Previous Previous:
From The Manciple's Tale, lines 203-239:
Phoebus' wife commits adultery
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Manciple's Tale
lines 240-261: The crow witnesses the adultery and tells Phoebus about it

240        The white crowe that heeng ay in the cage
Biheeld hire werk, and seyde nevere a word,
And whan that hoom was com Phebus the lord,
This crowe sang, "Cokkow! Cokkow! Cokkow!"
       "What bryd!" quod Phebus, "what song syngestow?
245Ne were thow wont so myrily to synge
That to myn herte it was a rejoysynge
To heere thy voys? Allas, what song is this?"
240        And the white crow, always hanging in the cage,
Saw what they did, and never said a word.
And when again came Phoebus home, the lord,
This crow sang loud "Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!"
       "What, bird?" asked Phoebus, "What song now sing you?
245Were you not wont so merrily to sing
That in my heart it was a joyful thing
To hear your voice? Alas! What song is this?"
       "By God," quod he, "I synge nat amys.
Phebus," quod he, "for al thy worthynesse,
250For al thy beautee and thy gentillesse,
For al thy song and al thy mynstralcye,
For al thy waityng, blered is thyn eye
With oon of litel reputacioun
Noght worth to thee, as in comparisoun
255The montance of a gnat, so moote I thryve,
For on thy bed thy wyf I saugh hym swyve."
       "By God," said he, "I do not sing amiss;
Phoebus," said he, "for all your worthiness,
250For all your beauty and your nobleness,
For all your song and all your minstrelsy,
For all your watching, bleared is your bright eye
By one of small repute, as well is known,
Not worth, when I compare it with your own,
255The value of a gnat, as I may thrive.
For on your bed your wife I saw him swive."
       What wol ye moore? The crowe anon hym tolde,
By sadde tokenes and by wordes bolde,
How that his wyf han doon hire lecherye,
260Hym to greet shame and to greet vileynye,
And tolde hym ofte, he saugh it with hise eyen.
       What will you more? The crow thereafter told,
In sober fashion, giving witness bold,
How that his wife had done her lechery
260To his great shame and with great villainy;
Repeating that he'd seen it with his eyes.

Next Next:
From The Manciple's Tale, lines 262-270:
Phoebus kills his wife