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The sothe is this, the cut fil to the knyght,
Of which ful blithe and glad was every

And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,
By forward and by composicioun,
As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
And whan this goode man saugh that it was

As he that wys was and obedient
To kepe his forward 1 by his free assent,
He seyde, "Syn 'I shal bigynne the game,
What, welcome be the cut a * Goddes name!
Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye.
And with that word, we ryden forth oure

And he bigan with right a myrie cheere 857
His tale anon, and seyde in this manere.

Tempest 1 thee noght al croked to redresse,
In trust of hir 2 that turneth as a bal;
Gret reste stant : in litel besinesse.
And eek be war 4 to sporne • ageyn an al; 6
Strive noght, as doth the crokke? with the

Daunte thy-self, that dauntest otheres dede;
And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.
That thee is sent, receyve in buxumnesse, 8 15
The wrastling for this worlde axeth a fäl.
Her nis non hom, her nis but wildernesse:
Forth, pilgrim, forth! Forth, beste,' out of

thy stal !
Know thy contree; lok up, thank God of al;
Hold the hye-wey,10 and lat thy gost 11 thee

lede! And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.





Therfore, thou Vache,12 leve thyn old wrecch

ednesse; Now welcom, somer, with thy sonne softe, Unto the worlde leve 13 now to be thral; That hast this wintres weders 5 over-shake, 6 Crye Him mercy that 14 of His hy goodnesse And driven awey the longe nightes blake !" Made thee of noght, and in especial 25

Draw unto Him, and pray in general Seynt Valentyn, that art ful hy on-lofte, For thee, and eek for other, hevenlich mede; Thus singen smale foules & for thy sake: 5 And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede. 28 "Now welcom, somer, with thy sonne softe,

Explicit Le bon counseill de G. Chaucer That hast this wintres weders over-shake." Wel han 'they cause for to gladen ofte,

THE COMPLEINT OF CHAUCER TO Sith : ech of hem recovered hath his make; 10

HIS EMPTY PURSE Ful blisful may they singen whan they wake: Now welcom, somer, with thy sonne softe,

To you, my purse, and to non other wight 16 That hast this wintres weders over-shake,

Compleyne I, for ye be my lady dere!

I am so sory, now that ye be light;
And driven awey the longe nightes blake !"

For certes, but 17 ye make me hevy chere, 18
Me were as leef be leyd up-on my bere ; 19 5

For whiche un-to your mercy thus I crye:

Beth 20 hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye! Fle fro the prees, 11 and dwelle with sothfastnesse,12

Now voucheth sauf this day, or 21 hit be night, Suffyce unto thy good, though hit be smal; That I of you the blisful soun may here, For hord hath hate, and clymbing tikelnesse, Or see your colour lyk the sonne bright, Prees 11 hath envye, and wele blent overal ; 14

That of yelownesse hadde never pere.
Savour no more than thee bihove shal; 5

Ye be my lyf, ye be myn hertes stere, 22
Werk wel thy-self, that other folk canst rede ; 15
And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.16 1 disturb ? i.e. Fortune 3 stands, resides

tious 5 kick 6awl ? crock, earthen pot 8 willing I agreement 2 compact 3 since 4 in 5 storms obedience ' beast 10 highway 11 spirit 12 Sir Philip 6 overturned 7 above $ little birds have 10 mate la Vache 13 cease 14 thank him who 15 reward ut the crowd truth 13 insecurity 14 prosperity 16 creature 17 unless 18 cheer 19 bier 20 be a ere blinds everywhere 15 advise 16 doubt





2 guide


Quene of comfort and of good companye, harde to thy tendre age of ten yeer to conBeth hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye!

seyve. This tretis, divided in fyve parties?

wole 3 I shewe thee under ful lighte 4 rewless Now purs, that be to me my lyves light, 15 and naked wordes in English; for Latin ne And saveour, as doun in this worlde here, canstow 6 yit but smal, my lyte ? sone. But Out of this toune help me through your might, natheles, 8 suffyse to thee thise trewe conSin that ye wole nat ben my tresorere; clusiouns in English, as wel as suffyseth to For I am shave as nye l as any frere.?

thise noble clerkes Grekes thise same concluBut yit I pray un-to your curtesye:

siouns in Greek, and to Arabiens in Arabik, Beth hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye!

and to Jewes in Ebrew, and to the Latin folk

in Latin; whiche Latin folk han hem 10 furst LENVOY DE CHAUCER

out of othre diverse langages, and writen in

hir 11 owne tonge, that is to sein,12 'in Latin. O conquerour of Brutes Albioun !

