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From The Summoner's Tale, lines 353-378:
An example about the logic of a ruthless dictator
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Summoner's Tale
lines 379-414: Another ill-tempered dictator


       Irous Cambises was eek dronkelewe,
380And ay delited hym to been a shrewe.
And so bifel, a lord of his meynee,
That loved vertuous moralitee,
Seyde on a day bitwix hem two right thus:
       'A lord is lost, if he be vicius;
385And dronkenesse is eek a foul record
Of any man, and namely in a lord.
Ther is ful many an eye and many an ere
Awaityng on a lord, and he noot where.
For goddes love, drynk moore attemprely!
390Wyn maketh man to lesen wrecchedly
His mynde and eek his lymes everichon.'
       Ireful Cambyses was a drunkard too,
380And much delighted dirty deeds to do.
And so befell, a lord of his household,
Who loved all moral virtue, we are told,
Said on a day, when they were talking, thus:
       'A lord is lost if he be too vicious;
385And drunkenness is foul thing to record
Of any man, and specially of a lord.
There is full many an eye and many an ear
Waiting upon a lord, nor knows he where.
For God's dear love, sir, drink more moderately;
390Wine causes man to lose, and wretchedly,
His mind, and his limbs' usage, every one.'
       'The revers shaltou se,' quod he, 'anon,
And preve it by thyn owene experience,
That wyn ne dooth to folk no swich offence.
395Ther is no wyn bireveth me my myght
Of hand ne foot, ne of myne eyen sight.'
And for despit he drank ful muchel moore,
An hondred part, than he hadde don bifoore;
And right anon this irous, cursed wrecche
400Leet this knyghtes sone bifore hym fecche,
Comandynge hym he sholde bifore hym stonde.
And sodeynly he took his bowe in honde,
And up the streng he pulled to his ere,
And with an arwe he slow the child right there.
405'Now wheither have I a siker hand or noon?'
Quod he; 'Is al my myght and mynde agon?
Hath wyn bireved me myn eyen sight?'
What sholde I telle th'answere of the knyght?
His sone was slayn, ther is namoore to seye.
410Beth war, therfore, with lordes how ye pleye.
Syngeth Placebo, and 'I shal, if I kan,'
But if it be unto a povre man.
To a povre man men sholde his vices telle,
But nat to a lord, thogh he sholde go to helle.
       'The opposite you'll see,' said he, 'anon;
And you'll prove, by your own experience,
That wine does not to men such foul offence.
395There is no wine can rob me of my might
Of hand or foot, nor yet of my eyesight!'
And for despite he drank much wine the more,
A hundred times, than he had drunk before;
And then anon this ireful wicked wretch
400Sent one this knight's young son to go and fetch,
And ordered that before him he should stand.
And suddenly he took his bow in hand,
And drew the string thereof up to his ear,
And with an arrow slew the child right there.
405'Now tell me whether I've sure hand, or none!'
He said, 'And are my might and mind all gone?
Has wine deprived me of my good eyesight?'
"How shall I tell the answer of the knight?
His son was slain, there is no more to say.
410Beware, therefore, with lords look how you play.
But sing placebo, and 'I shall, if I can,'
Unless it be unto a helpless man.
To a poor man men should his vices tell,
But to a lord, no, though he go to hell.




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From The Summoner's Tale, lines 415-424:
King Cyrus destroyed a river in which a horse of him drowned
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