The Summoner's Prologue and Tale in the Hengwrt Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales

Original Text: 
Nat. Lib. Wales Peniarth 392. From Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales: A Facsimile and Transcription of the Hengwrt Manuscript, with Variants from the Ellesmere Manuscript, ed. Paul G. Ruggiers, introduction by Donald C. Baker, A. I. Doyle, and M. B. Parkes. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979. PR 1866 .R8 1979 Robarts Library
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¶The Prologe of the Somnours tale
2Vp on this frere / his herte was {s}o wood
3That lyk an A{s}pen lief / he quook for Ire
4¶Lordynges quod he / but o thyng I de{s}ire
5I yow bi{s}eke / that of youre curtei{s}ye
6Syn ye had herd / this fal{s}e frere lye
7As suffreth me / I may my tale telle
8This frere bo{s}teth / that he knoweth helle
9And god it woot/ that it is litel wonder
10ffreres and feendes / been but lyte a {s}onder
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11ffor pardee / ye han ofte tyme herd telle
12How that a frere / rauy{ss}hed was to helle
13In Spirit ones / by avi{s}ioun
14And as an Aungel / ladde hym vp and down
15To shewen hym / the peynes |þt| ther were
16In al the place / say he nat a frere
17Of oother folk / he say ynowe in wo
18Vn to this Aungel / spak the frere tho
19¶Now Sire quod he / han freres swich a |gra|ce
20That noon of hem / shal come to this place
21¶Yis quod this Aungel / many a Milioun
22And vn to Sathanas / he ladde hym doun
23And now hath Sathanas / seith he a tayl
24Brodder / than of a Carryk is the sayl
25Hold vp thy tayl / thow Sathanas quod he
26Shewe forth thyn ers / and lat the frere se
27Where is the ne{s}t of freres / in this place
28And er |þt| / half a furlong wey of space
29Right {s}o as bees / out swarmen from an hyue
30Out of the deueles ers / ther gonne dryue
31Twenty thou{s}and freres / on a route
32And thurgh out helle / swarmeden aboute
33And comen again / as fa{s}te as they may gon
34And in his ers / they crepten euerychon
35He clapte his tayl agayn / and lay ful stille
36This frere / whan he looked hadde his fille
37Vp on the tormentz / of this sory place
38His spirit/ god re{s}tored of his grace
39Vn to his body agayn / and he awook/
40But nathelees / for fere yet he quook/
41So was the deueles ers / ay in his mynde
42That is his heritage / of verray kynde
43God saue yow alle / saue this cur{s}ed frere
44My prologe / wol I ende / in this manere
¶Here endeth the prologe of the Somn|our|s tale
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¶Here bygynneth the Somnours tale
1Lordynges / ther is in York{s}hire / as I ge{ss}e
2A Mer{ss}h contree / called holderne{ss}e
3In which / ther wente a lymytour aboute
4To |pre|che / and eek to begge / it is no doute
5And so bifel / that on a day this frere
6Hadde |pre|ched at a chirche / in his manere
7And specially / abouen e|uer|y thyng/
8Excyted he the peple / in his |pre|chyng/
9To trentals / and to yeue for goddes sake
10Wher with men myghte / holy hou{s}es make
11Ther as dyuyne seruice / is honoured
12Nat ther / as it is wa{s}ted and deuoured
13Ne ther / it nedeth nat/ to be yeue
14As to po{ss}e{ss}ioners / that mowen lyue
15Thanked be god / in wele and habundaunce
16Trentals seyde he / deli|uer|eth from penaunce
17Hir freendes soules / as wel olde as yonge
18Ye / whan that they / been ha{s}tily y{s}onge
19Nat for to holde a pree{s}t/ Ioly and gay
20He syngeth nat/ but o ma{ss}e in a day
21Deliuereth out quod he / anon the soules
22fful hard it is / |with| fle{ss}h hook / or |with| oules
23To been y clawed / or to brenne / or bake
24Now spede yow ha{s}tily / for cri{s}tes sake
25And whan this frere / hadde seyd al his entente
26With qui cum patre / forth his wey he wente
27Whan folk in chirche / hadde yeue hym / what hem le{s}te
