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The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library

The House of Fame
by Geoffrey Chaucer

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #2

The following text is based on that published in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER, ed. W.W. Skeat (Oxford, 1899). This work is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN.

This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@AOL.COM), September 1994, based upon a previous e-text of unknown origin. Additional assistance provided by Diane M. Brendan.

BOOK I    Incipit liber primus.

1      God turne us every dreem to gode!
2      For hit is wonder, be the rode,
3      To my wit, what causeth swevens
4      Either on morwes, or on evens;
5      And why the effect folweth of somme,
6      And of somme hit shal never come;
7      Why that is an avisioun,
8      And this a revelacioun,
9      Why this a dreem, why that a sweven,
10     And nat to every man liche even;
11     Why this a fantom, these oracles,
12     I noot; but who-so of these miracles
13     The causes knoweth bet than I,
14     Devyne he; for I certeinly
15     Ne can hem noght, ne never thinke
16     To besily my wit to swinke,
17     To knowe of hir signifiaunce
18     The gendres, neither the distaunce
19     Of tymes of hem, ne the causes,
20     For-why this more than that cause is;
21     As if folkes complexiouns
22     Make hem dreme of reflexiouns;
23     Or ellis thus, as other sayn,
24     For to greet feblenesse of brayn,
25     By abstinence, or by seeknesse,
26     Prison, stewe, or greet distresse;
27     Or elles by disordinaunce
28     Of naturel acustomaunce,
29     That som man is to curious
30     In studie, or melancolious,
31     Or thus, so inly ful of drede,
32     That no man may him bote bede;
33     Or elles, that devocioun
34     Of somme, and contemplacioun
35     Causeth swiche dremes ofte;
36     Or that the cruel lyf unsofte
37     Which these ilke lovers leden
38     That hopen over muche or dreden,
39     That purely hir impressiouns
40     Causeth hem avisiouns;
41     Or if that spirites have the might
42     To make folk to dreme a-night
43     Or if the soule, of propre kinde
44     Be so parfit, as men finde,
45     That hit forwot that is to come,
46     And that hit warneth alle and somme
47     Of everiche of hir aventures
48     Be avisiouns, or by figures,
49     But that our flesh ne hath no might
50     To understonden hit aright,
51     For hit is warned to derkly; --
52     But why the cause is, noght wot I.
53     Wel worthe, of this thing, grete clerkes,
54     That trete of this and other werkes;
55     For I of noon opinioun
56     Nil as now make mensioun,
57     But only that the holy rode
58     Turne us every dreem to gode!
59     For never, sith that I was born,
60     Ne no man elles, me biforn,
61     Mette, I trowe stedfastly,
62     So wonderful a dreem as I
63     The tenthe day dide of Decembre,
64     The which, as I can now remembre,
65     I wol yow tellen every del,

          The Invocation

66     But at my ginninge, trusteth wel,
67     I wol make invocacioun,
68     With special devocioun,
69     Unto the god of slepe anoon,
70     That dwelleth in a cave of stoon
71     Upon a streem that cometh fro Lete,
72     That is a flood of helle unswete;
73     Besyde a folk men clepe Cimerie,
74     Ther slepeth ay this god unmerie
75     With his slepy thousand sones
76     That alway for to slepe hir wone is --
77     And to this god, that I of rede,
78     Prey I, that he wol me spede
79     My sweven for to telle aright,
80     If every dreem stonde in his might.
81     And he, that mover is of al
82     That is and was, and ever shal,
83     So yive hem Ioye that hit here
84     Of alle that they dreme to-yere,
85     And for to stonden alle in grace
86     Of hir loves, or in what place
87     That hem wer levest for to stonde,
88     And shelde hem fro poverte and shonde,
89     And fro unhappe and eche disese,
90     And sende hem al that may hem plese,
91     That take hit wel, and scorne hit noght,
92     Ne hit misdemen in her thoght
93     Through malicious entencioun.
94     And who-so, through presumpcioun,
95     Or hate or scorne, or through envye,
96     Dispyt, or Iape, or vilanye,
97     Misdeme hit, preye I Iesus god
98     That (dreme he barfoot, dreme he shod),
99     That every harm that any man
100    Hath had, sith that the world began,
101    Befalle him therof, or he sterve,
102    And graunte he mote hit ful deserve,
103    Lo! with swich a conclusioun
104    As had of his avisioun
105    Cresus, that was king of Lyde,
106    That high upon a gebet dyde!
107    This prayer shal he have of me;
108    I am no bet in charite!
109      Now herkneth, as I have you seyd,
110    What that I mette or I abreyd.

          The Dream

111    Of Decembre the tenthe day,
112    Whan hit was night, to slepe I lay
113    Right ther as I was wont to done,
114    And fil on slepe wonder sone,
115    As he that wery was for-go
116    On pilgrimage myles two
117    To the corseynt Leonard,
118    To make lythe of that was hard.
119      But as I sleep, me mette I was
120    Within a temple y-mad of glas;
121    In whiche ther were mo images
122    Of gold, stondinge in sondry stages,
123    And mo riche tabernacles,
124    And with perre mo pinacles,
125    And mo curious portreytures,
126    And queynte maner of figures
127    Of olde werke, then I saw ever.
128    For certeynly, I niste never
129    Wher that I was, but wel wiste I,
130    Hit was of Venus redely,
131    The temple; for, in portreyture,
132    I sawgh anoon-right hir figure
133    Naked fletinge in a see.
134    And also on hir heed, parde,
135    Hir rose-garlond whyt and reed,
136    And hir comb to kembe hir heed,
137    Hir dowves, and daun Cupido
138    Hir blinde sone, and Vulcano,
139    That in his face was ful broun.
140      But as I romed up and doun,
141    I fond that on a wal ther was
142    Thus writen, on a table of bras:
143    `I wol now singe, if that I can,
144    The armes, and al-so the man,
145    That first cam, through his destinee,
146    Fugitif of Troye contree,
147    In Itaile, with ful moche pyne,
148    Unto the strondes of Lavyne.'
149    And tho began the story anoon,
150    As I shal telle yow echoon.
151      First saw I the destruccioun
152    Of Troye, through the Greek Sinoun,
153    That with his false forsweringe,
154    And his chere and his lesinge
155    Made the hors broght into Troye,
156    Thorgh which Troyens loste al hir Ioye.
157    And after this was grave, allas!
158    How Ilioun assailed was
159    And wonne, and King Priam y-slayn,
160    And Polites his sone, certayn,
161    Dispitously, of dan Pirrus.
162      And next that saw I how Venus,
163    Whan that she saw the castel brende,
164    Doun fro the hevene gan descende,
165    And bad hir sone Eneas flee;
166    And how he fledde, and how that he
167    Escaped was from al the pres,
168    And took his fader, Anchises,
169    And bar him on his bakke away,
170    Cryinge, `Allas, and welaway!'
171    The whiche Anchises in his honde
172    Bar the goddes of the londe,
173    Thilke that unbrende were.
174      And I saw next, in alle this fere,
175    How Creusa, daun Eneas wyf,
176    Which that he lovede as his lyf,
177    And hir yonge sone Iulo,
178    And eek Ascanius also,
179    Fledden eek with drery chere,
180    That hit was pitee for to here;
181    And in a forest, as they wente,
182    At a turninge of a wente,
183    How Creusa was y-lost, allas!
184    That deed, but noot I how, she was;
185    How he hir soughte, and how hir gost
186    Bad him to flee the Grekes ost,
187    And seyde he most unto Itaile,
188    As was his destinee, sauns faille;
189    That hit was pitee for to here,
190    Whan hir spirit gan appere,
191    The wordes that she to him seyde,
192    And for to kepe hir sone him preyde.
193    Ther saw I graven eek how he,
194    His fader eek, and his meynee,
195    With his shippes gan to sayle
196    Toward the contree of Itaile,
197    As streight as that they mighte go.
198      Ther saw I thee, cruel Iuno,
199    That art daun Iupiteres wyf,
200    That hast y-hated, al thy lyf,
201    Al the Troyanisshe blood,
202    Renne and crye, as thou were wood,
203    On Eolus, the god of windes,
204    To blowen out, of alle kindes,
205    So loude, that he shulde drenche
206    Lord and lady, grome and wenche,
207    Of al the Troyan nacioun,
208    Withoute any savacioun.
209      Ther saw I swich tempeste aryse,
210    That every herte mighte agryse,
211    To see hit peynted on the walle.
212      Ther saw I graven eek withalle,
213    Venus, how ye, my lady dere,
214    Wepinge with ful woful chere,
215    Prayen Iupiter an hye
216    To save and kepe that navye
217    Of the Troyan Eneas,
218    Sith that he hir sone was.
219      Ther saw I Ioves Venus kisse,
220    And graunted of the tempest lisse.
221    Ther saw I how the tempest stente,
222    And how with alle pyne he wente,
223    And prevely took arrivage
224    In the contree of Cartage;
225    And on the morwe, how that he
226    And a knight, hight Achatee,
227    Metten with Venus that day,
228    Goinge in a queynt array,
229    As she had ben an hunteresse,
230    With wind blowinge upon hir tresse;
231    How Eneas gan him to pleyne,
232    Whan that he knew hir, of his peyne;
233    And how his shippes dreynte were,
234    Or elles lost, he niste where;
235    How she gan him comforte tho,
236    And bad him to Cartage go,
237    And ther he shulde his folk finde
238    That in the see were left behinde.
239      And, shortly of this thing to pace,
240    She made Eneas so in grace
241    Of Dido, quene of that contree,
242    That, shortly for to tellen, she
243    Becam his love, and leet him do
244    That that wedding longeth to.
245    What shulde I speke more queynte,
246    Or peyne me my wordes peynte,
247    To speke of love? hit wol not be;
248    I can not of that facultee.
249    And eek to telle the manere
250    How they aqueynteden in-fere,
251    Hit were a long proces to telle,
252    And over long for yow to dwelle.
253      Ther sawgh I grave how Eneas
254    Tolde Dido every cas,
255    That him was tid upon the see.
256      And after grave was, how shee
257    Made of him, shortly, at oo word,
258    Hir lyf, hir love, hir luste, hir lord;
259    And dide him al the reverence,
260    And leyde on him al the dispence,
261    That any woman mighte do,
262    Weninge hit had al be so,
263    As he hir swoor; and her-by demed
264    That he was good, for he swich semed.
265    Allas! what harm doth apparence,
266    Whan hit is fals in existence!
267    For he to hir a traitour was;
268    Wherfor she slow hir-self, allas!
269      Lo, how a woman doth amis,
270    To love him that unknowen is!
271    For, by Crist, lo! thus hit fareth;
272    `Hit is not al gold, that glareth.'
273    For, al-so brouke I wel myn heed,
274    Ther may be under goodliheed
275    Kevered many a shrewed vyce;
276    Therfor be no wight so nyce,
277    To take a love only for chere,
278    For speche, or for frendly manere;
279    For this shal every woman finde
280    That som man, of his pure kinde,
281    Wol shewen outward the faireste,
282    Til he have caught that what him leste;
283    And thanne wol he causes finde,
284    And swere how that she is unkinde,
285    Or fals, or prevy, or double was.
286    Al this seye I by Eneas
287    And Dido, and hir nyce lest,
288    That lovede al to sone a gest;
289    Therfor I wol seye a proverbe,
290    That `he that fully knoweth therbe
291    May saufly leye hit to his ye';
292    Withoute dreed, this is no lye.
293      But let us speke of Eneas,
294    How he betrayed hir, allas!
295    And lefte hir ful unkindely.
296    So whan she saw al-utterly,
297    That he wolde hir of trouthe faile,
298    And wende fro hir to Itaile,
299    She gan to wringe hir hondes two.
300      `Allas!' quod she, `what me is wo!
301    Allas! is every man thus trewe,
302    That every yere wolde have a newe,
303    If hit so longe tyme dure,
304    Or elles three, peraventure?
305    As thus: of oon he wolde have fame
306    In magnifying of his name;
307    Another for frendship, seith he;
308    And yet ther shal the thridde be,
309    That shal be taken for delyt,
310    Lo, or for singular profyt.'
311      In swiche wordes gan to pleyne
312    Dido of hir grete peyne,
313    As me mette redely;
314    Non other auctour alegge I.
315    `Allas!' quod she, `my swete herte,
316    Have pitee on my sorwes smerte,
317    And slee me not! go noght away!
318    O woful Dido, wel away!'
319    Quod she to hir-selve tho.
320    `O Eneas! what wil ye do?
321    O that your love, ne your bonde,
322    That ye han sworn with your right honde,
323    Ne my cruel deeth,' quod she,
324    "May holde yow still heer with me!
325    O, haveth of my deeth pitee!
326    Y-wis, my dere herte, ye
327    Knowen ful wel that never yit,
328    As fer-forth as I hadde wit,
329    Agilte I yow in thoght ne deed.
330    0, have ye men swich goodliheed
331    In speche, and never a deel of trouthe?
332    Allas, that ever hadde routhe
333    Any woman on any man!
334    Now see I wel, and telle can,
335    We wrecched wimmen conne non art;
336    For certeyn, for the more part,
337    Thus we be served everichone.
338    How sore that ye men conne grone,
339    Anoon as we have yow receyved!
340    Certeinly we ben deceyved;
341    For, though your love laste a sesoun,
342    Wayte upon the conclusioun,
343    And eek how that ye determynen,
344    And for the more part diffynen.
345      `O, welawey that I was born!
346    For through yow is my name lorn,
347    And alle myn actes red and songe
348    Over al this lond, on every tonge.
349    O wikke Fame! for ther nis
350    Nothing so swift, lo, as she is!
351    O, sooth is, every thing is wist,
352    Though hit be kevered with the mist.
353    Eek, thogh I mighte duren ever,
354    That I have doon, rekever I never,
355    That I ne shal be seyd, allas,
356    Y-shamed be through Eneas,
357    And that I shal thus Iuged be --
358    `Lo, right as she hath doon, now she
359    Wol do eftsones, hardily;'
360    Thus seyth the peple prevely.' --
361    But that is doon, nis not to done;
362    Al hir compleynt ne al hir mone,
363    Certeyn, availeth hir not a stre.
364      And when she wiste sothly he
365    Was forth unto his shippes goon,
366    She in hir chambre wente anoon,
367    And called on hir suster Anne,
368    And gan hir to compleyne thanne;
369    And seyde, that she cause was
370    That she first lovede Eneas,
371    And thus counseilled hir therto.
372    But what! when this was seyd and do,
373    She roof hir-selve to the herte,
374    And deyde through the wounde smerte.
375    But al the maner how she deyde,
376    And al the wordes that she seyde,
377    Who-so to knowe hit hath purpos,
378    Reed Virgile in Eneidos
379    Or the Epistle of Ovyde,
380    What that she wroot or that she dyde;
381    And nere hit to long to endyte,
382    By god, I wolde hit here wryte.
383      But, welaway! the harm, the routhe,
384    That hath betid for swich untrouthe,
385    As men may ofte in bokes rede,
386    And al day seen hit yet in dede,
387    That for to thenken hit, a tene is.
388      Lo, Demophon, duk of Athenis,
389    How he forswor him ful falsly,
390    And trayed Phillis wikkedly,
391    That kinges doghter was of Trace,
392    And falsly gan his terme pace;
393    And when she wiste that he was fals,
394    She heng hir-self right by the hals,
395    For he had do hir swich untrouthe;
396    Lo! was not this a wo and routhe?
397      Eek lo! how fals and reccheles
398    Was to Breseida Achilles,
399    And Paris to Enone;
400    And Iason to Isiphile;
401    And eft Iason to Medea;
402    And Ercules to Dyanira;
403    For he left hir for Iole,
404    That made him cacche his deeth, parde.
405      How fals eek was he, Theseus;
406    That, as the story telleth us,
407    How he betrayed Adriane;
408    The devel be his soules bane!
409    For had he laughed, had he loured,
410    He moste have be al devoured,
411    If Adriane ne had y-be!
412    And, for she had of him pitee,
413    She made him fro the dethe escape,
414    And he made hir a ful fals Iape;
415    For aftir this, within a whyle
416    He lefte hir slepinge in an yle,
417    Deserte alone, right in the see,
418    And stal away, and leet hir be;
419    And took hir suster Phedra tho
420    With him, and gan to shippe go.
421    And yet he had y-sworn to here,
422    On al that ever he mighte swere,
423    That, so she saved him his lyf,
424    He wolde have take hir to his wyf;
425    For she desired nothing elles,
426    In certein, as the book us telles.
427      But to excusen Eneas
428    Fulliche of al his greet trespas,
429    The book seyth, Mercurie, sauns faile,
430    Bad him go into Itaile,
431    And leve Auffrykes regioun,
432    And Dido and hir faire toun.
433      Tho saw I grave, how to Itaile
434    Daun Eneas is go to saile;
435    And how the tempest al began,
436    And how he loste his steresman,
437    Which that the stere, or he took keep,
438    Smot over-bord, lo! as he sleep.
439      And also saw I how Sibyle
440    And Eneas, besyde an yle,
441    To helle wente, for to see
442    His fader, Anchises the free.
443    How he ther fond Palinurus,
444    And Dido, and eek Deiphebus;
445    And every tourment eek in helle
446    Saw he, which is long to telle.
447    Which who-so willeth for to knowe,
448    He most rede many a rowe
449    On Virgile or on Claudian,
450    Or Daunte, that hit telle can.
451      Tho saw I grave al tharivaile
452    That Eneas had in Itaile;
453    And with King Latine his tretee,
454    And alle the batailles that he
455    Was at him-self, and eek his knightes,
456    Or he had al y-wonne his rightes;
457    And how he Turnus refte his lyf,
458    And wan Lavyna to his wyf;
459    And al the mervelous signals
460    Of the goddes celestials;
461    How, maugre Iuno, Eneas,
462    For al hir sleighte and hir compas,
463    Acheved al his aventure;
464    For Iupiter took of him cure
465    At the prayere of Venus;
466    The whiche I preye alwey save us,
467    And us ay of our sorwes lighte!
468      Whan I had seyen al this sighte
469    In this noble temple thus,
470    `A, Lord!' thoughte I, `that madest us,
471    Yet saw I never swich noblesse
472    Of images, ne swich richesse,
473    As I saw graven in this chirche;
474    But not woot I who dide hem wirche,
475    Ne wher I am, ne in what contree.
476    But now wol I go out and see,
477    Right at the wiket, if I can
478    See o-wher stering any man,
479    That may me telle wher I am.'
480      When I out at the dores cam,
481    I faste aboute me beheld.
482    Then saw I but a large feld,
483    As fer as that I mighte see,
484    Withouten toun, or hous, or tree,
485    Or bush, or gras, or ered lond;
486    For al the feld nas but of sond
487    As smal as man may see yet lye
488    In the desert of Libye;
489    Ne I to maner creature,
490    That is y-formed by nature,
491    Ne saw, me for to rede or wisse.
492    `O Crist,' thoughte I, `that art in blisse,
493    Fro fantom and illusioun
494    Me save!' and with devocioun
495    Myn yen to the heven I caste.
496      Tho was I war, lo! at the laste,
497    That faste be the sonne, as hye
498    As kenne mighte I with myn ye,
499    Me thoughte I saw an egle sore,
500    But that hit semed moche more
501    Then I had any egle seyn.
502    But this as sooth as deeth, certeyn,
503    Hit was of golde, and shoon so bright,
504    That never saw men such a sighte,
505    But-if the heven hadde y-wonne
506    Al newe of golde another sonne;
507    So shoon the egles fethres brighte,
508    And somwhat dounward gan hit lighte.

          Explicit liber primus.

Book II   Incipit liber secundus.


509      Now herkneth, every maner man
510    That English understonde can,
511    And listeth of my dreem to lere;
512    For now at erste shul ye here
513    So selly an avisioun,
514    That Isaye, ne Scipioun,
515    Ne King Nabugodonosor,
516    Pharo, Turnus, ne Elcanor,
517    Ne mette swich a dreem as this!
518    Now faire blisfull, O Cipris,
519    So be my favour at this tyme!
520    And ye, me to endyte and ryme
521    Helpeth, that on Parnaso dwelle
522    By Elicon the clere welle.
523      O Thought, that wroot al that I mette,
524    And in the tresorie hit shette
525    Of my brayn! now shal men see
526    If any vertu in thee be,
527    To tellen al my dreem aright;
528    Now kythe thyn engyne and might!

          The Dream.

