Canterbury Tales (ed. Skeat)/Sir Thopas

Bihold the murye wordes of the Host to Chaucer.

Whan seyd was al this miracle, every man
As sobre was, that wonder was to se,
Til that our hoste Iapen tho bigan,
And than at erst he loked up-on me,
And seyde thus, 'what man artow?' quod he;        1885
'Thou lokest as thou woldest finde an hare,
For ever up-on the ground I see thee stare.

Approche neer, and loke up merily.
Now war yow, sirs, and lat this man have place;
He in the waast is shape as wel as I;        1890
This were a popet in an arm tenbrace        (11)
For any womman, smal and fair of face.
He semeth elvish by his contenaunce,
For un-to no wight dooth he daliaunce.

Sey now somwhat, sin other folk han sayd;        1895
Tel us a tale of mirthe, and that anoon;'—
'Hoste,' quod I, 'ne beth nat yvel apayd,
For other tale certes can I noon,
But of a ryme I lerned longe agoon.'
'Ye, that is good,' quod he; 'now shul we here        1900
Som deyntee thing, me thinketh by his chere.'        (21)


Here biginneth Chaucers Tale of Thopas.

Listeth, lordes, in good entent,
And I wol telle verrayment
  Of mirthe and of solas;
Al of a knyght was fair and gent        1905
In bataille and in tourneyment,
  His name was sir Thopas.

Y-born he was in fer contree,
In Flaundres, al biyonde the see,
  At Popering, in the place;        1910
His fader was a man ful free,        (10)
And lord he was of that contree,
  As it was goddes grace.

Sir Thopas wex a doghty swayn,
Whyt was his face as payndemayn,        1915
  His lippes rede as rose;
His rode is lyk scarlet in grayn,
And I yow telle in good certayn,
  He hadde a semely nose.

His heer, his berd was lyk saffroun,        1920
That to his girdel raughte adoun;        (20)
  His shoon of Cordewane.
Of Brugges were his hosen broun,
His robe was of ciclatoun,
  That coste many a Iane.        1925

He coude hunte at wilde deer,
And ryde an hauking for riveer,
  With grey goshauk on honde;
Ther-to be was a good archeer,
Of wrastling was ther noon his peer,        1930
  Ther any ram shal stonde.        (30)

Ful many a mayde, bright in bour,
They moorne for him, paramour,
  Whan hem were bet to slepe;
But he was chast and no lechour,        1935
And sweet as is the bremble-flour
  That bereth the rede hepe.

And so bifel up-on a day,
For sothe, as I yow telle may,
  Sir Thopas wolde out ryde;        1940
He worth upon his stede gray,        (40)
And in his honde a launcegay,
  A long swerd by his syde.

He priketh thurgh a fair forest,
Ther-inne is many a wilde best,        1945
  Ye, bothe bukke and hare;
And, as he priketh north and est,
I telle it yow, him hadde almest
  Bitid a sory care.

Ther springen herbes grete and smale,        1950
The lycorys and cetewale,        (50)
  And many a clowe-gilofre;
And notemuge to putte in ale,
Whether it be moyste or stale,
  Or for to leye in cofre.        1955

The briddes singe, it is no nay,
The sparhauk and the papeiay,
  That Ioye it was to here;
The thrustelcok made eek his lay,
The wodedowve upon the spray        1960
  She sang ful loude and clere.        (60)

Sir Thopas fil in love-longinge
Al whan he herde the thrustel singe,
  And priked as he were wood:
His faire stede in his prikinge        1965
So swatte that men mighte him wringe,
  His sydes were al blood.

Sir Thopas eek so wery was
For prikinge on the softe gras,
  So fiers was his corage,        1970
That doun he leyde him in that plas        (70)
To make his stede som solas,
  And yaf him good forage.

'O seinte Marie, benedicite!
What eyleth this love at me        1975
  To binde me so sore?
Me dremed al this night, pardee,
An elf-queen shal my lemman be,
  And slepe under my gore.