28He wente his wey / no lenger wolde he re{s}te
29With scryppe and typped staf / y tukked hye
30In euery hous / he gan to poure and prye
31And beggeth Mele / and che{s}e / or ellis corn
32His felawe hadde a staf / typped with horn
33A peyre of tables / al of yuory
34And a poyntel / poly{ss}hed feti{s}ly
35And wroot the names / alwey as he {s}tood
36Of alle folk / that yaf hem any good
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37A{s}caunces / that he wolde for hem preye
38Yif vs a bu{ss}hel whete / Malt/ or Reye
39A goddes kechyl / or a tryp of chee{s}e
40Or ellis what yow ly{s}t/ we may nat che{s}e
41A goddes half peny / or a ma{ss}e peny
42Or yif vs of youre brawn / if ye haue eny
43A dagon of youre Blanket/ leeue dame
44Oure su{s}ter deere / lo heere I write your name
45Baco|un| / or boef / or swich thyng as ye fynde
46A sturdy / harlot/ wente ay hem bihynde
47That was hir ho{s}tes man / and baar a sak/
48And what men yaf hem / leyde it on his bak/
49And whan |þt| he was out at dore anon
50He planed awey / the names euerichon
51That he biforn / hadde writen in his tables
52He {s}erued hem / with nyfles and |with| fables
53¶Nay ther thow lixt/ thow Somn|our| quod the frere
54¶Pees quod oure hoo{s}t/ for cri{s}tes moder deere
55Tel forth thy tale / and spare it nat at al
56¶So thryue I quod this Somn|our| / so I shal
57So longe he wente / hous by hous / til he
58Cam til an hous / ther he was wont to be
59Refre{ss}hed moore / than in an hundred placis
60Syk lay the goode man / whos the place is
61Bedrede vp on a couche / lowe he lay
62Deus hic/ quod he / o Thomas freend good day
63Seyde this frere / curtei{s}ly and softe
64Thomas quod he / god yelde yow ful ofte
65Haue I vp on this bench / faren ful wel
66Heere haue I eten / many a murye mel
67And fro the bench / he droof awey the cat/
68And leyde adoun / his potente and his hat/
69And eek his scrippe / and sette hym {s}ofte adown
70His felawe / was go walked in to town
71fforth with his knaue / in to that ho{s}telrye
72Wher as he shoop hym / thilke nyght to lye
73¶O deere mai{s}ter / quod this syke man
74How han ye fare / sith that March bigan
75I say yow noght/ this fourtnyght/ or moore
76¶God woot quod he / laboured I haue ful soore
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77And specially / for thy sauacio|un|
78Haue I seyd / many a |pre|cious ori{s}o|un|
79And for oure othere freendes / god hem ble{ss}e
80I haue to day / been at youre chirche (at me{ss}e)
81And seyd a sermon / after my symple wit
82Nat al / after the text/ of holy writ
83ffor it is hard to yow / as I suppo{s}e
84And ther fore / wol I teche yow al the glo{s}e
85Glo{s}yng/ is a glorious thyng |cer|teyn
86ffor lettre sleeth / so as we clerkes seyn
87Ther haue I taught hem / to be charitable
88And spende hir good / ther it is re{s}onable
89And ther I say oure dame / a wher is she
90¶Yond in the yerd / I trowe |þt| she be
91Seyde this man / and she wol come anon
92¶Ey mai{s}ter / wel come be ye / by Seint |Iohan|
93Seyde this wyf / how fare ye hertely
94¶The frere ari{s}eth vp / ful curtei{s}ly
95And hir embraceth / in hi{s}e armes narwe
96And ki{s}te hir swete / and chirteth as a Sparwe
97With his lippes / dame quod he / right wel
98As he / that is youre seruant/ euery del
99Thanked be god / that yow yaf soule and lyf
100Yet say I nat this day / so fair a wyf
101In al the chirche / god so saue me
102¶Ye god amende defautes / {s}ir quod she
103Algates / wel come be ye / by my fey
104¶Graunt |mer|cy dame / this haue I founde alwey
105But/ of youre grete goodne{ss}e / by youre leue
106I wolde pray yow / that ye nat yow greue
107I wol with Thomas / speke a litel throwe
108Thi{s}e Curatz / been ful necligent/ and slowe
109To grope tendrely / a con{s}cience
110In shrift/ in |pre|chyng/ is my diligence
111And studie / in Petres wordes / and in Poules
