Incipit liber tercius.
O God of science and of lyght,
Appollo, thurgh thy grete myght,
This lytel laste bok thou gye!
Nat that I wilne, for maistrye,
Here art poetical be shewed; 1095
But for the rym ys lyght and lewed,
Yit make hyt sumwhat agreable,
Though som vers fayle in a sillable;
And that I do no diligence
To shewe craft, but o sentence. 1100
And yif, devyne vertu, thow
Wilt helpe me to shewe now
That in myn hed ymarked ys --
Loo, that is for to menen this,
The Hous of Fame for to descryve -- 1105
Thou shalt se me go as blyve
Unto the nexte laure y see,
And kysse yt, for hyt is thy tree.
Now entre in my brest anoon!
Whan I was fro thys egle goon, 1110
I gan beholde upon this place.
And certein, or I ferther pace,
I wol yow al the shap devyse
Of hous and site, and al the wyse
How I gan to thys place aproche 1115
That stood upon so hygh a roche,
Hier stant ther non in Spayne.
But up I clomb with alle payne,
And though to clymbe it greved me,
Yit I ententyf was to see, 1120
And for to powren wonder lowe,
Yf I koude any weyes knowe
What maner stoon this roche was.
For hyt was lyk alum de glas,
But that hyt shoon ful more clere; 1125
But of what congeled matere
Hyt was, I nyste redely.
But at the laste aspied I,
And found that hit was every del
A roche of yse, and not of stel. 1130
Thoughte I, "By seynt Thomas of Kent!
This were a feble fundament
To bilden on a place hye.
He ought him lytel glorifye
That hereon bilt, God so me save!" 1135
Tho sawgh I al the half ygrave
With famous folkes names fele,
That had iben in mochel wele,
And her fames wide yblowe.
But wel unnethes koude I knowe 1140
Any lettres for to rede
Hir names by; for, out of drede,
They were almost ofthowed so
That of the lettres oon or two
Was molte away of every name, 1145
So unfamous was woxe hir fame.
But men seyn, "What may ever laste?"
Thoo gan I in myn herte caste
That they were molte awey with hete,
And not awey with stormes bete. 1150
For on that other syde I say
Of this hil, that northward lay,
How hit was writen ful of names
Of folkes that hadden grete fames
Of olde tyme, and yet they were 1155
As fressh as men had writen hem here
The selve day ryght, or that houre
That I upon hem gan to poure.
But wel I wiste what yt made;
Hyt was conserved with the shade 1160
Of a castel that stood on high --
Al this writynge that I sigh --
And stood eke on so cold a place
That hete myghte hit not deface.
Thoo gan I up the hil to goon, 1165
And fond upon the cop a woon,
That al the men that ben on lyve
Ne han the kunnynge to descrive
The beaute of that ylke place,
Ne coude casten no compace 1170
Swich another for to make,
That myght of beaute ben hys make,
Ne so wonderlych ywrought;
That hit astonyeth yit my thought,
And maketh al my wyt to swynke, 1175
On this castel to bethynke,
So that the grete craft, beaute,
The cast, the curiosite
Ne kan I not to yow devyse;
My wit ne may me not suffise. 1180
But natheles al the substance
I have yit in my remembrance;
For whi me thoughte, be seynt Gyle!
Al was of ston of beryle,
Bothe the castel and the tour, 1185
And eke the halle and every bour,
Wythouten peces or joynynges.
But many subtil compassinges,
Babewynnes and pynacles,
Ymageries and tabernacles, 1190
I say; and ful eke of wyndowes,
As flakes falle in grete snowes.
And eke in ech of the pynacles
Weren sondry habitacles,
In which stoden, al withoute -- 1195
Ful the castel, al aboute --
Of alle maner of mynstralles,
And gestiours, that tellen tales
Both of wepinge and of game,
Of al that longeth unto Fame. 1200
Ther herde I pleyen on an harpe
That sowned bothe wel and sharpe,
Orpheus ful craftely,
And on his syde, faste by,
Sat the harper Orion, 1205
And Eacides Chiron,
And other harpers many oon,
And the Bret Glascurion;
And smale harpers with her gleës
Sate under hem in dyvers seës, 1210
And gunne on hem upward to gape,
And countrefete hem as an ape,
Or as craft countrefeteth kynde.
Tho saugh I stonden hem behynde,
Afer fro hem, al be hemselve, 1215
Many thousand tymes twelve,
That maden lowde mynstralcies
In cornemuse and shalemyes,
And many other maner pipe,
That craftely begunne to pipe, 1220
Bothe in doucet and in rede,
That ben at festes with the brede;
And many flowte and liltyng horn,
And pipes made of grene corn,
As han thise lytel herde-gromes, 1225
That kepen bestis in the bromes.
