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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 309-344:
The search for the philosopher's stone
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale
lines 345-378: The melting pot breaks

345        Passe over this; if go my tale unto.
Er that the pot be on the fir ydo,
Of metals with a certeyn quantitee,
My lord hem tempreth, and no man be he -
Now he is goon, I dar seyn boldely -
350For, as men seyn, he kan doon craftily.
Algate I woot wel he hath swich a name,
And yet ful ofte he renneth in a blame.
And wite ye how? Ful ofte it happeth so,
The pot tobreketh, and farewel, al is go!
355Thise metals been of so greet violence,
Oure walles mowe nat make hem resistence,
But if they weren wroght of lym and stoon;
They percen so, and thurgh the wal they goon.
And somme of hem synken into the ground -
360Thus han we lost by tymes many a pound -
And somme are scatered al the floor aboute;
Somme lepe into the roof. Withouten doute,
Though that the feend noght in oure sighte hym shewe,
I trowe he with us be, that ilke shrewe!
365In helle, where that he lord is and sire,
Nis ther moore wo, ne moore rancour ne ire.
Whan that oure pot is broke, as I have sayd,
Every man chit, and halt hym yvele apayd.
345        Pass over this; unto my tale I'll run.
Before the pot upon the fire be done,
Of metals in a certain quantity
My lord it tempers, and no man save he-
Now he is gone I dare say this boldly-
350For, as men say, he can work artfully;
Always I well know be has such a name,
And yet full often has he been to blame;
And know you how? Full oft it happens so,
The pot broke, and farewell! All vanished, O!
355These metals have such violence and force
That crucibles cannot resist their course
Unless they are built up of lime and stone;
They penetrate, and through the wall they're gone,
And some of them sink right into the ground -
360Thus have we lost, at times, full many a pound -
And some are scattered all the floor about,
Some leap up to the roof. Beyond a doubt,
Although the devil's to us not visible,
I think he's with us, aye, that same scoundrel!
365In Hell, wherein he is the lord and sire,
There's not more woe, nor rancour, nor more ire.
For when our pot is broken, as I've said,
Each man will scold and think that he's been bled.
       Somme seyde it was long on the fir makyng;
370Somme seyde nay, it was on the blowyng, -
Thanne was I fered, for that was myn office.
"Straw!" quod the thridde, "ye been lewed and nyce.
It was nat tempred as it oghte be.
"Nay," quod the fourthe, "stynt and herkne me.
375By cause oure fir ne was nat maad of beech,
That is the cause, and oother noon, so th'eech!"
I kan nat telle wheron it was long,
But wel I woot greet strif is us among.
       One said that it was due to fire-making,
370One said it was the blowing of the thing
There I was scared, for that was what I did;
"O straw! You silly fool!" the third one chid,
"It was not tempered as it ought to be."
"Nay," said the fourth, "shut up and list to me;
375It was because our fire was not of beech,
That's why, by all the wealth I hope to reach!"
I cannot tell where one should put the blame;
There was a dreadful quarrel, just the same.

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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 379-401:
Grumbling and cleaning up the garbage