529      This egle, of which I have yow told,
530    That shoon with fethres as of gold,
531    Which that so hye gan to sore,
532    I gan beholde more and more,
533    To see hir the beautee and the wonder;
534    But never was ther dint of thonder,
535    Ne that thing that men calle foudre,
536    That smoot somtyme a tour to poudre,
537    And in his swifte coming brende,
538    That so swythe gan descende,
539    As this foul, whan hit behelde
540    That I a-roume was in the felde;
541    And with his grimme pawes stronge,
542    Within his sharpe nayles longe,
543    Me, fleinge, at a swappe he hente,
544    And with his sours agayn up wente,
545    Me caryinge in his clawes starke
546    As lightly as I were a larke,
547    How high I can not telle yow,
548    For I cam up, I niste how.
549    For so astonied and a-sweved
550    Was every vertu in my heved,
551    What with his sours and with my drede,
552    That al my feling gan to dede;
553    For-why hit was to greet affray.
554      Thus I longe in his clawes lay,
555    Til at the laste he to me spak
556    In mannes vois, and seyde, `Awak!
557    And be not so a-gast, for shame!'
558    And called me tho by my name,
559    And, for I sholde the bet abreyde --
560    Me mette -- `Awak,' to me he seyde,
561    Right in the same vois and stevene
562    That useth oon I coude nevene;
563    And with that vois, soth for to sayn,
564    My minde cam to me agayn;
565    For hit was goodly seyd to me,
566    So nas hit never wont to be.
567      And herewithal I gan to stere,
568    And he me in his feet to bere,
569    Til that he felte that I had hete,
570    And felte eek tho myn herte bete.
571    And tho gan he me to disporte,
572    And with wordes to comforte,
573    And sayde twyes, `Seynte Marie!
574    Thou art noyous for to carie,
575    And nothing nedeth hit, parde!
576    For al-so wis god helpe me
577    As thou non harm shalt have of this;
578    And this cas, that betid thee is,
579    Is for thy lore and for thy prow; --
580    Let see! darst thou yet loke now?
581    Be ful assured, boldely,
582    I am thy frend.' And therwith I
583    Gan for to wondren in my minde.
584    `O god,' thoughte I, `that madest kinde,
585    Shal I non other weyes dye?
586    Wher Ioves wol me stellifye,
587    Or what thing may this signifye?
588    I neither am Enok, ne Elye,
589    Ne Romulus, ne Ganymede
590    That was y-bore up, as men rede,
591    To hevene with dan Iupiter,
592    And maad the goddes boteler.'
593      Lo! this was tho my fantasye!
594    But he that bar me gan espye
595    That I so thoghte, and seyde this: --
596    `Thou demest of thy-self amis;
597    For Ioves is not ther-aboute --
598    I dar wel putte thee out of doute --
599    To make of thee as yet a sterre.
600    But er I bere thee moche ferre,
601    I wol thee telle what I am,
602    And whider thou shalt, and why I cam
603    To done this, so that thou take
604    Good herte, and not for fere quake.'
605    `Gladly,' quod I. -- `Now wel,' quod he: --
606    `First I, that in my feet have thee,
607    Of which thou hast a feer and wonder,
608    Am dwellinge with the god of thonder,
609    Which that men callen Iupiter,
610    That dooth me flee ful ofte fer
611    To do al his comaundement.
612    And for this cause he hath me sent
613    To thee: now herke, by thy trouthe!
614    Certeyn, he hath of thee routhe,
615    That thou so longe trewely
616    Hast served so ententifly
617    His blinde nevew Cupido,
618    And fair Venus goddesse also,
619    Withoute guerdoun ever yit,
620    And nevertheles has set thy wit --
621    Although that in thy hede ful lyte is --
622    To make bokes, songes, dytees,
623    In ryme, or elles in cadence,
624    As thou best canst, in reverence
625    Of Love, and of his servants eke,
626    That have his servise soght, and seke;
627    And peynest thee to preyse his art,
628    Althogh thou haddest never part;
629    Wherfor, al-so god me blesse,
630    Ioves halt hit greet humblesse
631    And vertu eek, that thou wolt make
632    A-night ful ofte thyn heed to ake,
633    In thy studie so thou wrytest,
634    And ever-mo of love endytest,
635    In honour of him and preysinges,
636    And in his foIkes furtheringes,
637    And in hir matere al devysest,
638    And noght him nor his folk despysest,
639    Although thou mayst go in the daunce
640    Of hem that him list not avaunce.
641      `Wherfor, as I seyde, y-wis,
642    Iupiter considereth this,
643    And also, beau sir, other thinges;
644    That is, that thou hast no tydinges
645    Of Loves folk, if they be glade,
646    Ne of noght elles that god made;
647    And noght only fro fer contree
648    That ther no tyding comth to thee,
649    But of thy verray neyghebores,
650    That dwellen almost at thy dores,
651    Thou herest neither that ne this;
652    For whan thy labour doon al is,
653    And hast y-maad thy rekeninges,
654    In stede of reste and newe thinges,
655    Thou gost hoom to thy hous anoon;
656    And, also domb as any stoon,
657    Thou sittest at another boke,
658    Til fully daswed is thy loke,
659    And livest thus as an hermyte,
660    Although thyn abstinence is lyte.
661      `And therfor Ioves, through his grace,
662    Wol that I bere thee to a place,
663    Which that hight THE HOUS OF FAME,
664    To do thee som disport and game,
665    In som recompensacioun
666    Of labour and devocioun
667    That thou has had, lo! causeles,
668    To Cupido, the reccheles!
669    And thus this god, thorgh his meryte,
670    Wol with som maner thing thee quyte,
671    So that thou wolt be of good chere.
672    For truste wel, that thou shalt here,
673    When we be comen ther I seye,
674    Mo wonder thinges, dar I leye:
675    Of Loves folke mo tydinges,
676    Both soth-sawes and lesinges;
677    And mo loves newe begonne,
678    And longe y-served loves wonne,
679    And mo loves casuelly
680    That been betid, no man wot why,
681    But as a blind man stert an hare;
682    And more Iolytee and fare,
683    Whyl that they finde love of stele,
684    As thinketh hem, and over-al wele;
685    Mo discords, mo Ielousyes,
686    Mo murmurs, and mo novelryes,
687    And mo dissimulaciouns;
688    And feyned reparaciouns;
689    And mo berdes in two houres
690    Withoute rasour or sisoures
691    Y-maad, then greynes be of sondes;
692    And eke mo holdinge in hondes,
693    And also mo renovelaunces
694    Of olde forleten aqueyntaunces;
695    Mo love-dayes and acordes
696    Then on instruments ben cordes;
697    And eke of loves mo eschaunges
698    Than ever cornes were in graunges;
699    Unnethe maistow trowen this?' --
700    Quod he. `No, helpe me god so wis!' --
701    Quod I. `No? why?' quod he. `For hit
702    Were impossible, to my wit,
703    Though that Fame hadde al the pyes
704    In al a realme, and al the spyes,
705    How that yet she shulde here al this,
706    Or they espye hit.' `O yis, yis!'
707    Quod he to me, `that can I preve
708    By resoun, worthy for to leve,
709    So that thou yeve thyn advertence
710    To understonde my sentence.
711      `First shalt thou heren wher she dwelleth,
712    And so thyn owne book hit telleth;
713    Hir paleys stant, as I shal seye,
714    Right even in middes of the weye
715    Betwixen hevene, erthe, and see;
716    That, what-so-ever in al these three
717    Is spoken, in privee or aperte,
718    The way therto is so overte,
719    And stant eek in so Iuste a place,
720    That every soun mot to hit pace,
721    Or what so comth fro any tonge,
722    Be hit rouned, red, or songe,
723    Or spoke in seurtee or in drede,
724    Certein, hit moste thider nede.
725      `Now herkne wel; for-why I wille
726    Tellen thee a propre skile,
727    And worthy demonstracioun
728    In myn imagynacioun.
729      `Geffrey, thou wost right wel this,
730    That every kindly thing that is,
731    Hath a kindly stede ther he
732    May best in hit conserved be;
733    Unto which place every thing,
734    Through his kindly enclyning,
735    Moveth for to come to,
736    Whan that hit is awey therfro;
737    As thus; lo, thou mayst al day see
738    That any thing that hevy be,
739    As stoon or leed, or thing of wighte,
740    And ber hit never so hye on highte,
741    Lat goo thyn hand, hit falleth doun.
742      `Right so seye I by fyre or soun,
743    Or smoke, or other thinges lighte,
744    Alwey they seke upward on highte;
745    Whyl ech of hem is at his large,
746    Light thing up, and dounward charge.
747      `And for this cause mayst thou see,
748    That every river to the see
749    Enclyned is to go, by kinde.
750    And by these skilles, as I finde,
751    Hath fish dwellinge in floode and see,
752    And trees eek in erthe be.
753    Thus every thing, by this resoun,
754    Hath his propre mansioun,
755    To which hit seketh to repaire,
756    As ther hit shulde not apaire.
757    Lo, this sentence is knowen couthe
758    Of every philosophres mouthe,
759    As Aristotle and dan Platon,
760    And other clerkes many oon;
761    And to confirme my resoun,
762    Thou wost wel this, that speche is soun,
763    Or elles no man mighte hit here;
764    Now herkne what I wol thee lere.
765      `Soun is noght but air y-broken,
766    And every speche that is spoken,
767    Loud or privee, foul or fair,
768    In his substaunce is but air;
769    For as flaumbe is but lighted smoke,
770    Right so soun is air y-broke.
771    But this may be in many wyse,
772    Of which I wil thee two devise,
773    As soun that comth of pype or harpe.
774    For whan a pype is blowen sharpe,
775    The air is twist with violence,
776    And rent; lo, this is my sentence;
777    Eke, whan men harpe-stringes smyte,
778    Whether hit be moche or lyte,
779    Lo, with the strook the air to-breketh;
780    Right so hit breketh whan men speketh.
781    Thus wost thou wel what thing is speche.
782      `Now hennesforth I wol thee teche,
783    How every speche, or noise, or soun,
784    Through his multiplicacioun,
785    Thogh hit were pyped of a mouse,
786    Moot nede come to Fames House.
787    I preve hit thus -- tak hede now --
788    Be experience; for if that thou
789    Throwe on water now a stoon,
790    Wel wost thou, hit wol make anoon
791    A litel roundel as a cercle,
792    Paraventer brood as a covercle;
793    And right anoon thou shalt see weel,
794    That wheel wol cause another wheel,
795    And that the thridde, and so forth, brother,
796    Every cercle causinge other,
797    Wyder than himselve was;
798    And thus, fro roundel to compas,
799    Ech aboute other goinge,
800    Caused of othres steringe,
801    And multiplying ever-mo,
802    Til that hit be so fer ygoo
803    That hit at bothe brinkes be.
804    Al-thogh thou mowe hit not y-see,
805    Above, hit goth yet alway under,
806    Although thou thenke hit a gret wonder.
807    And who-so seith of trouthe I varie,
