Previous Previous:
From The Monk's Tale, lines 207-254:
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Tale
lines 255-294: Nabugodonosor


255        The myghty trone, the precious tresor
The glorious ceptre and roial magestee
That hadde the kyng Nabugodonosor,
With tonge unnethe may discryved bee.
He twyes wan Jerusalem the citee;
260The vessel of the temple he with hym ladde.
At Babiloigne was his sovereyn see,
In which his glorie and his delit he hadde.
255       The precious treasure and the mighty throne,
The glorious sceptre and royal majesty
That Nebuchadnezzar counted as his own
With tongue or pen not easily told may be.
Twice of Jerusalem the victor he;
260The Temple's vessels took he and was glad.
And Babylon was the ancient sovereign see
Wherein his glory and delight he had.

The faireste children of the blood roial
Of Israel he leet do gelde anoon,
265And maked ech of hem to been his thral.
Amonges othere, Daniel was oon,
That was the wiseste child of everychon;
For he the dremes of the kyng expowned
Wheras in Chaldeye clerk ne was ther noon
270That wiste to what fyn hise dremes sowned.
The fairest children of the blood royal
Of Israel, he gelded them anon,
265And made each one of them to be his thrall.
Among the number Daniel thus was one,
Of all the youth the nation's wisest son;
For he the dreams of the great king expounded
When in Chaldea wise clerk was there none
270Who knew to what end those dreams were propounded.

This proude kyng leet maken a statue of gold
Sixty cubites long, and sevene in brede,
To which ymage bothe yonge and oold
Comanded he to loute and have in drede,
275Or in a fourneys ful of flambes rede
He shal be brent, that wolde noght obeye.
But nevere wolde assente to that dede
Daniel, ne hise yonge felawes tweye.
This proud king made a statue of pure gold
Full sixty cubits long by seven wide,
Unto which image both the young and old
Commanded he to bow down, nor deride,
275Else in a furnace full of flames go bide
And burn to ashes, who would not obey.
But no assent to that, whate'er betide,
Would Daniel and his pair of comrades say.

This kyng of kynges proud was and elaat;
280He wende, that God that sit in magestee
Ne myghte hym nat bireve of his estaat;
But sodeynly he loste his dignytee,
And lyk a beest hym semed for to bee,
And eet hey as an oxe and lay theroute;
285In reyn; with wilde beestes walked hee
Til certein tyme was ycome aboute.
This king of kings right proud was and elate,
280And thought that God, Who sits in majesty,
Could not bereave him of his high estate:
Yet suddenly he lost all dignity,
And like a brute beast then he seemed to be,
And ate hay like an ox, and lay without;
285In rain and storm with all wild beasts walked he,
Until a certain time was come about.

And lik an egles fetheres wex his heres,
Hise nayles lyk a briddes clawes weere,
Til God relessed hym a certeyn yeres,
290And yaf hym wit, and thanne, with many a teere,
He thanked God; and evere his lyf in feere
Was he to doon amys, or moore trespace,
And til that tyme he leyd was on his beere,
He knew that God was ful of myght and grace.
And like an eagle's fathers were his hairs,
His nails like any bird's claws hooked were;
Till God released him after certain years
290And gave him sense; and then, with many a tear,
He gave God thanks; thereafter all in fear
He lived of doing ever again trespass,
And till the time they laid him on his bier,
He knew that God was full of might and grace.

Next Next:
From The Monk's Tale, lines 295-358: