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From The Squire's Tale, lines 472-498:
The falcon falls from the tree and starts talking to Canace
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Squire's Tale
lines 499-631: The falcon narrates about her husbands adultery


      "Ther I was bred, - allas, that ilke day! -
500And fostred in a roche of marbul gray
So tendrely, that no thyng eyled me;
I nyste nat what was adversitee,
Til I koude flee ful hye under the sky.
Tho dwelte a tercelet me faste by
505That semed welle of alle gentillesse,
Al were he ful of tresoun and falsnesse;
It was so wrapped under humble cheere,
And under hewe of trouthe in swich manere,
Under plesance, and under bisy peyne,
510That I ne koude han wend he koude feyne,
So depe in greyn he dyed his colours.
Right as a serpent hit hym under floures
Til he may seen his tyme for to byte,
Right so this god of love, this ypocryte,
515Dooth so hise cerymonyes and obeisaunces,
And kepeth in semblant alle hise observaunces
That sownen into gentillesse of love.
As in a toumbe is al the faire above,
And under is the corps swich as ye woot,
520Swich was this ypocrite, bothe coold and hoot;
And in this wise he served his entente,
That, save the feend-noon wiste what he mente;
Til he so longe hadde wopen and compleyned,
And many a yeer his service to me feyned,
525Til that myn herte, to pitous and to nyce,
Al innocent of his crouned malice,
Forfered of his deeth, as thoughte me,
Upon his othes and his seuretee,
Graunted hym love up this condicioun
530That everemoore myn honour and renoun
Were saved, bothe privee and apert.
This is to seyn, that after his desert
I yaf hym al myn herte and al my thoght -
God woot and he, that ootherwise noght! -
535And took his herte in chaunge for myn for ay.
But sooth is seyd, goon sithen many a day,
'A trewe wight and a theef thenken nat oon.'
And whan he saugh the thyng so fer ygoon,
That I hadde graunted hym fully my love,
540In swich a gyse as I have seyd above,
And yeven hym my trewe herte, as free
As he swoor he his herte yaf to me,
Anon this tigre ful of doublenesse
Fil on hise knees, with so devout humblesse,
545With so heigh reverence, and as by his cheere
So lyk a gentil lovere of manere,
So ravysshed, as it semed, for the joye,
That nevere Jason, ne Parys of Troye -
Jason? Certes, ne noon oother man
550Syn Lameth was, that alderfirst bigan
To loven two, as writen folk biforn -
Ne nevere, syn the firste man was born,
Ne koude man, by twenty thousand part,
Countrefete the sophymes fo his art;
555Ne were worhty unbokelen his galoche,
Ther doublenesse or feynyng sholde approche,
Ne so koude thonke a wight as he dide me.
His manere was an hevene for to see
Til any womman, were she never so wys;
560So peynted he and kembde at point-devys
As wel hise wordes as his contenaunce
And I so loved hym for his oveisaunce
And for the trouthe I demed in his herte,
That if so were that any thyng hym smerte,
565Al were it nevere so lite, and I it wiste,
Me thoughte I felte deeth myn herte twiste.
And shortly so ferforth this thyng is went,
That my wyl was his willes instrument;
This is to seyn, my wyl obeyed his wyl
570In alle thyng as fer as resoun fil,
Kepynge the boundes of my worshipe evere.
Ne nevere hadde I thyng so lief, ne levere,
As hym, God woot! ne nevere shal namo.
      "Where I was born -alas, that cruel day!-
500And fostered on a rock of marble grey
So tenderly that nothing troubled me,
I knew not what it was, adversity,
Till I could soar on high under the sky.
There dwelt a handsome tercelet there, hard by,
505Who seemed the dwell of every nobleness;
Though he was full of treason and falseness,
It was so hidden under humble bearing,
And under hues of truth which he was wearing,
And under kindness, never used in vain,
510That no one could have dreamed that he could feign,
So deeply ingrained were his colours dyed.
But just as serpent under flower will hide
Until he sees the time has come to bite,
Just so this god of love, this hypocrite
515With false humility for ever served
And seemed a wooer who the rites observed
That so become the gentleness of love.
As of a tomb the fairness is above,
While under is the corpse, such as you know,
520So was this hypocrite, cold and hot also;
And in this wise he served his foul intent
That except the devil no one knew what he meant,
Till he so long had wept and had complained,
And many a year his service to me feigned,
525That my poor heart, a pitiful sacrifice,
All ignorant of his supreme malice,
Fearing he'd die, as it then seemed to me,
Because of his great oaths and surety,
Granted him love, on this condition known,
530That evermore my honour and renown
Were saved, both private fame and fame overt;
That is to say, that, after his desert
I gave him all my heart and all my thought-
God knows, and he, that more I gave him naught-
535And took his heart in change for mine, for aye.
But true it is, and has been many a day,
A true man and a thief think not at one.
And when he saw the thing so far was gone
That I had fully granted him my love,
540In such a way as I've explained above,
And given him my faithful heart, as free
As he swore he had given his to me,
Anon this tiger, full of doubleness,
Fell on his knees, devout in humbleness,
545With so high reverence, and, by his face,
So like a lover in his gentle grace,
So ravished, as it seemed, for very joy,
That never Jason nor Paris of Troy-
Jason? Nay, truly, nor another man
550Since Lamech lived, who was the first began
To love two women, those that write have sworn,
Not ever, since the primal man was born,
Could any man, by twenty-thousandth part,
Enact the tricks of this deceiver's art;
555Nor were he worthy to unlace his shoe,
Where double-dealing or deceit were due,
Nor could so thank a person as he me!
His manner was most heavenly to see,
For any woman, were she ever so wise;
560So painted he, and combed, at point-device,
His manner, all in all, and every word.
And so much by his bearing was I stirred
And for the truth I thought was in his heart,
That, if aught troubled him and made him smart,
565Though ever so little bit, and I knew this,
It seemed to me I felt death's cruel kiss.
And briefly, so far all these matters went,
My will became his own will's instrument;
That is to say, my will obeyed his will
570In everything in reason, good or ill,
Keeping within the bounds of honour ever.
Never had I a thing so dear- ah, never!-
As him, God knows! nor ever shall anew.
      This lasteth lenger than a yeer or two,
575That I supposed of hym noght but good.
But finally, thus atte laste it stood,
That Fortune wolde that he moste twynne
Out of that place, which that I was inne.
Wher me was wo that is no questioun;
580I kan nat make of it discripcioun.
For o thyng dare I tellen boldely,
I knowe what is the peyne of deeth therby.
Swich harm I felte, for he ne myghte bileve;
So on a day of me he took his leve
585So sorwefully eek, that I wende verraily,
That he had felt as muche harm as I,
Whan that I herde hym speke, and saugh his hewe.
But nathelees, I thoughte he was so trewe,
And eek that he repaire sholde ageyn
590Withinne a litel while, sooth to seyn,
And resoun wolde eek that he moste go
For his honour, as ofte it happeth so,
That I made vertu of necessitee,
And took it wel, syn that it moste be.
595As I best myghte, I hidde fro hym my sorwe,
And took hym by the hond, Seint John to borwe,
And seyde hym thus, 'Lo I am youres al.
Beth swich as I to yow have been, and shal.
What he answerde, it nedeth noght reherce,
600Who kan sey bet than he? who kan do werse?
Whan he hath al wel seyd, thanne hath he doon;
'Therfore bihoveth hire a ful long spoon
That shal ete with a feend,' thus herde I seye.
So atte laste he moste forth his weye,
605And forth he fleeth, til he cam ther hym leste.
Whan it cam hym to purpos for to reste,
I trowe he hadde thilke text in mynde
That 'alle thyng repeirynge to his kynde
Gladeth hymself;' thus seyn men, as I gesse.
610Men loven of propre kynde newefangelnesse,
As briddes doon, that men in cages fede,
For though thou nyght and day take of hem hede,
And strawe hir cage faire and softe as silk,
And yeve hem sugre, hony, breed, and milk,
615Yet right anon as that his dore is uppe,
He with his feet wol spurne adoun his cuppe,
And to the wode he wole and wormes ete;
So newefangel been they of hir mete,
And loven novelrie of propre kynde.
620No gentillesse of blood ne may hem bynde.
      This lasted longer than a year or two
575While I supposed of him no thing but good.
But finally, thus at the last it stood,
That Fortune did decree that he must win
Out of that place, that home, that I was in.
Whether I felt woe, there's no question, none;
580I can't describe my feelings, no, not one;
But one thing dare I tell, and that boldly,
I came to know the pain of death thereby;
Such grief I felt for him, none might believe.
So on a day of me he took his leave,
585So sorrowfully, too, I thought truly
That he felt even as deep a woe as I,
When I had heard him speak and saw his hue.
Nevertheless, I thought he was so true,
And that to me he would come back again
590Within a little while, let me explain;
And 'twas quite reasonable that he must go
For honour's sake, for oft it happens so,
That I made virtue of necessity,
And took it well, because it had to be.
595A look of cheer I felt not I put on,
And took his hand, I swear it by Saint John.
And said to him: 'Behold, I'm yours in all;
Be you to me as I have been, and shall.'
What he replied it needs not I rehearse,
600Who can say better than he, who can do worse?
When he had well said, all his good was done.
'It well behooves him take a lengthy spoon
Who eats with devils,' so I've heard folk say.
So at the last he must be on his way,
605And forth he flew to where it pleased him best
When it became his purpose he should rest,
I think he must have had this text in mind,
That 'Everything, returning to its kind,
Gladdens itself'; thus men say, as I guess;
610Men love, and naturally, newfangledness,
As do these birds that men in cages feed.
For though you night and day take of them heed,
And fairly strew their cage as soft as silk,
And give them sugar, honey, bread, and milk,
615Yet on the instant when the door is up,
They with their feet will spurn their feeding cup,
And to the wood will fly and worms will eat;
So are they all newfangled of their meat,
And love all novelties of their own kind;
620Nor nobleness of blood may ever bind.
      So ferde this tercelet, allas, the day!
Though he were gentil born, and fressh, and gay,
And goodlich for to seen, humble and free,
He saugh upon a tyme a kyte flee,
625And sodeynly he loved this kyte so
That al his love is clene fro me ago,
And hath his trouthe falsed in this wyse.
Thus hath the kyte my love in hire servyse,
And I am lorn withouten remedie."
630And with that word this faucoun gan to crie,
And swowned eft in Canacees barm.
      So fared this tercelet, oh, alas the day!
Though he was gently born, and fresh and gay,
And handsome, and well-mannered, aye and free,
He saw a kite fly, and it proved a she,
625And suddenly he loved this she-kite so
That all his love for me did quickly go,
And all his truth turned falsehood in this wise;
Thus has this kite my love in her service,
And I am love-lorn without remedy."
630And with that word the hawk began to cry,
And after, swooned on Canace's fair arm.




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From The Squire's Tale, lines 632-650:
Canace nurses the falcon
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