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The Nonne Preestes Tale. - Geoffrey Chaucer, Notes to the Canterbury Tales (Works vol. 5) 
The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). 7 vols. Vol. 5.
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The Nonne Preestes Tale.
We may compare Dryden’s modernised version of this tale, entitled ‘The Cock and the Fox.’ See further in vol. iii. pp. 431–3.
4011.stape. Lansd. MS. reads stoupe, as if it signified bent, stooped; but stoop is a weak verb. Stape or stope is the past participle of the strong verb stapen, to step, advance. Stape in age=advanced in years. Roger Ascham has almost the same phrase: ‘And [Varro] beyng depe stept in age, by negligence some wordes do scape and fall from him in those bookes as be not worth the taking up,’ &c.—The Schoolmaster, ed. Mayor, p. 189; ed. Arber, p. 152.
4018–9.by housbondrye, by economy; fond hir-self, ‘found herself,’ provided for herself.
4022.Ful sooty was hir bour, and eek hir halle. The widow’s house consisted of only two apartments, designated by the terms bower and hall. Whilst the widow and her ‘daughters two’ slept in the bower, Chanticleer and his seven wives roosted on a perch in the hall, and the swine disposed themselves on the floor. The smoke of the fire had to find its way through the crevices of the roof. See Our English Home, pp. 139, 140. Cf. Virgil, Ecl. vii. 50—‘assidua postes fuligine nigri.’ Also—
4025.No deyntee (Elles. &c.); Noon deynteth (Harl.).
4029.hertes suffisaunce, a satisfied or contented mind, literally heart’s satisfaction. Cf. our phrase ‘to your heart’s content.’
4032.wyn . . . whyt nor reed. The white line was sometimes called ‘the wine of Osey’ (Alsace); the red wine of Gascony, sometimes called ‘Mountrose,’ was deemed a liquor for a lord. See Our English Home, p. 83; Piers Pl. prol. l. 228.
4035.Seynd bacoun, singed or broiled bacon. an ey or tweye, an egg or two.
4036.deye. The daia (from the Icel. deigja) is mentioned in Domesday among assistants in husbandry; and the term is again found in 2nd Stat. 25 Edward III ( 1351). In Stat. 37 Edward III ( 1363), the deye is mentioned among others of a certain rank, not having goods or chattels of 40s. value. The deye was usually a female, whose duty was to make butter and cheese, attend to the calves and poultry, and other odds and ends of the farm. The dairy (in some parts of England, as in Shropshire, called a dey-house) was the department assigned to her. See Prompt. Parv., p. 116.
4039. In Caxton’s translation of Reynard the Fox, the cock’s name is Chantecleer. In the original, it is Canticleer; from his clear voice in singing. In the same, Reynard’s second son is Rosseel; see l. 4524.
4041.merier, sweeter, pleasanter. In Todd’s Illustrations of Chaucer, p. 284, there is a long passage illustrative of mery in the sense of ‘pleasant.’ Cf. l. 4156. orgon is put for orgons or organs. It is plain from gon in the next line, that Chaucer meant to use this word as a plural from the Lat. organa. Organ was used until lately only in the plural, like bellows, gallows, &c. ‘Which is either sung or said or on the organs played.’—Becon’s Acts of Christ, p. 534. It was sometimes called a pair of organs. See note to P. Plowman, C. xxi. 7.
4044. Cf. Parl. of Foules, 350:—
‘The cok, that orloge is of thorpes lyte.’
Orloge (of an abbey) occurs in Religious Pieces, ed. Perry, p. 56; and see Stratmann.
