Previous Previous:
From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 266-276:
The four spritis and the seven bodies
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale
lines 277-298: The canon's craft is hard to learn

       This cursed craft whoso wole excercise,
He shal no good han that hym may suffise;
For al the good he spendeth theraboute
280He lese shal; therof have I no doute.
Whoso that listeth outen his folie,
Lat hym come forth and lerne multiplie;
And every man that oght hath in his cofre,
Lat hym appiere, and wexe a philosophre.
285Ascaunce that craft is so light to leere?
Nay, nay, God woot, al be he monk or frere,
Preest or chanoun, or any oother wyght,
Though he sitte at his book bothe day and nyght
In lernyng of this elvysshe nyce loore,
290Al is in veyn, and parde! muchel moore.
To lerne a lewed man this subtiltee -
Fy! spek nat therof, for it wol nat bee;
And konne he letterure, or konne he noon,
As in effect, he shal fynde it al oon.
295For bothe two, by my savacioun,
Concluden in multiplicacioun
Ylike wel, whan they han al ydo;
This is to seyn, they faillen bothe two.
       This wicked craft, whoso will exercise,
He shall gain never wealth that may suffice;
For all the coin he spends therein goes out
280And is but lost, of which I have no doubt.
Whoso, then, will exhibit such folly,
Let him come forth and learn to multiply;
And every man that has aught in coffer,
Let him appear and be philosopher.
285Perhaps that craft is easy to acquire?
Nay, nay, God knows! And be he monk or friar
Canon, or priest, or any other wight,
Though he sit at his books both day and night
In learning of this elvish, fruitless lore,
290All is in vain, and by gad it's much more!
To teach an ignorant man this subtlety-
Fie! Speak not of it, for it cannot be;
And though he has booklore, or though he's none,
In final count he shall find it all one.
295For both of them, and this by my salvation,
Come to one end seeking multiplication;
They fare the same when they've done everything;
That is to say, they both fail, sorrowing.

Next Next:
From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 299-308:
The yeoman names some fluids used by the canon