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But passing this, as from our tale apart,
How dar'st thou tell thy dame thou art affear'd ? Dame Partlet was the sovereign of his heart : Hast thou no manly heart, and hast a beard ? Ardent in love, outrageous in his play,
“ If aught from fearful dreams may be divin'd, He feather'd her a hundred times a day:
They signify a cock of dunghill kind. And she, that was not only passing fair,
All dreams, as in old Galen I have read, But was withal discreet, and debonnaire,
Are from repletion and complexion bred; Resolv'd the passive doctrine to fulfil,
From rising fumes of indigested food, Though loth; and let him work his wicked will: And noxious humors that infect the blood : At board and bed was affable and kind,
And sure, my lord, if I can read aright,
Are certain symptoms in the canting style)
By this her husband's heart she did obtain ; When choler overflows, then dreams are bred
Red dragons, and red beasts, in sleep we view,
And wasps and hornets with their double wings. But, Oh! what joy it was to hear him sing Choler adust congeals our blood with fear, In summer, when the day began to spring,
Then black bulls toss us, and black devils tear. Stretching his neck, and warbling in his throat, In sanguine airy dreams aloft we bound, " Solus cum sola,” then was all his note.
With rheums oppress'd we sink, in rivers drown'd. For in the days of yore, the birds of parts
“ More I could say, but thus conclude my theme, Were bred to speak, and sing, and learn the liberal The dominating humor makes the dream.
Cato was in his time accounted wise, It happ'd, that, perching on the parlor-beam And he condemns them all for empty lies. Amidst his wives, he had a deadly dream, Take my advice, and when we fly to ground, Just at the dawn; and sigh'd, and groan'd so fast, With laxatives preserve your body sound, As every breath he drew would be his last.
And purge the peccant humors that abound. Dame Partlet, ever nearest to his side,
I should be loth to lay you on a bier; Heard all his piteous moan, and how he cried And though there lives no 'pothecary near, For help from gods and men: and sore aghast I dare for once prescribe for your disease, She peck'd and pull'd, and waken'd him at last. And save long bills, and a damn'd doctor's fees. “ Dear heart," said she, “ for love of Heaven, declare “ Two sovereign herbs, which I by practice Your pain, and make me partner of your care.
know, You groan, sir, ever since the morning-light, And both at hand (for in our yard they grow ;) As something had disturb'd your noble spright." On peril of my soul shall rid you wholly
And, madam, well I might,” said Chanticleer, Of yellow choler, and of melancholy: “ Never was shrovetide cock in such a fear; You must both purge and vomit; but obey, Ev'n still I run all over in a sweat,
And for the love of Heaven make no delay. My princely senses not recover'd yet.
Since hot and dry in your complexion join,
Beware the Sun when in a vernal sign;
Replete with choler, I dare lay a groat,
May bring your youth to some untimely end :
A day or two before your laxative,
Your father's son was never born to fear.” “ Now fy for shame," quoth she,“ by Heaven above, “ Madam," quoth he, “gramercy for your care, Thou hast for ever lost thy lady's love ;
But Cato, whom you quoted, you may spare : No woman can endure a recreant knight,
'Tis true, a wise and worthy man he seems, He must be bold by day, and free by night: And (as you say) gave no belief to dreams : Our sex desires a husband or a friend,
But other men of more authority, Who can our honor and his own defend ;
And, by th’immortal powers, as wise as he. Wise, hardy, secret, liberal of his purse :
Maintain, with sounder sense, that dreams forebode A fool is nauseous, but a coward worse :
For Homer plainly says they come from God. No bragging coxcomb, yet no baffled knight, Nor Cato said it: but some modern fool How dar’st thou talk of love, and dar’st not fight? |Impos'd in Cato's name on boys at school.
“ Believe me, madam morning dreams foreshow Ye magistrates, who sacred laws dispense, Th' event of things, and future weal or woe: On you I call, to punish this offence.' Some truths are not by reason to be tried,
“The word thus given, within a little space, but we have sure experience for our guide. The mob came roaring out, and throng'd the plure. An ancient author, equal with the best,
All in a trice they cast the cart to ground, Relates this tale of dreams among the rest. And in the dung the murder'd body found ;
“ Two friends or brothers, with devout intent, Though breathless, warm, and reeking from the On some far pilgrimage together went.
wound. It happen'd so, that, when the Sun was down, Good Heaven, whose darling attribute we find They just arriv'd by twilight at a town:
Is boundless grace, and mercy to mankind, That day had been the baiting of a bull,
Abhors the cruel; and the deeds of night 'Twas at a feast, and every inn so full,
By wondrous ways reveals in open light: That no void room in chamber, or on ground, Murder may pass unpunish'd for a time, And but one sorry bed, was to be found :
But tardy Justice will o'ertake the crime. And that so little it would hold but one,
And oft a speedier pain the guilty feels : Though till this hour they never lay alone. The hue and cry of Heaven pursues him at the heels.