4045. ‘The cock knew each ascension of the equinoctial, and crew at each; that is, he crew every hour, as 15° of the equinoctial make an hour. Chaucer adds [l. 4044] that he knew the hour better than the abbey-clock. This tells us, clearly, that we are to reckon clock-hours, and not the unequal hours of the solar or ‘artificial’ day. Hence the prime, mentioned in l. 4387, was at a clock-hour, at 6, 7, 8, or 9, suppose. The day meant is May 3, because the sun [l. 4384] had passed the 21st degree of Taurus (see fig. 1 of Astrolabe). . . . The date, May 3, is playfully denoted by saying [l. 4379] that March was complete, and also (since March began) thirty-two days more had passed. The words “since March began” are parenthetical; and we are, in fact, told that the whole of March, the whole of April, and two days of May were done with. March was then considered the first month in the year, though the year began with the 25th, not with the 1st; and Chaucer alludes to the idea that the Creation itself took place in March. The day, then, was May 3, with the sun past 21 degrees of Taurus. The hour must be had from the sun’s altitude, rightly said (l. 4389) to be Fourty degrees and oon. I use a globe, and find that the sun would attain the altitude 41° nearly at 9 o’clock. It follows that prime in l. 4387 signifies the end of the first quarter of the day, reckon-from 6 a. m. to 6 p. m.’—Skeat’s Astrolabe, (E. E. T. S.), p. lxi. This rough test, by means of a globe, is perhaps sufficient; but Mr. Brae proved it to be right by calculation. Taking the sun’s altitude at 41½°, he ‘had the satisfaction to find a resulting hour, for prime, of 9 o’clock a. m.almost to the minute.’ It is interesting to find that Thynne explains this passage very well in his Animadversions on Speght’s Chaucer; ed. Furnivall, p. 62, note 1.
The notion that the Creation took place on the 18th of March is alluded to in the Hexameron of St. Basil (see the A. S. version, ed. Norman, p. 8, note j), and in Ælfric’s Homilies, ed. Thorpe, i. 100.
4047. Fifteen degrees of the equinoctial = an exact hour. See note to l. 4045 above. Skelton imitates this passage in his Phillyp Sparowe, l. 495.
4050.And batailed. Lansd. MS. reads Enbateled, indented like a battlement, embattled. Batailed has the same sense.
4051.as the Ieet, like the jet. Beads used for the repetition of prayers were frequently formed of jet. See note to Prol. A. 159.
4060.damoysele Pertelote. Cf. our ‘Dame Partlet.’
In Le Roman de Renart, the hen is called Pinte or Pintain.
4064.in hold; in possession. Cf. ‘He hath my heart in holde’; Greene’s George a Greene, ed. Dyce, p. 256.
4065.loken in every lith, locked in every limb.
4069.my lief is faren in londe, my beloved is gone away. Probably the refrain of a popular song of the time.
4079.herte dere. This expression corresponds to ‘dear heart,’ or ‘deary heart,’ which still survives in some parts of the country.
4083.take it nat agrief=take it not in grief, i. e. take it not amiss, be not offended.
4084.me mette, I dreamed; literally it dreamed to me.
4086.my swevene recche (or rede) aright, bring my dream to a good issue; literally ‘interpret my dream favourably.’
4090.Was lyk. The relative that is often omitted by Chaucer before a relative clause, as, again, in l. 4365.
4098.Avoy (Elles.); Away (Harl.). From O. F. avoi, interj. fie! It occurs in Le Roman de la Rose, 7284, 16634.
4113. See the Chapter on Dreams in Brand’s Pop. Antiquities.
4114.fume, the effects arising from gluttony and drunkenness. ‘Anxious black melancholy fumes.’—Burton’s Anat. of Mel. p. 438, ed. 1845. ‘All vapours arising out of the stomach,’ especially those caused by gluttony and drunkenness. ‘For when the head is heated it scorcheth the blood, and from thence proceed melancholy fumes that trouble the mind.’—Ibid. p. 269.
