Whan thilke Frankelyn yspoken hadde
Than seemeth us the Squier verray madde
Quod he, "what sholde my tale broken bee
Biforn that ever it reche extremytee
As evrichon of ye hath borne all
Your tales, save that on sleepe did fall
The cooke ther? As ever I did rede
In bookes alde or newe the auctors sede
That sicerly a man who once beginne
By lawe of Godde most hye, withouten sinne,
In fresshe Springe in alle her selly daunces,
Or in the medwe where make daliaunces
Young yemen sweete with a gode leman,
Or all the warres that ever kynges han,
Ayeyns an other kyng ay, for the nones,
In alle thise and moor, by Goddes bones,
Shal ende that which that he wol devyse
Er he is through. Yet wil I youre advyse
Uptaken hennys forth for to contreven
As whilom oure timen he in heven(1)
My tale to restreinen. I never wille
That anithing my wandren you agrille
But it som moralle teche or elles brynge.
Remembreth me how Sokrats claterynge
Tho hathful was for they that hathful were
Was wysest fer ani philosofere;(2)
What wight swich ignoraunce has in erde
That noot noght how povre Euthyphri answerde?
And yet Sokrate spak long ynough, certayn,
He of philosophi was soverayn.
Thusgates wol I as me liste doon:
Who liketh all, shal oonly liketh noon.(3)>
Biforn this intermissioun bigan
Descreved I the kin of Cambynskan,
And chefli how that somkin dai byfelle
This Tartre kyng delivred warres helle
To Russye and all the lordes livyng ther.
His harme hath ful many a paviser
And archers too, all arraid for battaille,
To tell hem all, it semed a mervaille.
Rideres long of hym a thousand score
And swordemen and many fightres more
Till that th'arrai of Russye was conquerd
And everichon of hem doon to the swerd
Forouten o smal garnisoun, that keptef.
Methinketh that never noon wight ther ne slepte
So dessantli were nightly they by-segede
Ther nas no time for swoldringe or egede.
And herbi they hir fortress kepten han,
Despit this Tartre kyng, this Cambyuskan.
Him listeth thanne in the battaile to joyne
And wolde he that his eldest eek might foyne.
This Cambyskan clepte forth hot Algarsif.
Quod he, "I woot that ye been entenif
To fight in felde and ek to find a wyf
And this I trou, my levest Algarsyf,
In Russie shaltou findest bothe and moore
As ye never han yseien therbifoore."
But pilgrims of this faire compaignye,
Tak hed, for I have not ynogh maistrye
Of speche or songe or all apertenyng,
Of Russen wyfs vertun for rehersyng.(4)
Haved Jerom in Russi ones trode
Certayn, he gan hir vertus for to brode.
Upreise sir Launcelot, and lo! Namoore
Wolde he an inch bidoten on Gwenore.
Maken aqueint a Russen with Tristan
And se hym cese to been a gentilman,
So lightli wol hys love on Ysolt ceseth.
How that ich wight hem douteles cheseth
That seieth Russen wommen(5), by Seint John!
And wherfor and whi noght? Heer my reson.
Middes mine expediciouns with this good Knight,
Befyl the brekyng neigh of my bihight
Wher a Russesse imette with(6) us bothe
That semed us subget for to been wrothe
Yet hadde she lykyng of me, ywis.
Ne wol she reste till that we wolden kis.
I woot not how I so yliked hir,
This wyf, who er esplaied no desir
For any manne, tho he arase Midas.
For londe, eliaunce, no cupiditas
Sheud she, thogh oftesith she quod
I was in flateryng unto a god.
But masters, herken echon wel and faste.
Not o thing on that contreelond koud thraste
This menskfull Russess into som grevaunce,
Therwhiles I did hir obesiaunce.
Her lipps wer rod, as bondmen fiftifold
Seen that hir blod to undercrepyen shold,(7)
Her eyen blak as any crowe or night.
This adventur clived a fourtenight;
After swich time as I to you yspake
My lord the Knight conspired t'undertake
To pacen thennes to the battails frounte
Wher we moot underfon and crie "Mounte!"
And so the warre ysette me solatare
As tho my gentil lord my hert chaffare.
Felawes, loveship gouverneth us alle
But I woot noght, what thyng that I shold calle
Hath gouvernance over love, but she(8) alleyn,
Thilke ydel warre. Ther is namoore to seyn.
Whan adulacioun kyng Cambyuskan
Of Russi and ech swich Russen womman
Yeve Algarsyf, he spake certified
And sheued that it hadde signyfied
The lustiness of Russen brides for
A wyfles man. "O Cambyuskan," he swor,
"And ever I thy own sonne was, sooth to sein,
I shal to-dey that me overpass agein.
And my emoliment a bridde shal bee
Who winneth me of knights sovreygnitee
Where them showth hou thys hend jeuel
Is best in everi mannre effectuel.
For I and eek my brother Cambalus
A wagour han, who wol been first from us
To winn a wyf. I preye thee therfore,
My fader kyng, sitht I to(9) thee yswore,
So riden we anon to Russie hasteli
That he, that seeth us goon so soydenli
And is ilet in lordship for to reule
Besid my sister and hyr tender foule
(So fast sorwed the kin of Cambynskan)
Moot nedes be a reuling gentil-man.
He hath noon time, a womman for to finde
And we whilwendli him in kyngship binde."
"As thou hast spak, it be," quod Cambynskan,
`We wol descryen if that Cambal kan
The kyngly science. For al thou art hot,
Methinketh he so good a lord nis not.
And, my alde sonne, anon com in my mynde,
No kineworthyer wyf in all mankynde
Is ther than Russyes aueful maistresse
That holt the walles of hyr forteresse
Ageyns ech manubaliste, she hath kepte
Nou seven yer. This archewyf clepte
Theodera(10), gift of Godde hye,
But that she ne aknouth oure maistrye.
Thou, Algarsyf, art swich a borlich wight
Wol sikerly her wynne, tho noon knight
Hath herbiforn ywonn. Go; seche thy swerd
And brende thou eft, for as thou hast yherd
That fremed knight yev me a steede of bras
Which by some adventur or chaunce or cas
Kan beren us even to the forbrest, wher
We shal han Theodera prisoner.
Now let us to our kinfolks for to seyn
They shal noght haven our flighte in desdeyn
Ne shal divinen that we love hem noght
But oonly that you are of wyf bithoght
And that we pacen in solempnitee,
Tell thou grene Cambal and sweet Canacee
While I to Elpheta make myn own way.
Go thyn! We shal in Russye be to-day."
O folihed! Thus is it that the fox
Shal filch the hens out fro hyr marbul(11) box
If that the farmer shal the fox conjure
To frith hem safe from every creature,
And thinketh him ne not, the fox wol more
Than any bestaile else, hem to devore!
O Cambynskan, o stathele Algarsyf,
Remember you on Helen(12), how that wyf
To Menelaeus was ywed, and how
Prince Parys cam and maked him cukkow.
Did not Candaulis(13) err, who let his quene
Naked and bar, and Gyges hath ysene
And sloughe his king? Hephestus(14) too
Forlet his Aphrodit, till Ares came
And all the goddes laughed at hir shame.
Ye been all lerned men; I kan wel hope
The song is knoun of sadde Penelope(15)
Whos housbond was awai so many yers
It broght her wouers, but echon was wers
Than he that cam bifoore. Felawes, trowe
And warr, but som vilein updrauth your lowe
Whil that ye march abrode in ignoraunce.
Ayeyns love kan ye make ne ordinaunce,
She ever embandouneth your werk,
Al had it by the alderbeste clerk
Yshifted been. Romaunce wil out; she wil.
No, on swich cursedness I dwellen nyl.
So thes two men bestrad the steede of bras,
And wikked Cambalus bithoght hym on trespas,
For Cambal had unkindel lust within
That sowned hym to thoghts of bale and sin.
Him thought, he wol she loved him everideel
So was he lost in lust incestueel;
He ever had therbifoore enclost his mynde
And buxom Canacee was therto blynde
But now his fader and his brother bothe
Wern goon, he was set for to out the sothe.
This neu Caligula(16) wol, as I gesse,
Betrapp hyr into synful wrecchednesse
Al though shamfastli nol she have ne non.
This kinges doghter seyde, hyr povre faucon
Had swich a broken hert, she nol ne wede
Ne rendren any man hyr maydenhede
But he the faucons lemman koud restore.
Ne shal I speche of Cambalo namoore
So many thyngs awaiten for your eye.
Count you this lust of Cambal not a flye.
Now in this menetime roden the kyng
And Algarsyf. They yaf the steed biddyng
And thennes swythe it fly, over see and lond,
The queynte swerd fast in the kyngs right hond.
Soone after it descended they alit
The fortress nexte a river opposit(17).
A garnisoun of pikemen sevenscore
Sustened hem the brigg everemore.