“ So were they forc'd to part; one stay'd behind, Fresh from the fact, as in the present case, His fellow sought what lodging he could find : The criminals are seiz'd upon the place : At last he found a stall where oxen stood,
Carter and host confronted face to face. And that he rather chose than lie abroad.
Stitf in denial, as the law appoints, "Twas in a farther yard without a door;
On engines they distend their tortur'd joints : But, for his ease, well litter'd was the floor.
So was confession forc'd, th' offence was known, “ His fellow, who the narrow bed had kept, And public justice on th' offenders done. Was weary, and without a rocker slept :
Here may you see that visions are to dread; Supine he snor'd; but in the dead of night, And in the page that follows this, I read He dreamt his friend appear'd before his sight, Of two young merchants, whom the hope of gain Who, with a ghastly look and doleful cry, Induc'd in partnership to cross the main. Said, • Help me, brother, or this night I die: Waiting till willing winds their sails supplied, Arise, and help, before all help be vain,
Within a trading town they long abide, Or in an ox's stall I shall be slain.'
Full fairly situate on a haven's side ; “ Rous'd from his rest, he waken'd in a start, One evening it befell, that looking out, Shivering with horror, and with aching heart. The wind they long had wish'd was come about : At length to cure himself by reason tries;
Well pleas’d they went to rest ; and if the gale "Tis but a dream, and what are dreams but lies ? Till morn continued, both resolv'd to sail. So thinking, chang'd his side, and clos'd his eyes. But as together in a bed they lay, His dream returns; his friend appears again : The younger had a dream at break of day. • The murderers come, now help, or I am slain :' A man he thought stood frowning at his side ; "Twas but a vision still, and visions are but vain. Who warn'd him for his safety to provide, He dreamt the third: but now his friend appear'd, Nor put to sea, but safe on shore abide. Pale, naked, pierc'd with wounds; with blood be-l. I come, thy genius, to command thy stay; smeard :
Trust not the winds, for fatal is the day, Thrice warn'd, · Awake,' said he; 'relief is late, And Death unhop'd attends the watery way.' The deed is done ; but thou revenge my fate : “ The vision said : and vanish'd from his sight: Tardy of aid, unseal thy heavy eyes,
The dreamer waken'd in a mortal fright: Awake, and with the dawning day arise :
Then pull'd his drowsy neighbor, and deelar'd Take to the western gate thy ready way,
What in his slumber he had seen and heard. For by that passage they my corpse convey :
His friend smil'd scornful, and with proud contempo My corpse is in a tumbril laid, among
Rejects as idle what his fellow dreamt.
Who follow Mercury the god of gain;
Let each man do as to his fancy seems, Then show'd his grisly wound; and last he drew I wait not, I, till you have better dreams. A piteous sigh, and took a long adieu.
Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes ;
A mob of cobblers, and a court of kings :
Muttering, he went,' said he, . by morning light, Both are the reasonable soul run mad :
Sometimes forgotten things long cast behind And oft to share the spoils with robbers join'd. Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind. “ His dream confirm'd his thought : with troubled The nurse's legends are for truths receiv'd, look
And the man dreams but what the boy believed Straight to the western gate his way he took ; Sometimes we but rehearse a former play, There, as his dream foretold, a cart he found, The night restores our actions done by day : That carried compost forth to dung the ground. As hounds in sleep will open for their prey. This when the pilgrim saw, he stretch'd his throat, In short, the farce of dreams is of a piece, And cried out murder with a yelling note. Chimeras all; and more absurd, or less : . My murder'd fellow in this cart lies dead, You, who believe in tales, abide alone; Vengeance and justice on the villain's head. Whate'er I get this voyage is my own.'
“ Thus while he spoke, he heard the shouting crów While thou art constant to thy own true knight, That call'd aboard, and took his last adieu. While thou art mine, and I am thy delight, The vessel went before a merry gale,
All sorrows at thy presence take their flight.
Madam, the meaning of this Latin is,
For when by night I feel your tender side,
" By this example you are taught again, He said, and downward flew from off the beam.
Then crowing clapp'd his wings, th' appointed call, " Kenelm the son of Kenulph, Mercia's king, To chuck his wives together in the hall. Whose holy life the legends loudly sing,
By this the widow had unbarr'd the door, Warn’d in a dream, his murder did foretell And Chanticleer went strutting out before, From point to point as after it befell;
With royal courage, and with heart so light, All circumstances to his nurse he told
As show'd he scorn'd the visions of the night.
And trod her twenty times ere prime of day :
He chuck' again, when other corns he found, By Quenda slain, he fell before his time,
And scarcely deign'd to set a foot to ground;
And his seven wives came running at his call. Which at your better leisure you may read. "Twas now the month in which the world began “ Macrobius too relates the vision sent
(If March beheld the first created man:) To the great Scipio, with the fam'd event: And since the vernal equinox, the Sun, Objections makes, but after makes replies,
In Aries, twelve degrees, or more, had run; And adds, that dreams are often prophecies. When casting up his eyes against the light,
“Of Daniel you may read in holy writ, Both month, and day, and hour, he measur'd right, Who, when the king his vision did forget,
And told more truly than th' Ephemeris : Could word for word the wondrous dream repeal. For Art may err, but Nature cannot miss. Not less of patriarch Joseph understand,
Thus numbering times and seasons in his breast, Who by a dream enslav'd th' Egyptian land, His second crowing the third hour confess'd. The years of plenty and of dearth foretold, Then turning, said to Partlet, “ See, my dear, When, for their bread, their liberty they sold. How lavish Nature has adorn'd the year ; Nor must th' exalted butler be forgot,
How the pale primrose and blue violet spring, Nor he whose dream presag'd his hanging lot. And birds essay their throats, disus’d to sing :
“ And did not Cræsus the same death foresee, All these are ours; and I with pleasure see Rais'd in his vision on a lofty tree?