4118.rede colera. . . red cholera caused by too much bile and blood (sometimes called red humour). Burton speaks of a kind of melancholy of which the signs are these—‘the veins of their eyes red, as well as their faces.’ The following quotation explains the matter. ‘Ther be foure humours, Bloud, Fleame, Cholar, and Melancholy. . . . First, working heate turneth what is colde and moyst into the kind of Fleme, and then what is hot and moyst, into the kinde of Bloud; and then what is hot and drye into the kinde of Cholera; and then what is colde and drye into the kinde of Melancholia. . . . By meddling of other humours, Bloud chaungeth kinde and colour: for by meddling of Cholar, it seemeth red, and by Melancholy it seemeth black, and by Fleame it seemeth watrie, and fomie.’—Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. iv. c. 6. So also—‘in bloud it needeth that there be red Cholera’; lib. iv. c. 10; &c.
The following explains the belief as to dreams caused by cholera. Men in which red Cholera is excesssive ‘dreame of fire, and of lyghtening, and of dreadful burning of the ayre’; Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. iv. c. 10. Those in which Melancholia is excessive dream ‘dredfull darke dreames, and very ill to see’; id. c. 11. And again: ‘He that is Sanguine hath glad and liking dreames, the melancholious dremeth of sorrow, the Cholarike, of firy things, and the Flematike, of Raine, Snow,’ &c.; id. lib. vi. c. 27.
4123.the humour of malencolye. ‘The name (melancholy) is imposed from the matter, and disease denominated from the material cause, as Bruel observes, μελανχολία quasi μελαιναχόλη, from black choler.’ Fracastorius, in his second book of Intellect, calls those melancholy ‘whom abundance of that same depraved humour of black choler hath so misaffected, that they become mad thence, and dote in most things or in all, belonging to election, will, or other manifest operations of the understanding.’—Bruton’s Anat. of Melancholy, p. 108, ed. 1805.
4128. ‘That cause many a man in sleep to be very distressed.’
4130.Catoun. Dionysius Cato, de Moribus, l. ii. dist. 32: somnia ne cures. ‘I observe by the way, that this distich is quoted by John of Salisbury, Polycrat. l. ii. c. 16, as a precept viri sapientis. In another place, l. vii. c. 9, he introduces his quotation of the first verse of dist. 20 (l. iii.) in this manner:—“Ait vel Cato vel alius, nam autor incertus est.” ’—Tyrwhitt. Cf. note to G. 688.
4131.do no fors of=take no notice of, pay no heed to. Skelton, i. 118, has ‘makyth so lytyll fors,’ i.e. cares so little for.
4153. ‘Wormwood, centaury, pennyroyal, are likewise magnified and much prescribed, especially in hypochondrian melancholy, daily to be used, sod in whey. And because the spleen and blood are often misaffected in melancholy, I may not omit endive, succory, dandelion, fumitory, &c., which cleanse the blood.’—Burton’s Anat. of Mel. pp. 432, 433. See also p. 438, ed. 1845. ‘Centauria abateth wombe-ache, and cleereth sight, and vnstoppeth the splene and the reines’; Batman upon Bartholomè, lib. xvii. c. 47. ‘Fumus terre [fumitory] cleanseth and purgeth Melancholia, fleme, and cholera’; id. lib. xvii. c. 69. ‘Medicinal herbs were grown in every garden, and were dried or made into decoctions, and kept for use’; Wright, Domestic Manners, p. 279.
4154.ellebor. Two kinds of hellebore are mentioned by old writers; ‘white hellebore, called sneezing powder, a strong purger upward’ (Burton’s Anat. of Mel. pt. 2. § 4. m. 2. subsec. 1.), and ‘black hellebore, that most renowned plant, and famous purger of melancholy.’—Ibid. subsec. 2.