And God wot, 13 that in alle thise langages, Which that by lyne and free eleccioun

and in many mo,

14 han o thise conclusiouns Ben 3 verray king, this song to you I sende; ben 15 suffisantly lerned and taught, and yit And ye, that mowen 4 al myn harm amende, by diverse rewles, right as diverse pathes Have mynde up-on my supplicacioun !


leden diverse folk the righte wey to Rome.

Now wol I prey meekly every discret persone A TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE 5

that redeth or hereth this litel tretis, to have

my rewde 16 endyting 17 for excused, and my PROLOGUS

superfluite of wordes, for two causes. The Litel Lowis my sone, I have perceived wel

firste cause is, for-that 18 curious 19 endyting 17

and hard sentence 20 is ful hevy 21 atones 22 by certeyne evidences thyn abilite to lerne sciencez touchinge noumbres and propor

for swich 23 a child to lerne. And the seconde ciouns; and as wel considere I thy bisy?

cause is this, that sothly 4 mesemeth 25 betre

to wryten unto a child twyes 26 a good sentence, preyere 8 in special to lerne the Tretis of the Astrolabie. Than,' for as mechel 10 as a phil

than he forgete it ones.27 And, Lowis, yif 28

so be that I shewe thee in my lighte 29 English osofre seith, "he wrappeth him in his frend, that condescendeth to the rightful preyers of his

as trewe conclusiouns touching this matere,

and naught 30 only as trewe but as many and frend,” therfor have I yeven 11 thee a suffisaunt

as subtil conclusiouns as ben 31 shewed in Astrolabie as for oure orizonte,12 compowned 13 after the latitude of Oxenford; upon which,

Latin in any commune tretis of the Astrolabie, by mediacion 1 of this litel tretis, I purpose to

con me the more thank; 32 and preye God save teche thee a certein nombre of conclusions 15

the king, that is lord of this langage, and alle apertening 16 to the same instrument. I seye

that him feyth bereth 33 and obeyeth, everech 34 a certein of conclusiouns, for three causes.

in his degree, the more 35 and the lasse.36 But

considere wel, that I ne usurpe nat to have The furste cause is this: truste wel that alle

founde this werk of my labour or of myn the conclusiouns that han 17 ben founde, or elles 18 possibly mighten be founde in so noble

engin.37 I nam 38 but a lewd 39 compilatour 40 an instrument as an Astrolabie, ben 3 un

of the labour of olde Astrologiens, and have hit knowe perfitly to any mortal man in this

translated in myn English only for thy doc

trine; and with this swerd 41 shal I sleen 42 regioun, as I suppose. Another cause is this: that sothly,19 in any tretis of the Astrolabic

envye. that I have seyn,20 there ben 3 some conclusions that wole 21 nat in alle thinges performen

I understand ? parts 3 will * easy 5 rules knowhir 22 bihestes; 23 and some of hem ben 3 to 24

est thou 7 little 8 nevertheless have 10 them 11 their 12 say knows

been 16 rude 1 shaven as close 2 friar 3 are 4 may 5 astro 17 composition 18 because 19 elaborate 20 meaning, nomical instrument; consult the dictionary Lewis sense 21 difficult 22 at once such truly 25 it ? eager & prayer, request then 10 much given seems to me 26 twice 27 once 28 if 29 easy 30 not 12 horizon 13 composed means

15 problems and

con thank means thank, be grateful 33 bear their solutions 16 pertaining 17 have 18 else 19 truly 34 every one 36 greater 36 less 37 ingenuity 38 am not 20 seen 21 will 22 their 23 promises 24 too

39 ignorant 40 compiler 41 sword 42 slay



more 15



31 are


JOHN DE TREVISA (1326-1412).