Ther saugh I than Atiteris,
And of Athenes daun Pseustis,
And Marcia that loste her skyn,
Bothe in face, body, and chyn, 1230
For that she wolde envien, loo!
To pipen bet than Appolloo.
Ther saugh I famous, olde and yonge,
Pipers of the Duche tonge,
To lerne love-daunces, sprynges, 1235
Reyes, and these straunge thynges.
Tho saugh I in an other place
Stonden in a large space,
Of hem that maken blody soun
In trumpe, beme, and claryoun; 1240
For in fight and blod-shedynge
Ys used gladly clarionynge.
Ther herde I trumpen Messenus,
Of whom that speketh Virgilius.
There herde I trumpe Joab also, 1245
Theodomas, and other mo;
And alle that used clarion
In Cataloigne and Aragon,
That in her tyme famous were
To lerne, saugh I trumpe there. 1250
There saugh I sitte in other seës,
Pleyinge upon sondry gleës,
Whiche that I kan not nevene,
Moo than sterres ben in hevene,
Of whiche I nyl as now not ryme, 1255
For ese of yow, and los of tyme.
For tyme ylost, this knowen ye,
Be no way may recovered be.
Ther saugh I pleye jugelours,
Magiciens, and tregetours, 1260
And Phitonesses, charmeresses,
Olde wicches, sorceresses,
That use exorsisacions,
And eke these fumygacions;
And clerkes eke, which konne wel 1265
Al this magik naturel,
That craftely doon her ententes
To make, in certeyn ascendentes,
Ymages, lo, thrugh which magik
To make a man ben hool or syk. 1270
Ther saugh I the, quene Medea,
And Circes eke, and Calipsa;
Ther saugh I Hermes Ballenus,
Limote, and eke Symon Magus.
There saugh I, and knew hem by name, 1275
That by such art don men han fame.
Ther saugh I Colle tregetour
Upon a table of sycamour
Pleye an uncouth thyng to telle;
Y saugh him carien a wynd-melle 1280
Under a walsh-note shale.
What shuld I make lenger tale
Of alle the pepil y ther say,
Fro hennes into domes day?
Whan I had al this folk beholde, 1285
And fond me lous, and nought yholde,
And eft imused longe while
Upon these walles of berile,
That shoone ful lyghter than a glas
And made wel more than hit was 1290
To semen every thing, ywis,
As kynde thyng of Fames is,
I gan forth romen til I fond
The castel-yate on my ryght hond,
Which that so wel corven was 1295
That never such another nas;
And yit it was be aventure
Iwrought, as often as be cure.
Hyt nedeth noght yow more to tellen,
To make yow to longe duellen, 1300
Of this yates florisshinges,
Ne of compasses, ne of kervynges,
Ne how they hatte in masoneries,
As corbetz, ful of ymageries.
But, Lord! so fair yt was to shewe, 1305
For hit was al with gold behewe.
But in I wente, and that anoon.
Ther mette I cryinge many oon,
"A larges, larges, hold up wel!
God save the lady of thys pel, 1310
Our oune gentil lady Fame,
And hem that wilnen to have name
Of us!" Thus herde y crien alle,
And faste comen out of halle
And shoken nobles and sterlynges. 1315
And somme corouned were as kynges,
With corounes wroght ful of losenges;
And many ryban and many frenges
Were on her clothes trewely.
Thoo atte last aspyed y 1320
That pursevantes and heraudes,
That crien ryche folkes laudes,
Hyt weren alle; and every man
Of hem, as y yow tellen can,
Had on him throwen a vesture 1325
Which that men clepe a cote-armure,
Enbrowded wonderliche ryche,
Although they nere nought ylyche.
But noght nyl I, so mote y thryve,
Ben aboute to dyscryve 1330
Alle these armes that ther weren,
That they thus on her cotes beren,
For hyt to me were impossible;
Men myghte make of hem a bible
Twenty foot thykke, as y trowe. 1335
For certeyn, whoso koude iknowe
Myghte ther alle the armes seen
Of famous folk that han ybeen
In Auffrike, Europe, and Asye,
Syth first began the chevalrie. 1340
Loo! how shulde I now telle al thys?
Ne of the halle eke what nede is
To tellen yow that every wal
Of hit, and flor, and roof, and al
Was plated half a foote thikke 1345
Of gold, and that nas nothyng wikke,
But, for to prove in alle wyse,
As fyn as ducat in Venyse,
Of which to lite al in my pouche is?
And they were set as thik of nouchis 1350
Ful of the fynest stones faire,
That men rede in the Lapidaire,
As grasses growen in a mede.
But hit were al to longe to rede
The names; and therfore I pace. 1355
But in this lusty and ryche place,
That Fames halle called was,
Ful moche prees of folk ther nas,
Ne crowdyng for to mochil prees.