808    Bid him proven the contrarie.
809    And right thus every word, y-wis,
810    That loude or privee spoken is,
811    Moveth first an air aboute,
812    And of this moving, out of doute,
813    Another air anoon is meved,
814    As I have of the water preved,
815    That every cercle causeth other.
816    Right so of air, my leve brother;
817    Everich air in other stereth
818    More and more, and speche up bereth,
819    Or vois, or noise, or word, or soun,
820    Ay through multiplicacioun,
821    Til hit be atte House of Fame; --
822    Tak hit in ernest or in game.
823      `Now have I told, if thou have minde,
824    How speche or soun, of pure kinde,
825    Enclyned is upward to meve;
826    This, mayst thou fele, wel I preve.
827    And that the mansioun, y-wis,
828    That every thing enclyned to is,
829    Hath his kindeliche stede:
830    That sheweth hit, withouten drede,
831    That kindely the mansioun
832    Of every speche, of every soun,
833    Be hit either foul or fair,
834    Hath his kinde place in air.
835    And sin that every thing, that is
836    Out of his kinde place, y-wis,
837    Moveth thider for to go
838    If hit a-weye be therfro,
839    As I before have preved thee,
840    Hit seweth, every soun, pardee,
841    Moveth kindeIy to pace
842    Al up into his kindely place.
843    And this place of which I telle,
844    Ther as Fame list to dwelle,
845    Is set amiddes of these three,
846    Heven, erthe, and eek the see,
847    As most conservatif the soun.
848    Than is this the conclusioun,
849    That every speche of every man,
850    As I thee telle first began,
851    Moveth up on high to pace
852    Kindely to Fames place.
853      `Telle me this feithfully,
854    Have I not preved thus simply,
855    Withouten any subtiltee
856    Of speche, or gret prolixitee
857    Of termes of philosophye,
858    Of figures of poetrye,
859    Or colours of rethoryke?
860    Pardee, hit oghte thee to lyke;
861    For hard langage and hard matere
862    Is encombrous for to here
863    At ones; Wost thou not wel this?'
864    And I answerde, and seyde,`Yis.'
865      `A ha!' quod he, `lo, so I can,
866    Lewedly to a lewed man
867    Speke, and shewe him swiche skiles,
868    That he may shake hem by the biles,
869    So palpable they shulden be.
870    But tel me this, now pray I thee,
871    How thinkth thee my conclusioun?'
872    Quod he. `A good persuasioun,'
873    Quod I, `hit is; and lyk to be
874    Right so as thou hast preved me.'
875    `By god,' quod he, `and as I leve,
876    Thou shalt have yit, or hit be eve,
877    Of every word of this sentence
878    A preve, by experience;
879    And with thyn eres heren wel
880    Top and tail, and everydel,
881    That every word that spoken is
882    Comth into Fames Hous, y-wis,
883    As I have seyd; what wilt thou more?'
884    And with this word upper to sore
885    He gan, and seyde, `Be Seynt Iame!
886    Now wil we speken al of game.' --
887      `How farest thou?' quod he to me,
888    `Wel,' quod I. `Now see,' quod he,
889    `By thy trouthe, yond adoun,
890    Wher that thou knowest any toun,
891    Or hous, or any other thing.
892    And whan thou hast of ought knowing,
893    Loke that thou warne me,
894    And I anoon shal telle thee
895    How fer that thou art now therfro.'
896      And I adoun gan loken tho,
897    And beheld feldes and plaines,
898    And now hilles, and now mountaines,
899    Now valeys, and now forestes,
900    And now, unethes, grete bestes;
901    Now riveres, now citees,
902    Now tounes, and now grete trees,
903    Now shippes saillinge in the see.
904      But thus sone in a whyle he
905    Was flowen fro the grounde so hye,
906    That al the world, as to myn ye,
907    No more semed than a prikke;
908    Or elles was the air so thikke
909    That I ne mighte not discerne.
910    With that he spak to me as yerne,
911    And seyde: `Seestow any toun
912    Or ought thou knowest yonder doun?'
913      I seyde, `Nay.' `No wonder nis,'
914    Quod he, `for half so high as this
915    Nas Alexander Macedo;
916    Ne the king, dan Scipio.
917    That saw in dreme, at point devys,
918    Helle and erthe, and paradys;
919    Ne eek the wrecche Dedalus,
920    Ne his child, nyce Icarus,
921    That fleigh so highe that the hete
922    His winges malt, and he fel wete
923    In-mid the see, and ther he dreynte,
924    For whom was maked moch compleynte.
925      `Now turn upward,' quod he, `thy face,
926    And behold this large place,
927    This air; but loke thou ne be
928    Adrad of hem that thou shalt see;
929    For in this regioun, certein,
930    Dwelleth many a citezein,
931    Of which that speketh dan Plato.
932    These ben the eyrish bestes, lo!'
933    And so saw I al that meynee
934    Bothe goon and also flee.
935    `Now,' quod he tho, `cast up thyn ye;
936    See yonder, lo, the Galaxye,
937    Which men clepeth the Milky Wey,
938    For hit is whyt: and somme, parfey,
939    Callen hit Watlinge Strete:
940    That ones was y-brent with hete,
941    Whan the sonnes sone, the rede,
942    That highte Pheton, wolde lede
943    Algate his fader cart, and gye.
944    The cart-hors gonne wel espye
945    That he ne coude no governaunce,
946    And gonne for to lepe and launce,
947    And beren him now up, now doun,
948    Til that he saw the Scorpioun,
949    Which that in heven a signe is yit,
950    And he, for ferde, loste his wit,
951    Of that, and leet the reynes goon
952    Of his hors; and they anoon
953    Gonne up to mounte, and doun descende
954    Til bothe the eyr and erthe brende;
955    Til Iupiter, lo, atte laste,
956    Him slow, and fro the carte caste.
957    Lo, is it not a greet mischaunce,
958    To lete a fole han governaunce
959    Of thing that he can not demeine?'
960      And with this word, soth for to seyne,
961    He gan alway upper to sore,
962    And gladded me ay more and more,
963    So feithfully to me spak he.
964      Tho gan I loken under me,
965    And beheld the eyrish bestes,
966    Cloudes, mistes, and tempestes,
967    Snowes, hailes, reines, windes,
968    And thengendring in hir kindes,
969    And al the wey through whiche I cam;
970    `O god,' quod I, `that made Adam,
971    Moche is thy might and thy noblesse!'
972      And tho thoughte I upon Boece,
973    That writ, `a thought may flee so hye,
974    With fetheres of Philosophye,
975    To passen everich element;
976    And whan he hath so fer y-went,
977    Than may be seen, behind his bak,
978    Cloud, and al that I of spak.'
979      Tho gan I wexen in a were,
980    And seyde, `I woot wel I am here;
981    But wher in body or in gost
982    I noot, y-wis; but god, thou wost!'
983    For more cleer entendement
984    Nadde he me never yit y-sent.
985    And than thoughte I on Marcian,
986    And eek on Anleclaudian,
987    That sooth was hir descripcioun
988    Of al the hevenes regioun,
989    As fer as that I saw the preve;
990    Therfor I can hem now beleve.
991      With that this egle gan to crye:
992    `Lat be,' quod he, `thy fantasye;
993    Wilt thou lere of sterres aught?'
994    `Nay, certeinly,' quod I, `right naught;
995    `And why? for I am now to old.'
996    `Elles I wolde thee have told,'
997    Quod he, `the sterres names, lo,
998    And al the hevenes signes to,
999    And which they been.' `No fors,' quod I.
1000   `Yis, pardee,' quod he; `wostow why?
1001   For when thou redest poetrye,
1002   How goddes gonne stellifye
1003   Brid, fish, beste, or him or here,
1004   As the Raven, or either Bere,
1005   Or Ariones harpe fyn,
1006   Castor, Pollux, or Delphyn,
1007   Or Atlantes doughtres sevene,
1008   How alle these arn set in hevene;
1009   For though thou have hem ofte on honde,
1010   Yet nostow not wher that they stonde.'
1011   `No fors,' quod I, `hit is no nede;
1012   I leve as wel, so god me spede,
1013   Hem that wryte of this matere,
1014   As though I knew hir places here;
1015   And eek they shynen here so brighte,
1016   Hit shulde shenden al my sighte
1017   To loke on hem.' `That may wel be,'
1018   Quod he. And so forth bar he me
1019   A whyl, and than he gan to crye,
1020   That never herde I thing so hye,
1021   `Now up the heed; for al is wel;
1022   Seynt Iulyan, lo, bon hostel!
1023   See here the Hous of Fame, lo!
1024   Maistow not heren that I do?'
1025   `What?' quod I. `The grete soun,'
1026   Quod he, `that rumbleth up and doun
1027   In Fames Hous, full of tydinges,
1028   Bothe of fair speche and chydinges,
1029   And of fals and soth compouned.
1030   Herke wel; hit is not rouned.
1031   Herestow not the grete swogh?'
1032   `Yis, pardee,' quod I, `wel y-nogh.'
1033   `And what soun is it lyk?' quod he.
1034   `Peter! lyk beting of the see,'
1035   Quod I, `again the roches holowe,
1036   Whan tempest doth the shippes swalowe;
1037   And lat a man stonde, out of doute,
1038   A myle thens, and here hit route;
1039   Or elles lyk the last humblinge
1040   After the clappe of oo thundringe,
1041   Whan Ioves hath the aire y-bete;
1042   But hit doth me for fere swete.'
1043   `Nay, dred thee not thereof,' quod he,
1044   `Hit is nothing wil byten thee;
1045   Thou shalt non harme have, trewely.'
1046     And with this word bothe he and I
1047   As nigh the place arryved were
1048   As men may casten with a spere.
1049   I niste how, but in a strete
1050   He sette me faire on my fete,
1051   And seyde, `Walke forth a pas,
1052   And tak thyn aventure or cas,
1053   That thou shalt finde in Fames place.'
1054     `Now,' quod I, `whyl we han space
1055   To speke, or that I go fro thee,
1056   For the love of god, tel me,
1057   In sooth, that wil I of thee lere,
1058   If this noise that I here
1059   Be as I have herd thee tellen,
1060   Of folk that doun in erthe dwellen,
1061   And cometh here in the same wyse
1062   As I thee herde or this devyse;
1063   And that ther lyves body nis
1064   In al that hous that yonder is,
1065   That maketh al this loude fare?'
1066   `No,' quod he, `by Seynte Clare,
1067   And also wis god rede me!
1068   But o thinge I wil warne thee
1069   Of the which thou wolt have wonder.
1070   Lo, to the House of Fame yonder
1071   Thou wost how cometh every speche,
1072   Hit nedeth noght thee eft to teche.
1073   But understond now right wel this;
1074   Whan any speche y-comen is
1075   Up to the paleys, anon-right
1076   Hit wexeth lyk the same wight,
1077   Which that the word in erthe spak,
1078   Be hit clothed red or blak;
1079   And hath so verray his lyknesse
1080   That spak the word, that thou wilt gesse
1081   That hit the same body be,
1082   Man or woman, he or she,
1083   And is not this a wonder thing?'
1084   `Yis,' quod I tho, `by hevene king!'
1085   And with this worde, `Farwel,' quod he,
1086   `And here I wol abyden thee;
1087   And god of hevene sende thee grace,
1088   Som good to lernen in this place,'
1089   And I of him took leve anoon,
1090   And gan forth to the paleys goon.