4155.catapuce, caper-spurge, Euphorbia Lathyris. gaytres (or gaytrys) beryis, probably the berries of the buck-thorn, Rhamnus catharticus; which (according to Rietz) is still called, in Swedish dialects, the getbärs-trä (goat-berries tree) or getappel (goat-apple). I take gaytre to stand for gayt-tre, i. e. goat-tree; a Northern form, from Icel. geit (gen. geitar), a goat. The A.S. gāte-trēow, goat-tree, is probably the same tree, though the prov. Eng. gaiter-tree, gatten-tree, or gatteridge-tree is usually applied to the Cornus sanguinea or corneltree, the fruits of which ‘are sometimes mistaken for those of the buck-thorn, but do not possess the active properties of that plant’; Eng. Cyclop., s. v. Cornus. The context shews that the buck-thorn is meant. Langham says of the buck-thorn, that ‘the beries do purge downwards mightily flegme and choller’; Garden of Health, 1633, p. 99 (New E. Dict., s. v. Buckthorn). This is why Chanticleer was recommended to eat them.
4156.erbe yve, herb ive or herb ivy, usually identified with the ground-pine, Ajuga chamæpitys. mery, pleasant, used ironically; as the leaves are extremely nausecus.
4160.graunt mercy, great thanks; this in later authors is corrupted into grammercy or gramercy.
4166.so mote I thee, as I may thrive (or prosper). Mote=A. S. mōt-e, first p. s. pr. subj.
4174.Oon of the gretteste auctours. ‘Cicero, De Divin. l. i. c. 27, relates this and the following story, but in a different order, and with so many other differences, that one might be led to suspect that he was here quoted at second-hand, if it were not usual with Chaucer, in these stories of familiar life, to throw in a number of natural circumstances, not to be found in his original authors.’—Tyrwhitt. Warton thinks that Chaucer took it rather from Valerius Maximus, who has the same story; i. 7. He has, however, overlooked the statement in l. 4254, which decides for Cicero. I here quote the whole of the former story, as given by Valerius. ‘Duo familiares Arcades iter una facientes, Megaram venerunt; quorum alter ad hospitem se contulit, alter in tabernam meritoriam devertit. Is, qui in hospitio venit, vidit in somnis comitem suam orantem, ut sibi cauponis insidiis circumvento subveniret: posse enim celeri ejus accursu se imminenti periculo subtrahi. Quo viso excitatus, prosiluit, tabernamque, in qua is diversabatur, petere conatus est. Pestifero deinde fato ejus humanissimum propositum tanquam supervacuum damnavit, et lectum ac somnum repetiit. Tunc idem ei saucius oblatus obsecravit, ut qui auxilium vitae suae ferre neglexisset, neci saltem ultionem non negaret. Corpus enim suum à caupone trucidatum, tum maxime plaustro ad portam ferri stercore coöpertum. Tam constantibus familiaris precibus compulsus, protinus ad portam cucurrit, et plaustrum, quod in quiete demonstratum erat, comprehendit, cauponemque ad capitale supplicium perduxit.’ Valerii Maximi, lib. i. c. 7 (De Somniis). Cf. Cicero, De Divinatione, i. 27.
4194.oxes; written oxe in Hl. Cp. Ln; where oxe corresponds to the older English gen. oxan, of an ox—oxe standing for oxen (as in Oxenford, see note on l. 285 of Prologue). Thus oxes and oxe are equivalent.
4200.took of this no keep, took no heed to this, paid no attention to it.
4211.sooth to sayn, to say (tell) the truth.
4232.gapinge. The phrase gaping upright occurs elsewhere (see Knightes Tale, A. 2008), and signifies lying flat on the back with the mouth open. Cf. ‘Dede he sate uprighte,’ i.e. he lay on his back dead. The Sowdone of Babyloyne, l. 530.
4235.Harrow, a cry of distress; a cry for help. ‘Harrow! alas! I swelt here as I go.’—The Ordinary; see vol. iii. p. 150, of the Ancient Drama. See F. haro in Godefroy and Littré; and note to A. 3286.
4237.outsterte (Elles., &c.); upsterte (Hn., Harl.)
4242. A common proverb. Skelton, ed. Dyce, i. 50, has ‘I drede mordre wolde come oute.’
4274.And preyde him his viáge for to lette, And prayed him to abandon his journey.
