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Swore

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Boold of his speche, and wys and wel y-taught,
And of manhod hym lakkede right naught.
Eek therto 1 he was right a myrie man, 757
And after soper pleyen he bigan,
And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
Whan that we hadde maad our rekenynges;
And seyde thus: "Now, lordynges, trewely,
Ye been to me right welcome, hertely; 762
For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
I ne saugh this yeer so myrie a compaignye
At ones in this herberwe 2 as is now; 765
Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how.3
And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght,
To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.

“Ye goon to Canterbury; God yow speede,
The blisful martir quite yow youre meede ! -
And, wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye,
Ye shapen yow to talen 6 and to pleye; 772
For trewely comfort ne myrthe is noon
To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon;
And therfore wol I maken yow disport, 775
As I seyde erst," and doon yow som comfort.
And if you liketh alle, by oon assent,
Now for to stonden at' my juggement,
And for to werken as I shal yow seye,
To-morwe, whan ye riden by the weye, 780
Now by my fader soule that is deed,
But 8 ye be myrie, I wol yeve yow myn heed !
Hoold up youre hond withouten moore

speche." Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche; Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,

785 And graunted hym withouten moore avys, And bad him seye his verdit, as hym leste.10 "Lordynges,'

"11 quod he, “now herkneth for the beste, But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn; This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn, That ech of yow, to shorte with your weye, In this viage shal telle tales tweye 792 To Caunterburyward, - I mean it so, And homward he shal tellen othere two, Of aventures that whilom 12 han bifalle.

795 And which of yow that bereth hym beste of

alle, That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas Tales of best sentence 13 and moost solaas, Shal have a soper at oure aller cost,l4 Heere in this place, sittynge by this post, 800

1 besides ? inn 3 if I knew how 4 give you your reward 5 know 6 tell tales 7 before 8 unless .consideration 10

pleased him gentlemen formerly 3 meaning 14 cost of us all

Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
And, for to make yow the moore mury,'
I wol myselven gladly with yow ryde
Right at myn owne cost, and be youre gyde.
And whoso wole my juggement withseye? 805
Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
And if ye vouche-sauf that it be so,
Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
And I wol erly shape me 3 therfore.”
This thyng was graunted, and oure othes

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With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
That he would vouche-sauf for to do so,
And that he wolde been oure governour,
And of our tales juge and reportour,
And sette a soper at a certeyn pris,
And we wol reuled been at his devys
In heigh and lowe; and thus by oon assent
We been acorded to his juggement.
And therupon the wyn was fet * anon;
We dronken and to reste wente echon 820
Withouten any lenger taryynge.

Amorwe, whan that day bigan to sprynge, Up roos oure Hoost and was oure aller cok,5 And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok, And forth we riden, a litel moore than paas, 6 Unto the Wateryng of Seint Thomas; 826 And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste, And seyde, "Lordynges, herkneth, if yow

leste ! Ye woot youre forward, and I it yow re

corde. If even-song and morwe-song accorde, Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale. As evere mote I drynke wyn or ale, Whoso be rebel to my juggement Shal paye for all that by the wey is spent ! Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twynne.8 He which that hath the shorteste shal bigynne.

836 Sire Knyght," quod he, “my mayster and my

lord. Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord. Cometh neer,” ' quod he, “my lady Prioresse, And ye, sire Clerk, lat be your shamefastnesse,

840 Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man.”

Anon to drawen every wight bigan, And, shortly for to tellen, as it was, Were it by aventure, or sort,1° or cas,"

merry 2 gainsay 3 prepare myself 'fetched cock - Waked us all. 6 a little faster than a walk ? agreement 8 farther depart come nearer 10 fate 11 chance

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The sot he is this, the cut fil to the knyght, Of which ful blithe and glad was every wyght:

846 And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun, By forward 1 and by composicioun,2 As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo? And whan this goode man saugh that it was SO,

850 As he that wys was and obedient To kepe his forward 1 by his free assent, He seyde, “Syn 3 I shal bigynne the game, What, welcome be the cut a • Goddes name! Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye. And with that word, we ryden forth oure

weye; And he bigan with right a myrie cheere 857 His tale anon, and seyde in this manere.

