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With wyn of Oseye and win of Gaskoyne,
Of the Ryn 2 and of the Rochel, the rost to

defye,
Al this I saugh slepynge, and seve sithes

With wine of Alsace and wine of Gascon,
Of the Rhine and the Rochelle, the roast to

digest well.
All this saw I sleeping, and seven times

more.

more.

THE FABLE OF BELLING THE CAT

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look up;

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hold us,

FROM THE PROLOGUE (B — TEXT) With that ran there a route 5 of ratones 6 With that ran there a rabble of rats all at ones,?

together, And smale mys 8 with hem,

mo then a And small mice with them, more than a thousande,

thousand, And comen

to a conseille for here 11 And came to a counsel for their common une profit;

profit; For a cat of a courte cam whan hym lyked, For a cat of a court came when it pleased him, And overlepe hem lyghtlich and laughte 12 And overleaped them lightly and levied on hem at his wille,

150
them freely,

150 And pleyde with hem perilouslych and And played with them perilously and pushed possed 13 hem aboute.

them about there. “For doute 14 of dyverse dredes 15

we dar

“For drede of divers deeds we dare not once noughte wel loke; And yif 16 we grucche 17 of his gamen,18 he wil And if his game we grudge him, he will grieve greve us alle,

us also, Cracche us, or clawe us and in his cloches 20 Claw us or clinch us and in his clutches

holde, That us lotheth the lyf or 21 he lete us passe. Making life to us loathsome ere he let us Myghte we with any witte his wille with

scamper. stonde.

156 Might we with any wisdom his wilfulness We myghte be lordes aloft and lyven at

hinder, owre ese:

We might be lords aloft and live at our liking." A raton

most renable 24 of

A rat of high renown, most reasonable of tonge,

discourse, Seide for a sovereygne help to hymselve : 25_ Said for a sovereign help for their sorrow : “I have y-sein 26 segges,

,? 27 quod he, “in the “I have seen swains,” said he, “in the city cité of London

of London Beren beighes 28 ful brighte abouten here Wear circlets most splendid about their nekkes,

necks swinging, And some colers of crafty werk; uncoupled And some collars of crafty work; uncoupled thei wenden 29

162

they ramble Both in wareine 30 and in waste, where hem Both in warren and in waste land, e'en leve lyketh ; 31

where'er it pleases; And otherwhile thei aren elleswhere, as I And other times are they elsewhere, as I am here telle.

advised. Were there a belle on here beighe,32

Were a bell borne on the collar, by Jesu, as as me thynketh,

me thinketh, Men myghte wite 33 where thei went, and One might wit where they went, and away awei renne ! 34

166
scamper!

166

156

22 of

renon,23

162

bi Jesu,

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And right so," quod this raton,

And right so," said this rat then, "reason sheweth

doth counsel To bugge 1 a belle of brasse or of brighte To buy a bell of brass or of bright silver sylver

And clasp on a collar for our common And knitten on a colere for owre comune profit, profit,

And knit it round the cat's neck; then may And hangen it upon the cattes hals; 2 than

we know clearly here 3 we mowen *

Whether he rides or rests or runs to disport Where 5 he ritt 6 or rest or renneth 7 to

him. playe.

And if he pleases to play then may we press And yif him list for to laike,8 thenne loke

forward,

172 we mowen,

172 And appear in his presence while playing And peren' in his presence ther-while hym him pleases; plaie liketh ; 10

And if wrathful he be, then beware and his And yif him wrattheth,11 be y-war and his

way shun well.” weye shonye.'

All this rabble of rats to this reasoning Alle this route of ratones to this reson thei

assented.

175 assented.

175

But when the bell had been bought and Ac tho 13 the belle was y-bought and on the bound on the collar, beighe hanged,

There was no rat in all the rout that, for all Ther ne was ratoun in alle the route, for alle

the realm of France, the rewme of Fraunce,

Durst have bound that same bell about the That dorst have y-bounden the belle aboute cat's neck there, the cattis nekke,

Nor have hung it about his head, to have Ne hangen it aboute the cattes hals, al Enge

all England; lond to wynne;

And found themselves fearful, and of feeble And helden hem unhardy 15 and here conseille

counsel,

180 feble,

180

And allowed their labour lost and their long And leten 16 here laboure lost and alle here

study. longe studye.