112I walke / and fi{ss}he / cri{s}ten mennes soules
113To yelden |Iesu| cri{s}t/. his |prop|re rente
114To sprede his word / is set al myn entente
115¶Now by youre leeue / o deere {s}ire quod she
116Chideth hym wel / for Seinte Trinitee
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117He is as angry / as a Pi{ss}emyre
118Thogh that he haue / al that he kan de{s}ire
119Thogh I hym wrye a nyght/ and make hym warm
120And on hym leye / my leg/ outher myn arm
121He groneth lyk oure boor / lyth in oure Sty
122Oother di{s}port/ right noon of hym haue I
123I may nat ple{s}e hym / in no maner cas
124¶O Thomas Ie vous dy / Thomas / Thomas
125This maketh the feend / this mo{s}te been amended
126Ire is a thyng/ that hye god defended
127And ther of / wol I speke / a word / or two
128¶Now mai{s}ter quod the wyf / er |þt| I go
129What wol ye dyne / I wol go ther aboute
130¶Now dame quod he / now Ie vous dy {s}anz doute
131Haue I nat of a Capo|un| / but the lyuere
132And of youre softe breed / nat but a Shyuere
133And after that/ a ro{s}ted pigges heed
134But |þt| I nolde / no bee{s}t for me were deed
135Thanne hadde I with yow / homly suffi{s}aunce
136I am a man / of litel su{s}tenaunce
137My spirit/ hath his fo{s}tryng/ in the bible
138The body is ay / so redy and penyble
139To wake / that my stomak/ is de{s}troyed
140I pray yow dame / ye be nat anoyed
141Thogh I {s}o freendly / yow my con{s}eil shewe
142By god / i wolde nat telle it/ but a fewe
143¶Now sire quod she / but o word / er I go
144My child is deed / with Inne thi{s}e wykes two
145Soone after/ that ye wente / out of this town
146¶His deeth say I / by reuelacioun
147Seith this frere / at hom in oure dortour
148I dar wel seyn / that er |þt| half an hour
149After his deeth / I say hym born to bli{ss}e
150In myn avi{s}io|un| / so god me wi{ss}e
151So dide oure Sexteyn / and oure ffermerer
152That han been trewe freres fifty yeer
153They may now / god be thanked / of his lone
154Maken hir Iubillee / and walke allone
155And vp I roos / and al oure Couent eke
156With many a teere / triklyng on my cheke
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157With outen noy{s}e / or clateryng of belles
158Te deum was oure song/ and no thyng elles
159Saue that to cri{s}t / I seyde an ori{s}o|un|
160Thankynge hym / of his reuelacio|un|
161ffor sire and dame / tru{s}teth me right wel
162Oure ori{s}ons / been wel moore effectuel
163And moore we seen / of cri{s}tes secree thynges
164Than burell folk/ al thogh |þt| they were kynges
165We lyue in pouerte / and in ab{s}tinence
166And burell folk/ in riche{ss}e and di{s}pence
167Of mete and drynke / and in hir foul delit/
168We han this worldes lu{s}t/ al in de{s}pit
169Lazar and Diues / lyueden diuer{s}ly
170And di|uer|{s}e gerdo|un| / hadde they ther by
171Who {s}o wol praye / he moot fa{s}te and be clene
172And fatte his soule / and make his body lene
173We fare as seith thapo{s}tle / clooth and foode
174Suffi{s}eth vs / thogh they be nat ful goode
175Then clenne{ss}e / and the fa{s}tyng/ of vs freres
176Maketh / that cri{s}t accepteth oure prayeres
177¶Lo Moy{s}es / fourty dayes / and fourty nyght/
178ffa{s}ted / er that the heighe god of myght/
179Spak with hym / in the mountayne of Synay
180With empty wombe / fa{s}tynge many a day
181Receyued he the lawe / that was writen
182With goddes fynger / and Elye wel ye witen
183In Mount Oreb / er he hadde any speche
184With hye god / that is oure lyues leche
185He fa{s}ted longe / and was in contemplaunce
186Aaron / that hadde the temple in gouernaunce
187And eek/ that othere pree{s}tes euerichon
188In to the temple / whan they sholde gon
189To preye for the peple / and do seruy{s}e
190They nolden drynken / in no maner wy{s}e
191No drynke / which that myghte hem dronke make
192But there in ab{s}tinence / preye and wake
