do, and after it we grope.
But that sciénce is so far us bifore,
We never can, although we had it sworn,
It overtake, it slideth away so fast;
It wol us make beggers atte last.”

Whil this Yeoman was thus in his talkyng,
This Canoun drew him near and herd al thing
Which that this Yeoman spak, for suspicioún
Of mennes speche ever had this Canoún;
For Cato saith, that he that guilty is,
Demeth al thing be spoke of him, I wis;
By-cause of that he gan so nigh to ride
That al these words he herd right at his syde;
And thus he sayd unto his Yeoman tho;
“Hold now thy pees, and speke no wordes mo;
For if thou do, thou shalt it deere abye:
Thow slaundrest me here in this companye,
And eek discoverest that thou shuldest hide.”
“Yea,” quoth oure Ost, “tel on, what so bytyde,
Of alle this thretnyng reck thee nought a myte.”
“In faith,” quoth he, “no more do I but lite.”
And whan this Canoun saw it wold not be,
But this Yeoman wolde telle his privitee,
He fled away for very sorrow and shame.
“A!” quoth this Yeoman, “here shal rise a game;
Al that I know anon now wil I telle,
Since he is gon; the foule feend him quelle!
For never wil I meete him far or neere
For peny nor for pound, I wol it swere.
He that me broughte first unto that game,
Ere that he deye, sorrow have he and shame!
For it is ernest to me, by my faith;
That fele I wel, what-so that any saith;
And yet for al my smart, and al my greef,
For al my sorrow, and labour, and mescheef,
I coude never leve it in no wise.
Now wolde God my wyt might wel suffise
To tellen al that longeth to that art;
But nonetheles, yet wil I telle you part;
Since that my lord is gon, I wol nought spare,
Such thing as that I knowe, I wol declare.

“With this Canoún I duelléd have seven yer
But to his science am I never near;
Al that I hadde, I have y-lost therby,
And God wot, so hath many mo than I.
Though I was wont to be right fresh and gay
Of clothing, and of other good array,
Now may I were an hose upon myn heed;
And where my colour was both fressh and red,
Now it is wan, and of a leden hewe,
(Who-so it useth, sore shal he rewe);
And of my toil, yet blinking is myn eye;
Such ávantáge it is to multiplie!
That slippery science hath me made so bare,
That I have no good, wher that ever I fare;
And yet I am endetted so therby
Of gold, that I have borrowed trewely,
That whil I lyve shal I it paye never;
Lat every man be war by me for ever,
What maner man that casteth eyes thereon,
If he continue, I holde his thrift is gon:
So help me God, therby shal he not wynne,
But empte his purs, and make his wittes thynne.
And when he, thurgh his madnes and folye,
Hath lost his owne good in jeopardie,
Than he exciteth other men therto,
To lose their good, as he himself hath do.
For unto shrewes joy it is and ese
To have their felawes in peyne and in desese.
Thus was I once ytaught and by a clerk;
No care for that; I wil speke of oure werk.
Whan we be ther where we shul exercise
Oure elvish craft, we seme wondrous wyse,
Oure termes be so lerned and so queynte.
I blowe the fyr til that myn herte feynte.
What shulde I tellen ech proporcioun
Of thinges which we werken up and doun,
To take fyve or six ounces, may wel be,
Of silver, or som other quantitee?
And busy me to telle you the names
Of orpiment, burnt bones, iron squames,
That into poudre grounden be ful smal?
And in an erthen pot how put is al,
And salt y-put in, and also pepper,
With al these poudres that I speke of heere,
And wel i-covered with a lamp of glas?
And of moche other thing what that ther was?
And of the pot and glass and fastening,
That of the aier mighte passe no thing?
And of the esy fyr, and smert also,
Which that was made? and of the care and wo,
That we hadde in oure maters sublimynge,
And in amalgamynge, and calcinynge
Of quyksilver, y-clept mercury crude?
For alle oure sleightes we can nought conclude
Oure orpiment, and sublyment mercurie,
Oure grounde litarge eek on the porfurye,
Of ech of these of ounces a certayn
Not helpeth us, oure laboure is in vayn.
Nor yet our spirits and their ascencioun,
Ne eek our maters that lie fixed adoun,
Can in oure werkyng us no thing avayle;
For lost is al oure labour and travayle,
And al the cost on twenty devel way
Is lost also, which we upon it lay.
Ther is also ful many another thing,
That is to oure craft appértenýng,
Though I by ordre them reherse not can,
Bycause that I am no lerned man,
Yet wil I telle them, as they come to mynde,
Though I can not them set right in their kind;
As sal armoniak, verdegres, boras;
And sondry vessels made of erthe and glas,
Oure urinals and oure descensories,
Viols, croslets, and sublimatories,
Concurbites, and álembikes eeke,
And othere suche, not worthe a greene leeke,
It needeth not to réhersen them alle;
And watres rubifying, and boles galle,
Arsenek, sal armoniak, and brimstoon.
And herbes coude I telle eek many a one,
As egrimoigne, valirian, and lunarie,
And other suche, if that me list to tarie;
Oure lampes brennyng bothe night and day,
To bringe aboute oure craft if that we may;
Oure fournies eek of calcinacioun,
And of our watres albificacioun,
Unslekked lym, chalk, and glayre of an ey,
Poudres dyvers and asshes, dong, and cley,
Ceréd poketts, sal petre, vitriole;
And dyvers fyres made of woode and cole;
Salt tartre, alcaly, and salt preparat,
And combust materes, and coagulat;
Cley made with hors or mannes hair, and oyle

  By PanEris using Melati.

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