display | more...

The Canterbury Tales: The Clerk's Tale (Part Three)

Incipit tercia pars.

Ther fil, as it bifalleth tymes mo, Whan that this child had souked but a throwe, This markys in his herte longeth so To tempte his wyf, hir sadnesse for to knowe, That he ne myghte out of his herte throwe This merveillous desir his wyf t'assaye. Nedelees, God woot, he thoghte hir for t'affraye. He hadde assayed hir ynogh bifore, And foond hir evere good; what neded it Hir for to tempte and alwey moore and moore? Though som men preise it for a subtil wit, But as for me, I seye that yvele it sit To assaye a wyf, whan that it is no nede, And putten hir in angwyssh and in drede. For which this markys wroghte in this manere; He cam allone a-nyght, ther as she lay, With stierne face and with ful trouble cheere, And seyde thus, "Grisilde," quod he, "that day That I yow took out of your povere array, And putte yow in estaat of heigh noblesse, - Ye have nat that forgeten, as I gesse. I seye, Grisilde, this present dignitee In which that I have put yow, as I trowe Maketh yow nat foryetful for to be That I yow took in povre estaat ful lowe For any wele ye moot youreselven knowe. Taak heede of every word that y yow seye, Ther is no wight that hereth it but we tweye. Ye woot yourself wel how that ye cam heere Into this hous, it is nat longe ago. And though to me that ye be lief and deere, Unto my gentils ye be no thyng so. They seyn, to hem it is greet shame and wo For to be subgetz, and to been in servage, To thee, that born art of a smal village. And namely, sith thy doghter was ybore, Thise wordes han they spoken, doutelees; But I desire, as I have doon bifore, To lyve my lyf with hem in reste and pees. I may nat in this caas be recchelees; I moot doon with thy doghter for the beste, Nat as I wolde, but as my peple leste. And yet God woot, this is ful looth to me; But nathelees, withoute youre wityng I wol nat doon, but this wol I," quod he, "That ye to me assente as in this thyng. Shewe now youre pacience in youre werkyng, That ye me highte and swore in youre village, That day that maked was oure mariage." Whan she had herd al this, she noght ameved Neither in word, or chiere, or countenaunce; For as it semed she was nat agreved. She seyde, "Lord, al lyth in youre plesaunce, My child, and I, with hertely obeisaunce Been youres al, and ye mowe save and spille Youre owene thyng, werketh after youre wille. Ther may no thyng, God so my soule save, Liken to yow, that may displese me, Ne I ne desire no thyng for to have, Ne drede for to leese, save oonly yee; This wyl is in myn herte, and ay shal be; No lengthe of tyme or deeth may this deface, Ne chaunge my corage to another place." Glad was this markys of hir answeryng, But yet he feyned as he were nat so. Al drery was his cheere and his lookyng, Whan that he sholde out of the chambre go. Soone after this, a furlong wey or two, He prively hath toold al his entente Unto a man, and to his wyf hym sente. A maner sergeant was this privee man, The which that feithful ofte he founden hadde In thynges grete, and eek swich folk wel kan Doon execucioun on thynges badde. The lord knew wel that he hym loved and dradde;- And whan this sergeant wiste the lordes wille, Into the chambre he stalked hym ful stille. "Madame," he seyde, "ye moote foryeve it me, Though I do thyng to which I am constreyned, Ye been so wys, that ful wel knowe ye That lordes heestes mowe nat been yfeyned, They mowe wel been biwailled and compleyned, But men moote nede unto hir lust obeye; And so wol I, ther is namoore to seye. This child I am comanded for to take." And spak namoore, but out the child he hente Despitously, and gan a cheere make As though he wolde han slayn it er he wente. Grisildis moot al suffren and consente; And as a lamb she sitteth meke and stille, And leet this crueel sergeant doon his wille. Suspecious was the diffame of this man, Suspect his face, suspect his word also, Suspect the tyme in which he this bigan. Allas, hir doghter that she loved so! She wende he wolde han slawen it right tho; But nathelees she neither weep ne syked, Conformynge hir to that the markys lyked. But atte laste speken she bigan, And mekely she to the sergeant preyde, So as he was a worthy gentil man, That she moste kisse hire child, er that it deyde, And in hir barm this litel child she leyde, With ful sad face, and gan the child to kisse, And lulled it, and after gan it blisse. And thus she seyde in hir benigne voys, "Fareweel, my child, I shal thee nevere see, But sith I thee have marked with the croys Of thilke Fader blessed moote thou be, That for us deyde upon a croys of tree. Thy soule, litel child, I hym bitake, For this nyght shaltow dyen for my sake." I trowe, that to a norice in this cas It had been hard this reuthe for to se; Wel myghte a mooder thanne han cryd `allas!' But nathelees so sad and stidefast was she, That she endured al adversitee, And to the sergeant mekely she sayde, "Have heer agayn your litel yonge mayde." "Gooth now," quod she, "and dooth my lordes heeste; But o thyng wol I prey yow of youre grace, That, but my lord forbad yow atte leeste, Burieth this litel body in son place That beestes ne no briddes it torace." But he no word wol to that purpos seye, But took the child, and wente upon his weye. This sergeant cam unto his lord ageyn, And of Grisildis wordes and hire cheere He tolde hym point for point, in short and pleyn, And hym presenteth with his doghter deere. Somwhat this lord hath routhe in his manere, But nathelees his purpos heeld he stille, As lordes doon whan they wol han hir wille; And bad his sergeant, that he pryvely Sholde this child ful softe wynde and wrappe, With alle circumstances tendrely, And carie it in a cofre or in a lappe, But, upon peyne his heed of for to swappe That no man sholde knowe of his entente, Ne whenne he cam, ne whider that he wente. But at Boloigne to his suster deere, That thilke tyme of Panik was countesse, He sholde it take, and shewe hir this mateere, Bisekynge hir to doon hir bisynesse This child to fostre in alle gentillesse, And whos child that it was, he bad hire hyde From every wight, for oght that may bityde. The sergeant gooth, and hath fulfild this thyng, But to this markys now retourne we, For now gooth he ful faste ymaginyng, If by his wyves cheere he myghte se Or by hir word aperceyve that she Were chaunged, but he nevere hir koude fynde, But evere in oon ylike sad and kynde. As glad, as humble, as bisy in servyse, And eek in love, as she was wont to be, Was she to hym in every maner wyse, Ne of hir doghter noght a word spak she. Noon accident for noon adversitee Was seyn in hire, ne nevere hir doghter name Ne nempned she, in ernest nor in game.

Explicit tercia pars.

The Clerk's Tale: Part Two | The Clerk's Tale: Part Four

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.