193Le{s}t that they deyden / tak hede what I seye
194But they be sobre / that for the peple preye
195War that I seye namoore / for it suffi{s}eth
196Oure lord |Iesu| / as holy writ deuy{s}eth
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197Yaf vs en{s}ample / of fa{s}tyng / and prayeres
198Ther fore / we mendynantz / we sely freres
199Been wedded / to pouerte and continence
200To charitee / humble{ss}e and ab{s}tinence
201To |per|{s}ecucio|un| / for rightwi{s}ne{ss}e
202To wepyng/ mi{s}ericorde and clenne{ss}e
203And ther fore may ye se / that oure prayeres
204I speke of vs / we mendinantz / we freres
205Be to the hye god / moore acceptable
206Than youres / with youre fe{s}tes at the table
207ffro Paradys fir{s}t/ if I shal nat lye
208Was man out chaced / for his glotonye
209And chaa{s}t was man / in Paradys certeyn
210¶But herkne Thomas / what I shal seyn
211I ne haue no text/ of it/ as I suppo{s}e
212But I shal fynde it/ in a maner glo{s}e
213That specially / oure swete lord |Iesus|
214Spak this by freres / whan he seyde thus
215Ble{ss}ed be they / that poure in spirit been
216And so forth / al the go{s}pel / may ye seen
217Wher it be likker / oure profe{ss}io|un|
218Or hire / that swymmen in po{ss}e{ss}io|un|
219ffy on hir pompe / and hir glotonye
220And for hir lewedne{ss}e / I hem diffye
221Me thynketh / they been lyk Iouynyan
222ffat as a whale / and walkyng as a swan
223Al vynolent/ as Botel in the Spence
224Hir preyere is / of ful greet re|uer|ence
225Whan they for soules / seye the p{s}alm of Dauit/
226Lo buf they seye / cor meum eructauit/
227Who folweth cri{s}tes go{s}pel / and his foore
228But we that |hum|ble been / and chaa{s}t / and poore
229Werkers of goddes word / nat Auditours
230Ther fore / right as an hauk / vp at a sours
231Vp spryngeth in to theyr / right {s}o prayeres
232Of charitable / and cha{s}te bi{s}y freres
233Maken hir sours / to goddes erys two
234Thomas / Thomas / {s}o mote I ryde or go
235And by that lord / that clepid is Seint yue
236Nere thow oure brother / sholde{s}tow nat thryue
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237[In o]ure chapitre / praye we day and nyght/
238To cri{s}t/ that he thee sende / heele and myght/
239Thy body / for to welden ha{s}tily
240¶God woot quod he / no thyng ther of feele I
241As help me cri{s}t/ as I in fewe yeres
242Haue spended / vp on di|uer|{s}e manere freres
243fful many a pound / yet fare I ne|uer|e the bet
244Certeyn / my good haue I almoo{s}t bi{s}et/
245ffarwel my gold / for it is al ago
246¶The frere an{s}werde / o Thomas doo{s}tow so
247What nedeth yow / di|uer|{s}e freres seche
248What nedeth hym / that hath a |per|fit leche
249To sechen / othere leches in the town
250Youre incon{s}tance / is youre confu{s}ioun
251Holde ye thanne me / or ellis oure Couent/
252To preye for yow / been in{s}ufficient/
253Thomas / that Iape / nys nat worth a myte
254Youre maladye / is for we han to lyte
255A yif that Couent / half a quarter otes
256A yif that Couent/ {.}xxiiij{.} grotes
257A yif that frere a peny / and lat hym go
258Nay nay Thomas / it may no thyng be {s}o
259What is a ferthyng worth / parted in twelue
260Lo / ech thyng / that is oned in hym selue
261Is moore {s}trong/ than whan it is to {s}catered
262Thomas / of me / thow shalt nat been yflatered
263Thow wolde{s}t han oure labour / al for noght/
264The hye god / that al this world hath wroght/
265Seith / that the werkman / worthy is his hire
266Thomas / noght of youre tre{s}or I de{s}ire
267As for my self / but that al oure Couent
268To praye for yow / is ay {s}o diligent/
269And for to buylden / cri{s}tes owene chirche
270Thomas / if ye wol lernen for to wirche
271Of buyldyng vp of chirches / may ye fynde
272If it be good / in Thomas lyf of Inde
273Ye lye heere / ful of Anger and of Ire
274¶This Cartere / taketh his hors {^}{{vp}} on the croupe