But al on hye, above a dees, 1360
Sitte in a see imperiall,
That mad was of a rubee all,
Which that a carbuncle ys ycalled,
Y saugh, perpetually ystalled,
A femynyne creature, 1365
That never formed by Nature
Nas such another thing yseye.
For alther-first, soth for to seye,
Me thoughte that she was so lyte
That the lengthe of a cubite 1370
Was lengere than she semed be.
But thus sone, in a whyle, she
Hir tho so wonderliche streighte
That with hir fet she erthe reighte,
And with hir hed she touched hevene, 1375
Ther as shynen sterres sevene.
And therto eke, as to my wit,
I saugh a gretter wonder yit,
Upon her eyen to beholde;
But certeyn y hem never tolde. 1380
For as feele eyen hadde she
As fetheres upon foules be,
Or weren on the bestes foure
That Goddis trone gunne honoure,
As John writ in th'Apocalips. 1385
Hir heer, that oundy was and crips,
As burned gold hyt shoon to see;
And, soth to tellen, also she
Had also fele upstondyng eres
And tonges, as on bestes heres; 1390
And on hir fet woxen saugh y
Partriches wynges redely.
But, Lord! the perry and the richesse
I saugh sittyng on this godesse!
And, Lord! the hevenyssh melodye 1395
Of songes, ful of armonye,
I herde aboute her trone ysonge,
That al the paleys-walles ronge!
So song the myghty Muse, she
That cleped ys Caliope, 1400
And hir eighte sustren eke,
That in her face semen meke;
And ever mo, eternally,
They songe of Fame, as thoo herd y:
"Heryed be thou and thy name, 1405
Goddesse of Renoun or of Fame!"
Tho was I war, loo, atte laste,
As I myne eyen gan up caste,
That thys ylke noble quene
On her shuldres gan sustene 1410
Bothe th'armes and the name
Of thoo that hadde large fame:
Alexander and Hercules,
That with a sherte hys lyf les!
Thus fond y syttynge this goddesse 1415
In nobley, honour, and rychesse;
Of which I stynte a while now,
Other thing to tellen yow.
Tho saugh I stonde on eyther syde,
Streight doun to the dores wide, 1420
Fro the dees, many a peler
Of metal that shoon not ful cler;
But though they nere of no rychesse,
Yet they were mad for gret noblesse,
And in hem hy and gret sentence; 1425
And folk of digne reverence,
Of which I wil yow telle fonde,
Upon the piler saugh I stonde.
Alderfirst, loo, ther I sigh
Upon a piler stonde on high, 1430
That was of led and yren fyn,
Hym of secte saturnyn,
The Ebrayk Josephus, the olde,
That of Jewes gestes tolde;
And he bar on hys shuldres hye 1435
The fame up of the Jewerye.
And by hym stoden other sevene,
Wise and worthy for to nevene,
To helpen him bere up the charge,
Hyt was so hevy and so large. 1440
And for they writen of batayles,
As wel as other olde mervayles,
Therfor was, loo, thys piler
Of which that I yow telle her,
Of led and yren bothe, ywys, 1445
For yren Martes metal ys,
Which that god is of bataylle;
And the led, withouten faille,
Ys, loo, the metal of Saturne,
That hath a ful large whel to turne. 1450
Thoo stoden forth, on every rowe,
Of hem which that I koude knowe,
Though I hem noght be ordre telle,
To make yow to longe to duelle,
These of whiche I gynne rede. 1455
There saugh I stonden, out of drede,
Upon an yren piler strong
That peynted was, al endelong,
With tigres blod in every place,
The Tholosan that highte Stace, 1460
That bar of Thebes up the fame
Upon his shuldres, and the name
Also of cruel Achilles.
And by him stood, withouten les,
Ful wonder hy on a piler 1465
Of yren, he, the gret Omer;
And with him Dares and Tytus
Before, and eke he Lollius,
And Guydo eke de Columpnis,
And Englyssh Gaufride eke, ywis; 1470
And ech of these, as have I joye,
Was besy for to bere up Troye.
So hevy therof was the fame
That for to bere hyt was no game.
But yet I gan ful wel espie, 1475
Betwex hem was a litil envye.
Oon seyde that Omer made lyes,
Feynynge in hys poetries,
And was to Grekes favorable;
Therfor held he hyt but fable. 1480
Tho saugh I stonde on a piler,
That was of tynned yren cler,
The Latyn poete, Virgile,
That bore hath up a longe while
The fame of Pius Eneas. 1485
And next hym on a piler was,
Of coper, Venus clerk, Ovide,
That hath ysowen wonder wide
The grete god of Loves name.
And ther he bar up wel hys fame 1490
Upon his piler, also hye
As I myghte see hyt with myn yë;
For-why this halle, of which I rede,
Was woxen on highte, length, and brede,
Wel more, be a thousand del, 1495
Than hyt was erst, that saugh I wel.
