Previous Previous:
From The Monk's Tale, lines 663-686:
De Oloferno
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Tale
lines 687-742: De Rege Anthiocho illustri


De Rege Anthiocho illustri

       What nedeth it of kyng Anthiochus
To telle his hye roial magestee,
His hye pride, hise werkes venymous?
690For swich another was ther noon as he,
Rede which that he was in Machabee,
And rede the proude wordes that he seyde,
And why he fil fro heigh prosperitee,
And in an hill how wrecchedly he deyde.
       What needs it, as for King Antiochus,
To tell his high and royal majesty,
His great pride and his deeds so venomous?
690There never was another such as he.
Go read what's said of him in Maccabee,
And all the haughty sayings that he said,
And how he fell from high prosperity,
And on a hill how wretchedly lay dead.

695Fortune hym hadde enhaunced so in pride
That verraily he wende he myghte attayne
Unto the sterres upon every syde,
And in balance weyen ech montayne,
And alle the floodes of the see restrayne.
700And Goddes peple hadde he moost in hate;
Hem wolde he sleen in torment and in payne,
Wenynge that God ne myghte his pride abate.
695Fortune had so enhanced the man's great pride
That verily he thought he might attain
Unto the utter stars on every side,
And in a balance weigh the high mountain,
And all the flood-tides of the sea restrain.
700And God's own people held he most in hate.
Them would he slay with torment and with pain,
Thinking that God his pride would not abate.

And for that Nichanore and Thymothee
Of Jewes weren venquysshed myghtily,
705Unto the Jewes swich an hate hadde he
That he bad greithen his chaar ful hastily,
And swoor, and seyde, ful despitously,
Unto Jerusalem he wolde eft-soone,
To wreken his ire on it ful cruelly;
710But of his purpos he was let ful soone.
And because Nicanor and Timothy
Were vanquished by the Jews so mightily,
705Unto all Jews so great a hate had he
That he bade bring his chariot hastily,
And swore an oath and said, impiteously,
That to Jerusalem he'd go ere noon
To wreak his ire on it full cruelly;
710But from his purpose he was turned, and soon.

God for his manace hym so soore smoot
With invisible wounde, ay incurable,
That in hise guttes carf it so and boot
That hise peynes weren importable.
715And certeinly, the wreche was resonable,
For many a mannes guttes dide he peyne,
But from his purpos cursed and dampnable
For al his smert he wolde hym nat restreyne;
God, for this menace, smote him then full sore
With wound invisible, incurable,
For in his guts he was so carved, aye more,
The pain of it was insupportable.
715And certainly the thing was reasonable,
For many a man's guts he had caused to pain;
But from his purpose, cursed, damnable,
In spite of all he would not him restrain.

But bad anon apparaillen his hoost,
720And sodeynly, er he was of it war,
God daunted al his pride and al his boost,
For he so soore fil out of his char,
That it hise lemes and his skyn totar,
So that he neyther myghte go ne ryde,
725But in a chayer men aboute hym bar
Al forbrused, bothe bak and syde.
He gave command to marshal his great host,
720And suddenly, or ere he was aware,
God daunted all his pride and all his boast.
For he so heavily fell from his car
That from his very bones the flesh did tear,
So that he might not either walk or ride,
725But in a litter men were forced to bear
Him with them, bruised upon the back and side.

The wreche of God hym smoot so cruelly
That thurgh his body wikked wormes crepte;
And therwithal he stank so horribly
730That noon of al his meynee that hym kepte
Wheither so he wook or ellis slepte,
Ne myghte noght for stynk of hym endure.
In this meschief he wayled and eek wepte,
And knew God lord of every creature.
The wrath of God smote him so cruelly
That through his body loathsome maggots crept;
And therewithal he stank so horribly
730That none of those that round his person kept,
Whether he lay awake or whether slept,
Could, for the very stench of him, endure.
In this foul state he wailed and howled and wept;
That God was Lord of all he then was sure.

735To all his hoost and to hymself also
Ful wlatsom was the stynk of his careyne,
No man ne myghte hym bere to ne fro,
And in this stynk and this horrible peyne
He starf ful wrecchedly in a monteyne.
740Thus hath this robbour and this homycide,
That many a man made to wepe and pleyne,
Swich gerdoun as bilongeth unto pryde.
735To all his host and to himself also
Full loathsome was his carrion, one great blain;
There were no men could bear him to and fro.
And in this stink and in this horrid pain
He died full wretchedly on a mountain.
740Thus had this robber and this homicide,
Who made so many men weep and complain,
Such reward as belongs to too great pride.




Next Next:
From The Monk's Tale, lines 743-782:
De Alexandro
Next