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For, right anon, she wiste what they ment
That ferde with himself so pitously. Right by hir song, and knew all hir entent.
Ye sle me with your sorwe veraily, The knotte why that every tale is tolde
I have of you so gret compassioun. If it be taried til the lust be colde
For Goddes love, come fro the tree adoun, Of hem, that han it herkened after yore,
And as I am a kinges daughter trewe The savour passeth, ever lenger the more,
If that I veraily the causes knewe For fulsomnesse of the prolixitee;
Of your disese, if it lay in my might And, by that same reson, thinketh me
I wold amend it, or that it were night, I shuld unto the knotte condescende,
As wisly help me the gret God of kind.
And herbes shal I, right ynough, yfind,
Tho shright this faucon yet more pitously Ther sat a faucon over hir hed ful hie,
Than ever she did, and fell to ground, anon, That with a pitous vois so gan to crie,
And lithe aswoune, as ded as lith a ston, That all the wood resouned of hire cry,
Til Canace hath in hire lappe hire take And beten had hireself so pitously
Unto that time she gan of swoune awake; With both hire winges, til the rede blood
And after that she out of swoune abraide, Ran eodelong the tree ther as she stood;
Right, in hire haukes leden, thus she sayde: And, ever in on, alway she cried and shright; “ That pitee renneth sone in gentil herte, And with hire bek hireselven she so twight; (Feling his similitude in peines smerte,) That ther n'is tigre, ne no cruel best,
Is proved alle day, as men may see That dwelleth other in wood, or in forest,
As wel by werke as by auctoritee, That n'olde han wept, if that he wepen coude, For gentil herte kitheth gentilesse. For sorwe of hire, she shright alway so loude. I se wel that ye have on my distresse For ther was never yet no man on live,
Compassion, my faire Canace! If that he coude a faucon wel descrive,
Of veray womanly benignitee, That herd of swiche another, of fayrenesse
That Nature in your principles hathi set. As wel of pluinage as of gentilesse,
But, for non hope for to fare the bet, Of shape; of all that might yrekened be.
But, for to obey unto your herte free, A faucon peregrine semed she
And for to maken other yware by me, Of fremde londe ; and, ever, as she stood,
As by the whelpe chastised is the leon, She swouned, now and now, for lack of blood,
Right for that cause and that conclusion, Til wel weigh is she fallen fro the tree.
While that I have a leiser and a space, This faire kinges daughter Canace,
Min harme I wol confessen er I pace.” That on hire finger bare the queinte ring,
And, ever, while that on hire sorwe told, Thurgh which she understood wel every thing That other wept, as she to water wold, That any foule may in his leden sain,
Til that the faucon bad hire to be still; And coude answere him in his leden again,
And, with a sike, right thus she said hire till: Hath understonden what this faucon seyd,
“ Ther I was bred, (alas that ilke day!) And wel neigh, for the routhe, almost she deyd; And fostred in a rocke of marble gray, And to the tree she goth ful hastily,
So tendrely, that nothing ailed me,
I ne wist not what was adversitee,
66 Tho dwelled a tercelet me faste by.
Al were be ful of treson and falsenesse. Til at the last she spake in this manere
It was so wrapped under humble chere, Cinto the hauk, as ye shul after here.
And under hew of trouth in swiche manere, * What is the cause if it be for to tell,
Under plesance, and under besy peine, That ye ben in this furial peine of hell?”
That no wight coud have wend he coude feine; Quod Canace unto this hauk above;
So depe in greyn he died his coloures, *k this for sorwe of deth, or losse of love?
Right as a serpent hideth him under floures, Far as I trow, thise be the causes two,
Til he may see his time for to bite; That causen most a gentil herte wo.
this god of loves hypocrite of other harme it nedeth not to speke,
Doth so his ceremonies and obeisance, For ye yourself upon yourself awreke,
And kepeth in semblaunt alle his observance, Which preveth wel that other ire or drede
That souneth unto gentillesse of love. Mere ben enchesen of your cruel dede,
As on a tombe is all the faire above, Sa that I se non other wight you chace.