4275.to abyde, to stay where he was.
4279.my thinges, my business-matters.
4300. ‘Kenelm succeeded his father Kenulph on the throne of the Mercians in 821 [Haydn, Book of Dates, says 819] at the age of seven years, and was murdered by order of his aunt, Quenedreda. He was subsequently made a saint, and his legend will be found in Capgrave, or in the Golden Legend.’—Wright.
St. Kenelm’s day is Dec. 13. Alban Butler, in his Lives of the Saints, says:—[Kenulph] ‘dying in 819, left his son Kenelm, a child only seven years old [see l. 4307] heir to his crown, under the tutelage of his sister Quindride. This ambitious woman committed his person to the care of one Ascobert, whom she had hired to make away with him. The wicked minister decoyed the innocent child into an unfrequented wood, cut off his head, and buried him under a thorn-tree. His corpse is said to have been discovered by a heavenly ray of light which shone over the place, and by the following inscription:—
Milton tells the story in his History of Britain, bk. iv. ed. 1695, p. 218, and refers us to Matthew of Westminster. He adds that the ‘inscription’ was inside a note, which was miraculously dropped by a dove on the altar at Rome. Our great poet’s verson of it is:—
Clent is near the boundary between Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
Neither of these accounts mentions Kenelm’s dream, but it is given in his Life, as printed in Early Eng. Poems, ed. Furnivall (Phil. Soc. 1862), p. 51, and in Caxton’s Golden Legend. St. Kenelm dreamt that he saw a noble tree with waxlights upon it, and that he climbed to the top of it; whereupon one of his best friends cut it down, and he was turned into a little bird, and flew up to heaven. The little bird denoted his soul, and the flight to heaven his death.
4307.For traisoun, i. e. for fear of treason.
4314.Cipioun. The Somnium Scipionis of Cicero, as annotated by Macrobius, was a favourite work during the middle ages. See note to l. 31 of the Parl. of Foules.
4328. See the Monkes Tale, B. 3917, and the note, p. 246.
4331.Lo heer Andromacha. Andromache’s dream is not to be found in Homer. It is mentioned in chapter xxiv. of Dares Phrygius, the authority for the history of the Trojan war most popular in the middle ages. See the Troy-book, ed. Panton and Donaldson (E. E. T. S.), l. 8425; or Lydgate’s Siege of Troye, c. 27.
4341.as for conclusioun, in conclusion.
4344.telle . . . no store, set no store by them; reckon them of no value; count them as useless.
4346.never a del, never a whit, not in the slightest degree.
4350. This line is repeated from the Compleynt of Mars, l. 61.
4353–6. ‘By way of quiet retaliation for Partlet’s sarcasm, he cites a Latin proverbial saying, in l. 344, ‘Mulier est hominis confusio,’ which he turns into a pretended compliment by the false translation in ll. 345, 346.’—Marsh. Tyrwhitt quotes it from Vincent of Beauvais, Spec. Hist. x. 71. Chaucer has already referred to this saying above; see p. 207, l. 2296. ‘A woman, as saith the philosofre [i. e. Vincent], is the confusion of man, insaciable, &c.’; Dialogue of Creatures, cap. cxxi. ‘Est damnum dulce mulier, confusio sponsi’; Adolphi Fabulae, x. 567; pr. in Leyser, Hist. Poet. Med. Aevi, p. 2031. Cf. note to D. 1195.
4365.lay, for that lay. Chaucer omits the relative, as is frequently done in Middle English poetry; see note to l. 4090.
4377. According to Beda, the creation took place at the vernal equinox; see Morley, Eng. Writers, 1888, ii. 146. Cf. note to l. 4045.
