Page images



[ocr errors]








A Dialogue between Hope and Fear ...... 979

To Cupid, upon a Dimple in Castara's

Cheek ........


Vpon Cupid's Death and Burial in Cas-

tara's Cheeke .....


To Fame


A Dialogue between Araphill and Castara


To Castara, intending a Journey into the



V pon Castara's Departure ....


To Castara, upon a trembling Kiss at De-



On Castara looking backe at her Departing

l'pon Castara's Absence


To Castara, complaining her Absence in

the Country


To Thames


To the Right Hon. the Earle of Shrewes 982

To Cupid, wishing a speedy Passage to

Castara ........


To Castara, of Love


To the Spring, vpon the uncertainty of

Castara's abode


To Reason, vpon Castara's Absence


An Answere to Castara's Question


To Castara, vpon the disguising his Affection 983

To the Honourable Mr. G. T..


Eecho to Narcissus, in praise of Castara's

discrete Love.......


To Castara, being debarr'd her Presence... ib.

To Seymors, the House in which Castara



To the Dew, in hope to see Castara walking


'To Castara


To Castara, ventring to walke too farre in

the neighbouring Woods ...................


Vpon Castara's Departure


A Dialogue between Night and Araphil...

To the Right Honourable the Lady

E. P.


To Castara, departing upon the Approach

of Night ....


An Apparition


To the Honourable Mr. Wm. E.


To Castara, the Vanity of Avarice


To R. St. Esquire......


To the World, The Perfection of Love... ib.

To the Winter


Upon a Visit to Castara in the Night ib.

To Castara. On the Chastity of his Love ib.

The Description of Castara


Castara. Part II. A Wife......


To Castara, now possest of her in Mar-



To Castara, upon the mutuall Love of their



To Zephirus


To Castara in a Trance


To Death, Castara being sicke


To Castara, inviting her to sleepe


l'pon Castara's Recoverie


To a Friend, inviting him to a Meeting

upon Promise


To Castara, where true Happinesse abides 990

To Castara ......


To Castara, vpon the Death of a Lady ib.

To Castara, being to take a Journey


To Castara, weeping ....


To Castara, vpon a Sigh



To the Right Honourable the Lady F. 991

To Castara, against Opinion........


To Castara, vpon Beautie


To Castara, melancholly


A Dialogue between Araphill and Castara ib.

To the Right Honourable Lord M.


To a Tombe


To Castara, upon Thought of Age and



To the Right Honourable the Lord P. ib.

His Muse speaks to him


To vaine Hope


To Castara. How happy, though in an

obscure Fortune.......

To Castara ......


On the Death of the Right Honourable

George Earl of S....


To my worthy Cousin, Mr. E. C., in Praise

of the City Life, in the long Vacation.... ib.

Love's Anniversarie. To the Sunne


Against them who lay Unchastity to the

Sex of Women


To the Right Honourable William Earl

of St.


To Castara. Upon an Embrace............ ib.

To the Honourable G. T.


To Castara. The Reward of innocent



To Sir I. P. Knight


To the Right Honourable Archibald Earle

of Ar.....

Elegy upon the Honourable Henry Cam-

bell, Sonne to the Earle of Ar............ 997

To Castara.......


To Castara. Of what were before our



To the Moment last past ..............


To Castara. Of the Knowledge of Love 998

To the Right Honourable the Countesse

of C.


The Harmony of Love


To Sir Ed. P. Knight


To Castara.....


To Castara. Of true Delight


To I. C. Esquire


To Castara. What Lovers will say when

he and she are dead ........................ 1000

To his Muse


A Friend ....


The Funerals of the Honourable George

Talbot, Esq.


Castara. Part III. A Holy Man

............ 1003

Nomine Labia mea aperies.


Versa est in Luctum Cythara mea ......... ib.

Perdam Sapientiam Sapientum. To the

Right Honourable the Lord Windsor ... 1005

Paucitatem Dierum meorum nuncia mihi ib.

Non nobis Domine.......


Solum mihi superest Sepulchrum ..


Et fugit velut Umbra.

To the Right

Honourable the Lord Kintyre


Nox Nocti indicat Scientiam


Et alta a longe cognoscit ...


Vniversum Statum ejus versasti in Infirmi-

tate ejus


Laudate Dominum de Cælis


Qui quasi Flos egreditur. To the Right

Honourable the Lady Cat. T.