Tempest 1 thee noght al croked to redresse,
In trust of hir 2 that turneth as a bal;
Gret reste stant 3 in litel besinesse.
And eek be war 4 to sporne 5 ageyn an al; 6
Strive noght, as doth the crokke ? with the

wal.
Daunte thy-self, that dauntest otheres dede;
And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.
That thee is sent, receyve in buxumnesse, 8 15
The wrastling for this worlde axeth a fal.
Her nis non hom, her nis but wildernesse :
Forth, pilgrim, forth! Forth, beste,' out of

thy stal ! Know thy contree; lok up, thank God of al; Hold the hye-wey, 10 and lat thy gost thee

lede! And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.

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Seynt Valentyn, that art ful hy on-lofte, Thus singen smale foules & for thy sake:

Now welcom, somer, with thy sonne softe, Thai hast this wintres weders over-shake."

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harde to thy tendre age of ten yeer to conseyve. This tretis, divided in fyve parties 2 wole 3 I shewe thee under ful lighte 4 rewles 5 and naked wordes in English; for Latin ne canstow 6 yit but smal, my lyte i sone. But natheles,8 suffyse to thee thise trewe conclusiouns in English, as wel as suffyseth to thise noble clerkes Grekes thise same conclusiouns in Greek, and to Arabiens in Arabik, and to Jewes in Ebrew, and to the Latin folk in Latin; whiche Latin folk han'hem 10 furst out of othre diverse langages, and writen in hir 11 owne tonge, that is to sein, 12 in Latin. And God wot,13 that in alle thise langages, and in many mo,14 han' thise conclusiouns ben 15 suffisantly lerned and taught, and yit by diverse rewles,“ right as diverse pathes leden diverse folk the righte wey to Rome. Now wol I prey meekly every discret persone that redeth or hereth this litel tretis, to have my rewde 16 endyting 17 for excused, and my superfluite of wordes, for two causes. The firste cause is, for-that curious

endyting 17 and hard sentence 20 is ful hevy 21 atones for swich 23 a child to lerne. And the seconde cause is this, that sothly 24 mesemeth to wryten unto a child twyes 26 a good sentence, than he forgete it ones.27 And, Lowis, yif 28 so be that I shewe thee in my lighte 29 English as trewe conclusiouns touching this matere, and naught 30 only as trewe but as many and as subtil conclusiouns as ben 31 shewed in Latin in any commune tretis of the Astrolabie, con me the more thank; 32 and preye God save the king, that is lord of this langage, and alle that him feyth bereth 33 and obeyeth, everech 34 in his degree, the more 35 and the lasse.36 But considere wel, that I ne usurpe nat to have founde this werk of my labour or of myn engin.37. I nam 38 but a lewd 39 compilatour * of the labour of olde Astrologiens, and have hit translated in myn English only for thy doctrine; and with this swerd 4 shal I sleen 42 envye.

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Litel Lowis 6 my sone, I have perceived wel by certeyne evidences thyn abilite to lerne sciencez touchinge noumbres and proporciouns; and as wel considere I thy bisy 7 preyere 8 in special to lerne the Tretis of the Astrolabie. Than,' for as mechel 10 as a philosofre seith,“he wrappeth him in hissrend, that condescendeth to the rightful preyers of his frend,” therfor have I yeven thee a suffisaunt Astrolabie as for oure orizonte,12 compowned 13 after the latitude of Oxenford; upon which, by mediacion "4 of this litel tretis, I purpose to teche thee a certein nombre of conclusions 15 apertening

to the same instrument. I seye a certein of conclusiouns, for three causes. The furste cause is this: truste wel that alle the conclusiouns that han 17 ben founde, or elles 18 possibly mighten be founde in so noble an instrument as an Astrolabic, ben 3 unknowe perfitly to any mortal man in this regioun, as I suppose. Another cause is this: that sothly,19 in any tretis of the Astrolabie that I have seyn,20 there ben 3 some conclusions that wole 21 nat in alle thinges performen hir 22 bihestes; 23 and some of hem ben 3 to 24

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JOHN DE TREVISA (1326-1412)

