صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

THE CLERKES TALE.

THER is right at the west side of Itaille
Doun at the rote of Vesulus the cold,
A lusty plain, habundant of vitaille,

Ther many a toun and tour thou maist behold,
That founded were in time of fathers old,
And many another delitable sighte,
And Saluces this noble contree highte.

A markis whilom lord was of that lond,
As were his worthy elders him before,
And obeysant, ay redy to his hond,
Were all his lieges, bothe less and more:
Thus in delit he liveth, and hath don yore,
Beloved and drad, thurgh favour of fortune,
Both of his lordes, and of his commune.

Therwith he was, to speken of linage,
The gentilest yborne of Lumbardie,
A faire person, and strong, and yong of age,
And ful of honour and of curtesie:
Discret ynough, his contree for to gie,
Sauf in som thinges that he was to blame,
And Walter was this yonge lordes name.

1 blame him thus, that he considered nought
In time coming what might him betide,
But on his lust present was all his thought,
And for to hauke and hunt on every side:
Wel neigh all other cures let he slide,
And eke he n'old (and that was worst of all)
Wedden no wif for ought that might befall.

Only that point his peple bare so sore,
That flockmel on a day to him they went,
And on of hem, that wisest was of lore,
(Or elles that the lord wold best assent
That he shuld tell him what the peple ment,
Or elles coud he wel shew swiche matere)
He to the markis said as ye shull here.

"O noble markis, your humanitee
Assureth us and yeveth us hardinesse,
As oft as time is of necessitee,

That we to you mow tell our hevinesse :
Accepteth, lord, than of your gentillesse,
That we with pitous herte unto you plaine,
And let your eres nat my vois disdaine.

"Al have I not to don in this matere
More than another man hath in this place,
Yet for as moch as ye, my lord so dere,
Han always shewed me favour and grace,
I dare the better aske of you a space
Of audience, to shewen our request,
And ye, my lord, to don right as you lest.

"For certes, lord, so wel us liketh you
And all your werke, and ever have don, that we
Ne couden not ourself devisen how

We mighten live in more felicitee:
Save o thing, lord, if it your wille be,
That for to be a wedded man you lest,

Than were your peple in soverain hertes rest.

"Boweth your nekke under the blisful yok Of soveraintee, and not of servise,

Which that men clepen spousaile or wedlok:
And thinketh, lord, among your thoughtes wise,
How that our dayes passe in sondry wise;
For though we slepe, or wake, or rome, or ride,
Ay fleth the time, it wol no man abide.

And though your grene youthe floure as yet,
In crepeth age alway as still as ston,
And deth manaseth every age, and smit
In eche estat, for ther escapeth non:
And al so certain, as we knowe eche on
That we shul die, as uncertain we all
Ben of that day whan deth shal on us fall.

"Accepteth than of us the trewe entent,
That never yet refuseden your hest,
And we wol, lord, if that ye wol assent,
Chese you a wife in short time at the mest,
Borne of the gentillest and of the best
Of all this lond, so that it oughte seme
Honour to God and you, as we can deme.

"Deliver us out of all this besy drede And take a wif, for highe Goddes sake: For if it so befell, as God forbede,

That thurgh your deth your linage shulde slake, And that a strange successour shuld take

Your heritage, o! wo were us on live:

Wherfore we pray you hastily to wive."

Hir meke praiere and hir pitous chere
Made the markis for to han pitee.

"Ye wol," quod he, "min owen peple dere,

To that I never er thought constrainen me.
I me rejoyced of my libertee,

That selden time is found in mariage;
Ther I was free, I moste ben in servage.

"But natheles I see your trewe entent,
And trust upon your wit, and have don ay :
Wherfore of my free will I wol assent
To wedden me, as sone as ever I may.
But ther as ye han profred me to-day
To chesen me a wif, I you relese

That chois, and pray you of that profer cese.

"For God it wot, that children often ben
Unlike hir worthy eldres hem before,
Bountee cometh al of God, not of the stren
Of which they ben ygendred and ybore:
I trust in Goddes bountee, and therfore
My mariage, and min estat, and rest,
I him betake, he may don as him lest.

"Let me alone in chesing of my wif,
That charge upon my bak I wol endure:
But I you pray, and charge upon your lif,
That what wif that I take, ye me assure
To worship hire while that hire lif may dure,
In word and werk, both here and elles where,
As she an emperoures doughter were.

"And forthermore this shuln ye swere, that ye Again my chois shul never grutch ne strive. For sith I shul forgo my libertee

At your request, as ever mote I thrive,
Ther as min berte is set, ther wol I wive:

And but ye wol assent in swiche manere,
I pray you speke no more of this matere."

With hertly will they sworen and assenten
To all this thing, ther saide not o wight nay:
Beseching him of grace, or that they wenten,
That he wold granten hem a certain day
Of his spousaile, as sone as ever he may,
For yet alway the peple somwhat dred,
Lest that his markis wolde no wif wed.

He granted hem a day, swiche as him lest,
On which he wold be wedded sikerly,
And said he did all this at hir request;
And they with humble herte ful buxumly
Kneling upon hir knees ful reverently
Him thonken all, and thus they han an end
Of hir entente, and home agen they wend.

And hereupon he to his officeres
Commandeth for the feste to purvay.
And to his privee knightes and squieres
Swiche charge he yave, as him list on hem lay:
And they to his commandement obey,
And eche of hem doth al his diligence
To do unto the feste al reverence.

PARS SECUNDA.

NOUGHT fer fro thilke paleis honourable,
Wher as this markis shope his mariage,
Ther stood a thorpe, of sighte delitable,

« السابقةمتابعة »