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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 508-548:
The yeoman describes the trade of the canon
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale
lines 549-586: The canon calls for some quicksilver and says he will turn it to silver


       "Sire," quod he to the preest, lat youre man gon
550For quyksilver, that we it hadde anon;
And lat hym bryngen ounces two or three;
And whan he comth, as faste shal ye see
A wonder thyng, which ye saugh nevere er this."
       "Sire," quod the preest, "it shal be doon, ywis."
555He bad his servant fecchen hym this thyng,
And he al redy was at his biddyng,
And wente hym forth, and cam anon agayn
With this quyksilver, shortly for to sayn,
And took thise ounces thre to the chanoun;
560And he hem leyde faire and wel adoun,
And bad the servant coles for to brynge,
That he anon myghte go to his werkynge.
       "Sir," this to the priest, "let your man be gone
550For quicksilver, that we have some anon;
And let him bring us ounces two or three;
And when he comes, just so soon shall you see
A wondrous thing you've never seen ere this."
       "Sir," said the priest, "it shall be done, ywis."
555He bade his servant go to fetch them all,
And since the lad was ready at his call,
He got him forth and came anon again
With this quicksilver, truly to explain,
And gave these ounces three to the canon;
560And he took them and laid them fairly down,
And bade the servant coals to go and bring,
That he might get to work with everything.
       The coles right anon weren yfet,
And this chanoun took out a crosselet
565Of his bosom, and shewed it to the preest.
"This instrument," quod he, "which that thou seest,
Taak in thy hand, and put thyself therinne
Of this quyksilver an ounce, and heer bigynne,
In name of Crist, to wexe a philosofre.
570Ther been ful fewe to whiche I wolde profre
To shewen hem thus muche of my science.
For ye shul seen heer, by experience,
That this quyksilver I wol mortifye
Right in youre sighte anon, withouten lye,
575And make it as good silver and as fyn
As ther is any in youre purs or myn,
Or elleswhere, and make it malliable;
And elles holdeth me fals and unable
Amonges folk for evere to appeere.
580I have poudre heer, that coste me deere,
Shal make al good, for it is cause of al
My konnyng, which that I yow shewen shal.
Voyde youre man, and lat hym be theroute,
And shette the dore, whils we been aboute
585Oure pryvetee, that no man us espie,
Whils that we werke in this philosophie."
       The coals at once were brought, and all was well;
And then this canon took a crucible
565Out of his bosom, showing it to the priest.
"This instrument," said he, "you see- at least
Take in your hand, and put yourself therein
An ounce of quicksilver, and here begin,
And in God's name, to be philosopher!
570There are but few to whom I would proffer
To make my science clear and evident.
For you shall learn here, by experiment,
That this quicksilver will I mortify
Right in your sight anon, without a lie,
575And make it as good silver and as fine
As any that's in your purse or in mine,
Or elsewhere, aye, and make it malleable;
Otherwise hold me false, unfit as well
Among good folk for ever to appear.
580I have a powder here that cost me dear,
Shall do all this, for it's the root of all
My craft; you'll see what shall therewith befall.
Dismiss your man and let him stay without,
And shut the door fast while we are about
585Our secret work, that no man may espy
The way we work in this philosophy."




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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 587-602:
The materials are brought in and the canon begins his work
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