HIGDEN'S POLYCHRONICON

BOOK I. CHAPTER LIX

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was

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This apayryngel of the burthe of the tunge This deterioration of the birth of the tongue is bycause of tweie thinges; oon is for children is because of two things: one is because chilin scole ayenst the usage and manere of alle dren in school, against the usage and custom of ot here naciouns beeth compelled for to leve 2 all other nations, are compelled to give up hire 3 owne langage, and for to construe hir 3 their own language and to construe their leslessouns and here 3 thynges in Frensche, and sons and their exercises in French, and so they so they haveth * seth 5 the Normans come have since the Normans came first into Engfirst in-to Engelond. Also gentil-men children land. Also gentlemen's children are taught beeth i-taught to speke Frensche from the to speak French from the time that they are tyme that they beeth i-rokked in here cradel, rocked in their cradles and can talk and play and kunneth speke and playe with a childes with a baby's brooch; and countrymen wish broche; 8 and uplondisshe men wil likne

to be like gentlemen and attempt with great hym-self to gentil-men, and fondeth 10 with effort to speak French, in order to be highly greet besynesse for to speke Frensce, for to be regarded. i-tolde 11 of. Trevisa. 12 This manere

Trevisa: This custom was much used bemoche i-used to-for 13 (the) Firste Deth 14 and is fore the first plague and has since been somesiththe 15 sumdel 15 i-chaunged; for John what changed; for John Cornwaile, master Cornwaile, a maister of grammer, chaunged of grammar, changed the teaching in gramthe lore in gramer scole and construccioun mar school and the translation of French of 16 Frensche in-to Englische; and Richard into English; and Richard Pencriche learned Pencriche lerned the manere techynge of this sort of teaching from him, and other men hym and othere men of Pencrich; so that from Pencriche, so that now, the year of now, the yere of oure Lorde a thowsand thre Our Lord 1385 and of the second King Richard hundred and foure score and fyve, and of the after the Conquest nine, in all the grammar secounde kyng Richard after the Conquest schools of England, children give up French nyne, in alle the gramere scoles of Engelond, and construe and learn in English, and have children leveth Frensche and construeth and thereby advantage on one side and disadvanlerneth an Englische, and haveth 4 therby tage on another side; their advantage is that avauntage in oon side and disavauntage in they learn their grammar in less time than another side; here 3 avauntage is, that they children were accustomed to do; the dislerneth her 3 gramer in lasse

advantage is that now children in grammar children were i-woned 20 to doo; disavauntage school know no more French than does their is that now children of gramer scole conneth 21 left heel; and that is harm for them if they na more Frensche than can 22 hir 3 lift 23 heele, shall pass the sea and travel in strange lands and that is harme for hem 24 and 25 they schulle and in many other places. Also gentlemen passe the see and travaille in straunge landes have now in general ceased to teach their chiland in many other places. Also gentil-men dren French. haveth now moche i-left 26 for to teche here 3 children Frensche.

follows is Trevisa's addition. 13 before 14 the First 1 deterioration ? leave, give up 3 their 4 have Plague, 1348-1349 somewhat 16 from 17 kind 5 since 6 can 8 brooch (ornament in gen- of 18 in 19 less 20 accustomed

knows eral) 'country attempt

accounted What 23 left 24 them 25 if 26 ceased

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The firste fyndere of our faire langage 4978 My dere maistir (God his soule quyte !) 2077

Hath seyde in caas semblable,17 and othir And fadir Chaucer fayn wolde han me

So hyly wel, that it is my dotage But I was dul, and lerned lite or naght. For to expresse or touche any of thoo.19

Alasse! my fadir fro the worlde is goo, Allas! my worthi maister honorable,

My worthi maister Chaucer, hym I mene:

2080 This landes verray tresor and richesse !

Be thou advoket 20 for hym, Hevenes Dethe, by thi deth, hath harme irreparable

Quene! Unto us doon; hir vengeable duresse 5

As thou wel knowest, O Blissid Virgyne, 4985 Despoiled hath this land of the swetnesse

With lovyng hert and hye devocion Of rethorik, for unto Tullius

In thyne honour he wroot ful many a lyne; Was never man so lyk 6 amonges us. 2086

O now thine helpe and thi promocion ! Also who was hier ? in philosophie 2087 1 world-cumberer 2 slew 3 run 4 bereave 5 To Aristotle in our tonge but thow?

perience rascal ?in a crowd overcome ' by 11 learned 12 ignorant

alike 14 had been 1 fruitful understanding 2 affecting only one equal to thee 15 duty must

others escapes 4 heartens 5 cruel affliction 6 like 7 heir also 19 those advocate

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