Whoso assaid to cross, anon they slough
Unkyndli. Yet the tartres had ynough
Now that their kyng and Algarsyf entred
In all the speed with which hir steede ysped
And with the swerd, naked of all scauberk
That hungred straungly to be sette awerk,
A merveil from the fulgent knight, certayn,
That wareli they noote ne be yslayn
While in th'assailing of this Russen frount.
Good pilgrims, how moot I this tale count?
I am unwyse; I kan forsothe aplight
Worship the chevalrie of ech prou knight
That foghte that dai under kyng Cambynskan
Swich hardiment bilongeth to who kan
Reherce the speeche that he yaf hem ther
Who stood expectauntli, withouten fer
Al many of hem that dai wol wisly dyen.
He spak as sowne callous men to cryen
And everichon o hem, when he was doon
Wol wherso he commanded yerne goon
Tho Sathanas hymself hir andset bee
Yet warren they in prou fraternitee.
For what declamator am I to telle
Hou many men I saugh(18) ech tarter quelle
With helmets sparkling in the brighte sonne
Ne noon wight stented sitthe they han begonne
But it a Russen wer, who fro the frai
Fleigh fer disworshipli for mortal frai.(19)
Hir swerds koud Cambyuskans skin nothyng neighe(20)
But he disarmed hem with percing eighe
The magik swerd cut thurgh hauberk and arm
And anyntysed eke everi thret of harm(21).
Ne noot I how that ever I mote descryve
In swich a wai that ye koud it belyve
How litel gome nam he of his lyf
So ful devout to gre was Algarsyf
A barbel, helm and creste upon his heed
And habergoun and garde to save the deed
With spaudeler, polron and sadaloun
And swerd and sheld mette to a champioun.
I han no werdes for to tellen hou
They wan, but siker it werieth you.
Suffyseth tho to seyn, the Tartres wan,
And oother auctors tell it beter, and they kan.
They fond, adwellynge in the heighest tour,
A myrie mede for Algarsyfs labour,
The Russess Theodera, who hath ledde
The fors that now beyond the tour bebledde,
Hir housbond Cilgre(22) stodde wrecchedly
Gloryng on hyr triumphaunt enemy.
Prince Algarsyf swythe clepte the wommans honde
And quod he then to Cilgre, "Understonde,
O Russen brother myn, that I maligne
Thee not. My purpose is verray benigne,
To take thy uxor for my own houshold,
But ne, treuli, to make thee cokewold.
Kepe silence, churl, whil that I shal exponde.
Thou art of Theoder namoore housbonde,
Ne hast thou never this fortress oversen
Ne been noon maister her of arms and men
In Russi or in any oother place.
Bethinkestou, what I proffre is solace.
We wol thee bryng anon-ward to Sarray
Ther shaltou been kept on ungnede array
In Tartre prisouns, whos vertus besynge
Greet Oriphes(23), who erest musik brynge.
I wol doon bet with thee than the Cicones
Who rent the syngers skin from off his bones
And tho forlesethou thy wyf, be wice
And stille, for that the ende of Eridice
Nys nat hyr ende; she shal bicome a quene
With riches moore than koudstou in fiftene
Yers render her. My fader Cambyuskan
Is the proudeste and moost glorious man
And worshippd even by the fairye kyng
Swich-wise I trowe, forwhy whoso wol bryng
Four tokens merveillous ynough in kynde
That we so esili a way koud fynde
To arm ayenys your force and han ywonne
But he come either from Apollos sonne
Or from the fairylond he moote approche
That olde wommen clepen Ternanoche(24)
Ther reignth the blakke kyng, stedfast Pluto.
So thinketh, as I gesse, yonge Cambalo,
My brother, that thou shalt ful soon imeete.
He is a gentil gaoler and a sweete.
I warante thee, thou shalt ne have noon pleinte
Supposyng thou from clattryng shal steinte.
Sei oonly that thou art our prisouner
Or eles soon nedestou voluper(25).
My fader noot nat that thou staist alyve
So stille, and in prisoun shaltou thryve."
explicit tercia pars
sequitur pars quarta(26)
My frends, ye woot I am not textuel.
I kan nat list the words of Samuel
Ne eidel from Mark, Mathew, Luc, or John,
From Ovid, Herodes, or Solomon.
In scole I was a wikked clerk, ywis,
And woot litel from Boece or Denys.
I am a squier; my occupacioun
Is warre. I plede for your pardoun
So povre I kan descryve the weddyng
Of Algarsyf, the soun of Sarrays kyng,
And honest Theodera, Russyes pride,
Three days ygoon sithen the homicide.
Five hundred gesteneres satte at feste
And everithyng was twies the counte at leste
As was at Cambyuskans nativitee
So fulsome was the tartres jolytee.
