; and therfore drede the noughte. And yif thou kysse me, thou schalt have alle this Tresoure, and be my Lord, and Lord also of alle that Ile.” And he departed fro hire and wente to his Felowes to Schippe, and leet " make him Knyghte, and cam ayen upon the Morwe, for to kysse this Damysele. And whan he saughe hire comen" out of the Cave, in forme of a Dragoun, so hidouse and so horrible, he hadde so grete drede, that he fleyghe 7 ayen to the Schippe; and sche folewed him. And whan sche saughe, that he turned not ayen, sche began to crye, as a thing that hadde meche * Sorwe: and thanne sche turned ayen, in-to hire Cave; and anon the Knighte dyede. And siththen * hidrewards,” myghte no Knightese hire, but that he dyede anon. But whan a Knyghte comethe, that is so hardy to kisse hire, he schalle not dye; but he schalle turne the Damysele in-to hire righte Forme and kyndely "Schapp, and he schal be Lord of alle the Contreyes and Iles aboveseyd.
mouth, and have no dread; “for I shall do thee no manner of harm, albeit that thou see me in likeness of a dragon. For though thou see me hideous and horrible to look upon, I give thee to know that it is caused by enchantment. For without doubt I am none other than thou seest now, a woman; and therefore dread thee naught. And if thou kiss me, thou shalt have all this treasure, and be my lord and lord also of all the isle.” And he departed from her and went to his fellows on the ship, and had himself made a knight, and came back upon the morrow to kiss the damsel. And when he saw her come out of the cave, in the form of a dragon, so hideous and so horrible, he had so great dread that he fled back to the ship; and she followed him. And when she saw that he turned not back, she began to cry, as a thing that had great sorrow ; and then she turned back into her cave; and at once theiknight died. And from then until now no knight has been able to see her but that he died very soon. But when a knight comes that is so bold as to kiss her, he shall not die; but he shall turn the damsel into her right form and natural shape, and he shall be lord of all the countries and isles abovesaid.
FROM CHAP. XXVII
In the Lond of Prestre John ben many dyverse thinges and many precious Stones, so grete and so large that men maken of hem * Vesselle;" as Plateres, Dissches, and Cuppes. And many other marveylles ben there; that it were to “combrous and to “long to putten it in scripture * of Bokes.
But of the princypalle Yles and of his Estate and of his Lawe I schalle telle you som partye.” This Emperour Prestre John is Cristene; and a gret partie of his Contree also: but yit thei have not alle the Articles of oure Feythe,” as wee have. Thei beleven wel in the Fadre, in the Sone, and in the Holy Gost:
In the land of Prester John are many diverse things, and many precious stones so great and so large that men make of them vessels; as platters, dishes and cups. And many other marvels are there; that it were too cumbrous and too long to put it in the writing of books.
But of the principal isles and of his estate and of his law I shall tell you some part. This emperor Prester John is Christian; and a great part of his country also: but yet they have not all the articles of our faith, as we have. They believe well in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost: and they are very
* vessels “too is writing 1° part 17 religion and theiben fulle devoute and righte trewe on! to another. And thei sette not be * no Barettes,” ne be Cawteles," ne of no Disceytes." And he hathe undre him 72 Provynces; and in every Provynce is a Kyng. And theise Kynges han" Kynges undre hem; and alle ben tributaries to Prestre John. And he hathe in his Lordschipes many grete marveyles. For in his Contree is the See that men clepen 7 the Gravely * See, that is alle Gravelle and Sond * with-outen ony drope of Watre; and it ebbethe and flowethe in grete Wawes,” as other Sees don; and it is never stille ne in pes" in no manner * cesoun.” And no man may passe that See be Navye * ne be no maner of craft: * and therfore may no man knowe what Lond is beyond that See. And alle-be-it that it have no Watre, yit men fynden” there-in and on the Bankes fulle gode Fissche of other maner of kynde and schappe thanne men fynden in ony other See; and thei ben of right goode tast and delycious to mannes mete. And a 3 journeys long fro that See, ben gret Mountaynes; out of the whiche gothe " out a gret Flood,” that comethe out of Paradys; and it is fulle of precious Stones, withouten ony
drope of Water; and it rennethe 19thorghe the
Desert, on that *" o syde, so that it makethe the See gravely; and it berethe 17 in-to that See, and there it endethe. And that Flome * rennethe also 3 dayes in the Woke,” and bryngethe with him grete Stones and the Roches * also therewith, and that gret plentee. And anon as theiben entred in-to the gravely See, theibenseyn o no more, but lost for evere more. And in tho 3 dayes that that Ryvere rennethe no man dar * entren in-to it: but in the other dayes men dar entren wel ynow.” Also beyonde that Flome,” more upward to the Desertes, is a gret Pleyn alle gravelly betwene the Mountaynes; and in that Playn every day at the Sonne risynge begynnen to growe smale Trees; and thei growen til mydday, berynge Frute; but no man dar taken of that Frute, for it is a thing of Fayrye.” And aftre mydday thei discrecen 27 and entren ayen “in-to the Erthe; so that at the goynge doun of the Sonne thei apperen no more; and so theidon every day: and that is a gret marvaylle.
devout and very true one to another. And they do not practice any tricks, or frauds, or deceits. And he hath under him seventytwo provinces; and in every province is a king. And these kings have kings under them ; and all are tributaries to Prester John. And he hath in his lordships many great marvels. For in his country is the sea that men call the Gravelly Sea, that is all gravel and sand, without any drop of water; and it ebbeth and floweth in great waves, as other seas do; and it is never still nor in peace in any season. And no man may pass that sea by ship or by any kind of craft: and therefore may no man know what land is beyond that sea. And albeit that it have no water, yet men find therein and on the banks very good fish of different kinds and shapes from those that men find in any other sea; and they are all very good to eat and delicious for man's food.
And three days' distance from that sea are great mountains; out of which flows a great river, that comes from Paradise; and it is full of precious stones, without any drop of water; and it runs through the desert, on the one side, so that it makes the sea gravelly; and it flows into the sea and ends there. And this river runs three days in the week, and brings with it great stones and rocks also, and that in great abundance. And as soon as they have entered into the Gravelly Sea, they are seen no more but are lost forever. And during the three days that the river runs, no man dares enter into it: but during the other days one may enter well enough. Also beyond that river, further upward towards the deserts, is a great plain of gravel between the mountains; and in that plain, every day at the rising of the sun, there begin to grow small trees; and they grow till midday, bearing fruit; but no man dares take any of that fruit, for it is a thing of faërie. And after midday they decrease and enter again into the earth; so that at the setting of the sun they appear no more; and so they do every day: and that is a great marvel.