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A large St. Christopher of silver sheen.
There was, likewise, a Nun, a PRIORESS, That of her smiling was full simple and coy. Her greatest oath was but “ by Saint Eloy;" And she was naméd Madam Eglentine. Right well she sang the services divine, Entuned in her nose with accent sweet; And French she spake full properly and neat, After the school of Stratford, at Bow town, For French of Paris was to her unknown. At table she was scrupulous withal; No morsel from her lips did she let fall, Nor in her sauce would dip her fingers deep. Well could she carry a morsel, and well keep, That not a drop e'er fell upon her breast. In courtesy her pleasure much did rest. Her dainty upper-lip she wiped so clean That in þer cup there was no farthing seen Of grease, when she had drunk; and for her meat Full seemly bent she forward on her seat. And of a truth she was of great disport; Pleasant to all and amiable of port. It gave her pain to counterfeit the
ways Of court; its stately manner and displays; And to be held in distant reverence.
But for to tell you of her conscience, She was so tender and so piteous, She would shed tears if that she saw a mouse Caught in a trap, if it were hurt or dead. She had some small hounds, which she always fed
With roasted meat, and milk, and fine wheat bread;
Full seemly was her kerchief crimp'd across;
A CLERK there was, from Oxford, in the press
And busily he pray'd for the sweet souls
A SERJEANT of the Law, wise, wary, arch, Who oft had gossip'd long in the church porch, Was also there, full rich of excellence. Discreet he was and of great reverence; For such he seem'd, his words were all so wise Justice he was full often in assize; By patent and commission from the crown, For his keen science and his high renown. Of fees and robes he many had I ween: So great a purchaser was nowhere seen. All was fee simple to him, in effect; His rightful gainings no one could suspect. So busy a man as he no circuit has; And yet he seeméd busier than he was. He had at tip of tongue all cases plain, With all the judgments, since King William's reign. He likewise could indite such perfect law, None in his parchments could pinch out a flaw: And every statute he knew well by rote. He rode but homely in a medley coat, With band of twill'd silk round the loins made fast: On his array no more time shall I waste.
A FRANKLIN* in this company appear'd:
An householder of great extent was he;
At sessions there was he both lord and sire.
* A large Freeholder, and wealthy country gentleman.
+“St. Julian was eminent for providing his votaries with good lodging, and accommodations of all sorts."— Tyrwhitt.
Sheriff-comptroller-magistrate ne'd been;
A HABERDASHER, and a CARPENTER, A WEAVER, DYER, TAPSTER, eke were here, All in the self-same livery attired, And with a grave fraternity inspired. Right fresh and new their spruce appearance was. Their knives were not trickt out with common brass, But all with silver neatly overwrought; Their girdles and their pouches eke, methought. Each seem'd a worthy burgess, fit and fair To sit in the guild hall on high-floor’d chair; And for the wisdom that his brain could plan Was well cut out to be an alderman. Enough for this they had of kine and rent, And very gladly would their wives assent, Or else they were to blame, I swear by Adam: 'Tis a fine thing to be entitled “ Madam" And foremost walk to fêtes, at eve or morn, And have a mantle royally up-borne.
A Cook was carried with this pilgrim coil, The chickens and the marrow-bones to boil, And powder tarts, and frost the sweatmeats rare. To London ale, with one draught, he could swear. And he could roast, and seethe, and broil, and fry, Make pounded game soups, and well bake a pie. But great harm was it—as it seem'd to meThat on his shin an angry sore had he. But for blanc-mange, he made that with the best.