          Explicit liber secundus.

Book III  Incipit liber tercius.


1091   O god of science and of light,
1092   Apollo, through thy grete might,
1093   This litel laste book thou gye!
1094   Nat that I wilne, for maistrye,
1095   Here art poetical be shewed;
1096   But, for the rym is light and lewed,
1097   Yit make hit sumwhat agreable,
1098   Though som vers faile in a sillable;
1099   And that I do no diligence
1100   To shewe craft, but o sentence.
1101   And if, divyne vertu, thou
1102   Wilt helpe me to shewe now
1103   That in myn hede y-marked is --
1104   Lo, that is for to menen this,
1105   The Hous of Fame for to descryve --
1106   Thou shalt see me go, as blyve,
1107   Unto the nexte laure I see,
1108   And kisse hit, for hit is thy tree;
1109   Now entreth in my brest anoon!

          The Dream.

1110   Whan I was fro this egle goon,
1111   I gan beholde upon this place.
1112   And certein, or I ferther pace,
1113   I wol yow al the shap devyse
1114   Of hous and site; and al the wyse
1115   How I gan to this place aproche
1116   That stood upon so high a roche,
1117   Hyer stant ther noon in Spaine.
1118   But up I clomb with alle paine,
1119   And though to climbe hit greved me,
1120   Yit I ententif was to see,
1121   And for to pouren wonder lowe,
1122   If I coude any weyes knowe
1123   What maner stoon this roche was;
1124   For hit was lyk a thing of glas,
1125   But that hit shoon ful more clere;
1126   But of what congeled matere
1127   Hit was, I niste redely.
1128     But at the laste espyed I,
1129   And found that hit was, every deel,
1130   A roche of yse, and not of steel.
1131   Thoughte I, `By Seynt Thomas of Kent!
1132   This were a feble foundement
1133   To bilden on a place hye;
1134   He ought him litel glorifye
1135   That her-on bilt, god so me save!'
1136     Tho saw I al the half y-grave
1137   With famous folkes names fele,
1138   That had y-been in mochel wele,
1139   And hir fames wyde y-blowe.
1140   But wel unethes coude I knowe
1141   Any lettres for to rede
1142   Hir names by; for, out of drede,
1143   They were almost of-thowed so,
1144   That of the lettres oon or two
1145   Was molte away of every name,
1146   So unfamous was wexe hir fame;
1147   But men seyn, `What may ever laste?'
1148     Tho gan I in myn herte caste,
1149   That they were molte awey with hete,
1150   And not awey with stormes bete.
1151   For on that other syde I sey
1152   Of this hille, that northward lay,
1153   How hit was writen ful of names
1154   Of folk that hadden grete fames
1155   Of olde tyme, and yit they were
1156   As fresshe as men had writen hem there
1157   The selve day right, or that houre
1158   That I upon hem gan to poure.
1159   But wel I wiste what hit made;
1160   Hit was conserved with the shade --
1161   Al this wrytinge that I sy --
1162   Of a castel, that stood on hy,
1163   And stood eek on so cold a place,
1164   That hete mighte hit not deface.
1165     Tho gan I up the hille to goon,
1166   And fond upon the coppe a woon,
1167   That alle the men that ben on lyve
1168   Ne han the cunning to descryve
1169   The beautee of that ilke place,
1170   Ne coude casten no compace
1171   Swich another for to make,
1172   That mighte of beautee be his make
1173   Ne be so wonderliche y-wrought;
1174   That hit astonieth yit my thought,
1175   And maketh al my wit to swinke
1176   On this castel to bethinke.
1177   So that the grete craft, beautee,
1178   The cast, and curiositee
1179   Ne can I not to yow devyse,
1180   My wit ne may me not suffyse.
1181     But natheles al the substance
1182   I have yit in my remembrance;
1183   For-why me thoughte, by Seynt Gyle!
1184   Al was of stone of beryle,
1185   Bothe castel and the tour,
1186   And eek the halle, and every bour,
1187   Withouten peces or Ioininges,
1188   But many subtil compassinges,
1189   Babewinnes and pinacles,
1190   Imageries and tabernacles,
1191   I saw; and ful eek of windowes,
1192   As flakes falle in grete snowes.
1193   And eek in ech of the pinacles
1194   Weren sondry habitacles,
1195   In whiche stoden, al withoute --
1196   Ful the castel, al aboute --
1197   Of alle maner of minstrales,
1198   And gestiours, that tellen tales
1199   Bothe of weping and of game,
1200   Of al that longeth unto Fame.
1201     Ther herde I pleyen on an harpe
1202   That souned bothe wel and sharpe,
1203   Orpheus ful craftely,
1204   And on his syde, faste by,
1205   Sat the harper Orion,
1206   And Eacides Chiron,
1207   And other harpers many oon,
1208   And the Bret Glascurion;
1209   And smale harpers with her glees
1210   Saten under hem in sees,
1211   And gunne on hem upward to gape,
1212   And countrefete hem as an ape,
1213   Or as craft countrefeteth kinde.
1214     Tho saugh I stonden hem behinde,
1215   A-fer fro hem, al by hemselve,
1216   Many thousand tymes twelve,
1217   That maden loude menstralcyes
1218   In cornemuse and shalmyes,
1219   And many other maner pype,
1220   That craftely begunne pype
1221   Bothe in doucet and in rede,
1222   That ben at festes with the brede;
1223   And many floute and lilting-horne,
1224   And pypes made of grene corne,
1225   As han thise litel herde-gromes
1226   That kepen bestes in the bromes.
1227     Ther saugh I than Atiteris,
1228   And of Athenes dan Pseustis,
1229   And Marcia that lost her skin,
1230   Bothe in face, body, and chin,
1231   For that she wolde envyen, lo!
1232   To pypen bet than Apollo.
1233   Ther saugh I famous, olde and yonge,
1234   Pypers of the Duche tonge,
1235   To lerne love-daunces, springes,
1236   Reyes, and these straunge thinges.
1237     Tho saugh I in another place
1238   Stonden in a large space,
1239   Of hem that maken blody soun
1240   In trumpe, beme, and clarioun;
1241   For in fight and blood-shedinge
1242   Is used gladly clarioninge.
1243     Ther herde I trumpen Messenus,
1244   Of whom that speketh Virgilius.
1245   Ther herde I Ioab trumpe also,
1246   Theodomas, and other mo;
1247   And alle that used clarion
1248   In Cataloigne and Aragon,
1249   That in hir tyme famous were
1250   To lerne, saugh I trumpe there.
1251     Ther saugh I sitte in other sees,
1252   Pleyinge upon sondry glees,
1253   Whiche that I cannot nevene,
1254   Mo then sterres been in hevene,
1255   Of whiche I nil as now not ryme,
1256   For ese of yow, and losse of tyme:
1257   For tyme y-lost, this knowen ye,
1258   By no way may recovered be.
1259     Ther saugh I pleyen Iogelours,
1260   Magiciens and tregetours,
1261   And phitonesses, charmeresses,
1262   Olde wicches, sorceresses,
1263   That use exorsisaciouns,
1264   And eek thise fumigaciouns;
1265   And clerkes eek, which conne wel
1266   Al this magyke naturel,
1267   That craftely don hir ententes,
1268   To make, in certeyn ascendentes,
1269   Images, lo, through which magyk
1270   To make a man ben hool or syk.
1271   Ther saugh I thee queen Medea,
1272   And Circes eke, and Calipsa;
1273   Ther saugh I Hermes Ballenus,
1274   Lymote, and eek Simon Magus.
1275   Ther saugh I, and knew hem by name,
1276   That by such art don men han fame.
1277   Ther saugh I Colle tregetour
1278   Upon a table of sicamour
1279   Pleye an uncouthe thing to telle;
1280   I saugh him carien a wind-melle
1281   Under a walsh-note shale.
1282     What shuld I make lenger tale
1283   Of al the peple that I say,
1284   Fro hennes in-to domesday?
1285     Whan I had al this folk beholde,
1286   And fond me lous, and noght y-holde,
1287   And eft y-mused longe whyle
1288   Upon these walles of beryle,
1289   That shoon ful lighter than a glas,
1290   And made wel more than hit was
1291   To semen, every thing, y-wis,
1292   As kinde thing of fames is;
1293   I gan forth romen til I fond
1294   The castel-yate on my right hond,
1295   Which that so wel corven was
1296   That never swich another nas;
1297   And yit hit was by aventure
1298   Y-wrought, as often as by cure.
1299     Hit nedeth noght yow for to tellen,
1300   To make yow to longe dwellen,
1301   Of this yates florisshinges,
1302   Ne of compasses, ne of kervinges,
1303   Ne how they hatte in masoneries,
1304   As, corbetz fulle of imageries.
1305   But, lord! so fair hit was to shewe,
1306   For hit was al with gold behewe.
1307   But in I wente, and that anoon;
1308   Ther mette I crying many oon, --
1309   `A larges, larges, hold up wel!
1310   God save the lady of this pel,
1311   Our owne gentil lady Fame,
1312   And hem that wilnen to have name
1313   Of us!' Thus herde I cryen alle,
1314   And faste comen out of halle,
1315   And shoken nobles and sterlinges.
1316   And somme crouned were as kinges,
1317   With crounes wroght ful of losenges;
1318   And many riban, and many frenges
1319   Were on hir clothes trewely.
1320     Tho atte laste aspyed I
1321   That pursevauntes and heraudes,
1322   That cryen riche folkes laudes,
1323   Hit weren alle; and every man
1324   Of hem, as I yow tellen can,
1325   Had on him throwen a vesture,
1326   Which that men clepe a cote-armure,
1327   Enbrowded wonderliche riche,
1328   Al-though they nere nought y-liche.
1329   But noght nil I, so mote I thryve,
1330   Been aboute to discryve
1331   Al these armes that ther weren,
1332   That they thus on her cotes beren,
1333   For hit to me were impossible;
1334   Men mighte make of hem a bible
1335   Twenty foot thikke, as I trowe.
1336   For certeyn, who-so coude y-knowe
1337   Mighte ther alle the armes seen
1338   Of famous folk that han y-been
1339   In Auffrike, Europe, and Asye,
1340   Sith first began the chevalrye,
1341     Lo! how shulde I now telle al this?
1342   Ne of the halle eek what nede is
1343   To tellen yow, that every wal
1344   Of hit, and floor, and roof and al
1345   Was plated half a fote thikke
1346   Of gold, and that nas no-thing wikke,
1347   But, for to prove in alle wyse,
1348   As fyn as ducat in Venyse,
1349   Of whiche to lyte al in my pouche is?
1350   And they wer set as thikke of nouchis
1351   Fulle of the fynest stones faire,
1352   That men rede in the Lapidaire,
1353   As greses growen in a mede;
1354   But hit were al to longe to rede
1355   The names; and therfore I pace.
1356     But in this riche lusty place,
1357   That Fames halle called was,
1358   Ful moche prees of folk ther nas,
1359   Ne crouding, for to mochil prees.
1360   But al on hye, above a dees,
1361   Sitte in a see imperial,
1362   That maad was of a rubee al,