This apayryngel of the burthe of the tunge This deterioration of the birth of the tongue is bycause of tweie thinges; oon is for children is because of two things: one is because chilin scole ayenst the usage and manere of alle dren in school, against the usage and custom of othere naciouns beeth compelled for to leve 2 all other nations, are compelled to give up hire 3 owne langage, and for to construe hir 3 their own language and to construe their leslessouns and here 3 thynges in Frensche, and sons and their exercises in French, and so they so they haveth - seth 5 the Normans come 6 have since the Normans came first into Engfirst in-to Engelond. Also gentil-men children land. Also gentlemen's children are taught beeth i-taught to speke Frensche from the to speak French from the time that they are tyme that they beeth i-rokked in here cradel, rocked in their cradles and can talk and play and kunneth' speke and playe with a childes with a baby's brooch; and countrymen wish broche; 8 and uplondisshe' men wil likne to be like gentlemen and attempt with great hym-self to gentil-men, and fondeth 10 with effort to speak French, in order to be highly greet besynesse for to speke Frensce, for to be regarded. i-tolde 11 of. Trevisa.12 This manere was Trevisa: This custom was much used bemoche i-used to-for 13 [the] Firste Deth 14 and is fore the first plague and has since been somesiththe 15 sumdel 15 i-chaunged; for John what changed; for John Cornwaile, master Cornwaile, a maister of grammer, chaunged of grammar, changed the teaching in gramthe lore in gramer scole and construccioun mar school and the translation of French of 16 Frensche in-to Englische; and Richard into English; and Richard Pencriche learned Pencriche lerned the manere techynge of this sort of teaching from him, and other men hym and othere men of Pencrich; so that from Pencriche, so that now, the year of now, the yere of oure Lorde a thowsand thre Our Lord 1385 and of the second King Richard hundred and foure score and fyve, and of the after the Conquest nine, in all the grammar secounde kyng Richard after the Conquest schools of England, children give up French nyne, in alle the gramere scoles of Engelond, and construe and learn in English, and have children leveth Frensche and construeth and thereby advantage on one side and disadvanlerneth an 18 Englische, and haveth 4 therby tage on another side; their advantage is that avauntage in oon side and disavauntage in they learn their grammar in less time than another side; here 3 avauntage is, that they children were accustomed to do; the dislerneth her 3 gramer in lasse

tyme than

advantage is that now children in grammar children were i-woned 20 to doo; disavauntage school know no more French than does their is that now children of gramer scole conneth 2 left heel; and that is harm for them if they na more Frensche than can 22 hir 3 lift 23 heele, shall pass the sea and travel in strange lands and that is harme for hem 24 and 25 they schulle and in many other places. Also gentlemen passe the see and travaille in straunge landes have now in general ceased to teach their chiland in many other places. Also gentil-men dren French. haveth now moche i-left 26 for to teche here 3 children Frensche.

follows is Trevisa's addition. 13 before 14 the First 1 deterioration 2 leave, give up 3 their 4 have Plague, 1348-1349 15 somewhat 16 from 17 kind 5 since 6 came ? can & brooch (ornament in gen of 18 in less accustomed know 22 knows eral) country 10 attempt 11 accounted 12 What 23 left 24 them 25 if 26 ceased









O maister deere and fadir reverent,

1961 Mi maister Chaucer, flour of eloquence, Mirour of fructuous entendement,

O universel fadir in science,
Allas, that thou thyn excellent prudence
In thi bed mortel mightist noght by-

What eiled Deth allas ! why wold he sle


The steppes of Virgile in poesie

Thow folwedist eeke, men wot wel ynow.
That combre-world i that the, my maistir,

Would I slayne were ! Deth was to


To rene 3 on the, and reve 4 the thi lyf.
Deth hath but smal consideracion 2094

Unto the vertuous, I have espied,
No more, as shewith the probacion,

Than to a vicious maister losel - tried;
Among an heep' every man is maistried 8

With hire, as wel the porre 10 as is the


O Deth, thou didest naght harme singuleer 2 In slaughtere of him, but al this land it smertith.

1969 But nathelees yit hast thou no power

His name sle; his hy vertu astertith 3
Unslayn fro the, whiche ay us lyfly hertyth 4

With bookes of his ornat endytyng,
That is to al this land enlumynyng. 1974

Lerede 11 and lewde 12 eeke standen al

yliche.13 She mighte han taryed hir vengeance a while

Til that some man had egal to the be.14 2102
Nay, lat be that ! sche knew wel that this yle

May never man forth brynge lyk to the,
And hir office 15 nedes do mot
God bad hir do so, I truste as for the

O maister, maister, God thi soule reste !




moo, 18

The firste fyndere of our faire langage 4978 My dere maistir (God his soule quyte !) 2077 Hath seyde in caas semblable,17 and othir

And fadir Chaucer fayn wolde han me taght,

So hyly wel, that it is my dotage But I was dul, and lerned lite or naght. For to expresse or touche any of thoo.19

Alasse ! my fadir fro the worlde is goo, Allas! my worthi maister honorable, 2080

My worthi maister Chaucer, hym I mene: This landes verray tresor and richesse !