275With which / the deuel {s}et youre herte afire
276And chiden heere / the sely Innocent /
277Youre wyf / that is {s}o meke and pacient/
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278And ther fore Thomas / trowe me if thee le{s}te
279Ne stryue nat with thy wyf/ as for thy be{s}te
280And bere this word awey / now by thy feith
281Touchynge swich thyng/ lo what the wi{s}e man seith
282¶With Inne thyn hous / ne be thow no leo|un|
283To thy subgitz / do noon o|pp'|{ss}io|un|
284Ne make thyne aqueyntances / nat for to flee
285And Thomas / yet eft {s}oones I charge thee
286Be war from hire / that in thy bo{s}om slepeth
287War fro the serpent/ that {s}o sleighly crepeth
288Vnder the gras / and styngeth subtilly
289Be war my sone / and herkne paciently
290That twenty thou{s}and men / han lo{s}t hir lyues
291ffor stryuyng/ with hir lemmans and hir wyues
292Now sith ye han / {s}o holy meke a wyf
293What nedeth yow Thomas / to maken stryf/
294Ther nys ywis / no serpent {s}o cruel
295Whan man tret on his tayl / ne half {s}o fel
296As womman is / whan she hath caught an Ire
297Vengeance is thanne / al that they de{s}ire
298Ire is a synne / oon of the grete of seuene
299Abhomynable / vn to the god of heuene
300And to hym self / it is de{s}truccio|un|
301This euery lewed viker / or |per|{s}o|un|
302Kan seye / how Ire engendreth homicide
303Ire is in sooth / executour of pryde
304I koude of Ire / seye {s}o muche sorwe
305My tale / sholde la{s}te til to morwe
306And ther fore praye I god / bothe day and nyght
307An Irous man / god {s}ende hym litel myght/
308It is greet harm / and |cer|tes greet pitee
309To sette an Irous man in heigh degree
310Whilom / ther was an Irous pote{s}tat/
311As seith Senek/ that durynge his e{s}tat/
312Vp on a day / our ryden knyghtes two
313And as ffortune wolde / that it wer {s}o
314That oon of hem cam hom / that oother noght/
315Anon the knyght/ bifore the Iuge is broght/
316That seyde thus / thow ha{s}t thy felawe slayn
317ffor which / I deme thee to the deeth certayn
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318[An]d to another knyght/ comanded he
319Go leed hym to the deeth / I charge thee
320And happed / as they wente by the weye
321Toward the place / ther he sholde deye
322The knyght cam / which men wenden had be deed
323Thanne thoghten they / it were the be{s}te reed
324To lede hem bothe / to the Iuge agayn
325They seyden / lord / the knyght ne hath nat slayn
326His felawe / heere he stant hool alyue
327¶Ye shul be deed quod he / so moot I thryue
328This is to seyn / bothe oon and two and thre
329And to the fir{s}te knyght/ right thus spak / he
330¶I dampned thee / thou mo{s}t algate be deed
331And thow al{s}o / mo{s}t nedes le{s}e thyn heed
332ffor thow art cau{s}e / why thy felawe deyth
333And to the thridde knyght/ right thus he seith
334Thow ha{s}t nat doon /that I comanded thee
335And thus he dide / do sleen hem alle thre
336¶Irous Camby{s}es / was eek dronkelewe
337And ay delited hym / to been a shrewe
338And {s}o bifel / a lord of his meynee
339That louede / vertuous moralitee
340Seyde on a day / bitwix hem two right thus
341¶A lord is lo{s}t/ if/ he be vicius
342And dronkene{ss}e / is eek a foul record
343Of any man / and namely in a lord
344Ther is ful many an eighe / and many an ere
345Awaityng on a lord / he noot nat where
346ffor goddes loue / drynk moore attemprely
347Wyn maketh man / to le{s}en wrecchedly
348His mynde / and eek his lymes e|uer|ychon
349¶The reuers shaltow se / quod he anon
350And preue it/ by thyn owene experience
351That wyn ne dooth to folk/ no swich offence
352Ther is no wyn / bireueth me my myght/
353Of hond ne foot/ ne of myne eyen sight/
354And for de{s}pit/ he drank ful muchel moore
355An hundred part/ than he hadde doon bifore
356And right anon / this Irous cur{s}ed wrecche
.b.