Thoo saugh I on a piler by,
Of yren wroght ful sternely,
The grete poete, daun Lucan,
And on hys shuldres bar up than, 1500
As high as that y myghte see,
The fame of Julius and Pompe.
And by him stoden alle these clerkes
That writen of Romes myghty werkes,
That yf y wolde her names telle, 1505
Al to longe most I dwelle.
And next him on a piler stood
Of soulfre, lyk as he were wood,
Daun Claudian, the sothe to telle,
That bar up al the fame of helle, 1510
Of Pluto, and of Proserpyne,
That quene ys of the derke pyne.
What shulde y more telle of this?
The halle was al ful, ywys,
Of hem that writen olde gestes, 1515
As ben on treës rokes nestes;
But hit a ful confus matere
Were alle the gestes for to here,
That they of write, or how they highte.
But while that y beheld thys syghte, 1520
I herde a noyse aprochen blyve,
That ferde as been don in an hive
Ayen her tyme of out-fleynge;
Ryght such a maner murmurynge,
For al the world, hyt semed me. 1525
Tho gan I loke aboute and see
That ther come entryng into the halle
A ryght gret companye withalle,
And that of sondry regiouns,
Of alleskynnes condiciouns 1530
That dwelle in erthe under the mone,
Pore and ryche. And also sone
As they were come in to the halle,
They gonne doun on kneës falle
Before this ilke noble quene, 1535
And seyde, "Graunte us, lady shene,
Ech of us of thy grace a bone!"
And somme of hem she graunted sone,
And somme she werned wel and faire,
And some she graunted the contraire 1540
Of her axyng outterly.
But thus I seye yow, trewely,
What her cause was, y nyste.
For of this folk ful wel y wiste,
They hadde good fame ech deserved 1545
Although they were dyversly served;
Ryght as her suster, dame Fortune,
Ys wont to serven in comune.
Now herke how she gan to paye
That gonne her of her grace praye; 1550
And yit, lo, al this companye
Seyden sooth, and noght a lye.
"Madame," seyde they, "we be
Folk that here besechen the
That thou graunte us now good fame, 1555
And let our werkes han that name;
In ful recompensacioun
Of good werkes, yive us good renoun."
"I werne yow hit," quod she anon;
"Ye gete of me good fame non, 1560
Be God! and therfore goo your wey."
"Allas!" quod they, "and welaway!
Telle us what may your cause be."
"For me lyst hyt noght," quod she;
"No wyght shal speke of yow, ywis, 1565
Good ne harm, ne that ne this."
And with that word she gan to calle
Her messager, that was in halle,
And bad that he shulde faste goon,
Upon peyne to be blynd anon, 1570
For Eolus the god of wynde, --
"In Trace, ther ye shal him fynde,
And bid him bringe his clarioun,
That is ful dyvers of his soun,
And hyt is cleped Clere Laude, 1575
With which he wont is to heraude
Hem that me list ypreised be.
And also bid him how that he
Brynge his other clarioun,
That highte Sklaundre in every toun, 1580
With which he wont is to diffame
Hem that me liste, and do hem shame."
This messager gan faste goon,
And found where in a cave of ston,
In a contree that highte Trace, 1585
This Eolus, with harde grace,
Held the wyndes in distresse,
And gan hem under him to presse,
That they gonne as beres rore,
He bond and pressed hem so sore. 1590
This messager gan faste crie,
"Rys up," quod he, "and faste hye,
Til thou at my lady be;
And tak thy clariouns eke with the,
And sped the forth." And he anon 1595
Tok to a man, that highte Triton,
Hys clarions to bere thoo,
And let a certeyn wynd to goo,
That blew so hydously and hye
That hyt ne lefte not a skye 1600
In alle the welken long and brod.
This Eolus nowhere abod
Til he was come to Fames fet,
And eke the man that Triton het;
And ther he stod, as stille as stoon, 1605
And her-withal ther come anoon
Another huge companye
Of goode folk, and gunne crie,
"Lady, graunte us now good fame,
And lat oure werkes han that name 1610
Now in honour of gentilesse,
And also God your soule blesse!
For we han wel deserved hyt,
Therfore is ryght that we ben quyt."
"As thryve I," quod she, "ye shal faylle! 1615
Good werkes shal yow noght availle
To have of me good fame as now.
But wite ye what? Y graunte yow
That ye shal have a shrewed fame,
And wikkyd loos, and worse name, 1620
Though ye good loos have wel deserved.
Now goo your wey, for ye be served.
And thou, dan Eolus, let see,
Tak forth thy trumpe anon," quod she,
"That is ycleped Sklaundre lyght, 1625
And blow her loos, that every wight
Speke of hem harm and shrewednesse,
In stede of good and worthynesse.
For thou shalt trumpe alle the contrayre
Of that they han don wel or fayre." 1630
"Allas!" thoughte I, "what aventures
Han these sory creatures!
