Previous Previous:
From The Reeve's Tale, lines 170-212:
The release of the clerks' horse
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Reeve's Tale
lines 213-252: The chase after the horse


       This millere gooth agayn, no word he seyde,
But dooth his note, and with the clerkes pleyde,
215Til that hir corn was faire and weel ygrounde.
And whan the mele is sakked and ybounde,
This John goth out and fynt his hors away,
And gan to crie "Harrow!" and "Weylaway!
Oure hors is lorn, Alayn, for Goddes banes,
220Step on thy feet! Com of man, man, al atanes!
Allas, our wardeyn has his palfrey lorn."
This Aleyn al forgat, bothe mele and corn;
Al was out of his mynde his housbonderie.
"What, whilk way is he geen?" he gan to crie.
225       The wyf cam lepynge inward with a ren.
She seyde, "Allas! youre hors goth to the fen
With wilde mares, as faste as he may go.
Unthank come on his hand that boond hym so,
And he that bettre sholde han knyt the reyne!"
230       "Allas," quod John, "Aleyn, for Cristes peyne,
Lay doun thy swerd, and I wil myn alswa.
I is ful wight, God waat, as is a raa;
By Goddes herte, he sal nat scape us bathe!
Why ne had thow pit the capul in the lathe?
235Ilhayl! by God, Alayn, thou is a fonne!"
       Thise sely clerkes han ful faste yronne
Toward the fen, bothe Aleyn and eek John.
       And whan the millere saugh that they were gon,
He half a busshel of hir flour hath take,
240And bad his wyf go knede it in a cake.
He seyde, "I trowe the clerkes were aferd
Yet kan a millere make a clerkes berd,
For al his art; now lat hem goon hir weye!
Lo, wher he gooth! ye, lat the children pleye.
245They gete hym nat so lightly, by my croun."
       Thise sely clerkes rennen up and doun
With 'Keep! keep! stand! stand! jossa, warderere,
Ga whistle thou, and I shal kepe hym heere!'
But shortly, til that it was verray nyght,
250They koude nat, though they dide al hir myght,
Hir capul cacche, he ran alwey so faste,
Til in a dych they caughte hym atte laste.
       This miller straight went back and no word said,
But does his business and with these students played,
215Until their corn was fairly, fully ground.
But when the flour was sacked and the ears bound,
This John went out, to find his horse away,
And so he cried: "Hello!" and "Weladay!
Our horse is lost! Alain, for God's bones
220Get to your feet, come out, man, now, at once!
Alas, our warden's palfrey's gone and lost!"
This Alain forgot all, flour, corn and cost,
Clean out of mind was all his cautiousness and care,
"What? Which way did he go?" he cried. "Where?"
225       The wife came running from the house, and then
She said: "Alas! Your horse went to the fen,
With the wild mares, as fast as he could go.
A curse lies on the hand that tied him so,
And him that better should have knit the reins!"
230       "Alas!" said John, "Alain, for Jesus' pains,
Lay down your sword, and I will mine also;
I am as fleet, God knows, as is a roe;
By God's heart, he shall not escape us both!
Why didn't you put him in the barn? My oath!
235Bad luck, by God, Alain, you are a fool!"
       These foolish students began to run and roll
Toward the marshes, both Alain and John.
       And when the miller saw that they were gone,
He half a bushel of their flour did take
240And bade his wife go knead it and bread make.
He said: "I think those clerks some trickery feared;
Yet can a miller match a clerkling's beard,
For all their learning; let them go their way.
Look where they go, yea, let the children play,
245They'll catch him not so easily, on my crown!"
       Those simple clerks went running up and down
With "Look out! Halt! Halt! here! 'Ware the rear!
Go whistle, you, and I will watch him here!"
But briefly, it wasn't until night
250They could not, though they put forth all their might,
That horse to catch, he always ran so fast,
Till in a ditch they trapped him at the last.




Next Next:
From The Reeve's Tale, lines 253-313:
The evening at the miller's house
Next