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- The Canterbury Tales - 70/183 -
"bear Wattis pack" signifying to be duped or beguiled.
6. Stopen: advanced; past participle of "step." Elsewhere "y-stept in age" is used by Chaucer.
7. They did not need to go in quest of a wife for him, as they had promised.
8. Thilke tree: that tree of original sin, of which the special sins are the branches.
9. Skinked: poured out; from Anglo-Saxon, "scencan."
10. Marcianus Capella, who wrote a kind of philosophical romance, "De Nuptiis Mercurii et Philologiae" (Of the Marriage of Mercury and Philology) . "Her" and "him," two lines after, like "he" applied to Theodomas, are prefixed to the proper names for emphasis, according to the Anglo- Saxon usage.
11. Familiar: domestic; belonging to the "familia," or household.
12. Hewe: domestic servant; from Anglo-Saxon, "hiwa." Tyrwhitt reads "false of holy hue;" but Mr Wright has properly restored the reading adopted in the text.
13. Boren man: born; owing to January faith and loyalty because born in his household.
14. Hippocras: spiced wine. Clarre: also a kind of spiced wine. Vernage: a wine believed to have come from Crete, although its name -- Italian, "Vernaccia" -- seems to be derived from Verona.
15. Dan Constantine: a medical author who wrote about 1080; his works were printed at Basle in 1536.
16. Full of jargon as a flecked pie: he chattered like a magpie
17. Nearly all the manuscripts read "in two of Taure;" but Tyrwhitt has shown that, setting out from the second degree of Taurus, the moon, which in the four complete days that Maius spent in her chamber could not have advanced more than fifty- three degrees, would only have been at the twenty-fifth degree of Gemini -- whereas, by reading "ten," she is brought to the third degree of Cancer.
18. Kid; or "kidde," past participle of "kythe" or "kithe," to show or discover.
19. Precious: precise, over-nice; French, "precieux," affected.
20. Proined: or "pruned;" carefully trimmed and dressed himself. The word is used in falconry of a hawk when she picks and trims her feathers.
21. A dogge for the bow: a dog attending a hunter with the bow.
22 The Romance of the Rose: a very popular mediaeval romance, the English version of which is partly by Chaucer. It opens with a description of a beautiful garden.
23. Priapus: Son of Bacchus and Venus: he was regarded as the promoter of fertility in all agricultural life, vegetable and animal; while not only gardens, but fields, flocks, bees -- and even fisheries -- were supposed to be under his protection.
24. Argus was employed by Juno to watch Io with his hundred eyes but he was sent to sleep by the flute of Mercury, who then cut off his head.
25. "My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone: The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of the birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land." -- Song of Solomon, ii. 10-12.
26. "That fair field, Of Enna, where Proserpine, gath'ring flowers, Herself a fairer flow'r, by gloomy Dis Was gather'd." -- Milton, Paradise Lost, iv. 268
27. "Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account: Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man amongst a thousand have I found, but a woman among all those I have not found. Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright." Ecclesiastes vii. 27-29.
28. Jesus, the son of Sirach, to whom is ascribed one of the books of the Apochrypha -- that called the "Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus;" in which, especially in the ninth and twenty-fifth chapters, severe cautions are given against women.
29. Roman gestes: histories; such as those of Lucretia, Porcia, &c.
30. May means January to believe that she is pregnant, and that she has a craving for unripe pears.
31. At this point, and again some twenty lines below, several verses of a very coarse character had been inserted in later manuscripts; but they are evidently spurious, and are omitted in the best editions.
32. "Store" is the general reading here, but its meaning is not obvious. "Stowre" is found in several manuscripts; it signifies "struggle" or "resist;" and both for its own appropriateness, and for the force which it gives the word "stronge," the reading in the text seems the better.
THE SQUIRE'S TALE.
"HEY! Godde's mercy!" said our Hoste tho,* *then "Now such a wife I pray God keep me fro'. Lo, suche sleightes and subtilities In women be; for aye as busy as bees Are they us silly men for to deceive, And from the soothe* will they ever weive,** *truth **swerve, depart As this Merchante's tale it proveth well. But natheless, as true as any steel, I have a wife, though that she poore be; But of her tongue a labbing* shrew is she; *chattering And yet* she hath a heap of vices mo'. *moreover Thereof *no force;* let all such thinges go. *no matter* But wit* ye what? in counsel** be it said, *know **secret, confidence Me rueth sore I am unto her tied; For, an'* I shoulde reckon every vice *if Which that she hath, y-wis* I were too nice;** *certainly **foolish And cause why, it should reported be And told her by some of this company (By whom, it needeth not for to declare, Since women connen utter such chaffare <1>), And eke my wit sufficeth not thereto To tellen all; wherefore my tale is do.* *done Squier, come near, if it your wille be, And say somewhat of love, for certes ye *Conne thereon* as much as any man." *know about it* "Nay, Sir," quoth he; "but such thing as I can, With hearty will, -- for I will not rebel Against your lust,* -- a tale will I tell. *pleasure Have me excused if I speak amiss; My will is good; and lo, my tale is this."
Notes to the Prologue to the Squire's Tale
1. Women connen utter such chaffare: women are adepts at giving circulation to such wares. The Host evidently means that his wife would be sure to hear of his confessions from some female member of the company.
*Pars Prima.* *First part*
At Sarra, in the land of Tartary, There dwelt a king that warrayed* Russie, <2> *made war on Through which there died many a doughty man; This noble king was called Cambuscan,<3> Which in his time was of so great renown, That there was nowhere in no regioun So excellent a lord in alle thing: Him lacked nought that longeth to a king, As of the sect of which that he was born. He kept his law to which he was y-sworn, And thereto* he was hardy, wise, and rich, *moreover, besides And piteous and just, always y-lich;* *alike, even-tempered True of his word, benign and honourable; *Of his corage as any centre stable;* *firm, immovable of spirit* Young, fresh, and strong, in armes desirous As any bachelor of all his house. A fair person he was, and fortunate, And kept alway so well his royal estate, That there was nowhere such another man. This noble king, this Tartar Cambuscan, Hadde two sons by Elfeta his wife, Of which the eldest highte Algarsife, The other was y-called Camballo. A daughter had this worthy king also, That youngest was, and highte Canace: But for to telle you all her beauty, It lies not in my tongue, nor my conning;* *skill I dare not undertake so high a thing: Mine English eke is insufficient, It muste be a rhetor* excellent, *orator *That couth his colours longing for that art,* * see <4>*
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