For they, amonges al the pres,
Shul thus be shamed gilteles.
But what! hyt moste nedes be." 1635
What dide this Eolus, but he
Tok out hys blake trumpe of bras,
That fouler than the devel was,
And gan this trumpe for to blowe,
As al the world shulde overthrowe, 1640
That thrughout every regioun
Wente this foule trumpes soun,
As swifte as pelet out of gonne,
Whan fyr is in the poudre ronne.
And such a smoke gan out wende 1645
Out of his foule trumpes ende,
Blak, bloo, grenyssh, swartish red,
As doth where that men melte led,
Loo, al on high fro the tuel.
And therto oo thing saugh I wel, 1650
That the ferther that hit ran,
The gretter wexen hit began,
As dooth the ryver from a welle,
And hyt stank as the pit of helle.
Allas, thus was her shame yronge, 1655
And gilteles, on every tonge!
Tho come the thridde companye,
And gunne up to the dees to hye,
And doun on knes they fille anon,
And seyde, "We ben everychon 1660
Folk that han ful trewely
Deserved fame ryghtfully,
And praye yow, hit mote be knowe,
Ryght as hit is, and forth yblowe."
"I graunte," quod she, "for me list 1665
That now your goode werkes be wist,
And yet ye shul han better loos,
Right in dispit of alle your foos,
Than worthy is, and that anoon.
Lat now," quod she, "thy trumpe goon, 1670
Thou Eolus, that is so blak;
And out thyn other trumpe tak
That highte Laude, and blow yt soo
That thrugh the world her fame goo
Al esely, and not to faste, 1675
That hyt be knowen atte laste."
"Ful gladly, lady myn," he seyde;
And out hys trumpe of gold he brayde
Anon, and sette hyt to his mouth,
And blew it est, and west, and south, 1680
And north, as lowde as any thunder,
That every wight hath of hit wonder,
So brode hyt ran, or than hit stente.
And, certes, al the breth that wente
Out of his trumpes mouth it smelde 1685
As men a pot of bawme helde
Among a basket ful of roses.
This favour dide he til her loses.
And ryght with this y gan aspye,
Ther come the ferthe companye -- 1690
But certeyn they were wonder fewe --
And gunne stonden in a rewe,
And seyden, "Certes, lady bryght,
We han don wel with al our myght,
But we ne kepen have no fame. 1695
Hyde our werkes and our name,
For Goddys love; for certes we
Han certeyn doon hyt for bounte,
And for no maner other thing."
"I graunte yow alle your askyng," 1700
Quod she; "let your werkes be ded."
With that aboute y clew myn hed,
And saugh anoon the fifte route
That to this lady gunne loute,
And doun on knes anoon to falle; 1705
And to hir thoo besoughten alle
To hide her goode werkes ek,
And seyden they yeven noght a lek
For fame ne for such renoun;
For they for contemplacioun 1710
And Goddes love hadde ywrought,
Ne of fame wolde they nought.
"What?" quod she, "and be ye wood?
And wene ye for to doo good,
And for to have of that no fame? 1715
Have ye dispit to have my name?
Nay, ye shul lyven everychon!
Blow thy trumpes, and that anon,"
Quod she, "thou Eolus, y hote,
And ryng this folkes werk be note, 1720
That al the world may of hyt here."
And he gan blowe her loos so clere
In his golden clarioun
That thrugh the world wente the soun
Also kenely and eke so softe; 1725
But atte last hyt was on-lofte.
Thoo come the sexte companye,
And gunne faste on Fame crie.
Ryght verraily in this manere
They seyden: "Mercy, lady dere! 1730
To tellen certeyn as hyt is,
We han don neither that ne this,
But ydel al oure lyf ybe.
But, natheles, yet preye we
That we mowe han as good a fame, 1735
And gret renoun and knowen name,
As they that han doon noble gestes,
And acheved alle her lestes,
As wel of love as other thyng.
Al was us never broche ne ryng, 1740
Ne elles noght, from wymmen sent,
Ne ones in her herte yment
To make us oonly frendly chere,
But myghten temen us upon bere;
Yet lat us to the peple seme 1745
Suche as the world may of us deme
That wommen loven us for wod.
Hyt shal doon us as moche good,
And to oure herte as moche avaylle
To countrepese ese and travaylle, 1750
As we had wonne hyt with labour;
For that is dere boght honour
At regard of oure grete ese.
And yet thou most us more plese:
Let us be holden eke therto 1755
Worthy, wise, and goode also,
And riche, and happy unto love.
For Goddes love, that sit above,
Thogh we may not the body have
Of wymmen, yet, so God yow save, 1760
Leet men gliwe on us the name!
Sufficeth that we han the fame."
"I graunte," quod she, "be my trouthe!