A mouse that much good marked, as meA mous that moche good couthe,17 as me

thinketh, thoughte,

Strode forth sternly and stood out before Stroke forth sternly and stode biforn hem

them, alle,

And to that rabble of rats rehearsed this And to the route of ratones reherced these

wisdom: wordes :

“Though we killed the cat, yet would there “Though we culled 18 the catie yut 19 sholde

come another

185 ther come another

185 To catch us and our kin, though we crept To cracchy us and al owre kynde, though we

under benches. croupe 20 under benches.

Therefore I counsel all the commons For-thi 21 I conseille alle the comune

the cat flourish, the catte worthe, 22

And be we never so bold the bell for to show And be we never so bolde the belle hym to

him; shewe;

For I heard my sire say

'tis seven years For I herde my sire seyn,23 is sevene yere

since then y-passed,

'Where the cat is a kitten the court will be "There 24 the catte is a kitoun the courte is

ailing';

190 ful elyng '; 25

190 That witnesseth Holy-writ, whoso will read That witnisseth Holi-write, who-so wil it it: Vae terrae ubi puer rex est, etc.

rede: Ve terre ubi puer rex est,

to let

to lat

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For may no renkel there rest have for

ratones bi nyghte. The while he caccheth conynges 2 he coveiteth

nought owre caroyne, But fet 4 hym al with venesoun, defame

we hym nevere. For better is a litel losse than a longe sorwe, The mase

amonge us alle though we mysse " a shrewc.8

196 For many mannes malt we mys wolde

destruye, And also ye roule of ratones rende mennes

clothes, Nere 10 that cat of that courte that can yow

overlepe; For had ye rattes yowre wille, ye couthe 11

nought reule 12 yowre-selve. I sey for me," quod the mous,

“I se so mykel 13 after, Shal never the cat ne the kitoun bi my

conseille be greved, Ne carpyng

14 of this coler that costed 15 And though it had coste me catel,16 biknowen17

it I nolde,18 But suffre as hym-self wolde to do as hym liketh,

205 Coupled and uncoupled to cacche what thei

mowe. For-thi uche a wise wighte I warne

wel his owne." What this meteles 22 bemeneth,23

ye men that be merye, Devine ye, for I ne dar, 24 bi dere God in

hevene!

For rest there may no man reap for rats in

the night-time. While that he catcheth conies he coveteth

not our carcases, But feeds him all with venison, defame we

him never. For better is a little loss than a long sorrow, The maze among us all though we miss one rascal.

196 For many a man's malt we mice would

destroy, And also ye rabble of rats would rend men's

clothing But for that cat of that court that can over

leap you; For had ye rats your will, ye could not rule

your own selves. I say for me," said that mouse, “I see so

much after, Shall never the cat nor the kitten by my

counsel be grieved, Nor chatter of this collar that cost me noth

ing. And though it had cost me cash, confess it

I would not, But suffer him as himself would to do as doth please him,

205 Coupled and uncoupled to catch all they are

able. Therefore every wise wight I warn to watch

well his havings.' What the mystery means now,

me

nevre.

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20

wite 21

SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE? (D. 1371)
THE VOIAGE AND TRAVAILE OF SIR JOHN MAUNDEVILE, KT.

FROM CHAP. IV

And from Ephesim Men gon 25 throghe many

And from Ephesus men go through many Iles in the See, unto the Cytee of Paterane, isles in the sea unto the city of Pateran, where where Seynt Nicholas was born, and so to St. Nicholas was born, and so to Martha, Martha, where he was chosen to ben 26 Bis- where he was chosen to be bishop; and there schoppe; and there growethe right gode Wyn groweth right good wine and strong; and and strong; and that Men callen Wyn of men call it Wine of Martha. And from Martha. And from thens 27 gon Men to the thence go men to the isle of Crete, which the Ile of Crete, that the Emperour yaf 28 som- Emperor gave formerly to the Genoese. And

1 man, person 2 rabbits 3 flesh 4 feeds 5

game 6 confusion get rid of 8 tyrant 9 crowd it not for I could 12 rule 13 much talking

