The Maunciples Tale

Wit ye not where ther standeth a litel toun
Which that y-clepèd is Bob-up-and-doun,
Under the Blee in Caunterbury wey?
Ther gan our oste for to jape and pley,
And seyde, “Sirs, what! Dun is in the myre!
Is ther no man for preyer or for hyre,
That wil awake our felaw heer behinde?
A theef might him ful lightly robbe and binde
See how he nappeth. See for Goddes bones
As he wil falle from his hors at once.
Is that a cook of London, with mischaunce?
Let him com forth, he knoweth his penaúnce,
For he shal tell a tale by my fey
Although it be not worth a bottle of hey.
Awake, thou cook,” quoth he, “God give thee scorn,
What eyleth thee to sleepen in the morn
So that thou mayst not holden up thin hed?”
This cook that was ful pale and nothing red
Seyde to our host, “So God my soule blesse,
Ther is yfallen on me such hevinesse
I know not why that I wold rather sleepe
Than drink the beste galon wyn in Chepe.”
“Wel,” quoth the Maunciple, “if it may do ese
To thee, Sir Cook, and to no wight displese,
Which that heer rydeth in this companye
And that our Host wil, of his curtesie,
So wil I now excuse thee of thy tale;
For, in good faith, thy visage is ful pale,
Thine eyen be dazèd eek as that me thinketh
And wel I wot thy breth ful soure stinketh,
That sheweth wel thou art not wel disposed.
Of me, certain, thou shalt not be y-glosed,
See how he yawneth, lo, this drunken wight,
As though he wolde us swallow anon right.
Hold close thy mouth, man, by my faders kin
The devil of helle sette his foot therein,
Thy cursed breth infecte wil us alle,
Fy, stinking swyn, fy! evil thee befal!
A! take good heed, sirs, of this lusty man,
Now, sweete sir, wil ye joust at the fan?
Thereto me thinketh ye be wel y-shape,
I trowe that ye have dronk the rype grape,
And that is when men playen with a fan.”
And with this speche the cook in wrath began
Upon the Maunciple to nodde faste
For lakke of speche and doun the hors him caste,
Wher stil he lay til that men him up took;
This was a fayre rydyng for the Cook.
Alas! he hadde not held him by his ladel,
And ere that he agayn was in his saddle,
Ther was gret shovynge bothe to and fro
To lift him up and muche care and wo,
So unweldy was this sory pallid ghost,
And to the Maunciple thanne spak oure Host:
“Bycause that drink that dominacioun
Upon this man, by my salvacioun
I trow he lewedly wil tell his tale.
For were it wyn, or olde moysty ale,
That he hath dronk, he spekith in his nose,
And snesith fast, and eek he hath the pose.
He hath also to do more than ynough
To kepe him and his hors out of the slough,
And if he falle fro his hors eftsone,
Than shal we alle have ynough to doone
In liftyng up his hevy dronken neck.
Tel on thy tale, of him make I no reck.
But yit, Maunciple, in faith thou art too nyce,
Thus openly reprove him of his vice;
Another day he wil, par áventúre,
Chalénge the, and bring thee to his lure;
I mene, he speke wol of smale thinges,
As for to question of thy rekenynges,
That were not honest, if it cam to proof.”
Quoth the Maunciple, “That were a gret meschief:
So might he lightly bringe me in the snare,
Yit had I rather payen for the mare
He rideth on, than he shulde with me stryve.
I wil not wrath him, may I ever thrive!
That that I spak, I sayd a hasty word.
And wit ye what? I have heer in a gourd
A draught of wyn, yea of ripe grape,
And right anon ye shal see a good jape.
This cook shal drinke thereof, if I may;
On peyn of deth he wol nought say me nay.”
And certeinly, to tellen as it was,
Of this vessel the cook dronk fast, (allas!
What needith it? he drank ynough biforn);
And whan he hadde dronken from his horn,
To the Maunciple he took the gourd agayn.
And of that draught the Cook was wonder fayn,
And thankéd him in such wise as he coude.
Than gan our Host to laughe wonder loude,
And sayd, “I see wel it is necessarie
Wher that we go good drynk with us to carie;
For that wol torne rancour and desese
To accord and love, and many a wrong appese,
O thou Bacus, i-blessid be thi name,
That so canst tornen ernest into game!
Worship and thonke be to thy dietee;
Of that mater ye get no more of me.
Tel on thi tale, Mauncipel, I thee pray.”
“Wel, sir,” quoth he, “now herkyn what I say.”

When Phebus duelther in this erthe adoun,
As olde bookes maken mencioún,
He was the moste lusty bachiler
Of al this world, and eek the best archér.
He slew Phiton the serpent, as he lay
Slepyng benethe the soonne upon a day;
And many another noble worthy dede
He with his bowe wrought, as men may rede.
Pleyen he coude on every mynstralcye
And syngen, that it was a melodye
To heren of his clere vois the sound.
Certes the kyng of Thebes, Amphioun,
That with his singyng builded that citee,
Coud never synge half so wel as he.
Bysides he was of all the semeliest man,
That is or was, since that the world bigan.
What nedith it his feature to descryve?
For in this worlde is noon so faire alyve.
He was therwith fulfild of gentilesse,
Of honour, and of parfyt worthinesse.

This phebus, that was flour of bachelrie,
As wel in fredom, as in chivalrie,
For his disport, in signe of victorie
Of Phiton, so as telleth us the storie,
Was wont to beren in his hond a bowe.
Now had this Phebus in his hous a crowe,
Which in a cage he fostred many a day,
And taught it skeken, as men do a jay.
Whit was

  By PanEris using Melati.

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