Now, Eolus, withouten slouthe,
Tak out thy trumpe of gold, let se 1765
And blow as they han axed me,
That every man wene hem at ese,
Though they goon in ful badde lese."
This Eolus gan hit so blowe
That thrugh the world hyt was yknowe. 1770
Thoo come the seventh route anoon,
And fel on knees everychoon,
And seyde, "Lady, graunte us sone
The same thing, the same bone,
That [ye] this nexte folk han doon." 1775
"Fy on yow," quod she, "everychon!
Ye masty swyn, ye ydel wrechches,
Ful of roten, slowe techches!
What? false theves! wher ye wolde
Be famous good, and nothing nolde 1780
Deserve why, ne never ye roughte?
Men rather yow to hangen oughte!
For ye be lyke the sweynte cat
That wolde have fissh; but wostow what?
He wolde nothing wete his clowes. 1785
Yvel thrift come to your jowes,
And eke to myn, if I hit graunte,
Or do yow favour, yow to avaunte!
Thou Eolus, thou kyng of Trace,
Goo blowe this folk a sory grace," 1790
Quod she, "anon; and wostow how?
As I shal telle thee ryght now.
Sey: 'These ben they that wolde honour
Have, and do noskynnes labour,
Ne doo no good, and yet han lawde; 1795
And that men wende that bele Isawde
Ne coude hem noght of love werne,
And yet she that grynt at a querne
Ys al to good to ese her herte.'"
This Eolus anon up sterte, 1800
And with his blake clarioun
He gan to blasen out a soun
As lowde as beloweth wynd in helle;
And eke therwith, soth to telle,
This soun was so ful of japes, 1805
As ever mowes were in apes.
And that wente al the world aboute,
That every wight gan on hem shoute,
And for to lawghe as they were wod,
Such game fonde they in her hod. 1810
Tho come another companye,
That had ydoon the trayterye,
The harm, the grettest wikkednesse
That any herte kouthe gesse;
And prayed her to han good fame, 1815
And that she nolde doon hem no shame,
But yeve hem loos and good renoun,
And do hyt blowe in a clarioun.
"Nay, wis," quod she, "hyt were a vice.
Al be ther in me no justice, 1820
Me lyste not to doo hyt now,
Ne this nyl I not graunte yow."
Tho come ther lepynge in a route,
And gunne choppen al aboute
Every man upon the crowne, 1825
That al the halle gan to sowne,
And seyden: "Lady, leef and dere,
We ben suche folk as ye mowe here.
To tellen al the tale aryght,
We ben shrewes, every wyght, 1830
And han delyt in wikkednesse,
As goode folk han in godnesse;
And joye to be knowen shrewes,
And ful of vice and wikked thewes;
Wherefore we praye yow, a-rowe, 1835
That oure fame such be knowe
In alle thing ryght as hit ys."
"Y graunte hyt yow," quod she, "ywis.
But what art thow that seyst this tale,
That werest on thy hose a pale, 1840
And on thy tipet such a belle?"
"Madame," quod he, "soth to telle,
I am that ylke shrewe, ywis,
That brende the temple of Ysidis
In Athenes, loo, that citee." 1845
"And wherfor didest thou so?" quod she.
"By my thrift," quod he, "madame,
I wolde fayn han had a fame,
As other folk hadde in the toun,
Although they were of gret renoun 1850
For her vertu and for her thewes.
Thoughte y, as gret a fame han shrewes,
Though hit be for shrewednesse,
As goode folk han for godnesse;
And sith y may not have that oon, 1855
That other nyl y noght forgoon.
And for to gette of Fames hire,
The temple sette y al afire.
Now do our loos be blowen swithe,
As wisly be thou ever blythe!" 1860
"Gladly," quod she; "thow Eolus,
Herestow not what they prayen us?"
"Madame, yis, ful wel," quod he,
And I wil trumpen it, parde!"
And tok his blake trumpe faste, 1865
And gan to puffen and to blaste,
Til hyt was at the worldes ende.
With that y gan aboute wende,
For oon that stood ryght at my bak,
Me thoughte, goodly to me spak, 1870
And seyde, "Frend, what is thy name?
Artow come hider to han fame?"
"Nay, for sothe, frend," quod y;
"I cam noght hyder, graunt mercy,
For no such cause, by my hed! 1875
Sufficeth me, as I were ded,
That no wight have my name in honde.
I wot myself best how y stonde;
For what I drye, or what I thynke,
I wil myselven al hyt drynke, 1880
Certeyn, for the more part,
As fer forth as I kan myn art."
"But what doost thou here than?" quod he.
Quod y, "That wyl y tellen the,
The cause why y stonde here: 1885
Somme newe tydynges for to lere,
Somme newe thinges, y not what,
Tydynges, other this or that,
Of love, or suche thynges glade.