Quid gloriaris in Malicia ?..................... ib.









A. D. 13284-1400.

Some facts have been preserved concerning the Chaucer is not merely the acknowledged father personal history of Chaucer, but there is no detailed of English poetry, he is also one of our greatest information. We learn from himself that he was poets. His proper station is in the first class, born in London, which in those ages was thought with Spenser, and Shakspeare, and Milton; and an honour; and it is certain that he was neither of Shakspeare alone has equalled him in variety and high nor of low birth. His writings afford some versatility of genius. In no other country has any indication that he received part of his education at writer effected so much with a half-formed lanCambridge, and there is a tradition that he studied guage : retaining what was popular, and rejecting at Oxford also, under Wickliffe, when that great what was barbarous, he at once refined and enriched man was Warden of Canterbury College. He had it; and though it is certain that his poetry is written an annuity of twenty marks from Edward III., as rhythmically rather than metrically, his ear led him valet or yeoman of the palace, an intermediate rank to that cadence and those forms of verse, which, between squire and groom. Afterwards he was after all subsequent experiments, have been found made comptroller of the custom of wood, with the most agreeable to the general taste, and may, tarbarous injunction, that “ the said Geoffrey write therefore, be deemed best adapted to the character with his own hand his rolls touching the said office, of our speech. In some of his smaller pieces, he in his own proper person, and not by his substitute.” has condescended to use the ornate style which He was also appointed comptroller of the small began to be affected in his age; but he has only customs of wine in the port of London, and had used it as if to show that he had deliberately rea grant for life of a pitcher of wine daily, which jected it in all his greater and better works. He was subsequently commuted for twenty marks a drew largely from French and Italian authors; but year. John of Gaunt patronised him, and gave in all his translations there is the stamp of his own him Philippa Rouet in marriage, sister to his own power; and his original works are distinguished by mistress, and daughter to a knight of Hainault. a life, and strength, and vivacity, which nothing At this time, his offices and the grants which he but original genius, and that of the highest order, obtained enabled him to live in affluence. In the can impart. Whoever aspires to a lasting name last year of Edward's reign, he was sent on a among the English poets must go to the writings mission to France, and some seven years after, in of Chaucer, and drink at the well-head. consequence of his connection with the Lollards, The Canterbury Tales have been excellently was brought into danger. He fled to the continent; edited by Tyrwhitt ; his other works have been left was imprisoned on his return; and after some ill to chance, and published without any other care usage from his party, and some rigour on the part than what the corrector of the press might please of government, did not escape without loss and to bestow upon them. obloquy. At length he retired to Woodstock, a It should be remembered that Chaucer expresses place to which he was much attached. But though, contrition for such of his writings as “ sounen unto after losing his former offices, he obtained new sin,” and prays Christ of his mercy to forgive him grants from Richard II., which were confirmed by for the guilt he had incurred thereby. He is said the usurper Henry, it is said that his latter days to have cried out repeatedly on his death-bed, were embittered by difficulties. He died on the “ Woe is me, that I cannot recall and annul these 25th of October, 1400, and was buried in that part things! but, alas, they are continued from man to of Westminster Abbey, which has since, in respect man, and I cannot do what I desire.” to him, been consecrated by the remains of many English poets, and the monuments of more.




WHANNE that April with his shoures sote
The droughte of March hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veine in swiche licour,
Of whiche vertue engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eke with his sote brethe
Enspired hath in every holt and hethe
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foules maken melodie,
That slepen alle night with open eye,
So priketh hem nature in hir corages ;
Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken strange strondes,
To serve halwes couthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Englelond, to Canterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martyr for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.

Befelle, that, in that seson on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay,
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury with devoute corage,
At night was come into that hostelrie
Wel nine and twenty in a compagnie
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felawship, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Canterbury wolden ride.
The chambres and the stables weren wide,
And wel we weren esed atte beste.

And shortly, whan the sonne was gon to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everich on,
That I was of hir felawship anon,
And made forword erly for to rise,
To take oure way ther as I you devise.

But natheles, while I have time and space,
Or that I forther in this tale pace,
Me thinketh it accordant to reson,
To tellen you alle the condition
Of eche of hem, so as it semed me,
And whiche they weren, and of what degre;
And eke in what araie that they were inne :
And at a knight than wol I firste beginne.

