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But by my
I is as ill a miller as is ye.
This miller smiled at hir nicetce,
fhal I blere hir eie
more wol I stele whan that I take. 4050 In ftede Hour
yet wol I yeve hen bren. The gretest clerkes ben not the wisest men, As whilom to the wolf chus (pake the mare: Of all hir art ne count I not a tare.
405 3. 10 tbe wolftbus fpake the mare] The ftory alluded to is told of a mule in Cent, Nov. Ant. N. 91: the Mule pretends that his name is written upon the bottom of his hind. foot: the wolf attempting to read it the mule gives him a kick on the forehead and kills him; upon which the fox, who was present, observes, “ Ogni huomo, che fa lettera, non è fa. “ vio.” There is a similar story of a wolf and a mare in Thç moft delectable History of Reynard the Fox, edit. 1701, chap. xviii, but whether that story be in Caxtoo's edition, whether it be in the Dutch book from which Caxton translated, whether the Dutch book be an original composition or a translation, when it was written, &c. are all points upon which I wish to be informed by some more knowing antiquary. I will just obferve that one of the fox's tricks, chap. xiy, seems to be alluded to by Richai de Berbeiffel [Richard de Berbezieux] a Provencal poet, who died in 1383. (Quadrio, t. ii. p. 144.) I will cite the passage from ms. Crofts, fol. 191, though I do not underítand the last clause;
Anc Ranart d'Isengrin
Out at the dore he goth ful prively. 4055 Whan that he saw his time foftely. He loketh up and doun, til he hath found The clerkes hors ther as he stoodybound Behind the mille under a leyefell, And to the hors he goth him faire and well, 4060 And stripeth of the bridel right anon. +
And whan the hors was laus he gan to gon Toward the fen ther wilde mares renne, And forth with wehce thurgh thick and thinne. This miller goth again, nd word he said, : 4065 But doth his note, and with these clerkes plaid, Till that hir corn-was faire and wel yground. And whan the mele is facked and ybound This John goth out and fint his hors away, And gan to crie Harow and wala wa!
4070 Our hors is lost: Alein, for Goddes bancs Step on thy feet; conie of, man, al at anes: Reynard here seems to have procured Isegrim's skin to be Aript off to make him a hood and gloves. In the English he procures the wolf's thoes to be pulled off and put upon his own feet.
7. 4059. a levesell] This word is plainly derived from the Sax. lefe, folium, and setl, jedes. Metefel is a word of the same form. Peter of Langt. p. 334, “ It neghcd nere metefel ;” it was near the time of fitting down to dinner. A levesell there. fore fignifies a leafy leat, an arbour. It may be understood in the same sense in 'The Persones Tale," sight as the gay “levefell at the taverne is figne of the win that is in the celler.” So that perhaps our old proverb, Good wine needs no buth, meant originallyno arbour to drink it in. Latterly however levefell was used for buth, as in this paffage of Rorcley's Ellinoure and Juga, it. iv. 3, 4,
Alas! our wardein has his palfrey lorn.
This Alein al forgat both mele and corn; Al was out of his mind his husbandrie:
4073 What, whilke way is he gon? he gan to crie.
The wif came leping inward at a renne ; She fayd, Alas! youre hors goth to the fenns With wilde mares as fast as he may go. Unthank come on his hand that bond him so, 4080 And he that hetter fhuld have knit the rein.
Alas! (quod John) Alein, for Criftes pein Lay doun chyfwerd, and Lflial min alfwa; l is ful wight, God wate, as is a ra. By Goddes saule he shal not scape us bache. 4085 Why ne had thou put the capel in the lathe? Ill haile, Alein, by God thou is a fonne. < These sely clerkes han ful fast yronne
No mo the amblyng palfrie and the horne
Shall from the lefsel rouze the foxe awaie. See The Town and Country Magazine for May 1769, p. 273. When this note was written I was in hopes of being able to refer the reader to fome more creditable edition of this poem; but the influence of those malignant stars which fo long contined poor Rowley in his iron chett feems fill to predominate. Seriously it were much to be willied that the gentleman who is poffeffed of the still remaining fragments of this unfortunate author would print thein as foon as possible. If he hould not have leisure or inclination to be the editor himself he might ealily find a proper person to take that trouble for him, as nothing more would be requitite than to print the several pieces faithfully from their respective mff.diftinguithing which of thofe mfr. are originals and which transcripts, and also by whom and when the transcripts were made, as far as that can be ascer tained,
Toward the fen, bothe Alein and eke John;
These sely clerkes rennen up and doun
4.4094. make a clerkes berde] i.e. cheat him. Faire la barbe, Fr. is to have or trim the beard; but Chaucer translates the phrase literally, at least when he uses it in its inetaphorical sense. See ver. 5943, and H. of F. ii. 181. Boccace has the fame metaphor, Decam. viii. 10, Speaking of some exorbitant cheats, he says that they applied themselves ---Non a radere ma a scorticare huominj; and a little lower-li a joavemente la barbiera saputo menare il rafoio.
And namely the miller, wala wa!-!
Thus plaineth John as he goth by the'way Toward the mille, and Bayard in his hond. 'The miller sitting by the fire he fond, For it was night, and forther might they nought, But for the love of God they him befought 4516 Of herberwe and of ese, as for hir peny:
The miller faide agen, If ther be any, Swiche as it is yet fhull ye have your part. Myn hous is streit, but ye have lerted art; 4120 Ye can by argunients maken a place, A mile brode of twenty foot of space. Let see now if this place may suffice, Or make it roume with fpeche, as is your gife. Now, Simond, (faid this John) by Seint Cuthberd Ay is thou mery, and that is faire answerd. 4126 I have herd say man faltake of twa thinges, Slike as he findes, or flike as he bringes. But specially I pray thee, hofte dere,', Gar us have mete and drinke, and make us chere, And we fal paien trewely at the full:
4131 With empty hand men may na haukes tull. Lo here our silver redy for to spend.
This miller to the toun his doughter send For ale and bred, and rosted heni a goos, 4135 And bond hir hors he fhuld no more go loos, And in his owen chambre hem made a bedde, With fhetes aud with chalons faire yspredde,
Ť.4133. chalons] Whatever they were they probably were