Be thou advoket 20 for hym, Hevenes Dethe, by thi deth, hath harme irreparable

Quene! Unto us doon; hir vengeable duresse 5 As thou wel knowest, O Blissid Virgyne, 4985 Despoiled hath this land of the swetnesse

With lovyng hert and hye devocion Of rethorik, for unto Tullius

In thyne honour he wroot ful many 'a lyne; Was never man so lyk .amonges us. 2086 O now thine helpe and thi promocion ! Also who was hier 7 in philosophie


1 world-cumberer 2 slew 3 4 bereave To Aristotle in our tonge but thow?

perience rascal'in a crowd 8 overcome by 10

poor 11 learned ignorant alike 14 had been 1 fruitful understanding 2 affecting only one equal to thee 15 duty 16 must 17 like cases others 3 escapes 4 heartens 5 cruel affliction like? heir also those advocate








To God thi Sone make a mocion

How he thi servaunt was, Mayden Marie,

And lat his love floure and fructifie! 4991 Al-thogh his lyfe be queynt, the resemblaunce

Of him hath in me so fressh lyflynesse, That, to putte othir men in rémembraunce

Of his persone, I have heere his lyknesse Do make, to this ende, in sothfastnesse, That thei that have of him lest thought and mynde,

4997 By this peynture may ageyn him fynde.



But wel assured in his manly herte,
List ' nat onys a-syde to dyverte, 1130
But kepte his way, his sheld upon his brest,
And cast his spere manly in the rest,
And the first platly that he mette
Thorgh the body proudely he hym smette,
That he fille ded, chief mayster of hem alle;
And than at onys they upon hym falle
On every part, be сompas envyroun.
But Tydeus, thorgh his hegh renoun,
His blody swerde lete about hym glyde,
Sleth and kylleth upon every side 1140
In his ire and his mortal tene; *
That mervaile was he myght so sustene
Ageyn hem alle, in every half besette; 5
But his swerde was so sharpe whette
That his foomen founde ful unsoote.
But he, allas ! was mad light a foote,
Be force grounded,s in ful gret distresse;
But of knyghthod and of gret prouesse
Up he roos, maugre 10 alle his foon,11
And as they cam, he slogh 12 hem oon be oon,
Lik a lyoun rampaunt in his rage, 1151
And on this hille he fond a narow passage,
Which that he took of ful high prudence;
And liche 18 a boor, stondyng at his diffence,



JOHN LYDGATE (1370 ?-1451 ?)


HAVE SLAYN TYDEUS At a posterne forth they gan to ryde By a geyn “ path, that ley oute a-side, Secrely, that no man hem espie, Only of 5 tresoun and of felonye. They haste hem forth al the longe day, Of cruel malys, forto stoppe his way, Thorgh a forest, alle of oon assent, Ful covartly to leyn a busshement Under an hille, at a streite passage, To falle on hym at mor ayantage, The same way that Tydeus gan drawe At thylke ? mount wher that Spynx was slawe. 8 He, nothing war in his opynyoun Of this compassed 10 conspiracioun, But innocent and lich 11 a gentyl knyght, Rood ay forth to 12 that it drowe 13 to nyght, Sool by hym-silf, with-oute companye, Havyng no man to wisse 14 hym or to gye.15

But at the last, lifting up his hede, Toward eve, he gan taken hede; Mid of his waye, right as eny lyne, Thoght he saugh, ageyn the mone shyne, Sheldes fresshe and plates borned 16 bright, The which environ 17 casten a gret lyght; Ymagynyng in his fantasye Ther was treson and conspiracye Wrought by the kyng, his journe 18 forto lette.19 And of al that he no-thyng ne sette,

his foomen proudly hym assaylle,
Upon the pleyn he made her blode to raylle 14
Al enviroun, that the soyl wex rede,
Now her, now ther, as they fille dede,
That her lay on, and ther lay two or thre,
So mercyles, in his cruelte,

Thilke day he was upon hem founde;
And, attonys 15 his enemyes to confounde,
Wher-as he stood, this myghty champioun,
Be-side he saugh, with water turned doun,
An huge stoon large, rounde, and squar;
And sodeynly, er that thei wer war,
As 16 it hadde leyn ther for the nonys,17
Upon his foon he rolled it at onys,
That ten of hem 18 wenten unto wrak,
And the remnaunt amased drogh 19 a-bak;
For on by on they wente to meschaunce.2
And fynaly he broght to outraunce 21 1172
Hem everychoon, Tydeus, as blyve, 22
That non but on left 23 of ham 18 alyve:
Hym-silf yhurt, and ywounded kene, 24
Thurgh his harneys bledyng on the grene;

1 wished ? absolutely 3 by pain 5 beset on every side 6 unsweet, bitter? made to alight on foot 8 brought to ground prowess 10 in spite of 11 foes 12 slew 13 like 14 flow 15 at once 16 as if 17 for the purpose 18 them 19 drew 20 defeat 21 destruction 22 quickly 23 remained 24 sorely

1 quenched 2 had made 3 ambush * convenient Spurely because of greater advantage ? the same 8 slain not at all aware in his thought 10 arranged, formed 11 like 12 till 13 drew 14 direct 15 guide 16 burnished 17 around 18 journey 19 hinder w he cared nothing for all that


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