The swanns and heronsewes raged moore
Than they han by the feste some days bifoore
Ywis, ther nys no foule in Tartarye
That medled nat of thilke mynstralcye
But the faucon of Canacee, and oon
Whos tale I shal rehersen swythe anoon.
Six courses yaf the gentilre hir gests
Who ate and drank till them fulfilld hir brests,
And mynstrals han travailed day and night
To syngen preises to Apollos might.
To ech man that sojournd to that houshold
Prince Algarsyf yaf twenty pounds in gold.
Thus everichon was murye and amorus
Save for the wikked brother Cambalus,
Who suffered nat for this feste to see
So wood he fond the gests with ribaldee.
He koud ne wacche his brother ne namoore
But walked the halls as wol a man forloore
Till som-whan he, that bet on his brest-bone
Cam soydenli into Sarrays prisone
Wher he was halted by a sorweful steven.
Him thoughte, it souned liche a savage sweven
And in this metyng he answerd, "What, how?
Is ther a voice? Then tell, what syngestow?"
"Ne synge I nat," the fremed voice rejoined,
"But I shal speke, al though I am enjoined,
By oon of greet auctoritee, to stille.
I speek of hye Prince Algarsyfes wille,
For he hit was that yaf me this commande
(Whil that we two imette biforen-hande)
But I am looth to stille and wont to speeke.
O straunger in the nyght, stinte, I biseke
For I moot make to-dai confessioun
Er conscience is myn destrucioun.
Emforth all I have herde, treu miserie
Ne cometh nat from any lecherie
Ne syn ne Augustyn(27) ne dronkenesse
But from unsufferable stillenesse.
I seye, that whoso nothyng speeke in lyf
And sweirth to all, swich is demonstratif
By cokkes bones, lete but him been sleyn.
All vertu dwellth in speeche, sooth to seyn.
Rememberth me the story of Eco(28)
And how hyr lif was set in actes two.
When she koud speek, and spak ful oft, I gesse,
Ther nas no nympt liche hyr in happinesse.
But sithen Hera rent hir speche awai
She satte in miserie from dai to dai.
O, happi is the man who stilleth nat
And always asketh who and wher and what.(29)
Ynogh of moralyiyng sophistrie
Now to the reson for my miserie.
Biforn I was with mannes body yset
Sothfasteli, I was a tercelet
My lemman was the honestest faucon
That yet a man broght to destrucion.
She was yboren in a marbul roche
And sithe she hadde this matter sette abroche
Tho my divorce was nothyng hir entente
Methought I koud what nobilitee mente.
I gan ashamed for my mene kindrede
(I was a foundling foul, withouten drede)
Al seyde myn dotyng faucon ne no word
I purpost me to flighe to Oxenford
Ther I wol lern to been a gentil-man.
This enders night my pilgrymage bygan.
O folish fowl! O totted tercelet!
This wente hadde no utilite in fet.
I war afright, as thou shalt understonde
That she oonly hath feined hir our bonde
And prively she leste a tercelet
That was with riches or in knouleche bet
Than me, who koud hir nought but lovyng yeve.
O frend, whether thou kannst my words beleve?
In all my pensifness I ner once thoghte
To asken hyr. Ywis, I blindli wroghte
What ne kan been undo, in hastynesse
For in my drede of newefangelnesse
I gynne neufangel eek, in trecherie.
Touard the walls of Oxenford I espie
Anoother faucon, so fair as Goddes yifte.
Forth-with my hert atwo gan for to shifte
And presentli I nas no bacheler.
This ticing faucon hath clept Theoder.
But lord Apollo, he that is the sonne
Saugh all this wikkednesse I hadde bygonne
And thurgh his magik craft it so bifel
That I and Theoder, who are the gods catel,
Were transfigured into manlihede.
We wepte and waild as if we weren dede
Al though Apollo yaf us londe and might
We wer wont to beplein the loss of flight.
Now fortherward my Theodera gan
T'abide the power which longeth for man
She gadred up a stalworth forteresse
And fighters for to hide our doublenesse.
But stille I long to be that tercelet
And stille I am with miserie biset.
I thanke thee, straunger, for thy mildehede.
Lern this from me: Apollo hye forbede
That thou shalt ever presume thy wyfes mynde;
Ask her bifoore, or thou art verray blynde.
And hastest ne to gess adulteri;
By some meschaunce, you mote be blamworthi."
Whanne wikked Cambalus hadde alle yherd
Of this queinte tale of magik, man, and berd
Withouten lite he opend the prisoun
And tolde the manne, "I am the kynges soun
And eek my sister Canacee above
Kan sheun you somthing of your wanne love."
