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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 167-196:
The yeoman tells he has worked with the canon for seven years
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale
lines 197-265: The yeoman names the objects and materials of the canon's craft


       Whan we been there as we shul exercise
Oure elvysshe craft, we semen wonder wise,
Oure termes been so clerigal and so queynte.
200I blowe the fir til that myn herte feynte.
What sholde I tellen ech proporcion
Of thynges whiche that we werche upon -
As on fyve or sixe ounces, may wel be,
Of silver, or som oother quantitee -
205And bisye me to telle yow the names
Of orpyment, brent bones, iren squames,
That into poudre grounden been ful smal;
And in an erthen pot how put is al,
And salt yput in, and also papeer,
210Biforn thise poudres that I speke of heer;
And wel ycovered with a lampe of glas;
And of muche oother thyng which that ther was;
And of the pot and glasses enlutyng,
That of the eyr myghte passe out nothyng;
215And of the esy fir, and smart also,
Which that was maad, and of the care and wo
That we hadde in oure matires sublymyng,
And in amalgamyng and calcenyng
Of quyksilver, yclept mercurie crude?
220For alle oure sleightes we kan nat conclude.
Oure orpyment and sublymed mercurie,
Oure grounden litarge eek on the porfurie,
Of ech of thise of ounces a certeyn --
Noght helpeth us, oure labour is in veyn.
225Ne eek oure spirites ascencioun,
Ne oure materes that lyen al fix adoun,
Mowe in oure werkyng no thyng us availle,
For lost is al oure labour and travaille;
And al the cost, a twenty devel waye,
230Is lost also, which we upon it laye.
       When we are where we choose to exercise
Our elvish craft, why, we seem wondrous wise,
Our terms are all so learned and so quaint.
200I blow the fire till my heart's like to faint.
Why tell you what proportions of things went
In working out each new experiment,
As five ounces, or six, it may well be,
Of silver, or some other quantity?
205Or tell you all the names, my memory fails,
Of orpiment, burnt bones, and iron scales
That into powder we ground fine and small?
Or in an earthen pot how we put all,
And salt put in, and also pepper dear,
210Before these powders that I speak of here,
And covered all these with a plate of glass,
And of the various other gear there was?
And of the sealing of the pot and glass,
So that the air might no way from it pass?
215And of the slow fire and the forced also,
Which we made there, and of the care and woe
That we took in our matter's sublimating,
And in calcining and amalgamating
Quicksilver, which is known as mercury crude?
220For all our skill, we never could conclude.
Our orpiment and sublimed mercury,
Our litharge that we ground on porphyry,
Of each some certain ounces- it is plain
Naught helped us, all our labour was in vain.
225Neither the gases that by nature rose
Nor solid matter either- none of those
Might, in our working, anything avail.
For lost was all our labour and travail,
And all the cost, the devil's own to pay,
230Was lost also, for we made no headway.
       Ther is also ful many another thyng
That is unto oure craft apertenyng.
Though I by ordre hem nat reherce kan,
By cause that I am a lewed man,
235Yet wol I telle hem as they come to mynde,
Thogh I ne kan nat sette hem in hir kynde:
As boole armonyak, verdegrees, boras,
And sondry vessels maad of erthe and glas,
Oure urynales and oure descensories,
240Violes, crosletz, and sublymatories,
Cucurbites and alambikes eek,
And othere swiche, deere ynough a leek.
Nat nedeth it for to reherce hem alle, --
Watres rubifyng, and boles galle,
245Arsenyk, sal armonyak and brymstoon;
And herbes koude I telle eek many oon,
As egremoyne, valerian, and lunarie,
And othere swiche, if that me liste tarie;
Oure lampes brennyng bothe nyght and day,
250To brynge aboute oure purpos, if we may;
Oure fourneys eek of calcinacioun,
And of watres albificacioun;
Unslekked lym,chalk, and gleyre of an ey,
Poudres diverse, asshes, donge, pisse, and cley,
255Cered pokkets, sal peter, vitriole,
And diverse fires maad of wode and cole;
Sal tartre, alkaly, and sal preparat,
And combust materes and coagulat;
Cley maad with hors of mannes heer, and oille
260Of tartre, alum glas, berme, wort, and argoille,
Resalgar, and oure materes enbibyng,
And eek of oure materes encorporyng,
And of oure silver citrinacioun,
Oure cementyng and fermentacioun,
265Oure yngottes, testes, and many mo.
       There is also full many another thing
That to our craft pertains in labouring.
Though name them properly I never can,
Because, indeed, I am an ignorant man,
235Yet will I tell them as they come to mind,
Though I'll not try to class each one by kind;
Armenian bole, borax, the green of brass,
And various vessels made of earth and glass,
Our urinals and all our descensories,
240Vials and crucibles, sublimatories,
Cucurbites, and alembics, and such freaks,
All dear enough if valued at two leeks.
There is no need to specify them all,
The reddening waters and the dark bull's gall,
245Arsenic, sal ammoniac, and brimstone;
And, too, of herbs could I name many a one,
Valerian, agrimony, and lunary,
And others such, if I but wished to tarry.
Our lamps that burned by day and burned by night
250To bring about our end, if but we might,
Our furnace, too, white-hot for calcination,
And waters all prepared for albication,
Unslaked lime, chalk, and white of egg, I say,
Powders diverse, and ashes, dung, piss, clay,
255Little waxed bags, saltpetre, vitriol;
And many a different fire of wood and coal;
Alkali, salt, potassium carbonate,
And our burnt matters, and coagulate,
Clay mixed with horses' or men's hair, and oil
260Of tartar, alum, glass, yeast, wort, argoil,
Realgar, and our matters absorbent,
And with them, too, our matters resorbent,
And how we practised silver citrination
And our cementing and our fermentation,
265Our moulds and testers, aye, and many more.




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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 266-276:
The four spritis and the seven bodies
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