And under is the corps, swiche as ye wote, For the love of God, as doth yourselven grace; Swiche was this hypocrite both cold and hote, Or what may be your helpe? for west ne est, And in this wise he served his entent, Ne saw I never, er now, no brid ne best,
That, save the fend, non wiste what he ment;
Till he so long had weped and complained, So sorweful eke, that I wend veraily,
Whan that I herd him speke and sawe his hewe:
But, nathelesse, I thought he was so trewe, For-fered of his deth, as thoughte me,
And eke that he repairen shuld again, Upon his othes, and his seuretee,
Within a litel while, soth to sain,Graunted him love on this conditioun,
And reson wold, eke, that he muste go That evermo min honour and renoun
For his honour, as often happeth so,• Were saved, both privee and apert;
That I made vertue of necessitee,
And toke it wel, sin that it muste be.
And toke him by the hand, Seint John to borwe,
Both swiche as I have ben to you and shall.'
“ What he answerd, it nedeth not reherse; “ And whan he saw the thing so fer ygon, Who can Say bet than he? who can Do werse? That I had granted him fully my love,
Whan he hath al well said, than hath he done. In swiche a guise, as I have said above,
Therfore, behoveth him a full long spone And yeven him my trewe herte as free
That shal ete with a fend; thus herd I say. As he swore that he yaf his herte to me;
So at the last, he muste forth his way; Anon this tigre, ful of doublenesse,
And forth he fleeth, til he com ther him lest. Fell on his knees, with so gret humblesse,
Whan it came him to purpos for to rest, With so high reverence, as by his chere,
I trow that he had thilke text in mind, So like a gentil lover of manere,
That alle thing repairing to his kind So ravished, as it semed, for the joye,
Gladeth himself; thus sain men, as I gesse: That never Jason ne Paris of Troye,
Men loven of propre kind newefangelnesse, Jason! certes, ne never other man
As briddes don, that mer, in cages fede. Sin Lamech was, that alderfirst began
For though thou night and day take of hem hede To loven two, as writen folk beforne;
And strew hir cage faire and soft as silke, Ne never, sithen the first man was borne,
And give hem sugre, hony, bred, and milke,Ne coude man by twenty thousand part
Yet, right anon as that his dore is up, Contrefete the sophimes of his art;
He with his feet wol spurnen doun his cup,
And to the wood he wol, and wormes ete;
And loven noveltees of propre kind;
No gentillesse of blood ne may hem bind. To any woman, were she never so wise,
“ So ferd this tercelet, alas the day! So painted he, and kempt at point devise,
Though he were gentil borne, and fresh, and gay, As wel his wordes, as his contenance:
And goodly for to seen, and humble, and free. And I so loved him for his obeisance,
He sawe upon a time a kite flee; And for the trouthe I demed in his herte,
And, sodenly, he loved this kite so That if so were that any thing him smerte,
That all his love is clene from me ago; Al were it never so lite, and I it wist,
And hath his trouthe falsed in this wise, Me thought I felt deth at myn herte twist.
Thus hath the kite my love in her service, And, whointly, so ferforth this thing is went,
And I am lorn withouten remedy.” That my will was his willes instrument;
And with that word this faucon gan to cry, Thim in to nay, my will obeid his will
And swouneth eft in Canacees barme. In mile thing, a fer as reson fill,
Gret was the sorwe for that haukes harme, Koping the boundex of my worship ever:
That Canace and all hire women made; Ne never had I thing so lefe, ne lever,
They n'isten how they might the faucon glade. Au him, Ciod wot, ne never shal no mo.
But Canace home bereth hire in hire lap, * This lasteth lenger than a yere or two,
And softely in plastres gan hire wrap, That I wippened of bim nought but good;
Ther as she with hire bek had hurt hireselve. But finally, thus at the last it stood,
Now cannot Canace but herbes delve "Tha fortune wolde that he muste twin
Out of the ground; and maken salves newe Out of that place, which that I was in.
Of herbes precious and fine of hewe; Whurr me wa* wo, it is no question ;
To helen with this hauk, fro day to night I cannot make of it description.