So he and Chilger, for this man was he
Atteined to the bedde of Canacee.
But therupon this Chilger saugh the crete
In which the wounded faucon pleint and swete
He gan to crye for verray sikernesse
As though the faucon semed a goddesse
He yaf hys thanks t'Apollo, mighty god.
Now Chilgers garnement gan to ofglod
And soon his skyn was neue a feather-home
His nose the sharpest bekke nexte bicome
And in that room ther wer then faucons two.
They thanked Canacee and Cambalo
And thurgh the fenstrel fleugh hyr lovyng way.
"My yeve sister," quod this Cambalus,
Doth(30) ne thes briddes make you desirus
To be ywedded eek? It semeth me
You hennes have behest to marry he
That koud redresse your sikli faucons herte.
I wil both hir and you to wyfs converte."
But whanne she saugh, he spak in no disport
She fleigh the room in growyng disconfort
And to hot Algarsyf she wente her way
Who celebrated stille his weddyngday.
Felawes, I shal ne reherce negate
What wrethful thyngs were seyde upon that date
Betwix the brothers two and Canacee
For everichon ofserved privytee.
Ther nys noon of ye gadred heere that wole
That I should heere of your lyfs to the fole
And thilke chiertee, if ever I kan
I yeve it to the kin of Cambyuskan.
Suffyseth it to seyn, the clousioun
Of the three childrens altercacioun:
On the subsequent day hot Algarsyf
Shal fend his systers vertu with his lyf
In lyst ayeyns the launce of Cambalo.
Mednight the wikked prince hath stille ago
Up to the tour, the bridel tok, allas!
This Cambalus wente to the steede of bras
And lette it peinted liche a livyng hors
Tho it nas ne alyve, and ne a cors.
Many hours he practised with the stede
Till that he was certain in hys knighthede
And rested him forte prime. The lystefelde
Was redi for both of the brothers welde
Some three squiers helpd Algarsyf to dresse
And mounte, and all the knightli bisynesse
And three moore helped Cambal with the same.
The reules wer formal, tho it nas no game.
On hors waited ech expectaunt broother
And echon hath bestared at the oother.
Sweet Canacee satte in her tour on hye
She koud ne wacche, for oon o hem mote dye.
Thenne finalli the call to reden came
And ech mann stired his hors and loudly rame.
Thriesse the horses ran oon at the oother
And thrice hot Algarsyf was beten by his broother
For Cambalus rode on the steede of bras
And nome garde of everi chaunce and cas
So fully he hadde lerned all the kraft
That victorie semd Algarsyf biraft.
Four days bifoore, his maistrie of the swerd
Hadde been greet, but now he was aferd
Forwhy he foghte swich a boistous cors
With launces tip to top upon his hors.
Hys confidence was ded, and Algarsyf
That ne hadde lost to Cambal in his lyf
Was thrice hit. What audience was there
Yshreeked and outbrested into tere.
But soydenli anoother shreek was herde
As Cambalo was stabbd thurgh with a swerde.
The queinte knight, who that some dais bifore
Had broghte kyng Cambyuskan the reliks fore
Had perced Cambal to the herte. He quod,
"My leve frends, ye saugh the man was wod.
He wol his syster wed and brother slei.
Lette noon wight wepe for him Weylawey,
For sikerli, he was a wikked man.
Now come, ye kin and moore of Cambyuskan,
The vertu of sweet Canacee is sawe
And we moot certayn fro this feld withdrawe."
So ech man wente, and wepte on his neighbour.
Povre Canacee, that satte hye in her tour
Hadde seen, tho nothyng else, the final deeth
And nou she stode ston-still, withouten breeth.
When Cambalus had wonne the game, allas,
She hadde serched in the mirrours glas
But ther nys no vysage of Cambalo.
Felawes, in the lysts conclusioun
When Cambal was preven the bolder soun
All thoght of Canacee wente from his hede.
Him cared oonly for his glorious dede
And no fors for his wikked sinful ways
That hidertil had reuld him all his days.
The queinte knight hath killd a giltles man.
Yet Canacee, yongest of Cambyuskan
Koud ne nat speeke, she was so aferd
Al though the knight hadde stabbd the magik swerd
Which heleth too, and that be ententif.
Thus silence hath coste Cambalo hys lif.
Herkne, o frends, to this moralytee
And woful leson of sweete Canacee.
Oonly thurgh speeche mowe man doon good, allas,
For silence is the tool of Sathanas.