In listes thries, and ay slain his fo.

This ilke worthy knight hadde ben also
Somtime with the lord of Palatie,
Agen another hethen in Turkie :
And evermore he hadde a sovereine pris.
And though that he was worthy he was wise,
And of his port as meke as is a mayde.
He never yet no vilanie ne sayde
In alle his lif, unto no manere wight.
Ile was a veray parfit gentil knight.

But for to tellen you of his araie,
His hors was good, but he ne was not gaie.
Of fustian he wered a gipon,
Alle besmotred with his habergeon,
For he was late ycome fro his viage,
And wente for to don his pilgrimage.

With him ther was his sone a yonge SQUIER,
A lover, and a lusty bacheler,
With Jockes crull as they were laide in presse.
Of twenty yere of age he was I gesse.
Of his stature he was of even lengthe,
And wonderly deliver, and grete of strengthe.
And he hadde be somtime in chevachie,
In Flaundres, in Artois, and in Picardie,
And borne him wel, as of so litel space,
In hope to stonden in his ladies grace.

Embrouded was he, as it were a mede
Alle ful of freshe floures, white and rede.
Singing he was, or floyting all the day,
He was as freshe as is the moneth of May.
Short was his goune, with sleves long and wide.
Wel coude he sitte on hors, and fayre ride.
He coude songes make, and wel endite,
Juste and eke dance, and wel pourtraie and write.
So hote he loved, that by nightertale
He slep no more than doth the nightingale.

Curteis he was, lowly, and servisable, And carf before his fader at the table.

A Knight ther was, and that a worthy man, That fro the time that he firste began To riden out, he loved chevalrie, Trouthe and honour, fredom and curtesie. Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre, And therto hadde he ridden, no man ferre, As wel in Cristendom as in Hethenesse, And ever honoured for his worthinesse.

At Alisandre he was whan it was wonne. Ful often time he hadde the bord begonne Aboven alle nations in Pruce. In Lettowe hadde he reysed, and in Ruce, No cristen man so ofte of his degre. In Gernade at the siege eke hadde he be Of Algesir, and ridden in Belmarie. At Leyes was he, and at Satalie, Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete see At many a noble armee hadde he be. An mortal batailles hadde he ben fiftene, And foughten for our faith at Tramissene

A YEMan hadde he, and servantes no mo At that time, for him luste to ride so; And he was cladde in cote and hode of grene A shefe of peacock arwes bright and kene Under his belt he bare ful thriftily. Wel coude he dresse his takel yemanly: His arwes drouped not with fetheres lowe. And in his hond he bare a mighty bowe.

A not-hed hadde he, with a broune visage. Of wood-craft coude he wel alle the usage. Upon his arme he bare a gaie bracer, And by his side a swerd and a bokeler, And on that other side a gaie daggere, Harneised wel, and sharpe as point of spere : A Cristofre on his breste of silver shene. An horne he bare, the baudrik was of grene. A forster was he sothely as I gesse.

Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE, That of hire smiling was ful simple and coy ; Hire gretest othe n'as but by Seint Eloy ; And she was cleped madame Eglentine. Ful wel she sange the service devine, Entuned in hire nose ful swetely ; And Frenche she spake ful fayre and fetisly, After the scole of Stratford atte bowe, For Frenche of Paris was to hire unknowe.

At mete was she wel ytaughte withalle ;

And for to fasten his hood under his chinne,
She lette no morsel from hire lippes falle,

He hadde of gold ywrought a curious pinne :
Ne wette hire fingres in hire sauce depe.

A love-knotte in the greter ende ther was.
Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel kepe, His hed was balled, and shone as any glas,
Thatte no drope ne fell upon hire brest.

And eke his face, as it hadde ben anoint.
In curtesie was sette ful moche hire lest.

He was a lord ful fat and in good point.
Hire over lippe wiped she so clene,

His eyen stepe, and rolling in his hed,
That in hire cuppe was no ferthing sene

That stemed as a forneis of a led.
Of grese, whan she dronken hadde hire draught. His bootes souple, his hors in gret estat,
Ful semely after hire mete she raught.

Now certainly he was a fayre prelat.
And sikerly she was of grete disport,

He was not pale as a forpined gost.
And ful plesant, and amiable of port,

A fat swan loved he best of any rost.
And peined hire to contrefeten chere

His palfrey was as broune as is a bery.
Of court, and ben estatelich of manere,
And to ben holden digne of reverence.

