Previous Previous:
From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 603-622:
The canon's trick
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale
lines 623-670: The priest falls for the trick


       But taketh heed now, sires, for goddes love!
He took his cole of which I spak above,
625And in his hand he baar it pryvely.
And whiles the preest couched bisily
The coles, as I tolde yow er this,
This chanoun seyde, "Freend, ye doon amys.
This is nat couched as it oghte be;
630But soone I shal amenden it," quod he.
"Now lat me medle therwith but a while,
For of yow have I pitee, by Seint Gile!
Ye been right hoot; I se wel how ye swete.
Have heere a clooth, and wipe awey the wete."
635And whiles that the preest wiped his face,
This chanoun took his cole - with sory grace! -
And leyde it above upon the myddeward
Of the crosselet, and blew wel afterward,
Til that the coles gonne faste brenne.
       But take heed now, sirs, for God's very love!
He took this coal whereof I spoke above,
625And in his hand he bore it privily.
And while the priest did pile up busily
The burning coals, as I told you before this,
This canon said: "My friend, you do amiss;
This is not piled up as it ought to be;
630But soon I shall amend all that," said he.
"Now let me thereof have a hand the whiles,
For I've great pity on you, by Saint Giles!
You are right hot, I see well how you sweat,
Take here a cloth and wipe away the wet."
635And while the simple priest did wipe his face,
This canon took his coal, and with grave grace,
Laid it above and well to middleward
Upon the crucible, and blew it hard
Until the flames did blaze, up hot again.
640        "Now yeve us drynke," quod the chanoun thenne;
"As swithe al shal be wel, I undertake.
Sitte we doun, and lat us myrie make."
And whan that this chanounes bechen cole
Was brent, al the lemaille out of the hole
645Into the crosselet fil anon adoun;
And as it moste nedes, by resoun,
Syn it so even aboven it couched was.
But therof wiste the preest nothyng, alas!
He demed alle the coles yliche good;
650For of that sleighte he nothyng understood.
And whan this alkamystre saugh his tyme,
"Ris up," quod he, "sire preest, and stondeth by me;
And for I woot wel ingot have ye noon,
Gooth, walketh forth, and brynge us a chalk stoon;
655For I wol make it of the same shap
That is an ingot, if I may han hap.
And bryngeth eek with yow a bolle or a panne
Ful of water, and ye shul se wel thanne
How that oure bisynesse shal thryve and preeve.
660And yet, for ye shul han no mysbileeve
Ne wrong conceite of me in youre absence,
I ne wol nat been out of youre presence,
But go with yow, and come with yow ageyn."
The chambre dore, shortly for to seyn,
665They opened and shette, and wente hir weye.
And forth with hem they carieden the keye,
And coome agayn withouten any delay.
What sholde I tarien al the longe day?
He took the chalk, and shoop it in the wise
670Of an ingot, as I shal yow devyse.
640        "Now give us drink, sir," said the canon then,
"For soon all shall be well, I undertake;
Let us sit down, and let us merry make."
And when this treacherous canon's beechen coal
Was burnt, then all the filings from the hole
645Into the crucible fell down anon;
As so, in reason, it must needs have done,
Since so well centred over it was;
But thereof nothing knew the priest, alas!
He deemed that all the coals alike were good,
650For of the trick he nothing understood.
And when this alchemist was ready, he
Said to the priest: "Rise up and stand by me;
And since I know that metal mould you've none,
Go sally forth and bring here a chalk-stone;
655For I will make one of the very shape
That ingot moulds have, if I can them ape.
And, too, bring in with you a bowl or pan
Full of clear water, and you'll see, dear man,
How well our business here shall thrive, in brief.
660And yet, that you may have no unbelief,
Or think that somehow I'm not doing right,
I'll never be a moment out of sight,
But go with you and come with you again."
The chamber door, then, briefly to explain,
665They opened and they shut, and went their way.
And as they went they took the key, I say,
And came again, without a long delay,
Why should I tarry here the livelong day?
He took the chalk and shaped it in such wise
670As moulds are made, as further I'll apprise.




Next Next:
From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 671-695:
The canon performs another trick
Next