1363   Which that a carbuncle is y-called,
1364   I saugh, perpetually y-stalled,
1365   A feminyne creature;
1366   That never formed by nature
1367   Nas swich another thing y-seye.
1368   For altherfirst, soth for to seye,
1369   Me thoughte that she was so lyte,
1370   That the lengthe of a cubyte
1371   Was lenger than she semed be;
1372   But thus sone, in a whyle, she
1373   Hir tho so wonderliche streighte,
1374   That with hir feet she therthe reighte,
1375   And with hir heed she touched hevene,
1376   Ther as shynen sterres sevene.
1377   And ther-to eek, as to my wit,
1378   I saugh a gretter wonder yit
1379   Upon hir eyen to beholde;
1380   But certeyn I hem never tolde;
1381   For as fele eyen hadde she
1382   As fetheres upon foules be,
1383   Or weren on the bestes foure
1384   That goddes trone gunne honoure,
1385   As Iohn writ in th'Apocalips.
1386   Hir heer, that oundy was and crips,
1387   As burned gold hit shoon to see.
1388   And sooth to tellen, also she
1389   Had also fele up-stonding eres
1390   And tonges, as on bestes heres;
1391   And on hir feet wexen saugh I
1392   Partriches winges redely.
1393     But, lord! the perrie and the richesse
1394   I saugh sitting on this goddesse!
1395   And, lord! the hevenish melodye
1396   Of songes, ful of armonye,
1397   I herde aboute her trone y-songe,
1398   That al the paleys-walles ronge!
1399   So song the mighty Muse, she
1400   That cleped is Caliopee,
1401   And hir eighte sustren eke,
1402   That in hir face semen meke;
1403   And evermo, eternally,
1404   They songe of Fame, as tho herde I: --
1405   `Heried be thou and thy name,
1406   Goddesse of renoun and of fame!'
1407     Tho was I war, lo, atte laste,
1408   As I myn eyen gan up caste,
1409   That this ilke noble quene
1410   On hir shuldres gan sustene
1411   Bothe tharmes and the name
1412   Of tho that hadde large fame;
1413   Alexander, and Hercules
1414   That with a sherte his lyf lees!
1415   Thus fond I sitting this goddesse,
1416   In nobley, honour, and richesse;
1417   Of which I stinte a whyle now,
1418   Other thing to tellen yow.
1419     Tho saugh I stonde on either syde,
1420   Streight doun to the dores wyde,
1421   Fro the dees, many a pileer
1422   Of metal, that shoon not ful cleer;
1423   But though they nere of no richesse,
1424   Yet they were maad for greet noblesse,
1425   And in hem greet and hy sentence,
1426   And folk of digne reverence,
1427   Of whiche I wol yow telle fonde,
1428   Upon the piler saugh I stonde.
1429     Alderfirst, lo, ther I sigh,
1430   Upon a piler stonde on high,
1431   That was of lede and yren fyn,
1432   Him of secte Saturnyn,
1433   The Ebrayk Iosephus, the olde,
1434   That of Iewes gestes tolde;
1435   And bar upon his shuldres hye
1436   The fame up of the Iewerye.
1437   And by him stoden other sevene,
1438   Wyse and worthy for to nevene,
1439   To helpen him bere up the charge,
1440   Hit was so hevy and so large.
1441   And for they writen of batailes,
1442   As wel as other olde mervailes,
1443   Therfor was, lo, this pileer,
1444   Of which that I yow telle heer,
1445   Of lede and yren bothe, y-wis,
1446   For yren Martes metal is,
1447   Which that god is of bataille;
1448   And the leed, withouten faille,
1449   Is, lo, the metal of Saturne,
1450   That hath ful large wheel to turne.
1451   Tho stoden forth, on every rowe,
1452   Of hem which that I coude knowe,
1453   Thogh I hem noght be ordre telle,
1454   To make yow to long to dwelle.
1455     These, of whiche I ginne rede,
1456   Ther saugh I stonden, out of drede:
1457   Upon an yren piler strong,
1458   That peynted was, al endelonge,
1459   With tygres blode in every place,
1460   The Tholosan that highte Stace,
1461   That bar of Thebes up the fame
1462   Upon his shuldres, and the name
1463   Also of cruel Achilles.
1464   And by him stood, withouten lees,
1465   Ful wonder hye on a pileer
1466   Of yren, he, the gret Omeer;
1467   And with him Dares and Tytus
1468   Before, and eek he Lollius,
1469   And Guido eek de Columpnis,
1470   And English Gaufride eek, y-wis;
1471   And ech of these, as have I Ioye,
1472   Was besy for to bere up Troye.
1473   So hevy ther-of was the fame,
1474   That for to bere hit was no game.
1475   But yit I gan ful wel espye,
1476   Betwix hem was a litil envye.
1477   Oon seyde, Omere made lyes,
1478   Feyninge in his poetryes,
1479   And was to Grekes favorable;
1480   Therfor held he hit but fable.
1481     Tho saugh I stonde on a pileer,
1482   That was of tinned yren cleer,
1483   That Latin poete, dan Virgyle,
1484   That bore hath up a longe whyle
1485   The fame of Pius Eneas.
1486     And next him on a piler was,
1487   Of coper, Venus clerk, Ovyde,
1488   That hath y-sowen wonder wyde
1489   The grete god of Loves name.
1490   And ther he bar up wel his fame,
1491   Upon his piler, also hye
1492   As I might see hit with myn ye:
1493   For-why this halle, of whiche I rede
1494   Was woxe on highte, lengthe and brede,
1495   Wel more, by a thousand del,
1496   Than hit was erst, that saugh I wel.
1497     Tho saugh I, on a piler by,
1498   Of yren wroght ful sternely,
1499   The grete poete, daun Lucan,
1500   And on his shuldres bar up than,
1501   As highe as that I mighte see,
1502   The fame of Iulius and Pompee.
1503   And by him stoden alle these clerkes,
1504   That writen of Romes mighty werkes,
1505   That, if I wolde hir names telle,
1506   Al to longe most I dwelle.
1507     And next him on a piler stood
1508   Of soulfre, lyk as he were wood,
1509   Dan Claudian, the soth to telle,
1510   That bar up al the fame of helle,
1511   Of Pluto, and of Proserpyne,
1512   That quene is of the derke pyne.
1513     What shulde I more telle of this?
1514   The halle was al ful, y-wis,
1515   Of hem that writen olde gestes,
1516   As ben on trees rokes nestes;
1517   But hit a ful confus matere
1518   Were al the gestes for to here,
1519   That they of write, and how they highte.
1520   But whyl that I beheld this sighte,
1521   I herde a noise aprochen blyve,
1522   That ferde as been don in an hyve,
1523   Agen her tyme of out-fleyinge;
1524   Right swiche a maner murmuringe,
1525   For al the world, hit semed me.
1526     Tho gan I loke aboute and see,
1527   That ther come entring in the halle
1528   A right gret company with-alle,
1529   And that of sondry regiouns,
1530   Of alleskinnes condiciouns,
1531   That dwelle in erthe under the mone,
1532   Pore and ryche. And also sone
1533   As they were come into the halle,
1534   They gonne doun on knees falle
1535   Before this ilke noble quene,
1536   And seyde, `Graunte us, lady shene,
1537   Ech of us, of thy grace, a bone!'
1538   And somme of hem she graunted sone,
1539   And somme she werned wel and faire;
1540   And somme she graunted the contraire
1541   Of hir axing utterly,
1542   But thus I seye yow trewely,
1543   What hir cause was, I niste.
1544   For of this folk, ful wel I wiste,
1545   They hadde good fame ech deserved,
1546   Althogh they were diversly served;
1547   Right as hir suster, dame Fortune,
1548   Is wont to serven in comune.
1549     Now herkne how she gan to paye
1550   That gonne hir of hir grace praye;
1551   And yit, lo, al this companye
1552   Seyden sooth, and noght a lye.
1553   `Madame,' seyden they, `we be
1554   Folk that heer besechen thee,
1555   That thou graunte us now good fame,
1556   And let our werkes han that name;
1557   In ful recompensacioun
1558   Of good werk, give us good renoun.'
1559     `I werne yow hit,' quod she anoon,
1560   `Ye gete of me good fame noon,
1561   By god! and therfor go your wey.'
1562     `Alas,' quod they, `and welaway!
1563   Telle us, what may your cause be?'
1564     `For me list hit noght,' quod she;
1565   `No wight shal speke of yow, y-wis,
1566   Good ne harm, ne that ne this.'
1567   And with that word she gan to calle
1568   Hir messanger, that was in halle,
1569   And bad that he shulde faste goon,
1570   Up peyne to be blind anoon,
1571   For Eolus, the god of winde; --
1572   `In Trace ther ye shul him finde,
1573   And bid him bringe his clarioun,
1574   That is ful dyvers of his soun,
1575   And hit is cleped Clere Laude,
1576   With which he wont is to heraude
1577   Hem that me list y-preised be:
1578   And also bid him how that he
1579   Bringe his other clarioun,
1580   That highte Sclaundre in every toun,
1581   With which he wont is to diffame
1582   Hem that me list, and do hem shame.'
1583     This messanger gan faste goon,
1584   And found wher, in a cave of stoon,
1585   In a contree that highte Trace,
1586   This Eolus, with harde grace,
1587   Held the windes in distresse,
1588   And gan hem under him to presse,
1589   That they gonne as beres rore,
1590   He bond and pressed hem so sore.
1591     This messanger gan faste crye,
1592   `Rys up,' quod he, `and faste hye,
1593   Til that thou at my lady be;
1594   And tak thy clarions eek with thee,
1595   And speed the forth.' And he anon
1596   Took to a man, that hight Triton,
1597   His clariouns to bere tho,
1598   And leet a certeyn wind to go,
1599   That blew so hidously and hye,
1600   That hit ne lefte not a skye
1601   In al the welken longe an brood.
1602     This Eolus no-wher abood
1603   Til he was come at Fames feet,
1604   And eek the man that Triton heet;
1605   And ther he stood, as still as stoon.
1606   And her-withal ther com anoon
1607   Another huge companye
1608   Of gode folk, and gunne crye,
1609   `Lady, graunte us now good fame,
1610   And lat our werkes han that name
1611   Now, in honour of gentilesse,
1612   And also god your soule blesse!
1613   For we han wel deserved hit,
1614   Therfore is right that we ben quit.'
1615     `As thryve I,' quod she, `ye shal faile,
1616   Good werkes shal yow noght availe
1617   To have of me good fame as now.
1618   But wite ye what? Y graunte yow,
1619   That ye shal have a shrewed fame
1620   And wikked loos, and worse name,
1621   Though ye good loos have wel deserved.
1622   Now go your wey, for ye be served;
1623   And thou, dan Eolus, let see!
1624   Tak forth thy trumpe anon,' quod she,
1625   `That is y-cleped Sclaunder light,
1626   And blow her loos, that every wight
1627   Speke of hem harm and shrewednesse,
1628   In stede of good and worthinesse.
1629   For thou shalt trumpe al the contraire
1630   Of that they han don wel or faire.'
1631     `Alas,' thoughte I, `what aventures
