Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Nun's Priest's Tale excerpt
This is a fox story or a rooster & hen as Chaucer said. The dogs chase the fox in the end and bark such a noise so barnyard animals fly. The bee hive swarms to a tree nearby. The fox is a kind of dog you see though the dogs have name like Collie that is a name of the ancient Scottish breed Also the name for ‘dog’ in Celtic creed. Chaucer was the adviser to kings and he knew the historyof how things came about. This is a mystical cock who crows at every hour just like a clock and knows the meanings of dreams and all beyond what normally is seen. For the cock is like man who sings and struts, feathers the misses and takes pride in his work, till flattery takes hold of his pride and luck and finds him riding on the back of a fox. In his fear, like the man in front of the firing squad who spits the cock has the wherewithal to flatter the fox to speak and breaks from his jaws and flies to the highest peak of safety. The fox uses more honeyed speech to entice the cock down, but the cock says to suffice: one time shame on thee, two time shame on me. Bob Hoyle August 2015
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales The Nun's Priest's Tale excerpt
A widow who was rather old and poor
In a small cottage dwelt in days of yore,
Beside a grove that stood within a dale.
This widow whom I tell of in my tale
Had from the day that she was last a wife2825
In patience led a very simple life,
So little were her gain and property.
With what God gave her, though, she thriftily
Cared for her daughters and herself. Three cows
She had, no more, along with three big sows,2830
And but one sheep named Molly--that was all.
And sooty were the bedroom and the hall
In which she'd eaten many a scanty meal.
With pungent sauce she never had to deal.
No dainty morsel passed her throat, it's not2835
A fancy diet found in such a cot,
So overeating never caused her qualm.
A temperate diet was her only balm,
With exercise and a contented heart;
The gout did not stop dancing on her part,2840
And apoplexy never hurt her head.
She had no wine to drink, nor white nor red,
Her board was mostly served with white and black
(Milk and brown bread, of which she found no lack),
Broiled bacon, and sometimes an egg or two.2845
Her work was much like dairywomen do.
She had a yard that was enclosed about
By paling and a dried up ditch without,
In which she had a cock named Chanticleer,
In all the realm of crowing without peer.2850
His voice was merrier than the play
Of the church's organ each holy day.
And surer was his crowing than a clock
(Even that of the abbey), for this cock
By instinct knew each move of the equator2855
As it progressed, that none too soon nor later
But on the dot, fifteen degrees ascended,
He crowed the hour no clock so well attended.
His comb was finest coral red and tall,
And battlemented like a castle wall.2860
His bill was black and like the jet it glowed,
His legs and toes like azure when he strode.
His nails were whiter than the lilies bloom,
Like burnished gold the color of his plume.
This gentle cock commanded at his leisure2865
A flock of seven hens to do his pleasure,
His paramours and sisters, each of whom
Like him had wondrous coloring in her plume.
But she with fairest coloring on her throat
Was that one called fair damsel Pertelote;2870
Discreet and gentle, showing courtesy,
She was so gracious, such nice company,
Right from the day she was seven nights old,
That she had Chanticleer's heart in her hold
Completely, as if under lock and key.2875
He loved her, that was his felicity.
And such a joy it was to hear them sing,
At morning when the sun would brightly spring,
In sweet accord, "My Love's Gone Far Away."
(For in those days, so I have heard men say,2880
The beasts and birds alike could speak and sing
It so befell, as day began to spring,
That Chanticleer was on his perch, with all
His seven wives there with him in the hall,
Beside him being fairest Pertelote,2885
When he began to groan down in his throat
As men in troubled dreams have done before.
And when fair Pertelote thus heard him roar,
She was aghast and said to him, "Dear heart,
What's ailing you that makes this groaning start?2890
For shame, so sound a sleeper to complain!"
"My lady," Chanticleer sought to explain,
"I pray, don't take me wrong in my distress.
By God, I dreamt I was in such a mess
That even now my heart is full of fright.2895
May God," he said, "help me divine it right
Lest into foul captivity I go.
I dreamt that I was roaming to and fro
Here in our yard when I espied a beast
Much like a hound, who would have at the least2900
Laid hold of me and left me cold and dead.
His color was betwixt yellow and red;
His tail as well as both his ears had hair
With tips of black, unlike his coat elsewhere.
His snout was small, a glow was in each eye.2905
Still of that look I fear that I could die,
And this has caused my groaning, there's no doubt."
"Oh fie," she said, "faint-hearted you've turned out!