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10

were 15

ye men that are merry, Divine ye, for I dare not, by dear God of

heaven!

confess 18

cost

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would not

20 property

may each 21

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be 27 thence 28

gave

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tymel to Janeweys. And thanne passen then men pass through the isles of Colos and Men thorghe the Isles of Colos and of Lango; Lango; of the which isles Hippocrates was of the whiche Iles Ypocras was Lord offe. lord. And some men say that in the isle of And some Men seyn,3 that in the Ile of Lango Lango is yet the daughter of Hippocrates, is yit' the Doughtre of Ypocras, in forme and in form and likeness of a great dragon that is lykeness of a gret Dragoun, that is a hundred a hundred fathoms in length, as men say; for Fadme- of lengthe, as Men seyn: For I have I have not seen her. And they of the isles not seen hire. And thei of the Isles callen call her Lady of the Land. And she lieth in hire, Lady of the Lond. And sche lyethe an old castle, in a cave, and appeareth twice in an olde castelle, in a Cave, and schewethe ? or thrice in the year. And she doeth no twyes or thryes in the Yeer. And sche dothe harm to any man, unless men do harm to her. none harm to no Man, but-yif & Men don hire And she was thus changed and transformed harm. And sche was thus chaunged and from a fair damsel into likeness of a dragon by transformed, from a fair Damysele, in-to a goddess that was called Diana. And men lyknesse of a Dragoun, be 9 a Goddesse, that say that she shall so continue in that form of a was clept 10 Deane. 11 And Men seyn, that dragon until the time that a knight shall come sche schalle so endure in that forme of a who is so hardy that he dares come to her and Dragoun, unto the tyme that a Knyghte come, kiss her on the mouth: and then shall she rethat is so hardy, that dar come to hire and kiss turn to her own nature and be a woman again : hire on the Mouthe: And then schalle sche but after that she shall not live long. And it turne ayen

to hire owne Kynde,13 and ben a is not long since that a knight of the Rhodes Woman ayen : But aftre that sche schalle not that was hardy and doughty in arms said that liven longe. And it is not long siththen, that he would kiss her. And when he was upon a Knyghte of the Rodes, that was hardy and his courser, and went to the castle, and doughty in Armes, seyde that he wolde entered into the cave, the dragon lifted up her kyssen hire. And whan he was upon his head against him. And when the knight Coursere, and wente to the Castelle, and saw her in that form, so hideous and so horentred into the Cave, the Dragoun lifte up rible, he fled

away. And the dragon bore the hire Hed ayenst 15 him. And whan the knight upon a rock despite his efforts; and Knyghte saw hire in that Forme so hidous from the rock she cast him into the sea : and and so horrible, he fleyghe 16 awey.

And the so was lost both horse and man. And also a Dragoun bare 17 the Knyghte upon a Roche,18 young man, that did not know about the mawgre his Hede;

19 and from that Roche, dragon, went out of a ship, and went through sche caste him in-to the See: and so was lost the isle till he came to the castle, and came bothe Hors and Man. And also a yonge into the cave; and went on till he found a Man, that wiste 21 not of the Dragoun, wente chamber, and there he saw a damsel that was out of a Schipp, and wente thorghe the lle, combing her hair and looking in a mirror; and til that he come to the Castelle, and cam in to she had much treasure about her: and he the Cave; and wente so longe, til that he supposed that she was a common woman, who fond a Chambre, and there he saughe 22 dwelt there to receiv men to folly. And he Damysele, that kembed 2 hire Hede, and waited till the damsel saw his shadow in the lokede in a Myrour; and sche hadde meche 24 mirror. And she turned herself toward him, Tresoure abouten hire: and he trowed 25 that and asked him what he wished. And he said sche hadde ben a comoun Woman, that he would be her lover or paramour. And dwelled there to receyve Men to Folye. And she asked him if he were a knight. And he he abode, tille the Damysele saughe the said, “Nay.” And then she said that he Schadewe of him in the Myrour. And sche could not be her lover: but she bade him go turned hire toward him, and asked hym, back to his fellows and make himself a knight, what he wolde. And he seyde, he wolde ben and come again upon the morrow, and she hire Limman 26 or Paramour. And sche asked would come out of the cave before him; and him, yif 27 that he were a Knyghte. And he then he should come and kiss her on the