1632   Han these sory creatures!
1633   For they, amonges al the pres,
1634   Shul thus be shamed, gilteles!
1635   But what! hit moste nedes be.'
1636     What did this Eolus, but he
1637   Tok out his blakke trumpe of bras,
1638   That fouler than the devil was,
1639   And gan this trumpe for to blowe,
1640   As al the world shulde overthrowe;
1641   That through-out every regioun
1642   Wente this foule trumpes soun,
1643   As swift as pelet out of gonne,
1644   Whan fyr is in the poudre ronne.
1645   And swiche a smoke gan out-wende
1646   Out of his foule trumpes ende,
1647   Blak, blo, grenissh, swartish reed,
1648   As doth wher that men melte leed,
1649   Lo, al on high fro the tuel!
1650   And therto oo thing saugh I wel,
1651   That, the ferther that hit ran,
1652   The gretter wexen hit began,
1653   As doth the river from a welle,
1654   And hit stank as the pit of helle.
1655   Alas, thus was hir shame y-ronge,
1656   And giltelees, on every tonge.
1657     Tho com the thridde companye,
1658   And gunne up to the dees to hye,
1659   And doun on knees they fille anon,
1660   And seyde, `We ben everichon
1661   Folk that han ful trewely
1662   Deserved fame rightfully,
1663   And pray yow, hit mot be knowe,
1664   Right as hit is, and forth y-blowe.'
1665   `I graunte,' quod she, `for me list
1666   That now your gode werk be wist;
1667   And yet ye shul han better loos,
1668   Right in dispyt of alle your foos,
1669   Than worthy is; and that anoon:
1670   Lat now,' quod she, `thy trumpe goon,
1671   Thou Eolus, that is so blak;
1672   And out thyn other trumpe tak
1673   That highte Laude, and blow it so
1674   That through the world hir fame go
1675   Al esely, and not to faste,
1676   That hit be knowen atte laste.'
1677     `Ful gladly, lady myn,' he seyde;
1678   And out his trumpe of golde he brayde
1679   Anon, and sette hit to his mouthe,
1680   And blew hit est, and west, and southe,
1681   And north, as loude as any thunder,
1682   That every wight hadde of hit wonder,
1683   So brode hit ran, or than hit stente,
1684   And, certes, al the breeth that wente
1685   Out of his trumpes mouthe smelde
1686   As men a pot-ful bawme helde
1687   Among a basket ful of roses;
1688   This favour dide he til hir loses.
1689     And right with this I gan aspye,
1690   Ther com the ferthe companye --
1691   But certeyn they were wonder fewe --
1692   And gonne stonden in a rewe,
1693   And seyden, `Certes, lady brighte,
1694   We han don wel with al our mighte;
1695   But we ne kepen have no fame.
1696   Hyd our werkes and our name,
1697   For goddes love! for certes we
1698   Han certeyn doon hit for bountee,
1699   And for no maner other thing.'
1700   `I graunte yow al your asking,'
1701   Quod she; `let your werk be deed.'
1702     With that aboute I clew myn heed,
1703   And saugh anoon the fifte route
1704   That to this lady gonne loute,
1705   And doun on knes anoon to falle;
1706   And to hir tho besoughten alle
1707   To hyde hit gode werkes eek,
1708   And seyde, they yeven noght a leek
1709   For fame, ne for swich renoun;
1710   For they, for contemplacioun
1711   And goddes love, hadde y-wrought;
1712   Ne of fame wolde they nought.
1713     `What?' quod she, `and be ye wood?
1714   And wene ye for to do good,
1715   And for to have of that no fame?
1716   Have ye dispyt to have my name?
1717   Nay, ye shul liven everichoon!
1718   Blow thy trumpe and that anoon,'
1719   Quod she, `thou Eolus, I hote,
1720   And ring this folkes werk by note,
1721   That al the world may of hit here.'
1722   And he gan blowe hir loos so clere
1723   In his golden clarioun
1724   That through the world wente the soun,
1725   Also kenely, and eek so softe;
1726   But atte laste hit was on-lofte.
1727     Thoo com the sexte companye,
1728   And gonne faste on Fame crye.
1729   Right verraily, in this manere
1730   They seyden: `Mercy, lady dere!
1731   To telle certein, as hit is,
1732   We han don neither that ne this,
1733   But ydel al our lif y-be.
1734   But, natheles, yit preye we,
1735   That we mowe han so good a fame,
1736   And greet renoun and knowen name,
1737   As they that han don noble gestes,
1738   And acheved alle hir lestes,
1739   As wel of love as other thing;
1740   Al was us never broche ne ring,
1741   Ne elles nought, from wimmen sent,
1742   Ne ones in hir herte y-ment
1743   To make us only frendly chere,
1744   But mighte temen us on bere;
1745   Yit lat us to the peple seme
1746   Swiche as the world may of us deme,
1747   That wimmen loven us for wood.
1748   Hit shal don us as moche good,
1749   And to our herte as moche availe
1750   To countrepeise ese and travaile,
1751   As we had wonne hit with labour;
1752   For that is dere boght honour
1753   At regard of our grete ese.
1754   And yit thou most us more plese
1755   Let us be holden eek, therto,
1756   Worthy, wyse, and gode also,
1757   And riche, and happy unto love.
1758   For goddes love, that sit above,
1759   Thogh we may not the body have
1760   Of wimmen, yet, so god yow save!
1761   Let men glewe on us the name;
1762   Suffyceth that we han the fame.'
1763     `I graunte,' quod she, `by my trouthe!
1764   Now, Eolus, with-outen slouthe.
1765   Tak out thy trumpe of gold, let see,
1766   And blow as they han axed me,
1767   That every man wene hem at ese,
1768   Though they gon in ful badde lese.'
1769   This Eolus gan hit so blowe
1770   That through the world hit was y-knowe.
1771     Tho come the seventh route anoon,
1772   And fel on knees everichoon,
1773   And seyde, `Lady, graunte us sone
1774   The same thing, the same bone,
1775   That ye this nexte folk han doon.'
1776   `Fy on yow,' quod she, `everichoon!
1777   Ye masty swyn, ye ydel wrecches,
1778   Ful of roten slowe tecches!
1779   What? false theves! wher ye wolde
1780   Be famous good, and no-thing nolde
1781   Deserve why, ne never roughte?
1782   Men rather yow to-hangen oughte!
1783   For ye be lyk the sweynte cat,
1784   That wolde have fish; but wostow what?
1785   He wolde no-thing wete his clowes.
1786   Yvel thrift come to your Iowes,
1787   And eek on myn, if I hit graunte,
1788   Or do yow favour, yow to avaunte!
1789   Thou Eolus, thou king of Trace!
1790   Go, blow this folk a soo grace,'
1791   Quod she, `anoon; and wostow how?
1792   As I shal telle thee right now;
1793   Sey: "These ben they that wolde honour
1794   Have, and do noskinnes labour,
1795   Ne do no good, and yit han laude;
1796   And that men wende that bele Isaude
1797   Ne coude hem noght of love-werne;
1798   And yit she that grint at a querne
1799   Is al to good to ese hir herte."'
1800     This Eolus anon up sterte,
1801   And with his blakke clarioun
1802   He gan to blasen out a soun,
1803   As loude as belweth wind in helle.
1804   And eek therwith, the sooth to telle,
1805   This soun was al so ful of Iapes,
1806   As ever mowes were in apes.
1807   And that wente al the world aboute,
1808   That every wight gan on hem shoute,
1809   And for to laughe as they were wode;
1810   Such game fonde they in hir hode.
1811     Tho com another companye,
1812   That had y-doon the traiterye,
1813   The harm, the gretest wikkednesse
1814   That any herte couthe gesse;
1815   And prayed hir to han good fame,
1816   And that she nolde hem doon no shame,
1817   But yeve hem loos and good renoun,
1818   And do hit blowe in clarioun.
1819   `Nay, wis!' quod she, `hit were a vyce;
1820   Al be ther in me no Iustyce
1821   Me listeth not to do hit now,
1822   Ne this nil I not graunte you.'
1823     Tho come ther lepinge in a route,
1824   And gonne choppen al aboute
1825   Every man upon the croune,
1826   That al the halle gan to soune,
1827   And seyden: `Lady, lefe and dere
1828   We ben swich folk as ye mowe here.
1829   To tellen al the tale aright,
1830   We ben shrewes, every wight,
1831   And han delyt in wikkednes,
1832   As gode folk han in goodnes;
1833   And Ioye to be knowen shrewes,
1834   And fulle of vyce and wikked thewes;
1835   Wherfor we prayen yow, a-rowe,
1836   That our fame swich be knowe
1837   In alle thing right as hit is.'
1838     `I graunte hit yow,' quod she, `y-wis.
1839   But what art thou that seyst this tale,
1840   That werest on thy hose a pale,
1841   And on thy tipet swiche a belle!'
1842   `Madame,' quod he, `sooth to telle,
1843   I am that ilke shrewe, y-wis,
1844   That brende the temple of Isidis
1845   In Athenes, lo, that citee.'
1846   `And wherfor didest thou so?' quod she.
1847   `By my thrift,' quod he, `madame,
1848   I wolde fayn han had a fame,
1849   As other folk hadde in the toun,
1850   Al-thogh they were of greet renoun
1851   For hir vertu and for hir thewes;
1852   Thoughte I, as greet a fame han shrewes,
1853   Thogh hit be but for shrewednesse,
1854   As gode folk han for goodnesse;
1855   And sith I may not have that oon,
1856   That other nil I noght for-goon.
1857   And for to gette of Fames hyre,
1858   The temple sette I al a-fyre.
1859   Now do our loos be blowen swythe,
1860   As wisly be thou ever blythe.'
1861   `Gladly,' quod she; `thou Eolus,
1862   Herestow not what they prayen us?'
1863   `Madame, yis, ful wel,' quod he,
1864   And I wil trumpen hit, parde!'
1865   And tok his blakke trumpe faste,
1866   And gan to puffen and to blaste,
1867   Til hit was at the worldes ende.
1868     With that I gan aboute wende;
1869   For oon that stood right at my bak,
1870   Me thoughte goodly to me spak,
1871   And seyde, `Frend, what is thy name?
1872   Artow come hider to han fame?'
1873   `Nay, for-sothe, frend!' quod I;
1874   I cam noght hider, graunt mercy!
1875   For no swich cause, by my heed!
1876   Suffyceth me, as I were deed,
1877   That no wight have my name in honde.
1878   I woot my-self best how I stonde;
1879   For what I drye or what I thinke,
1880   I wol my-selven al hit drinke,
1881   Certeyn, for the more part,
1882   As ferforth as I can myn art.'
1883   `But what dost thou here than?' quod he.
1884   Quod I, `that wol I tellen thee,
1885   The cause why I stonde here: --
1886   Som newe tydings for to lere: --
1887   Som newe thinges, I not what,
1888   Tydinges, other this or that,
1889   Of love, or swiche thinges glade.
1890   For certeynly, he that me made
1891   To comen hider seyde me,
1892   I shulde bothe here and see,
1893   In this place, wonder thinges;
1894   But these be no swiche tydinges
1895   As I mene of.' `No?' quod he,
