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And rage he coude as it hadde ben a whelp,..
In lovèdayes', ther coude he mochel help.
For ther was he nat like a cloisterere,
With thredbare cope, as is a poure scolere,
But he was like a maister or a pope.
Of double worsted was his semicope,
That round was as a belle out of the presse.
Somwhat he lisped for his wantonnesse,
To make his English swete upon his tonge ;
And in his harping, whan that he hadde songe,
His eyen twinkeled in his hed aright,
As don the sterrès in a frosty night.
This worthy limitour was cleped Hubèrd.
A Marchant was ther with a forked berd,
In mottelee, and highe on hors he sat,
And on his hed a Flaundrish bever hat.
His botès clapsed fayre and fetisly.
His resons spake he ful solempnely,
Souning alway the encrese of his winning.
He wolde the see were kept for any thing3
Betwixen Middelburgh and Orèwell.
Wel coud he in eschanges 4 sheldès selle.
This worthy man ful' wel his wit besette ;
Ther wistè no wight that he was in dette,
1 Days appointed for the amicable settlement of differences,
2 Half cloak. 3 Kept, or gnarded. The old subsidy of tonnage and poundage was given to the king pour la saufgarde et custodie del mer.'Tyrwhitt.. 4 Exchanges
So stedefastly didde he his governance,
With his bargeines, and with his chevisance
Forsothe he was a worthy man withalle,
But soth to sayn, I n'ot how men him calle.
A Clerk ther was of Oxenforde alsò,
That unto logike haddè long ygo.
As lenè was his hors as is a rake,
And he was not right fat, I undertake;
But loked holwe, and therto soberly.
Ful thredbare was his overest courtepy,
For he hadde geten him yet no benefice,
Ne was nought worldly to have an officè.
For him was lever 4 han at his beddes hed
A twenty bokes, clothed in black and red,
Of Aristotle, and his philosophie,
Than robès riche, or fidel, or sautrie.
But all be that he was a philosophre,
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre,
But all that he might of his frendès hente",
On bokės and on lerning he it spente,
And besily gan for the soulès praie
Of hem, that yave him wherwith to scolaie 6.
Of studie toke he mostè cure and hede.
Not a word spake he more than was nede;
And that was said in forme and reverence,
And short and quike, and ful of high sentènce.
1 An agreement for borrowing money.
Hollow. 3 Uppermost cloak of coarse cloth. 4 He would rather have.
Souning in moral vertue was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.
A Sergeant of the Lawe warè' and wise,
That often hadde yben at the paruis,
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discrete he was, and of gret reverence :
He semed swiche, his wordès were so wise,
Justice he was ful often in assise,
By patent, and by pleine commissioun;
For his science, and for his high renoun,
Of fees and robès had he many on.
So grete a pourchasour was nowher non.
All was fee simple to him in effect,
His pourchasing might not ben in suspect.
Nowher so besy a man as he ther n'as,
And yet he semed besier than he was.
In termès hadde he cas 4 and domès alle,
That fro the time of king Will. weren falle.
Threto he coude endite, and make a thing,
Ther coudè no wight pinches at his writing.
And every statute coude he plaine by rote.
He rode but homely in a medlee6 cote?,
Girt with a seint 8 of silk, with barrès 9 smale ;
Of his array tell I no lenger tale.
Wary. * The paruis, or portico before a church-a place frequented by lawyers. The place of the lawyers paruis in London is as signed to different places by different antiquarians.-Tyrwhitt.
3 Suspicion. 4 Cases and decisions. No one could find a flaw in his writings. 67 Coat of mixed stuff. A girdle. 9With small stripes.
A Frankělein' was in this compagnie :
White was his berd, as is the dayësiè.
Of his complexion he was sanguin.
Wel loved he by the morwe? a sop in win.
To liven in delit was ever his wone,
For he was Epicurès owen sone,
That held opinion, that plein delit
Was veraily felicitè parfite.
An housholder, and that a grete was he;
Seint Julian* he was in his contrèe.
His brede, his ale, was alway after on;
A better envyned man was no wher non.
Withouten bake mete never was his hous,
Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous,
It snewed 6 in his hous of mete and drinke,
Of alle deintees that men coud of thinke,
After the sondry sesons of the yere,
So changed he his mete and his soupère.
Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in mewe?,
And many a breme, and many a luce in stewe.
Wo was his coke, but if his sauce were
Poinant and sharpe, and redy all his gere.
His table dormante in his halle alway
Stode redy covered alle the longè day.
At sessions ther was he lord and sire.
Ful often time he was knight of the shire.
Morning. 5Stored with wine.
An anelace' and a gipciere all of silk,
Heng at his girdel, white as morwe: milk.
A shereve hadde he ben, and a countour*.
Was no wher swiche a worthy vavasour 5.
An Haberdasher, and a Carpenter,
A Webbe“, a Deyer, and a Tapiser?,
Were alle clothed in o liverè ,
Of a solempne and grete fraternitè.
Ful freshe and newe hir 9'gere ypiked 10 was.
Hir knivès were ychaped not with bras,
But all with silver wrought ful clene and wel,
Hir girdeles and hir pouches every del ".
Wel semed eche of hem a fayre burgeis
To sitten in a gild halle, on the deis 13.
Everich, for the wisdom that he can,
Was shapelich 14 for to ben an alderman.
For catel hadden they ynough and rent,
And eke hir wives wolde it well assent :
And ellès certainly they were to blame.
It is ful fayre to ben ycleped madame,
And for to gon to vigiles all before,
And have a mantel reallich 16 ybore 17.