An elf-queen wol I love, y-wis,        1980
For in this world no womman is        (80)
  Worthy to be my make        [T. 13722
                In toune;        [T. 13722
Alle othere wommen I forsake,        [T. 13723
And to an elf-queen I me take        1985
  By dale and eek by doune!'

In-to his sadel he clamb anoon,
And priketh over style and stoon
  An elf-queen for tespye,
Til he so longe had riden and goon        1990
That he fond, in a privee woon,        (90)
  The contree of Fairye        [T. 13731
                So wilde;        [T. 13734
For in that contree was ther noon
That to him dorste ryde or goon,        1995
  Neither wyf ne childe.

Til that ther cam a greet geaunt,
His name was sir Olifaunt,
  A perilous man of dede;
He seyde, 'child, by Termagaunt,        2000
But-if thou prike out of myn haunt,        (100)
  Anon I slee thy stede        [T. 13743
                With mace.        [T. 13743
Heer is the queen of Fayërye,
With harpe and pype and simphonye        2005
  Dwelling in this place.'

The child seyde, 'al-so mote I thee,
Tomorwe wol I mete thee
  Whan I have myn armoure;
And yet I hope, par ma fay,        2010
That thou shalt with this launcegay        (110)
  Abyen it ful soure;        [T. 13752
                Thy mawe        [T. 13752
Shal I percen, if I may,
Er it be fully pryme of day,        2015
  For heer thou shalt be slawe.'

Sir Thopas drow abak ful faste;
This geaunt at him stones caste
  Out of a fel staf-slinge;
But faire escapeth child Thopas,        2020
And al it was thurgh goddes gras,        (120)
  And thurgh his fair beringe.

Yet listeth, lordes, to my tale
Merier than the nightingale,
  For now I wol yow roune        2025
How sir Thopas with sydes smale,
Priking over hil and dale,
  Is come agayn to toune.

His merie men comanded he
To make him bothe game and glee,        2030
  For nedes moste he fighte        (130)
With a geaunt with hevedes three,
For paramour and Iolitee
  Of oon that shoon ful brighte.

'Do come,' he seyde, 'my minstrales,        2035
And gestours, for to tellen tales
  Anon in myn arminge;
Of romances that been royales,
Of popes and of cardinales,
  And eek of love-lykinge.'        2040

They fette him first the swete wyn,        (140)
And mede eek in a maselyn,
  And royal spicerye
Of gingebreed that was ful fyn,
And lycorys, and eek comyn,        2045
  With sugre that is so trye.

He dide next his whyte lere
Of clooth of lake fyn and clere
  A breech and eek a sherte;
And next his sherte an aketoun,        2050
And over that an habergeoun        (150)
  For percinge of his herte;

And over that a fyn hauberk,
Was al y-wroght of Iewes werk,
  Ful strong it was of plate;        2055
And over that his cote-armour
As whyt as is a lily-flour,
  In which he wol debate.

His sheeld was al of gold so reed,
And ther-in was a bores heed,        2060
  A charbocle bisyde;        (160)
And there he swoor, on ale and breed,
How that 'the geaunt shal be deed,
  Bityde what bityde!'

His Iambeux were of quirboilly,        2065
His swerdes shethe of yvory,
  His helm of laton bright;
His sadel was of rewel-boon,
His brydel as the sonne shoon,
  Or as the mone light.        2070

His spere was of fyn ciprees,        (170)
That bodeth werre, and no-thing pees,
  The heed ful sharpe y-grounde;
His stede was al dappel-gray,
It gooth an ambel in the way        2075
  Ful softely and rounde        [T. 13815
                In londe.        [T. 13815
Lo, lordes myne, heer is a fit!
If ye wol any more of it,
  To telle it wol I fonde.        2080

[The Second Fit.]

