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Entuned in hire nose ful swetely;
And Frenche she spake ful fayre and fetisly',
After the scole of Stratford attè Bowe,
For Frenche of Paris was to hire unknowe.
At metè was she wel ytaughte withalle;
She lette no morsel from her lippès fall,
Ne wette hire fingres in hire saucè depe.
Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel kepe,
Thattè no drope ne fell upon hire brest.
In curtesie was sette ful moche hire lest a.
Hire over lippè wiped she so clene,
That in hire cuppe was no ferthing senes
Of gresè, whan she dronken hadde hire draught.
Ful semèly after her mete she raught'.
And sikerly she was of grete disport,
And ful plesant, and amiable of port,
And peined' hire to contrefeteno chere
Of court, and ben estatelich of manère,
And to ben holden digne" of reverence.
But for to speken of hire conscience,
She was so charitable and so pitous,
She woldè wepe if that she saw a mous
Caughte in a trappe, if it were ded or bledde.
Of smalè houndès hadde she, that she fedde
With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel brede.
But sore wept she if on of hem were dede,
Or if men smote it with a yerdèsmert,
And all was conscience and tendre herte.
Ful semely hire wimple ypinched was;
Hire nose tretis 3; hire eyen grey as glas;
Hire mouth ful smale, and therto soft and red;
But sikerly she hadde a fayre forehed.
It was almost a spannè brode I trowe;
For hardily she was not undergrowe“.
Ful fetises was hire cloke, as I was ware.
Of smale corall aboute hire arm she bare
A pair of bedès, gauded all with grene;
And theron heng a broche of gold ful shene,
On whiche was first ywriten a crouned A,
And after, Amor vincit omnia.
Another Nonne also with hire hadde she,
That was hire chapelleine, and Preestès thre.
A Monk ther was, a fayre for the maistrie,
An outrider, that loved venerie;
A manly man, to ben an abbot able.
Ful many a deinté hors hadde he in stable :
And whan he rode, men might his bridel here
Gingeling in a whistling wind as clere,
And eke as loude, as doth the chapell belle,
Ther as this lord was keeper of the celle.
The reule of Seint Maure and of Seint Beneit, Because that it was olde and somdele streit, This ilkè monk lette oldè thingès pace, And held after the newè worlde the trace. i Stick. a Smartly, adv.
He gave not of the text a pulled hen,
That saith, that hunters ben not holy men;
Ne that a monk, whan he is rekkeles",
Is like to a fish that is waterles;
This is to say, a monk out of his cloistre.
This ilkè text held he not worth an oistre.
And I say his opinion was good.
What shulde he studie, and make himselven wood3
Upon a book in cloistre alway to pore,
Or swinken with his hondès, and laboure,
As Austin bits? how shal the world be served ?
Let Austin have his swink to him rese
Therfore he was a prickasoure a right:
Greihoundes he hadde as swift as foul of flight:
Of pricking and of hunting for the hare
Was all his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
I saw his sleves purfiled at the hond
With gris 8, and that the finest of the lond.
And for to fasten his hood under his chinne,
He hadde of gold ywrought a curious pinne;
A love-knotte in the greter end ther was.
His hed was balled, and shone as any glas,
And eke his face, as it hadde ben anoint.
He was a lord ful fat and in good point.
His eyen stepe', and rolling in his hed,
That stemed as a fornëis of led.
His botès souple, his hors in gret estat;
Now certainly he was a fayre prelát.
He was not pale as a forpined gost.
A fat swan loved he best of any rost.
His palfrey was as broune as is a bery.
A Frere ther was, a wanton and a mery,
A Limitour, a ful solempné man.
In all the ordres foure is none that can'
So muche of daliance and fayre langage.
He hadde ymade ful many a mariage
Of yongè wimmen, at his owen cost.
Until his ordre he was a noble post.
Ful wel beloved, and familier was he
With frankeleins over all in his contrée,
And eke with worthy wimmen of the toun:
For he had power of confession,
As saide himselfè, more than a curat,
For of his ordre he was licenciat.
Ful swetely herde he confession,
And plesant was his absolution.
He was an esy man to give penance,
Ther as he wiste to han? a good pitànce:
For unto a poures ordre for to give
Is signè that a man is well yshrive“.
For if he gave, he dorstès make avant,
He wistè that a man was repentant.
For many a man so hard is of his herte,
He may not wepe although bim soré smerte.
Therfore in stede of weping and praières,
Men mote give silver to the pourè freres.
His tippet was ay farsed 'ful of knives,
And pinnès, for to given fayrè wives.
And certainly he hadde a mery note.
Wel coude he singe and plaien on a rote
Of yeddinges' he bare utterly the pris.
His nekke was white as the flour de lis.
Therto he strong was as a champioun,
And knew wel the tavèrnes in every toun,
And every hosteler and gay tapstère,
Better than a lazar or a beggère,
For unto swiche a worthy man as he
Accordeth nought, as by his facultè,
To havent with sike lazars acquaintance.
It is not honest, it may not avance,
As for to delen with no swiche pouraille',
But all with riche, and sellers of vitaille.
And over all, ther as profit shuld arise,
Curteis he was, and lowly of servise.
Ther n'as no man no wher so vertuous.
He was the beste beggèr in all his hous:
And gave a certain fermè ø for the grant,
Non of his bretheren came in his haunt.
For though a widewe hadde but a shoo,
(So plesant was his in principio)
Yet wold he have a ferthing or he went.
His pourchas? was wel better than his rent.