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From The Monk's Tale, lines 783-838:
De Julio Cesare
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Tale
lines 839-878: Cresus


Cresus

       This riche Cresus whilom kyng of Lyde,
840Of whiche Cresus Cirus soore hym dradde,
Yet was he caught amyddes al his pryde,
And to be brent men to the fyr hym ladde.
But swich a reyn doun fro the welkne shadde
That slow the fyr, and made hym to escape;
845But to be war no grace yet he hadde,
Til Fortune on the galwes made hym gape.
       Witness the end of all these conquerors strong.
840Of which Croesus King Cyrus had such dread,
Yet was he taken, in his pride swelling,
And to be burned upon a pyre was led.
But such a rain down from the clouds was shed
As quenched the fire and let him there escape;
845But to be warned, no grace was in him spread
Till Fortune on the gallows made him gape.

Whanne he escaped was, he kan nat stente
For to bigynne a newe werre agayn;
He wende wel, for that Fortune hym sente
850Swich hap that he escaped thurgh the rayn,
That of hise foos he myghte nat be slayn;
And eek a sweven upon a nyght he mette,
Of which he was so proud and eek so fayn
That in vengeance he al his herte sette.
When he'd escaped, not changed was his intent
To march at once into new wars again.
He thought right well 'twas Fortune that had sent
850Such chance that he'd escape because of rain,
And that by foes he never should be slain;
And then a vision in the night he met,
At which he waxed so proud and grew so fain
That upon vengeance all his heart was set.

855Upon a tree he was, as that hym thoughte,
Ther Jupiter hym wessh bothe bak and syde,
And Phebus eek a fair towaille hym broughte,
To dryen hym with; and therfore wax his pryde,
And to his doghter that stood hym bisyde,
860Which that he knew in heigh science habounde,
He bad hir telle hym what it signyfyde,
And she his dreem bigan right thus expounde.
855Upon a tree he was, or so he thought,
Where Jupiter did wash him, back and side,
And Phoebus, then, a fair white towel brought
To dry him with and thereby swell his pride;
And to his daughter, who stood there beside,
860And well, he knew, in knowledge did abound,
He bade interpret what it signified,
And she his dream in this wise did expound.

"The tree," quod she, "the galwes is to meene,
And Juppiter bitokneth snow and reyn,
865And Phebus with his towaille so clene,
Tho been the sonne stremes for to seyn.
Thou shalt anhanged be, fader, certeyn;
Reyn shal thee wasshe, and sonne shal thee drye."
Thus warned hym ful plat and ful pleyn,
870His doghter, which that called was Phanye.
"The tree," she said, "the gallows is to mean,
And Jupiter betokens snow and rain,
865While Phoebus with his towel white and clean,
That is the sunbeams beating down amain;
You shall be hanged, O father, 'tis certain;
The rain shall wash you and the sun shall dry."
And thus she gave him warning flat and plain,
870His daughter, who was Phania, say I.

Anhanged was Cresus, the proude kyng,
His roial trone myghte hym nat availle.
Tragedies is noon oother maner thyng,
Ne kan in syngyng crye ne biwaille,
875But for that Fortune alwey wole assaille
With unwar strook the regnes that been proude;
For whan me trusteth hire, thanne wol she faille,
And covere hir brighte face with a clowde.
So hanged was Croesus, that proud Lydian king,
His royal throne could nothing then avail.
Tragedy is no other kind of thing;
Nor can the singer cry aught, or bewail,
875But that Dame Fortune always will assail
With unwarned stroke those great ones who are proud;
For when men trust her most, then will she fail
And cover her bright face as with a cloud.


Explicit Tragedia.



Heere stynteth the Knyght the Monk of his tale.





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