Now hold your mouth, par charitee,        (180)
Bothe knight and lady free,
  And herkneth to my spelle;
Of bataille and of chivalry,
And of ladyes love-drury        2085
  Anon I wol yow telle.

Men speke of romances of prys,
Of Horn child and of Ypotys,
  Of Bevis and sir Gy,
Of sir Libeux and Pleyn-damour;        2090
But sir Thopas, he bereth the flour        (190)
  Of royal chivalry.

His gode stede al he bistrood,
And forth upon his wey he glood
  As sparkle out of the bronde;        2095
Up-on his crest he bar a tour,
And ther-in stiked a lily-flour,
  God shilde his cors fro shonde!

And for he was a knight auntrous,
He nolde slepen in non hous,        2100
  But liggen in his hode;        (200)
His brighte helm was his wonger,
And by him baiteth his dextrer
  Of herbes fyne and gode.

Him-self drank water of the wel,        2105
As did the knight sir Percivel,
  So worthy under wede,
Til on a day——        (207)

Here the Host stinteth Chaucer of his Tale of Thopas.

Variae Lectiones, etc.

Heading.—From E. E. Bihoold; Hoost.—1883. Only Hl. inserts to before Iapen.—Cm. Cp. tho; E. to; Hn. he; Pt. Ln. Hl. omit.—1888. E. murily; Hl. merily.—1897. Cp. Ln. Oste; E. Hn. Cm. Hoost.—1900. E. ye; rest we.—Heading. From E. (E. Heere).—1922. E. shoos; Hn. Pt. shoon; rest schoon, schon, schone.—1927. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. for; Cp. by þe; Pt. Ln. for þe.—1931. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. shal; Cp. schulde; Pt. shulde; Ln. scholde.—1938. Hn. Hl. it fel; Cm. it fil.—1949. Cm. Hl. Bytid; rest Bitidde, Betydde (!).—1959. E. hir; rest his.—1960. E. a; rest the.—1980. Hn. Cm. Hl. haue; rest loue.—1989. So E. Hn. Cm.; Cp. Pt. Ln. to aspie; Hl. to spye.—1995. Not in the best MSS.; supplied from MS. Reg. 17 D. 15 (Tyrwhitt).—2000. Hl. swar; rest seyde.—2004. Cp. Hl. fayerye; E. Hn. Cm. Fairye.—2005. Hl. lute; rest pype or pipe.—2008. E. Hl. meete with; rest omit with.—2012. E. Hn. sowre; Cm. soure; rest sore.—2014. E. Cm. Thyn hauberk shal I percen, if I may; but the rest rightly omit Thyn hauberk.—2020. E. Cm. sire; rest child.—2025. Cp. Pt. Ln. insert For now, which the rest omit.—2027. hil] Hl. hul; Cp. Pt. Ln. downe.—2028. E. Cm. comen.—2032. E. Hn. heuedes; Hl. heedes; Cm. hedis; Cp. Pt. Ln. hedes.—2038. Hn. Pt. Hl. reales.—2041. E. sette; rest fette or fet.—E. Hn. Cm. omit the.—2044. E. And; Hn. Cm. Hl. Of.—Cp. Pt. Ln. omit ll. 2042-4.—2046. E. alone retains so.—2058. Cm. wolde; Hl. wold; rest wol, wole, wil.—2061. Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. by his syde; Cp. him besyde.—2063. Cm. Cp. Ln. schulde.—2068. Pt. Hl. rowel; Cp. Ln. ruel.—2071. E. it was; rest omit it.—2084. E. batailles; Hn. bataille; rest bataile, batail, batell.—2089. E. Pt. and of; rest omit of.—2094. E. rood; rest glood, glod, glode.—2095. Hl. Pt. spark; Cp. Ln. sparcles.—2107. Hl. worthy; E. Hn. worly; Pt. worthely; Cm. Cp. Ln. omit ll. 2105-8.—Colophon. From E. (E. Heere; Hoost).