Man strutting on two legs, and aping me:
An unfledg'd creature, of a lumpish frame,
“ Much more I know, which I forbear to speak, Than, since I was an egg, I ever found.” For see, the ruddy day begins to break;
The time shall come when Chanticleer shall wish Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee
His words unsaid, and hate his boasted bliss : My dream was bad, and bodes adversity: The crested bird shall by experience know, But neither pills nor laxatives I like,
Jove made not him his masterpiece below; They only serve to make the well-man sick: And learn the latter end of joy is woe. Of these his gain the sharp physician makes, The vessel of his bliss to dregs is run, And often gives a purge, but seldom takes : And Heaven will have him taste his other tun. They not correct, but poison all the blood,
Ye wise, draw near, and hearken to my tale, And ne'er did any but the doctors good :
Which proves that oft the proud by flattery fall: Their tribe, trade, trinkets, I defy them all, The legend is as true, I undertake, With every work of 'pothecary's hall.
As Tristran is, and Launcelot of the lake:
Which all our ladies in such reverence hold,
A fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity,
is pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood, For women, with a mischief to their kind,
Where at heart's ease he lived ; and mighi have und in his high imagination cast,
been Sy stratagem to gratify his taste.
As free from sorrow as he was from sin.
Silence in times of suffering is the best,
"Tis dangerous to disturb an hornet's nest. Then skulk'd till afternoon, and watch'd his time, In other authors you may find enough, (As murderers use) to perpetrate his crime. But all they say of dames is idle stuff. O hypocrite, ingenious to destroy,
Legends of lying wits together bound, O traitor, worse than Sinon was to Troy!
The Wife of Bath would throw them to the ground;
These are the words of Chanticleer, not mine,
Now to continue what my tale begun;
The cock, that of his flesh was ever free,
Sung merrier than the mermaid in the sea :
Among the coleworts, on a butterfly,
I need not swear he had no list to crow:
As sore dismay'd and frighted at his heart;
For birds and beasts, inform’d by Nature, know
Kinds opposite to theirs, and fly their foe.
Yet shunn'd him as a sailor shuns the rocks.
But the false loon, who could not work his will
"I hope, my lord,” said he, “ I not offend;
I were a beast indeed to do you wrong,
I, who have lov'd and honor'd you so long :
Stay, gentle sir, nor take a false alarm,
To learn the secrets of your soft recess ·
Far be from Reynard so profane a thought,
But by the sweetness of your voice was brought:
The song as of an angel in the yard ;
And banish'd horror from the dark abodes;
So much the hymn had pleas'd the tyrant's ear,
The wife had been detain'd, to keep the husband
If he could make such agents wholly free, Has often grac'd my house, and been my guest :
And in my cottage should be proud to sco
The worthy heir of my friend's family.
“ But since I speak of singing, let me say,
As with an upright heart I safely may,
That, save yourself, there breathes not on the
One like your father for a silver sound.
So sweetly would he wake the winter-day,
That matrons to the church mistook their way,
And he, to raise his voice with artful care,
Who, true to love, was all for recreation,
Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames,
Fair Partlet first, when he was borne from sight,
* Besides, a famous monk of modern times When Asdrubal, her husband, lost his life, Has left of cocks recorded in his rhymes,
When she beheld the smouldering flames ascend
And all the Punic glories at an end :
With greater ease than others seek their bed;
Shriek'd for the downfall in a doleful
cry, Now sing, my lord, if not for love of me, For which their guiltless lords were doom'd to die. Yet for the sake of sweet saint Charity ;
Now to my story I return again :
This woful cackling cry with horror heard,
And, starting up, beheld the heavy sight,
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn,
The hope and pillar of the house was borne.
“ The fox, the wicked fox !" was all the cry:
With forks and staves, the felon to pursue.
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot with the band ;
This Chanticleer, of whom the story sings, Poor swine, as if their pretty hearts would break.
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cried,
And fear'd a persecution might beride,
Struck not the city with so loud a shout;
Not when with English hate they did pursue
A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew;
Earth seem'd to sink beneath, and Heaven above 19
fall. Yet Saturn was his mortal foe, and he,
With might and main they chas'd the murderous fox
With brazen trumpets and inflated box,
On Friday morn he dreamt this direful dream, But see, how Fortune can confound the wise,
The captive cock. who scarce could draw his breath
Yet in this agony his fancy wrought,