4384. See note on l. 4045 above.
4395. Cf. Man of Lawes Tale, B. 421, and note. See Prov. xiv. 13.
4398. In the margin of MSS. E. and Hn. is written ‘Petrus Comestor,’ who is probably here referred to.
4402. See the Squieres Tale, F. 287, and the note.
4405.col-fox; explained by Bailey as a ‘coal-black fox’; and he seems to have caught the right idea. Col- here represents M. E. col, coal; and the reference is to the brant-fox, which is explained in the New E. Dict. as borrowed from the G. brand-fuchs, ‘the German name of a variety of the fox, chiefly distinguished by a greater admixture of black in its fur; according to Grimm, it has black feet, ears, and tail.’ Chaucer expressly refers to the black-tipped tail and ears in l. 4094 above. Mr. Bradley cites the G. kohlfuchs and Du. koolvos, similarly formed; but the ordinary dictionaries do not give these names. The old explanation of col-fox as meaning ‘deceitful fox’ is difficult to establish, and is now unnecessary.
4412.undern; see note to E. 260.
4417.Scariot, i. e. Judas Iscariot. Genilon; the traitor who caused the defeat of Charlemagne, and the death of Roland; see Book of the Duchesse, 1121, and the note in vol. i. p. 491.
4418. See Vergil, Æn. ii. 259.
4430.bulte it to the bren, sift the matter; cf. the phrase to boult the bran. See the argument in Troilus, iv. 967; cf. Milton, P. L. ii. 560.
4432.Boece, i. e. Boethius. See note to Kn. Tale, A. 1163.
Bradwardyn. Thomas Bradwardine was Proctor in the University of Oxford in the year 1325, and afterwards became Divinity Professor and Chancellor of the University. His chief work is ‘On the Cause of God’ (De Causâ Dei). See Morley’s English Writers, iv. 61.
4446.colde, baneful, fatal. The proverb is Icelandic; ‘köld eru opt kvenna-ráð,’ cold (fatal) are oft women’s counsels; Icel. Dict. s. v. kaldr. It occurs early, in The Proverbs of Alfred, ed. Morris, Text 1, l. 336:—‘Cold red is quene red.’ Cf. B. 2286, and the note.
4450–6. Imitated from Le Roman de la Rose, 15397–437.
4461.Phisiologus. ‘He alludes to a book in Latin metre, entitled Physiologus de Naturis xii. Animalium, by one Theobaldus, whose age is not known. The chapter De Sirenis begins thus:—
See The Bestiary, in Dr. Morris’s Old English Miscellany, pp. 18, 207; Philip de Thaun, Le Bestiaire, l. 664; Babees Book, pp. 233, 237; Mätzner’s Sprachproben, i. 55; Gower, C. A. i. 58; and cf. Rom. Rose, Eng. Version, 680 (in vol. i. p. 122).
4467. In Douglas’s Virgil, prol. to Book xi. st. 15, we have—
i. e. if thou turn coward, (and) a recreant craven, and consent to cry cok, thy death is imminent. In a note on this passage, Ruddiman says—‘Cok is the sound which cocks utter when they are beaten.’ But it is probable that this is only a guess, and that Douglas is merely quoting Chaucer. To cry cok! cok! refers rather to the utterance of rapid cries of alarm, as fowls cry when scared. Brand (Pop. Antiq., ed. Ellis, ii. 58) copies Ruddiman’s explanation of the above passage.
4484. Boethius wrote a treatise De Musica, quoted by Chaucer in the Hous of Fame; see my note to l. 788 of that poem (vol. iii. p. 260).
4490. ‘As I hope to retain the use of my two eyes.’ So Havelok, l. 2545:—
‘So mote ich brouke mi Rith eie!’
And l. 1743:—‘So mote ich brouke finger or to.’
And l. 311:—‘So brouke i euere mi blake swire!’
swire=neck. See also Brouke in the Glossary to Gamelyn.