For certeynly, he that me made 1890
To comen hyder, seyde me,
Y shulde bothe here and se,
In this place, wonder thynges;
But these be no suche tydynges
As I mene of." "Noo?" quod he. 1895
And I answered, "Noo, parde!
For wel y wiste ever yit,
Sith that first y hadde wit,
That somme folk han desired fame
Diversly, and loos, and name. 1900
But certeynly, y nyste how
Ne where that Fame duelled, er now,
And eke of her descripcioun,
Ne also her condicioun,
Ne the ordre of her dom, 1905
Unto the tyme y hidder com."
"Whych than be, loo, these tydynges,
That thou now [thus] hider brynges,
That thou hast herd?" quod he to me;
"But now no fors, for wel y se 1910
What thou desirest for to here.
Com forth and stond no lenger here,
And y wil thee, withouten drede,
In such another place lede,
Ther thou shalt here many oon." 1915
Tho gan I forth with hym to goon
Out of the castel, soth to seye.
Tho saugh y stonde in a valeye,
Under the castel, faste by,
An hous, that Domus Dedaly, 1920
That Laboryntus cleped ys,
Nas mad so wonderlych, ywis,
Ne half so queyntelych ywrought.
And ever mo, as swyft as thought,
This queynte hous aboute wente, 1925
That never mo hyt stille stente.
And therout com so gret a noyse
That, had hyt stonden upon Oyse,
Men myghte hyt han herd esely
To Rome, y trowe sikerly. 1930
And the noyse which that I herde,
For al the world, ryght so hyt ferde,
As dooth the rowtynge of the ston
That from th'engyn ys leten gon.
And al thys hous of which y rede 1935
Was mad of twigges, falwe, rede,
And grene eke, and somme weren white,
Swiche as men to these cages thwite,
Or maken of these panyers,
Or elles hottes or dossers; 1940
That, for the swough and for the twygges,
This hous was also ful of gygges,
And also ful eke of chirkynges,
And of many other werkynges;
And eke this hous hath of entrees 1945
As fele as of leves ben in trees
In somer, whan they grene been;
And on the roof men may yet seen
A thousand holes, and wel moo,
To leten wel the soun out goo. 1950
And be day, in every tyde,
Been al the dores opened wide,
And by nyght, echon, unshette;
Ne porter ther is noon to lette
No maner tydynges in to pace. 1955
Ne never rest is in that place
That hit nys fild ful of tydynges,
Other loude, or of whisprynges;
And over alle the houses angles
Ys ful of rounynges and of jangles 1960
Of werres, of pes, of mariages,
Of reste, of labour, of viages,
Of abood, of deeth, of lyf,
Of love, of hate, acord, of stryf,
Of loos, of lore, and of wynnynges, 1965
Of hele, of seknesse, of bildynges,
Of faire wyndes, and of tempestes,
Of qwalm of folk, and eke of bestes;
Of dyvers transmutacions
Of estats, and eke of regions; 1970
Of trust, of drede, of jelousye,
Of wit, of wynnynge, of folye;
Of plente, and of gret famyne,
Of chepe, of derthe, and of ruyne;
Of good or mys governement, 1975
Of fyr, and of dyvers accident.
And loo, thys hous, of which I write,
Syker be ye, hit nas not lyte,
For hyt was sixty myle of lengthe.
Al was the tymber of no strengthe, 1980
Yet hit is founded to endure
While that hit lyst to Aventure,
That is the moder of tydynges,
As the see of welles and of sprynges;
And hyt was shapen lyk a cage. 1985
"Certys," quod y, "in al myn age,
Ne saugh y such an hous as this."
And as y wondred me, ywys,
Upon this hous, tho war was y
How that myn egle, faste by, 1990
Was perched hye upon a stoon;
And I gan streghte to hym gon,
And seyde thus: "Y preye the
That thou a while abide me,
For Goddis love, and lete me seen 1995
What wondres in this place been;
For yit, paraunter, y may lere
Som good thereon, or sumwhat here
That leef me were, or that y wente."
"Petre! that is myn entente," 2000
Quod he to me; "therfore y duelle.
But certeyn, oon thyng I the telle,
That but I bringe the therinne,
Ne shalt thou never kunne gynne
To come into hyt, out of doute, 2005
So faste hit whirleth, lo, aboute.
But sith that Joves, of his grace,
As I have seyd, wol the solace
Fynally with these thinges,
Unkouthe syghtes and tydynges, 2010
To passe with thyn hevynesse,
Such routhe hath he of thy distresse,
That thou suffrest debonairly --
And wost thyselven outtirly
Disesperat of alle blys, 2015
Syth that Fortune hath mad amys
The [fruit] of al thyn hertys reste
Languisshe and eke in poynt to breste --
That he, thrugh hys myghty merite,
Wol do the an ese, al be hyt lyte, 2020
And yaf expres commaundement,
To which I am obedient,
To further the with al my myght,
And wisse and teche the aryght
Where thou maist most tidynges here, 2025
Shaltow here anoon many oon lere."
