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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 489-507:
The canon offers to show the masterpiece of his craft
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale
lines 508-548: The yeoman describes the trade of the canon


       "Ye," quod the preest, "ye, sire, and wol ye so?
Marie! Therof I pray yow hertely."
510       "At youre comandement, sire, trewely,"
Quod the chanoun, "and ellis God forbeede!"
       Loo, how this theef koude his service beede!
Ful sooth it is that swich profred servyse
Stynketh, as witnessen thise olde wyse,
515And that, ful soone I wol it verifie
In this chanoun, roote of al trecherie,
That everemoore delit hath and gladnesse -
Swiche feendly thoghtes in his herte impresse -
How Cristes peple he may to meschief brynge.
520God kepe us from his false dissymulynge!
Noght wiste this preest with whom that he delte,
Ne of his harm comynge he no thyng felte.
O sely preest! O sely innocent!
With coveitise anon thou shalt be blent!
525O gracelees, ful blynd is thy conceite,
No thyng ne artow war of the deceite
Which that this fox yshapen hath to thee!
His wily wrenches thou ne mayst nat flee.
Wherfore, to go to the conclusion,
530That refereth to thy confusion,
Unhappy man, anon I wol me hye
To tellen thyn unwit and thy folye,
And eek the falsnesse of that oother wrecche,
As ferforth as that my konnyng wol strecche.
       "Yes?" asked the priest, "Yes, sir, and will you so?
Mary! Thereof I pray you heartily."
510"Right at your service, sir, and truthfully,"
Replied the canon, "else, may God forbid!"
Service this thief could offer, and he did!
Full true it is that service in this guise
Stinks, as take witness of these old men wise;
515And soon enough I will this verify
By this canon, the root of treachery,
Who always had delight, nor could refrain -
Such devilish thoughts within his heart did reign -
When he brought Christian folk to tribulation.
520God keep us from his false dissimulation!
Naught understood this priest with whom he dealt,
And of his coming harm he nothing felt.
O hapless priest! O hapless innocent!
Blinded by avarice malevolent!
525O luckless one, full blind is your conceit,
Nothing are you aware of the deceit
Which this sly fox arranges here to be!
His wily stratagems you cannot flee.
Wherefore, at once to make the ending known,
530By which your troubles will be clearly shown,
Unhappy man, I'll hasten on to tell
The folly into which you blindly fell,
And, too, the treachery of that other wretch,
As far as what I know of him may stretch.
535        This chanon was my lord, ye wolden weene?
Sire hoost, in feith, and by the hevenes queene,
It was another chanoun, and nat hee,
That kan an hundred foold moore subtiltee.
He hath bitrayed folkes many tyme;
540Of his falsnesse it dulleth me to ryme.
Evere whan that I speke of his falshede,
For shame of hym my chekes wexen rede.
Algates they bigynnen for to glowe,
For reednesse have I noon, right wel I knowe,
545In my visage; for fumes diverse
Of metals, whiche ye han herd me reherce,
Consumed and wasted han my reednesse.
Now taak heede of this chanons cursednesse!
535        This canon was my lord, you think I mean?
Sir host, in faith, and by the Heaven's Queen,
It was another canon, and not he,
Who has a hundred-fold more subtlety!
He has betrayed the people many a time;
540Of his deceit it wearies me to rhyme.
Whatever of his falsehood I have said,
For shame of him I feel my cheeks grow red;
At any rate, my cheeks begin to glow,
For redness have I none, right well I know,
545In all my visage; for the fumes diverse
Of metals, whereof you've heard me rehearse,
Have all consumed and wasted my redness.
Now take heed of this canon's wickedness.




Next Next:
From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 549-586:
The canon calls for some quicksilver and says he will turn it to silver
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