4502.daun Burnel the Asse. ‘The story alluded to is in a poem of Nigellus Wireker, entitled Burnellus seu Speculum Stultorum, written in the time of Richard I. In the Chester Whitsun Playes, Burnell is used as a nickname for an ass. The original word was probably brunell, from its brown colour; as the fox below is called Russel, from his red colour.’—Tyrwhitt. The Latin story is printed in The Anglo-Latin Satirists of the Twelfth Century, ed. T. Wright, i. 55; see also Wright’s Biographia Britannica Literaria, Anglo-Norman Period, p. 356. There is an amusing translation of it in Lowland Scotch, printed as ‘The Unicornis Tale’ in Small’s edition of Laing’s Select Remains of Scotch Poetry, ed. 1885, p. 285. It tells how a certain young Gundulfus broke a cock’s leg by throwing a stone at him. On the morning of the day when Gundulfus was to be ordained and to receive a benefice, the cock took his revenge by not crowing till much later than usual; and so Gundulfus was too late for the ceremony, and lost his benefice. Cf. Warton, Hist. E. P., ed. 1871, ii. 352; Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 338. As to the name Russel, see note to l. 4039.
4516. See Rom. of the Rose (E. version), 1050. MS. E. alone reads courtes; Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. have court; Ln. courte; Hl. hous.
4519.Ecclesiaste; not Ecclesiastes, but Ecclesiasticus, xii. 10, 11, 16 Cf. Tale of Melibeus, B. 2368.
4525. Tyrwhitt cites the O. F. form gargate, i. e. (throat), from the Roman de Rou. Several examples of it are given by Godefroy.
4537.O Gaufred. ‘He alludes to a passage in the Nova Poetria of Geoffrey de Vinsauf, published not long after the death of Richard I. In this work the author has not only given instructions for composing in the different styles of poetry, but also examples. His specimen of the plaintive style begins thus:—
These lines are sufficient to show the object and the propriety of Chaucer’s ridicule. The whole poem is printed in Leyser’s Hist. Poet. Med. Ævi, pp. 862–978.’—Tyrwhitt. See a description of the poem, with numerous quotations, in Wright’s Biographia Britannica Literaria, Anglo-Norman Period, p. 400; cf. Lounsbury, Studies, ii. 341.
4538. Richard I. died on April 6, 1199, on Tuesday; but he received his wound on Friday, March 26.
4540.Why ne hadde I = O that I had.
4547.streite swerd = drawn (naked) sword. Cf. Aeneid, ii. 333, 334:—
4548. See Aeneid, ii. 550–553.
4553.Hasdrubal; not Hannibal’s brother, but the King of Carthage when the Romans burnt it, 146. Hasdrubal slew himself; and his wife and her two sons burnt themselves in despair; see Orosius, iv. 13. 3, or Ælfred’s translation, ed. Sweet, p. 212. Lydgate has the story in his Fall of Princes, bk. v. capp. 12 and 27.
4573. See note to Ho. Fame, 1277 (in vol. iii. p. 273). ‘Colle furit’; Morley, Eng. Writers, 1889, iv. 179.
4584. Walsingham relates how, in 1381, Jakke Straw and his men killed many Flemings ‘cum clamore consueto.’ He also speaks of the noise made by the rebels as ‘clamor horrendissimus.’ See Jakke in Tyrwhitt’s Glossary. So also, in Riley’s Memorials of London, p. 450, it is said, with respect to the same event—‘In the Vintry was a very great massacre of Flemings.’
4590.houped. See Piers Plowman, B. vi. 174; ‘houped after Hunger, that herde hym,’ &c.
4616. Repeated in D. 1062.
4633. ‘Mes retiengnent le grain et jettent hors la paille’; Test. de Jean de Meun, 2168.
4635.my Lord. A side-note in MS. E. explains this to refer to the Archbishop of Canterbury; doubtless William Courtenay, archbishop from 1381 to 1396. Cf. note to l. 4584, which shews that this Tale is later than 1381; and it was probably earlier than 1396. Note that good men is practically a compound, as in l. 4630. Hence read good, not gōd-e.