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It shal) be don”), if that ye wol ) it here?),
Said this Doctour, and his Tale began anon.
Now, good men, quod he, herkeneth 8, everich on 9).

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her was, as telleth Titus Livius,
A knight that cleped !) was Virginius,
Fulfilled of honour and worthinesse,
And strong of frendes, and of gret richesse ir).

Iltis knight a doughter hadde by his wif;
No children had he mo !?) in all his lif.
Faire was this maid in excellent beautee
Aboven every wight 13) that man may see,
For Nature hath with soveraine 14) diligence
Y - formed 15) hire 16) in so gret excellence
As though she wolde sayn, Lo, I Nature
Thus can I forme and peint a creature,
Whan that me list 17): who can me contrefete 18)?
Pigmalion? not though he ay ") forge and bete 2),
Or grave, or peinte; for 1 dare wel sain
Apelles , Xeuxis., shulden 21) werche 22) in vain
Other 25) to grave, or peinte, or forge, or bete,
If they presumed me to contrefete:
For he thay is die former principal
Hath inaked 24) me his vicaire general
To forme and peinten erthly creatures
Right as me list; and eche 25) thing in my cure 26) is
Under the mone ??) that may wane 88) and waxe;

on

to

4) shal shall. 5) don done. 5) wol, v. auxil. Sax. to will. ?) here w. Sax. to hear. 8) herken to hearken, °) everich every

10) clepe vi Sar. call. 1) richesse riches. 12) mo more. 13) wight a person male or female. 1*) soveraine ercellent in a high degree. 15) Y-formed for formed, y-blessed, blessed. 16) hire, her. 17) list, liste, luste, please. 18) contrefete to counterfeit, to imitate. 19) ay

one.

20) 'bete to beat. 21) shulden should. 23) werche, werke to work. ?) other either, 2) maked made. 25) eche every one. 26) cure care. 27) mone moon.,

38) wane to de crease.

ever.

And for my werk right 29) nothing wol 30) I axe 31):
My lord and I ben 32) ful of an accord;
I made bire to the worship of my lord,
So do I all min other creatures,
What colour that they lian 3) or what figures.
Thus semeth me that Nature wolde say.

This maid of age twelf yere was and tway 34) · In which that Nature hadde swiche 35) delit 56);

For right as she can peint a lily whit
And red a rose,

right with swiche peinture
Sbe peinted hath this noble creature
Er 37) sbe was borne upon hire limmes 38) free,
Wheras by right swiche colours shulden be;
And Phebus died 39) hath hire tresses grete
Like to the suremes 4) of his burned *1) here.
Aud if that excellent were hire beautee,
A thousand fold more vertuous was slie.
In biri , ne *) lacked no condition
That is to preise. *3), as by discretion.
As wel in gost as body chast was she,
For which she floured in, virginitee
Will all humilitee and abstinence,
With all aliemperance and patience
With mesure *4) eke of bering 45) and array.
Discrete she was in answering alway,
Though she were wise as l'allas, dare I sain,
Hire Cacounde *) eke ful womanly and plain:
No contreleted termnes hadde she
To semen wise, but after hire degree +?),
She spake, and all hire wordes more and lesse
Souning *) in vertue and in gentilesse,
Shamefast *S) she was in so) maidens shamefaistaesse,

ere.

29) right, adv. exactly, truly, rightly etc. it is frequently joined to adjectives, to augment their force. 30) wol to will.' 3i) axe ask. 32) ben are. 33) han have. 3®) iway (wo. 3) swiche such. 36) delit delighi. 37) er 3) limmag limbs. 39) die to tinge. *) sıremes the rays of the sil. *) borned burnished. 42) hire her. *) ne not. **) to preise to praise, to value. **) mesure moderation. 45) bering behaviour. 46) facounde eloquence. 4?) degree rank in life. *8) soune to sound. *9) shamefast modest. 5) in with.

Constant in herte, and ever in besinesse
To drive bire ont of idel slogardie 51). "
Bacchus had of hire mouth right no maistrie 5-),
For wine and youthe don Venus encrese,
As men in fire wol casten oile and grese 53).
And of hire owen vertue unconstreined
She hath hireself ful often sike Śd) yleined,
For that she wolde licen 55)'lhe compagnie
Wher likely was to treten 56) of folie,
As is at festes, at revels 57), and at dances,
That ben occasions of daliances 58).
Swiche thinges maken children for 59) to be
To sone 60) ripe and bold, as men may see..
Which is ful perilous, and hath ben yore 6);
For al to sone may she lernen lore 0)
Of boldnesse whan she woxen 63) is a wif.

And ye maistresses 6*), in your olde lif,
That lordes doughters han in governance,
Ne taketh of my.wordes displesance 65):
Thinketh that ye ben set in governinges
Of lordes doughters only for two thinges,
Other 66) for ye han kept your honestee,
Or elles 67) for ye han fallen in freeltee 68),
And known wel ynoùgh the olde dance os),
And han forsaken fully swiche meschance
For evermo; therefore for Christes sake
To teche hem ?0) vertue loke that ye ne slake ?!).

A theef of venison, that hath forlaft '72)
His likerousnesse ??) and all his olde craft,
Can kepe 74), a forest best of any man:

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51) slogardie sloth. 52) maistrie power, superiority. 53) grese grease. 5) sike sick. 55) Aeen to see. 50j trete to treat, to discourse. 57) revel sport, festivity ; entertainment properly disring the night. ) daliance, an interchange of caresses, acts of fondness. $9) for, pro Lat., pour Fr.; it is frequently pre. sixed to verbs in the infinitive mode in the French manner. 60) to sone too soon. 61) yore of a long time. 62) lore knowledge, doctrine. 65) woxen grown. •4) maistresse mistress, governess. 65) displesance displeasure. 66) other either. 6?) elles else. 68) freeltee frailty. 69) The French have the same phrase : elle sait assez de la vieille danse. ?) hem them. ??) slake to fail. 72) forlaft left off entirely. ?) likerous glutto nous. ?*)-kepe to take care,

Now kepeth hem wel, for if ye wol ye can.
Loke wel that ye unto no vice assent,
Lest
ye

be damned for your wikke ?5) entent 76),
For who so doth a traytour is certain:
And taketh kepe ??) of that I shal you sain;
Of alle treson soveraine pestilence
Is whan a wight 78) betrayeth innocence.

Ye fathers, and ye mothers eke also,
Though ye ban children, be it on or mo,
Your is the charge of all hir ?9) surveance 80)
While that they ben under your governance:
Beth 81) ware that by ensample of your living,
Or by your negligence in chastising,
That they ne perish, for I dare wel saye
If that they don ye shul it dere 82) abeye 83).
Under a shepherd soft and negligent
The wolf hath many a shepe and lamb to-rent 84).

Sufficieth this ensample now as here,
For I mote $5) turne agen to my matere,
This maid, of which I tell

my
tale

expresse,
She kept 8€) híreself, bire neded 8?) no maistresse,
For in hire living maidens inighten rede 68),
As in a book, every good word and dede
That longeth 8%) to a maiden vertuous:
She was so prudent and so bounteous,
For which the fame out sprong on every side
Both of hire beautee and hire bountee wide,
That thurgh-90) the lond 9) they preised bire ech one »)
That loved vertue, sauf 95) Envie alone,
That
sory

is of other mannes wele 9*)
And glad is of his sorwe 95) and his unhele 96).
The Doctoůr maketh this descriptioun.

This maiden on a day went in the toun

??) wikke wikked. 76) entent intention. ??) kepe care, attention. ?8) wight, a person male or female. 79) liir their. *9) surveance superintendance. 1) beth be ye. 82) dere dear. **) abeye to suffer for.

8*) to-reni rent in pieces. 85) mote must. 50) kepe to take care. 8?) nede is generntly used as an impersonal. 88) rede to read. 89) long to belong. 99) thurgh through. 9) load land. 92) ech one every one. 95) sauf sufe: **) wele prosperity. 95) sorwe sorrow. 96) unhele misfortune.

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Toward a temple, with hire mother dere 97),
As is of yonge maidens the manere 98).

Now was ther than a justice in that toun
That governour was of that regioun;
And so befell this juge his eyen cast
Upon this maid, avising 99) here ful fast
As she came forth by ther 500) this juge stood:
Anon his herte changed and his mood,
So was he caught with beautee of this maid,
And to himself ful prively he said,
This maiden shal be min for 101) any man.

Anon the fend 102) into his herte ran,
And taught him sodenly 10%) that he by sleight.104)
This maiden' to his purpos winnen 105) might;
For certes by no force ne by no mede 106).
Him thought he was not able for to spede 107);
For she was strong of frendes, and eke she
Confermed was in swiche soveraine bountee,
That wel he wist 108) he might hire never winne
As for to make hire with hire body sinne:
for which with gret deliberatioun
He sent after a cherł 109) was in the toun,
The which he knew for sotil 110) and for bold.
This juge unto this cherl his tale hath told
In secreó wisel, and made him to ensure 111)
He shulde tell it to ne creature,
And if he did he shulde lese 112) his hede.
And whan assented was this cursed rede 113)
Glad was the juge, and maked him gret chere 114).
And yaf " him yeftes 116) precious and dere,

Whan shapen !!?) was all hir conspiracie
Fro point to point, how that his lecherie

serve.

97) dere dear. 98) manere behaviour. 99) avise to ob

100) ther there, in that place, is frequently used in the sense of where. 101) for sometimes signifies :, against.

102) fend an enomy, the devil. 103) soden sudden. 10*) sleight contrivance. 10s) winnen to gain. 105) mede reward. 16?) to spede to dispatch. 108) wist knew. 109 cherl a man of mean birth and condition. 110) sotil artfully. 11) ensure to assure, 112, lese to lose, 113) rede advice, counsel. 114) chere good cheer, entertainment. 115) yaf gave. 116) yefte a bift, 117) shape to form.

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