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Ac lowe mei holdeth to Englyss | But low men nold to Engliste and
and to he kunde speche yute. i to their natural speech yet. Ich wene ther ne be man in world I wen there not be man in world contreyes none
countries none That ne holdeth to her kunde That not holdeth to their natural speche, bot Engelond one.
speech but England (al-) one. Ac wel me wot vor to conne both But well I wot for to know both wel yt ys;
well it is : Vor the more that a man con, the For the more that a man knows, wore worth he ys.
the more worth he is.
10. ROBERT MANNYNG OR ROBERT OF BRUNNB.
(Manual, p. 33.)
Lordynges, that be now here, Lords, that be now here,
If ye wille listene & lere
If ye will listen and learn
All the story of Inglande,
All the story of England, Als Robert Mannyng wryten it | As Robert Mannyng found it write fand,
ten, & on Inglysch has it schewed, And in English las shewed it, Not for the lerid bot for the lewed, Not for the learned but for the un
learned, For tho that in this land wonn, For those that in this land dwell, That the Latyn no Frankys conn, That know not Latin nor French, For to haf solace & gamen
In order to have solace and enjoy.
ment In felawschip when thai sitt samen. In fellowship when they sit to
11. The l'ision of Piers Ploughman, 1350. (Manual, p. 54.1
Yet hoved' ther an hundred
In howves 2 of selk,
Sergeantz it bi-semed
That serveden at the barre,
Pleteden for penyes
And poundes the lawe;
And noght for love of our Lord
Unlose hire lippes ones.
Thow myghtest bettre meete myst
On Malverne hilles,
Than gete a mom of hire mouth,
Til moneie be shewed.
I hoved, waited.
? howves, hooks or caps.
12. JOHN GOWER, d. 1408. Confessio Amantis. (Maival,
p. 56, seq.)
TALE OF THE COFFERS OR CASKETS.
In a Cronique thus I rede:
Aboute a king, as must nede,
Ther was of knyghtès and squiers
Gret route, and eke of officers :
Some of long time him hadden served,
And thoughten that they haue deserved
Avancement, and gon withoute •
And some also ben of the route,
That comen but a while agon,
And they avanced were anon.
These olde men upon this thing,
So as they durst, ageyne the king
Among hemself' compleignen ofte
But there is nothing said so softe,
That it ne comith out at laste:
The king it wiste, and als so faste,
As he which was of high prudence:
He shope therfore an evidence
Of hemthat pleignen in the cas,
To knowe in whose defalte it was ;
And all within his owne entent,
That non ma wiste what it ment.
Anon he let two cofres make
Of one semblance, and of one make,
So lich,that no lif thilke throwe,
That one may fro that other knowe:
They were into his chamber brought,
But no man wot why they be wrought,
And natheles the king hath bede
That they be set in privy stede,
As he that was of wisdom slih;
Whan he therto his time sih,"
All privěly, that none it wiste
His owne hondes that one chiste
Of fin gold, and of fin perie,
The which out of his tresorie
Was take, anon he fild full;
That other cofre of straw and mull
With stones meynd' he fild also:
Thus be they full bothè two.
So that erliche 8 upon a day
He had within, where he lay,
Ther should be tofore his bed
A bord up set and faire spred :
And than he let the cofres fette
Upon the bord, and did hem sette.
He knewe the names well of tho, to
The whiche agein him grutched so,
Both of his chambre and of his halle,
Anon and sent for hem alle;
And seide to hem in this wise.
There shall no man his hap despise : I wot well ye have longe served, And God wot what ye have deserved ; But if it is along on me Of that ye unavanced be, Or elles if it belong on yow,
The sothè shall be proved now:
To stoppe with your evil word,
Lol here two cofres on the bord;
Chese which you list of bothè two;
And witеth well that one of tho
Is with tresor so full begon,
That if ye happé therupon
Ye shall be richè men for ever:
Now chese," and take which you is lever,
But be well ware ere that ye take,
For of that one I undertake
Ther is no maner good therein,
Wherof ye mighten profit winne.
Now goth "? together of one assent,
And taketh your avisement;
For, but I you this day avance,
It stant upon your ownė chance,
Al only in defalte of grace;
So shall be shewed in this place
Upon you all well afyn, 13
That no defalte shal be myn.
They knelen all, and with one vois
The king they thonken of this chois :
And after that they up arise,
And gon aside, and hem avise,
And at lastè they accorde
(Wherof her!4 tale to recorde .
To what issue they be falle)
A knyght shall spekè for hem alle :
He kneleth doun unto the king,
And seith that they upon this thing,
Or for to winne, or for to lese, 15
Ben all avised for to chese.
Tho 16 toke this knyght a yerd" on honde,
And goth there as the cofres stonde,
And with assent of everychone 18
He leith his yerde upon one,
And seith 19 the king how thilke same
They chese in reguerdon 20 by name,
And preith him that they might it have.
The king, which wolde his honor save,
Whan he had heard the common vpis,
Hath granted hem her owne chois,
And toke hem therupon the keie;
But for he wolde it were seie 21
What good they have as they suppose,
He bad anon the cofre unclose,
Which was fulfild with straw and stones :
Thus be they served all at ones.
This king than, in the same stede,
Anon that other cofre undede,
Where as they sihen gret richesse,
Wel more than they couthen gesse.
Lo! seith the king, now may ye se
That ther is no defalte in me;
Forthy my self I wol aquite,
And bereth ye your ownè wite 23
Of that 24 fortune hath you refused.
Thus was this wise king excused :
And they lefte off her evil speche,
And mercy of her king beseche.
* Therefore 23 Blame.
Mi. e. that which
13. CHAUCER, 1328–1400. (Manual, p. 35, seq) FROM THE PROLOGUE TO THE CANTERBURY TALES.
Whannė that April with his shourès sote
The droughte of March hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veine in swiche ? licour,
Of whiche vertùe engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eke with his sotè brethe
Enspired hath in every holt and hethe
The tendre croppés, and the yongè sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfè cours yronne,
And smalè foulès maken melodie,
That slepen alle night with open eye,
So priketh hem nature in hir® corages;'
Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken strangè strondes,
To serve 8 halweyso couthe 10 in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shirès ende
Of Englelond, to Canterbury they wende,"
The holy blisful martyr for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke. "S
Befelle, that, in that seson on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay,
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury with devoute corage,
I trust. Boote 8 Such. 4 Run. 6 Them. Their. " Inclinatia
• To keep Holidays. 10 Known. 11 Go. 19 Sick.