1896   And I answerde, `No, pardee!
1897   For wel I wiste, ever yit,
1898   Sith that first I hadde wit,
1899   That som folk han desyred fame
1900   Dyversly, and loos, and name;
1901   But certeynly, I niste how
1902   Ne wher that Fame dwelte, er now;
1903   Ne eek of hir descripcioun,
1904   Ne also hir condicioun,
1905   Ne the ordre of hir dome,
1906   Unto the tyme I hider come.'
1907   `Whiche be, lo, these tydinges,
1908   That thou now thus hider bringes,
1909   That thou hast herd?' quod he to me;
1910   `But now, no fors; for wel I see
1911   What thou desyrest for to here.
1912   Com forth, and stond no longer here,
1913   And I wol thee, with-outen drede,
1914   In swich another place lede,
1915   Ther thou shalt here many oon,'
1916     Tho gan I forth with him to goon
1917   Out of the castel, soth to seye.
1918   Tho saugh I stonde in a valeye,
1919   Under the castel, faste by,
1920   An hous, that Domus Dedali,
1921   That Laborintus cleped is,
1922   Nas maad so wonderliche, y-wis,
1923   Ne half so queynteliche y-wrought.
1924   And evermo, so swift as thought,
1925   This queynt hous aboute wente,
1926   That never-mo hit stike stente.
1927   And ther-out com so greet a noise,
1928   That, had hit stonden upon Oise,
1929   Men mighte hit han herd esely
1930   To Rome, I trowe sikerly.
1931   And the noyse which that I herde,
1932   For al the world right so hit ferde,
1933   As doth the routing of the stoon
1934   That from thengyn is leten goon.
1935     And al this hous, of whiche I rede,
1936   Was made of twigges, falwe, rede,
1937   And grene eek, and som weren whyte,
1938   Swiche as men to these cages thwyte,
1939   Or maken of these paniers,
1940   Or elles hottes or dossers;
1941   That, for the swough and for the twigges,
1942   This hous was also ful of gigges,
1943   And also ful eek a chirkinges,
1944   And of many other werkinges;
1945   And eek this hous hath of entrees
1946   As fele as of leves been on trees
1947   In somer, whan they grene been;
1948   And on the roof men may yit seen
1949   A thousand holes, and wel mo,
1950   To leten wel the soun out go.
1951     And by day, in every tyde,
1952   Ben al the dores open wyde,
1953   And by night, echoon unshette;
1954   Ne porter ther is non to lette
1955   No maner tydings in to pace;
1956   Ne never reste is in that place,
1957   That hit nis fild ful of tydinges,
1958   Other loude, or of whispringes;
1959   And, over alle the houses angles,
1960   Is ful of rouninges and of Iangles
1961   Of werre, of pees, of mariages,
1962   Of reste, of labour, of viages,
1963   Of abood, of deeth, of lyfe,
1964   Of love, of hate, acorde, of stryfe,
1965   Of loos, of lore, and of winninges,
1966   Of hele, of sekenesse, of bildinges,
1967   Of faire windes, of tempestes,
1968   Of qualme of folk, and eek of bestes;
1969   Of dyvers transmutaciouns
1970   Of estats, and eek of regiouns;
1971   Of trust, of drede, of Ielousye,
1972   Of wit, of winninge, of folye;
1973   Of plentee, and of greet famyne,
1974   Of chepe, of derth, and of ruyne;
1975   Of good or mis governement,
1976   Of fyr, of dyvers accident.
1977     And lo, this hous, of whiche I wryte,
1978   Siker be ye, hit nas not lyte;
1979   For hit was sixty myle of lengthe;
1980   Al was the timber of no strengthe,
1981   Yet hit is founded to endure
1982   Whyl that hit list to Aventure,
1983   That is the moder of tydinges,
1984   As the see of welles and springes, --
1985   And hit was shapen lyk a cage.
1986     `Certes,' quod I, `in al myn age,
1987   Ne saugh I swich a hous as this.'
1988   And as I wondred me, y-wis,
1989   Upon this hous, tho war was I
1990   How that myn egle, faste by,
1991   Was perched hye upon a stoon;
1992   And I gan streighte to him goon,
1993   And seyde thus: `I preye thee
1994   That thou a whyl abyde me
1995   For goddes love, and let me seen
1996   What wondres in this place been;
1997   For yit, paraventure, I may lere
1998   Som good ther-on, or sumwhat here
1999   That leef me were, or that I wente.'
2000     `Peter! that is myn entente,'
2001   Quod he to me; `therfor I dwelle;
2002   But certein, oon thing I thee telle,
2003   That, but I bringe thee ther-inne,
2004   Ne shalt thou never cunne ginne
2005   To come in-to hit, out of doute,
2006   So faste hit whirleth, lo, aboute.
2007   But sith that Ioves, of his grace,
2008   As I have seyd, wol thee solace
2009   Fynally with swiche thinges,
2010   Uncouthe sightes and tydinges,
2011   To passe with thyn hevinesse;
2012   Suche routhe hath he of thy distresse,
2013   That thou suffrest debonairly --
2014   And wost thy-selven utterly
2015   Disesperat of alle blis,
2016   Sith that Fortune hath maad a-mis
2017   The fruit of al thyn hertes reste
2018   Languisshe and eek in point to breste --
2019   That he, through his mighty meryte,
2020   Wol do thee ese, al be hit lyte,
2021   And yaf expres commaundement,
2022   To whiche I am obedient,
2023   To furthre thee with al my might,
2024   And wisse and teche thee aright
2025   Wher thou maist most tydinges here;
2026   Shaltow anoon heer many oon lere.'
2027     With this worde he, right anoon,
2028   Hente me up bitwene his toon,
2029   And at a windowe in me broghte,
2030   That in this hous was, as me thoghte --
2031   And ther-withal, me thoughte hit stente,
2032   And no-thing hit aboute wente --
2033   And me sette in the flore adoun.
2034   But which a congregacioun
2035   Of folk, as I saugh rome aboute
2036   Some within and some withoute,
2037   Nas never seen, ne shal ben eft;
2038   That, certes, in the world nis left
2039   So many formed by Nature,
2040   Ne deed so many a creature;
2041   That wel unnethe, in that place,
2042   Hadde I oon foot-brede of space;
2043   And every wight that I saugh there
2044   Rouned ech in others ere
2045   A newe tyding prevely,
2046   Or elles tolde al openly
2047   Right thus, and seyde: `Nost not thou
2048   That is betid, lo, late or now?'
2049     `No,' quod the other, `tel me what;' --
2050   And than he tolde him this and that,
2051   And swoor ther-to that hit was sooth --
2052   `Thus hath he seyd,'-- and `Thus he dooth' --
2053   `Thus shal hit be,' -- `Thus herde I seye' --
2054   `That shal he found' -- `That dar I leye:' --
2055   That al the folk that is a-lyve
2056   Ne han the cunning to discryve
2057   The thinges that I herde there,
2058   What aloude, and what in ere.
2059   But al the wonder-most was this: --
2060   Whan oon had herd a thing, y-wis,
2061   He com forth to another wight,
2062   And gan him tellen, anoon-right,
2063   The same that to him was told,
2064   Or hit a furlong-way was old,
2065   But gan somwhat for to eche
2066   To this tyding in this speche
2067   More than hit ever was.
2068   And nat so sone departed nas
2069   That he fro him, that he ne mette
2070   With the thridde; and, or he lette
2071   Any stounde, he tolde him als;
2072   Were the tyding sooth or fals,
2073   Yit wolde he telle hit nathelees,
2074   And evermo with more encrees
2075   Than hit was erst. Thus north and southe
2076   Went every word fro mouth to mouthe,
2077   And that encresing ever-mo,
2078   As fyr is wont to quikke and go
2079   From a sparke spronge amis,
2080   Til al a citee brent up is.
2081     And whan that was ful y-spronge,
2082   And woxen more on every tonge
2083   Than ever hit was, hit wente anoon
2084   Up to a windowe, out to goon;
2085   Or, but hit mighte out ther pace,
2086   Hit gan out crepe at som crevace,
2087   And fleigh forth faste for the nones.
2088     And somtyme saugh I tho, at ones,
2089   A lesing and a sad soth-sawe,
2090   That gonne of aventure drawe
2091   Out at a windowe for to pace;
2092   And, when they metten in that place,
2093   They were a-chekked bothe two,
2094   And neither of hem moste out go;
2095   For other so they gonne croude,
2096   Til eche of hem gan cryen loude,
2097   `Lat me go first!' -- `Nay, but let me!
2098   And here I wol ensuren thee
2099   With the nones that thou wolt do so,
2100   That I shal never fro thee go,
2101   But be thyn owne sworen brother!
2102   We wil medle us ech with other,
2103   That no man, be he never so wrothe,
2104   Shal han that oon of two, but bothe
2105   At ones, al beside his leve,
2106   Come we a-morwe or on eve,
2107   Be we cryed or stille y-rouned.'
2108   Thus saugh I fals and sooth compouned
2109   Togeder flee for oo tydinge.
2110     Thus out at holes gonne wringe
2111   Every tyding streight to Fame;
2112   And she gan yeven eche his name,
2113   After hir disposicioun,
2114   And yaf hem eek duracioun,
2115   Some to wexe and wane sone,
2116   As dooth the faire, whyte mone,
2117   And leet hem gon. Ther might I seen
2118   Wenged wondres faste fleen,
2119   Twenty thousand in a route,
2120   As Eolus hem blew aboute.
2121     And, lord! this hous, in alle tymes,
2122   Was ful of shipmen and pilgrymes,
2123   With scrippes bret-ful of lesinges,
2124   Entremedled with tydinges,
2125   And eek alone by hem-selve.
2126   O, many a thousand tymes twelve
2127   Saugh I eek of these pardoneres,
2128   Currours, and eek messangeres,
2129   With boistes crammed ful of lyes
2130   As ever vessel was with lyes.
2131   And as I alther-fastest wente
2132   Aboute, and dide al myn entente
2133   Me for to pleye and for to lere,
2134   And eek a tyding for to here,
2135   That I had herd of som contree
2136   That shal not now be told for me; --
2137   For hit no nede is, redely;
2138   Folk can singe hit bet than I;
2139   For al mot out, other late or rathe,
2140   Alle the sheves in the lathe; --
2141   I herde a gret noise withalle
2142   In a corner of the halle,
2143   Ther men of love tydings tolde,
2144   And I gan thiderward beholde;
2145   For I saugh renninge every wight,
2146   As faste as that they hadden might;
2147   And everich cryed, `What thing is that?'
2148   And som seyde, `I not never what,'
2149   And whan they were alle on an hepe,
2150   Tho behinde gonne up lepe,
2151   And clamben up on othere faste,
2152   And up the nose and hye caste,
2153   And troden faste on othere heles,
2154   And stampe, as men don after eles.
2155     Atte laste I saugh a man,
2156   Which that I nevene naught ne can;
2157   But he semed for to be
2158   A man of greet auctoritee...

[the work is unfinished]

end of "The House of Fame"

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