She doth hire besinesse and all hire might. Por othing duro I tellen boldry,
And by hire beddes hed, she made a mew, I know what is the peine of deth therby;
And covered it with velouettes blew, Mwiche lurme I felt, for be ne might byleve. In signe of trouthe that is in woman sene; ** Ho on a day of ine lie toke he leve',
And, all without, the mew is peinted grele,
In which were peinted all thise false foules, Right so fare I; and, therfore, I you pray
Gideth my song that I shal of you say."
Ther was in Asie, in a gret citee,
Amonges Cristen folk a Jewerie,
Sustened by a lord (of that contree)
For foul usure and lucre of vilanie,
Hateful to Crist and to his compagnie,-
And thurgh the strete men mighten ride and wende,
For it was free, and open at eyther ende.
A litel scole of Cristen folk there stood
Doun at the ferther end, in which ther were
Children an hepe, comen of Cristen blood,
Swiche manere doctrine as men used there;
This is to say, to singen and to rede,
As smale children don in hir childhede.
Among thise children was a widewes sone,
A litel clergion, sevene yere of age,
And, eke also, wheras he sey the image
As him was taught, to knele adoun, and say
Ave Marie as he goth by the way.
Our blissful Lady, Cristes moder dere,
For sely childe wol alway sone lere.
But, ay, whan I remembre on this matere,
Saint Nicholas stant ever in my presence,
For he so yong to Crist did reverence.
This litel childe his litel book lerning,
As he sate in the scole at his primere,
He Alma Redemptoris herde sing
As children lered hir antiphonere:
And as he dorst, he drew him nere and nere,
And herkened, ay, the wordes and the note,
Til he the firste vers coude al by rote.
Nought wist he what this Latin was to say,
For he so yonge and tendre was of age;
But on a day his felaw gan he pray
To expounden him this song in his langage,
Or telle him why this song was in usage:
This prayde he him to construe and declare,
* Ful often time upon his knees bare,
His felaw, which that elder was than he,
Answer'd him thus; “ This song, I have herd say,
Was maked of our blissful Lady fre,
Hire to salue, and eke hire for to pray
To ben our help, and socour, whan we dey,
I can no more expound in this matere;
I lerne song; I can but smal gramere."
“ And is this song maked in reverence
Of Cristes moder?" said this innocent;
“ Now, certes, I wil don my diligence
To conne it all, or Cristemasse be went,
Though that I for my primer shal be shent,
And shal be beten thries in an houre,
I wol it conne our Ladie for to honoure.”
His felaw taught him homeward, prively,
Fro day to day, til he coude it by rote,
And than he song it, wel and boldely,
Fro word to word according with the note:
of chastitee, this emeraude, Twies a day it passed thurgh his throte,
And, eke, of martirdome the rubie bright, To scoleward and homeward whan he wente: Ther he with throte ycorven lay upright, On Cristes moder set was his entente.
He Alma Redemptoris gan to singe As I have said, thurghout the Jewerie
So loude, that all the place gan to ringe. This litel child, as he came to and fro,
The Cristen folk that thurgh the strete wente, Ful merily than wold he sing and crie,
In comen, for to wondre upon this thing, • O Alma Redemptoris!' ever mo.
And hastifly they for the provost sente. The swetenesse hath his herte persed so
He came, anon, withouten tarying, of Cristes moder; that to hire to pray,
And herieth Crist, that is of heven king, He cannot stint of singing by the way.
And, eke, his moder, honour of mankind; Our firste fo, the serpent Sathanas,
And, after that, the Jewes let he binde. That hath in Jewes herte his waspes nest,
This child with pitous lamentation Up swale and said; “ O Ebraike peple, alas! Was taken up, singing his song alway: Is this to you a thing that is honest,
And with honour and gret procession, That swiche a boy shal walken as him leste They carien him unto the next abbey; In your despit, and sing of swiche sentence, His moder, swouning, by the bere lay: Which is again our lawes reverence?"
Unnethes might the peple that was there From thennesforth the Jewes han conspired, This newe Rachel bringen fro his bere. This innocent out of this world to chace:
With turment, and with shameful deth, eche on An homicide therto han they hired,
This provost doth thise Jewes for to sterve, That in an aleye had a privee place;
That of this morder wiste; and that anon: And as the child gan forthby for to pace,
He n'olde no swiche cursednesse observe: This cursed Jew him hent and held him fast, Evil shal he have, that evil wol deserve. And cut his throte, and in a pit him cast.
Therfore, with wilde hors he did hem drawe; I say that in a wardrope they him threwe, And, after that, he heng hem by the lawe. Wher as thise Jewes purgen hir entraille.
Upon his bere ay lith this innocent O cursed folk of Herodes alle-newe,
Beforn the auter while the masse last. What may your evil entente you availle?
And, after that, the abbot with his covent Mordre wol out; certein it wol not faille;
Han spedde hem for to berie him ful fast; And namely, ther, the honour of God shal sprede; And whan they holy water on him cast, [water, The blood out crieth on your cursed dede.
Yet spake this child, whan spreint was the holy O martyr souded in virginitee!
And sang 0 Alma Redemptoris Mater! Now maist thou singe and folwen, ever in on,
This abbot, which that was an holy man, The white Lamb celestial, quod she,
As monkes ben, or elles ought to be,
This yonge child to conjure he began,
In vertue of the Holy Trinitee,
Tell me what is thy cause for to sing, This poure widewe awaiteth al that night
Sith that thy throte is cut to my seming?” After hire litel childe, and he came nought;
“ My throte is cut unto my nekke bon;" For which as sone as it was dayes light,
Saide this child; " and as, by way of kinde, With face pale of drede and besy thought,
I shuld have deyd, ye longe time agon: She hath, at scole and elles wher, him sought, But Jesu Crist, as ye in bookes finde, Til finally she gan so fer aspie,
Wol that his glory last and be in minde; That he last seen was in the Jewerie.
And for the worship of his moder dere, With modres pitee in hire brest enclosed
Yet may I sing 0 Alma loude and clere. She goth, as she were half out of hire minde,
“ This welle of mercie, Cristes moder swete, To every place, wher she had supposed
I loved alway, as after my conning ; By likelihed hire litel childe to find;
And whan that I my life shulde forlete,
To me she came, and bad me for to sing
As ye han herde; and, whan that I had songe, She freyneth, and she praieth pitously
Me thought she laid a grain upon my tonge. To every Jew that dwelled in thilke place,
“ Wherfore I sing; and sing I mote, certain, To telle hire, if hire child went out forth by;
In honour of that blissful maiden free, They sayden Nay; but Jesu, of his grace,
Til fro my tonge of taken is the grain, Yave in hire thought, within a litel space,
And, after that, thus saide she to me: That in that place after hire sone she cride, “ My litel childe, than 200l I fetchen thee, Ther he was casten in a pit beside.
Whan that the grain is fro thy tonge ytake: O grete God, that parformest thy laude
Be not agaste, I wol thee not forsake.” By mouth of innocentes, lo here thy might!
This holy monk, this abbot him mene I,
His tonge out caught, and toke
Which (as me thought) was a right pleasaunt siglit;
And eke the birdes songes for to here,
And I, that couth not yet in no manere
Full busily herkned, with hert and ere,
If I her voice perceve coud any where.
I found, that gretly had not used be ;
For it forgrowen was with gras and wede,
That well unnethes a wight might it se;
Thought I, this path some whider goth, parde ;
And so I followed, till it me brought
To a right pleasaunt herber wel ywrought,
Which that benched was, and with turfes new
Freshly turved; whereof the grene gras,
So small, so thick, so short, so fresh of hew,
That most like to grene woll, wot I, it was.
With sicamor was set, and eglatere
That every braunch and lese grew by mesure
Plain as a bord, of an height by and by ;-
I se never a thing (I you ensure)
So well ydone ; for he that toke the cure
It for to make, (I trowe) did all his peine
To make it pass all tho that men have seine.-
The hegge as thick as is a castel wall,
That who that list, without, to stand or go,
Thogh he wold all day pryen to and fro,
He should not se if there were any wight
Within or not; but one within, wel might
And I so glade of the seson swete;
Perceve all tho that yeden there without
And I, that all this pleasaunt sighte se,
Wherefore I mervaile gretly of my self,
sprangen out agen the sonne shene,
And as I stode, and cast aside mine eye,