With this word he ryght anoon
Hente me up bytweene hys toon,
And at a wyndowe yn me broghte,
That in this hous was, as me thoghte -- 2030
And therwithalle, me thoughte hit stente,
And nothing hyt aboute wente --
And me sette in the flor adoun.
But which a congregacioun
Of folk, as I saugh rome aboute, 2035
Some wythin and some wythoute,
Nas never seen, ne shal ben eft;
That, certys, in the world nys left
So many formed be Nature,
Ne ded so many a creature; 2040
That wel unnethe in that place
Hadde y a fote-brede of space.
And every wight that I saugh there
Rouned everych in others ere
A newe tydynge prively, 2045
Or elles tolde al openly
Ryght thus, and seyde: "Nost not thou
That ys betyd, lo, late or now?"
"No," quod he, "telle me what."
And than he tolde hym this and that, 2050
And swor therto that hit was soth --
"Thus hath he sayd," and "Thus he doth,"
"Thus shal hit be," "Thus herde y seye,"
"That shal be founde," "That dar I leye" --
That al the folk that ys alyve 2055
Ne han the kunnynge to discryve
The thinges that I herde there,
What aloude, and what in ere.
But al the wondermost was this:
Whan oon had herd a thing, ywis, 2060
He com forth ryght to another wight,
And gan him tellen anon-ryght
The same that to him was told,
Or hyt a forlong way was old,
But gan somwhat for to eche 2065
To this tydynge in this speche
More than hit ever was.
And nat so sone departed nas
Tho fro him, that he ne mette
With the thridde; and or he lette 2070
Any stounde, he told him als;
Were the tydynge soth or fals,
Yit wolde he telle hyt natheles,
And evermo with more encres
Than yt was erst. Thus north and south 2075
Wente every tydyng fro mouth to mouth,
And that encresing ever moo,
As fyr ys wont to quyke and goo
From a sparke spronge amys,
Til al a citee brent up ys. 2080
And whan that was ful yspronge,
And woxen more on every tonge
Than ever hit was, [hit] wente anoon
Up to a wyndowe out to goon;
Or, but hit myghte out there pace, 2085
Hyt gan out crepe at som crevace,
And flygh forth faste for the nones.
And somtyme saugh I thoo at ones
A lesyng and a sad soth sawe,
That gonne of aventure drawe 2090
Out at a wyndowe for to pace;
And, when they metten in that place,
They were achekked bothe two,
And neyther of hem moste out goo
For other, so they gonne crowde, 2095
Til ech of hem gan crien lowde,
"Lat me go first!" "Nay, but let me!
And here I wol ensuren the
Wyth the nones that thou wolt do so,
That I shal never fro the go, 2100
But be thyn owne sworen brother!
We wil medle us ech with other,
That no man, be they never so wrothe,
Shal han on [of us] two, but bothe
At ones, al besyde his leve, 2105
Come we a-morwe or on eve,
Be we cried or stille yrouned."
Thus saugh I fals and soth compouned
Togeder fle for oo tydynge.
Thus out at holes gunne wringe 2110
Every tydynge streght to Fame,
And she gan yeven ech hys name,
After hir disposicioun,
And yaf hem eke duracioun,
Somme to wexe and wane sone, 2115
As doth the faire white mone,
And let hem goon. Ther myghte y seen
Wynged wondres faste fleen,
Twenty thousand in a route,
As Eolus hem blew aboute. 2120
And, Lord, this hous in alle tymes,
Was ful of shipmen and pilgrimes,
With scrippes bret-ful of lesinges,
Entremedled with tydynges,
And eek allone be hemselve. 2125
O, many a thousand tymes twelve
Saugh I eke of these pardoners,
Currours, and eke messagers,
With boystes crammed ful of lyes
As ever vessel was with lyes. 2130
And as I alther-fastest wente
About, and dide al myn entente
Me for to pleyen and for to lere,
And eke a tydynge for to here,
That I had herd of som contre 2135
That shal not now be told for me --
For hit no nede is, redely;
Folk kan synge hit bet than I;
For al mot out, other late or rathe,
Alle the sheves in the lathe -- 2140
I herde a gret noyse withalle
In a corner of the halle,
Ther men of love-tydynges tolde,
And I gan thiderward beholde;
For I saugh rennynge every wight, 2145
As faste as that they hadden myght;
And everych cried, "What thing is that?"
And somme sayde, "I not never what."
And whan they were alle on an hepe,
Tho behynde begunne up lepe, 2150
And clamben up on other faste,
And up the nose and yën kaste,
And troden fast on others heles,
And stampen, as men doon aftir eles.
Atte laste y saugh a man, 2155
Which that y [nevene] nat ne kan;
But he semed for to be
A man of gret auctorite. . . .