- formerly, once upon a time 2 the Genoese 3 say against 16 fled 17 bore 18 rock 19 despite his head 4 yet 5 fathom

appears unless by (= despite all he could do) 20 young 21 knew 22 again, back 13 nature

23 combed 24 much 25 believed, thought 26 lover 2; if

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6 land 11 Diana

saw

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seyde, nay. And than sche seyde, that he mouth, and have no dread; "for I shall do myghte not ben hire Lemman : 1 But sche thee no manner of harm, albeit that thou see bad him gon ayen 2 unto his Felowes, and me in likeness of a dragon. For though thou make him Knyghte, and come ayen upon the see me hideous and horrible to look upon, I Morwe, and sche scholde come out of the Cave give thee to know that it is caused by enbefore him; and thanne come and kysse hire chantment. For without doubt I am none on the mowthe, and have no Drede; "for I other than thou seest now, a woman; and schalle do the no maner harm, alle be it that therefore dread thee naught. And if thou thou see me in Lyknesse of a Dragoun. For kiss me, thou shalt have all this treasure, and thoughe thou see me hidouse and horrible be my lord and lord also of all the isle.' to loken onne, I do 3 the to wytene,4 that it is And he departed from her and went to his made be Enchauntement. For withouten fellows on the ship, and had himself made a doute, I am non other than thou seest now, knight, and came back upon the morrow to a Woman; and therfore drede the noughte. kiss the damsel. And when he saw her come And yif thou kysse me, thou schalt have alle out of the cave, in the form of a dragon, so this Tresoure, and be my Lord, and Lord also hideous and so horrible, he had so great dread of alle that Ile.” And he departed fro hire that he fled back to the ship; and she foland wente to his Felowes to Schippe, and leet 5 lowed him. And when she saw that he turned make him Knyghte, and cam ayen upon the not back, she began to cry, as a thing that had Morwe, for to kysse this Damysele. And great sorrow: and then she turned back into whan he saughe hire comen out of the Cave, her cave; and at once the knight died. And in forme of a Dragoun, so hidouse and so hor- from then until now no knight has been able rible, he hadde so grete drede, that he to see her but that he died very soon. But fleyghe? ayen to the Schippe; and sche when a knight comes that is so bold as to kiss folewed him. And whan sche saughe, that her, he shall not die; but he shall turn the he turned not ayen, sche began to crye, as a damsel into her right form and natural shape, thing that hadde meche & Sorwe: and thanne and he shall be lord of all the countries and sche turned ayen, in-to hire Cave; and anon isles abovesaid. the Knighte dyede. And siththen' hidrewards,lo myghte no Knighte se hire, but that he dyede anon. But whan a Knyghte comethe, that is so hardy to kisse hire, he schalle not dye; but he schalle turne the Damysele in-to hire righte Forme and kyndely 11 Schapp, and he schal be Lord of alle the Contreyes and Iles aboveseyd.

From CHAP. XXVII In the Lond of Prestre John ben many In the land of Prester John are many didyverse thinges and many precious Stones, so verse things, and many precious stones so grete and so large that men maken of hem 12

great and so large that men make of them Vesselle;

as Plateres, Dissches, and Cuppes. vessels; as platters, dishes and cups. And And many other marveylles ben there; that many other marvels are there; that it were it were to 14 combrous and to 14 long to putten too cumbrous and too long to put it in the it in scripture 15 of Bokes.

writing of books. But of the princypalle Yles and of his But of the principal isles and of his estate Estate and of his Lawe I schalle telle you and of his law I shall tell you some part. som partye.16 This Emperour Prestre John is This emperor Prester John is Christian ; and Cristene; and a gret partie of his Contree also: a great part of his country also: but yet they but yit thei have not alle the Articles of oure have not all the articles of our faith, as we Feythe,17 as wee have. Thei beleven wel in have. They believe well in the Father, in the the Fadre, in the Sone, and in the Holy Gost : Son, and in the Holy Ghost: and they are very 1 lover 4 know 5 let

13 vessels

too

writing 16 part 17 religion 7 fled 8 much 9 since 10 till now 11 natural 12 them

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2 back

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cause

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come

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