357Leet this knyghtes sone .a./ bifore hym fecche
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358Comandynge hym / he sholde bifore hym {s}tonde
359And sodeynly / he took his bowe in honde
360And vp the {s}treng/ he pulled to his ere
361And with an arwe / he slow the child right there
362Now / wheither haue I / a siker hand or noon
363Quod he / is al my myght and mynde agoon
364Hath wyn byreued me / myn eye sight
365¶What sholde I telle / than{s}were of the knyght/
366His {s}one was slayn / ther is namoore to seye
367Beth war ther fore / with lordes how ye pleye
368Syngeth Placebo / and I shal if I kan
369But if it/ be / vn to a poure man
370To a poure man / men sholde his vices telle
371But nat to a lord / thogh he sholde go to helle
372¶Lo Irous Syrus / thilke Percien
373How he de{s}troyed / the ryuer of Gy{s}en
374ffor that an hors of his / was dreynt ther Inne
375Whan that he wente / Babiloyne to wynne
376He made / that the Ryuer was {s}o smal
377That wommen / myghte wade it o|uer| al
378Lo what seyde he / that {s}o wel teche kan
379Ne be no felawe / to an Irous man
380Ne with no wood man / walke by the weye
381Le{s}t thee repente / I wol no ferther seye
382¶Now Thomas leeue brother / lef thyn Ire
383Thow shalt me fynde / as Iu{s}t/ as is a Squyre
384Hoold nat the deueles knyf / ay at thyn herte
385Thyn angre dooth thee / al to {s}oore smerte
386But shewe to me / al thy confe{ss}io|un|
387¶Nay quod the sike man /by Seint Symo|un|
388I haue be shryuen this day / at my Curat/
389I haue hym toold / hoolly al myn e{s}tat/
390Nedeth namoore to speke of it seith he
391But if my li{s}t/ of myn humylitee
392¶Yif me thanne of thy gold / to make oure cloy{s}tre
393Quod he / for many a Mu{s}cle / and many an Oy{s}tre
394Whan othere men / han been ful wel atey{s}e
395Hath been oure foode / oure Cloy{s}tre for to rey{s}e
396And yet god woot/ vnnethe the fundement /
397Parfourned is / ne of oure pauement/
{{Folio 84v}}
398[N]ys nat a tyle / yet/ with Inne oure wones
399By god / we owen fourty pound for stones
400Now help Thomas / for hym |þt| harwed helle
401Or ellis mote we / oure bookes selle
402And if yow lakke / oure predicacio|un|
403Thanne gooth the world / al to de{s}truccio|un|
404ffor who so / fro this world / wolde vs bireue
405So god me saue / Thomas by youre leue
406He wolde bireue / out of the world the sonne
407ffor who kan teche / and werchen as we konne
408And that is nat/ of litel tyme quod he
409But sith Elie was / or Elize
410Han freres been / that fynde I of record
411In charitee / thonked be oure lord
412Now Thomas / help for Seinte charitee
413And down anon / he {s}et hym on his knee
414¶This sike man / weex wel neigh wood for Ire
415He wolde / that the frere / hadde been afire
416With his fal{s}e di{ss}imulacio|un|
417Swich thyng / as is in my po{ss}e{ss}i|oun|
418Quod he/{?.} that may I yeue and noon oother
419Ye sey me thus / how that I am youre brother
420¶Ye certes quod the frere / tru{s}teth wel
421I took oure dame / oure lettre with oure sel
422¶Now wel quod he / and {s}om what/ shal I yeue
423Vn to youre holy Couent/ whil I lyue
424And in thyn hand / thow shalt it han anon
425On this condicio|un| / and oother noon
426That thow departe it {s}o / my deere brother
427That euery frere / haue as muche as oother
428This shaltow swere / on thy |pro|fe{ss}io|un|
429With outen fraude / or cauelacio|un|
430¶I swere it quod this frere / vp on my feith
431And ther with al / his hand in his he leith
432Lo here my feith / in me / shal be no lak
433¶Now thanne put thyn hand / down by my bak/
434Seyde this man / and grope wel bihynde
435Bynethe by buttok/ there shaltow fynde
436A thyng/ that I haue hyd in pryuetee
437¶A thoghte this frere / that shal go with me
{{Folio 85r}}
438And down his hand / he launcheth to the clifte