A Frere ther was, a wanton and a mery,
But for to speken of hire conscience,

A Limitour, a ful solempne man.
She was so charitable and so pitous,

In all the ordres foure is non that can
She wolde wepe if that she saw a mous

So moche of daliance and fayre langage.
Caughte in a trappe, if it were ded or bledde. He hadde ymade ful many a mariage
Of smale houndes hadde she, that she fedde Of yonge wimmen, at his owen cost.
With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel brede. Until his ordre he was a noble post.
But sore wept she if on of hem were dede,

Ful wel beloved, and familier was he
Or if men smote it with a yerde smert:

With frankeleins over all in his contree,
And all was conscience and tendre herte.

And eke with worthy wimmen of the toun :
Ful semely hire wimple ypinched was;

For he had power of confession,
Hire nose tretis; her eyen grey as glas;

As saide himselfe, more than a curat,
Hire mouth ful smale, and therto soft and red ; For of his ordre he was licentiat,
But sikerly she hadde a fayre forehed.

Ful swetely herde he confession,
It was almost a spanne brode I trowe;

And plesant was his absolution.
For hardily she was not undergrowe.

He was an esy man to give penance,
Ful fetise was hire cloke, as I was ware.

Ther as he wiste to han a good pitance :
Of smale corall aboute hire arm she bare

For unto a poure ordre for to give
A pair of bedes, gauded all with grene ;

Is signe that a man is wel yshrive.
And theron beng a broche of gold ful shene, For if he gave, he dorste make avant,
On whiche was first ywriten a crouned A,

He wiste that a man was repentant.
And after, Amor vincit omnia.

For many a man so hard is of his herte,
Another Nonne also with hire hadde she He may not wepe although him sore smerte.
That was hire chapelleine, and PREESTES thre. Therfore in stede of weping and praieres,

Men mote give silver to the poure freres.
A Moxx ther was, a fayre for the maistrie, His tippet was ay farsed ful of knives,
An out-rider, that loved venerie;

And pinnes, for to given fayre wives,
A manly man, to ben an abbot able.

And certainly he hadde a mery note.
Ful many a deinte hors hadde he in stable : Wel coude he singe and plaien on a rote.
And whan he rode, men mighte his bridel here Of yeddinges he bare utterly the pris.
Gingeling in a whistling wind as clere,

His nekke was white as the four de lis.
And eke as loude, as doth the chapell belle, Therto he strong was as a champioun,
Ther as this lord was keper of the celle.

And knew wel the tavernes in every toun,
The reule of seint Maure and of seint Beneit, And every hosteler and gay tapstere,
Because that it was olde and somdele streit, Better than a lazar or a beggere.
This ilke monk lette olde thinges pace,

For unto swiche a worthy man as he
And held after the newe world the trace,

Accordeth nought, as by his faculte,
He yave not of the text a pulled hen,

To haven with sike lazars acquaintance.
That saith, that hunters ben not holy men ;

It is not honest, it may not avance,
Ne that a monk, whan he is rekkeles,

As for to delen with no swiche pouraille,
Is like to a fish that is waterles ;

But all with riche, and sellers of vitaille.
This is to say, a monk out of his cloistre.

And over all, ther as profit shuld arise,
This ilke text held he not worth an oistre.

Curteis he was, and lowly of servise.
And I say his opinion was good.

Ther n'as no man no wher so vertuous.
What shulde he studie, and make himselven wood, He was the beste begger in all his hous :
Upon a book in cloistre alway to pore,

And gave a certaine ferme for the grant,
Or swinken with his hondes, and laboure,

Non of his bretheren came in his haunt.
As Austin bit? how shal the world be served ? For though a widewe hadde but a shoo,
Let Austin have his swink to him reserved. (So plesant was his In principio)
Therfore he was a prickasoure a right;

Yet wold he have a ferthing or he went.
Greihoundes he hadde as swift as foul of Aight : His pourchas was wel better than his rent.
Of pricking and of hunting for the hare

And rage he coude as it hadde ben a whelp,
Was all his lust, for no cost wolde he spare. In lovedayes, ther coude he mochel help.
I saw his sleves purfiled at the hond

For ther was he nat like a cloisterere,
With gris, and that the finest of the lond.

With thredbare cope, as is a poure scolere,

« PreviousContinue »