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De Barnabo de Lumbardia
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Tale
lines 519-574: De Hugelino Comite de Pize


De Hugelino Comite de Pize

       Off the Erl Hugelyn of Pyze the langour
520Ther may no tonge telle for pitee.
But litel out of Pize stant a tour,
In whiche tour in prisoun put was he,
And with hym been his litel children thre,
The eldeste scarsly fyf yeer was of age.
525Allas, Fortune, it was greet crueltee
Swiche briddes for to putte in swiche a cage!
       Of Ugolino, Count of Pisa's woe
520No tongue can tell the half for hot pity.
Near Pisa stands a tower, and it was so
That to be there imprisoned doomed was he,
While with him were his little children three,
The eldest child was scarce five years of age.
525Alas, Fortune! It was great cruelty
To lock such birds into such a cage!

Dampned was he to dyen in that prisoun,
For Roger, which that Bisshop was of Pize,
Hadde on hym maad a fals suggestioun,
530Thurgh which the peple gan upon hym rise,
And putten hym to prisoun in swich wise
As ye han herd, and mete and drynke he hadde
So smal that wel unnethe it may suffise,
And therwithal it was ful povre and badde.
Condemned was he to die in that prison,
Since Ruggieri, Pisa's bishop, twice
Had lied, intrigued, and egged old passions on,
530Whereby the people did against him rise,
And thrust him into prison in such wise
As you have heard; and meat and drink he had
So little that it could not long suffice,
And was, moreover, very poor and bad.

535 And on a day bifil, that in that hour
Whan that his mete wont was to be broght,
The gayler shette the dores of the tour;
He herde it wel, but he spak right noght-
And in his herte anon ther fil a thoght,
540That they for hunger wolde doon hym dyen.
"Allas," quod he, "allas, that I was wroght!"
Therwith the teeris fillen from hise eyen.
535And on a day befell it, at the hour
When commonly to him his food was brought,
The gaoler shut the great doors of the tower.
He heard it well enough, but he said naught,
And to his heart at once there came the thought
540That they by hunger would leave him to die.
"Alas," said he, "that ever I was wrought!"
And thereupon the tears fell from his eye.

His yonge sone, that thre yeer was of age,
Unto hym seyde, "Fader, why do ye wepe?
545Whanne wol the gayler bryngen our potage?
Is ther no morsel breed that ye do kepe?
I am so hungry that I may nat slepe.
Now wolde God that I myghte slepen evere!
Thanne sholde nat hunger in my wombe crepe,
550Ther is nothyng but breed that me were levere."
His youngest son, who three years was of age,
Unto him said: "Father, why do you weep?
545When will the gaoler bring us out pottage?
Is there no crumb of bread that you did keep?
I am so hungry that I cannot sleep.
Now would God that I might sleep on for aye!
Then should not hunger through my belly creep;
550For nothing more than bread I'd rather pray."

Thus day by day this child bigan to crye,
Til in his fadres barm adoun it lay,
And seyde, "Farewel, fader, I moot dye!"
And kiste his fader, and dyde the same day.
555And whan the woful fader deed it say,
For wo hise armes two he gan to byte,
And seyde, "Allas, Fortune and weylaway!
Thy false wheel my wo al may I wyte!"
Thus, day by day, this little child did cry,
Till on his father's breast at length he lay
And said: "Farewell, my father, I must die."
And kissed the man and died that very day.
555And when the father saw it dead, I say,
For grief his arms gnawed he until blood came,
And said: "Alas, Fortune and welaway,
It is thy treacherous wheel that I must blame!"

His children wende that it for hunger was
560That he his armes gnow, and nat for wo,
And seyde, "Fader, do nat so, allas!
But rather ete the flessh upon us two.
Oure flessh thou yaf us, take our flessh us fro,
And ete ynogh," right thus they to hym seyde;
565And after that withinne a day or two
They leyde hem in his lappe adoun, and deyde.
His children thought that it for hunger was
560He gnawed his arms, and not that 'twas for woe,
And cried: "O father, do not thus, alas!
But rather eat our young flesh, even so;
This flesh you gave us; take it back and go
And eat enough!" 'Twas thus those children cried,
565And after that, within a day or two,
They laid themselves upon his knees and died.

Hymself, despeired, eek for hunger starf,
Thus ended is this myghty Erl of Pize.
From heigh estaat Fortune awey hym carf,
570Of this tragedie it oghte ynough suffise.
Whoso wol here it in a lenger wise,
Redeth the grete poete of Ytaille
That highte Dant, for he kan al devyse
Fro point to point, nat o word wol he faille.
Himself, despairing, all by hunger starved,
Thus ended this great count of Pisa's cries;
All his vast riches Fortune from him carved.
570Of his fate tragic let thus much suffice.
Whoso would hear it told in longer wise,
Let him read the great bard of Italy
Whom men call Dante; seen through Dante's eyes
No point is slurred, nor in one word fails he.




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From The Monk's Tale, lines 575-662:
Nero
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