439In hope / for to fynde there a yifte
440And whan this sike man / felte this frere
441Aboute his tuwel / grope there and heere
442Amydde his hand / he leet the frere a fart/
443Ther is no capul / drawyng in a Cart/
444That myghte han late a fart/ of swich a sown
445¶The frere vp stirte / as dooth a wood leoun
446A fal{s}e cherl quod he / for goddes bones
447This ha{s}tow for de{s}pit/ doon for the nones
448Thow shalt abye this fart/ if |þt| I may
449His meynee / which that herden this affray
450Cam lepyng In / and chaced out the frere
451And forth he gooth / with a ful angry cheere
452And fette his felawe / ther as lay his stoor
453He looked / as he were a wilde boor
454He grynt with his teeth / so was he wrooth
455A sturdy paas / doun to the court he gooth
456Wher as ther woned / a man of greet honour
457To whom / that he was alwey confe{ss}our
458This worthy man / was lord of that village
459This frere cam / as he were in a rage
460Where as this lord / {s}at etyng/ at his boord
461Vnnethe / myghte the frere speke a woord
462Til atte la{s}te / he seyde / god yow see
463¶This lord gan looke / and seyde benedicitee
464What frere |Iohan| / what manere world is this
465I se wel / that {s}om thyng/ ther is amys
466Ye looken / as the wode were ful of theuys
467Sit doun anon / and tel me what youre grief is
468And it shal been amended / if I may
469¶I haue quod he / had a de{s}pit to day
470God yelde yow / adown in youre village
471That in this world / ther nys {s}o poure a page
472That he nolde haue / abhomynacioun
473Of that/ I haue receyued in youre toun
474And yet/ ne greueth me / no thyng {s}o {s}oore
475As that this olde cherl / with lokkes hoore
476Bla{s}phemed hath / oure hooly Couent eke
477¶Now mai{s}ter quod this lord / I yow bi{s}eke
{{Folio 85v}}
478¶No mai{s}ter sire quod he / but seruytour
479Thogh I haue had in scole / that honour
480God liketh nat/ that Raby men vs calle
481Neither in Market/ nyn youre large halle
482¶No force quod he / but tel me al youre grief
483¶Sire quod this frere / an odious me{s}chief
484This day bityd is / to myn ordre and me
485And so |per| con{s}equens / to ech degree
486Of holy chirche / god amende it {s}oone
487¶Sire quod the lord / ye woot what is to doone
488Di{s}tempre yow noght/ ye be my confe{ss}our
489Ye been the salt of therthe / and the sauour
490ffor goddes loue / youre pacience ye holde
491Tel me youre grief / and he anon hym tolde
492As ye han herd biforn / ye woot wel what
493The lady of the hous / ay stille sat/
494Til she hadde herd / what the frere sayde
495¶Ey goddes moder quod she / bli{s}ful mayde
496Is ther aught ellis / tel me feithfully
497¶Madame quod he / how thynketh yow ther by
498¶How |þt| me thynketh quod she / so god me spede
499I seye / a cherl / hath doon a cherles dede
500What sholde I seye / god lat hym ne|uer|e thee
501His sike heed / is ful of vanytee
502I holde hym / in a manere frene{s}ye
503¶Madame quod he / by god I shal nat lye
504But I / on oother wi{s}e / may be wreke
505I shal diffame hym / ouer al wher I speke
506The fal{s}e bla{s}phemour / that charged me
507To parte / that wol nat departed be
508To euery man yliche / with me{s}chaunce
509¶The lord sat stille / as he were in a traunce
510And in his herte / he rolled vp and down
511How hadde this cherl / ymaginacioun
512To shewe swich a probleme / to the frere
513Ne|uer|e er{s}t er now / herde I swich matere
514I trowe the deuel / putte it in his mynde
515In Ar{s}metrik/ shal ther no man fynde
516Bifore this day / of swich a que{s}ti|oun|
517Who sholde / make a demon{s}tracio|un|
{{Folio 86r}}
518That euery man sholde han / ylike his part /
519As of a {s}oun / or {s}auour / of a fart/
520O nyce prowde cherl / I shrewe his face
521¶Lo sires quod the lord / with harde grace
522Who euere herde / of swich a thyng/ er now
523To euery man ylike / tel me how
524It is an inpo{ss}ible / it may nat be
525Ey nyce cherl / god lat hym ne|uer|e thee
526The rumblyng of a fart/ and euery {s}oun
527Nys but of Eyr / reuerberacioun
528And ther it wa{s}teth / lite and lite awey
529Ther nys no man / kan deme by my fey
530If that it were / departed equally
531What lo my cherl / lo yet how shrewedly
532Vn to my confe{ss}our / to day he spak /
533I holde hym certeynly / demonyak/
534Now ete youre mete / and lat the cherl go pleye
535Lat hym go hange hym self/ a deuel weye
536¶Now stood / the lordes Squyer at the boord
537That carf his mete / and herde word by woord
538Of alle thyng/ of which I haue yow sayd
539¶My lord quod he / be ye nat yuele apayd
540I koude telle / for a gowne clooth
541To yow sire frere / so ye be nat wrooth
542How that this fart/ sholde euene ydeled be
543Among youre Couent/ if it liked me
544¶Tel quod the lord / and thow shalt haue anon
545A gowne clooth / by god and by Seint |Iohan|
546¶My lord quod he / whan that the weder is fair
547With outen wynd / or |per|turbynge of Air
548Lat brynge a Cartwheel / heere in to this halle
549But looke that it haue / his spokes alle
550Twelf spokes / hath a Cartwheel comunly
551And brynge me thanne twelf freres / woot ye why
552ffor thrittene / is a Couent/ as I ge{ss}e
553Youre confe{ss}our heere / for his worthyne{ss}e
554Shal |per|fourne vp / the nombre of this Couent/
555Thanne shal they knele adown / by oon a{ss}ent/
556And to euery spokes ende / in this manere
557fful {s}adly / leye his no{s}e / shal a frere
{{Folio 86v}}
558[Y]oure noble Confe{ss}our / ther god hym saue
559Shal holde his no{s}e / vp right vnder the Naue
560Thanne shal this cherl / with baly / stif and toght/
561As any tabour / hider been ybroght/
562And sette hym on the wheel / right of this Cart/
563Vp on the Naue / and make hym lete a fart/
564And ye shal {s}een / on |per|il of my lyf
565By proue / which that is demon{s}tratyf
566That equally / the {s}oun of it wol wende
567And eek the stynk / vn to the spokes ende
568Saue / that this worthy man / youre Confe{ss}our
569By cau{s}e / he is a man of greet honour
570Shal han the fir{s}te fruyt/ as re{s}on is
571The noble v{s}age of freres / yet is this
572The worthy men of hem / shul fir{s}t be {s}erued
573And certeynly / he hath it wel di{ss}erued
574He hath to day / taught/ vs {s}o muchel good
575With |pre|chyng/ in the pulput/ ther he {s}tood
576That I may vouche sauf / I seye for me
577He hadde the fir{s}te smel / of fartes thre
578And so wolde / al his Couent hardily
579He bereth hym / {s}o faire and holily
580¶The lord / the lady / ech man / {s}aue the frere
581Seyden / that Iankyn / spak in this matere
582As wel / as Euclyde / or Protholomee
583Touchynge the cherl / they seyde subtiltee
584And hy wit/ made hym speke / as he spak
585He nys no fool / ne no demonyak/
586And Iankyn hath ywonne / a newe gowne
587My tale is doon / we been almoo{s}t at towne
¶Here endeth the Somnours tale

Notes

1] Old spelling is retained except for ligatured letters, which are normalized. Expansions of contractions and abbreviations are placed within vertical bars. The original lineation is retained, but not small capitals and the text of signatures, catchwords, and running titles. Irregularities in spacing are ignored. Reference citations are by folio numbers and editorial through-ms and through-tale line numbers. Unusual characters are identified as follows:
{s} : long-s
{ss} : ligatured long-s long-s
{C|} : capitulum
{`,} : comma under opening single quotation mark
{?.} : punctus elevatus
{^} : caret
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Publication Start Year: 
1866
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
1996
Rhyme: 
Special Copyright: 

Assisted by Nancy Misener and Alex Bisset.