Geoffrey Chaucer is an English writer and poet who was born in London in the 1340s and died in 1400 in that same city. His most famous work is Canterbury Tales. The Canterbury Tales are, with Sire Gauvain and the Green Knight (from an anonymous person) and Peter the Plowman (by William Langland), the very first great works of English literature. Here is the first tale: the squire.
"Squire, approach, if you don't mind,
and tell us some love story; because, for sure,
about it as much as anyone knows. "
"No, Sir (he said), but I will say as I know,
with a good heart; because you don't want to rebel me
against your desire; I want to tell a tale.
Excuse me if I am expressing myself badly,
I have good will; and, here is my story. "
In Sarray, in the land of Tartary,
10 there lived a king who waged war against Russia,
which caused the death of many valiant man.
This noble king had the name Cambinskan,
who in his time had such a great reputation
that he was nowhere, in no region,
so excellent lord in all things;
he lacked nothing of what makes a king,
and the religion in which he was born
he kept the sworn faith;
and he was besides bold, and wise, and rich,
20 and pitiful and just, always the same;
true to his word, benevolent, honorable,
of a character as stable as a center ;
young, fresh, vigorous, also ardent to arms
than any of the graduates of his house.
He was well-groomed and wealthy,
and always kept royal status so well
that nowhere was a man like him.
This noble king, this Tartar Gambinskan
had two sons of Elpheta his wife,
30 whose eldest was called Algarsyf,
and the other son was named Cambalo.
This worthy king also had a daughter,
who was the youngest, and who was called Canaceae.
But tell you how beautiful she was
is not in the power of my language nor of my knowledge;
I dare not undertake such a lofty task.
My English, moreover, is insufficient;
one would have to be an excellent rhetorician,
knowing the colors specific to this art,
40 to describe it in all its parts.
I am not such, I must speak as I can.
But it happened that when Cambinskan
had worn his tiara for twenty winters,
as he used to every year, I guess,
he proclaimed the feast of his nativity
in the four corners of Sarray, his city,
the last day of the Ides of March, depending on the course of the year.
Phebus the sun was very happy and bright,
because he was not far from his exaltation
50 in the face of Mars, and in its mansion
in Ariès, the boiling sign of anger.
Le temps était tout joyeux et benign ;
also the birds in the light of the sun,
the season helping and also the young greenery,
aloud sang their loves;
they seemed to have obtained protection
against the sharp cold sword of winter.
This Cambinskan, whom I told you about,
in royal clothes sits on his canopy,
60 diadem at the head, at the high end of the table in his palace,
and celebrates its feast, so splendid and rich
that it was not the same in this world.
And if I had to tell the whole story,
it would take a summer day;
no need to describe either
the order of service for each dish.
I won't talk about their weird sauces
nor their swans, or their herds.
Besides in this country, as old knights tell,
70 there are foods considered delicious
which people back home do not care much about.
It is not in the power of anyone to relate everything;
I don't want to delay you because it is prime
and that this would only result in a waste of time;
I come back to my first subject.
So it happened that after the third service,
while the king was thus enthroned in great pomp,
listening to his minstrels play their tunes
in front of him at the table delectably,
80 suddenly at the door of the room
came a knight on a bronze steed,
and holding in his hand a large glass mirror;
on his thumb he had a gold ring
and from his side a drawn sword hung;
and here he is pushing his horse up the end of the table.
In the whole room no one whispered a word
in the wonder of this knight; and to contemplate it
follow him attentively with eyes young and old.
This strange knight who suddenly arrived like this,
90 all armed, except the chief, richly rich,
salute the king, the queen, and all the lords,
according to the rank they occupied in the room,
with such great respect and obedience
both in his speech and in his demeanor,
that Gauvain, with his old courtesy,
if he had returned from fairy land,
could in no way have surpassed him.
And after this, in front of the high table,
he says his message in a male voice,
100 according to the form used in its language,
without a syllable or letter fault;
and, to make his story seem better,
with his words he tuned his face,
as the art of speech teaches those who study it;
although I cannot imitate his way,
nor can cross such a high barrier,
I will however reiterate in plain language
what all his speech amounts to,
if however I remember it correctly.
110 He said: "The king of Arabia and India,
my liege lord, on this solemn day,
greet you as best it is in his power,
and, in honor of your feast, sends you
by me, who am entirely at your command,
this brazen steed who easily and well
can, in the space of a natural day,
that is to say in twenty-four hours,
wherever you want, in dry or rainy weather,
transport you to any place
120 where your desire pushes you,
and this, without any danger, in good or bad weather;
or else please fly in the air so high
what does the eagle do, when it suits it to soar,
this same courier will always carry
without any harm, until you are where you want to go,
even if you would sleep or lay on its back,
and will come back if you twist an ankle.
Whoever made it knew more than one invention;
he observed many constellation
130 before having completed this operation;
he knew many seals and many spells.
And this mirror too, that I have there in my hand,
to be able as it can be read
the moment when some misfortune will happen
to your kingdom or to yourself too,
and clearly who your friend or foe is.
And, even more, some beautiful lady
to someone she gave her heart,
if he cheats on her, she will see his betrayal,
140 his new love and all his cunning,
so clearly that nothing will remain hidden.
So for this happy summer season,
this mirror and this ring, which you can see,
he sends them to Princess Canaceae,
your excellent daughter here present.
The virtue of this ring, if you want to learn it,
is such that he pleases to wear it
on the thumb, or to hold it in its purse,
there is no bird that flies under the sky
150 whose language she cannot understand well,
and know clearly and clearly the thought,
and she can answer him in her own language.
And all the herbs that grow on the root
they will know them, and who they can heal,
so deep and so wide that his wounds are.
This naked sword, which hangs by my side,
has such virtue that, whoever you strike,
she will cut and pierce her armor through and through,
even if it was as thick as a branched oak;
160 and the man who will be hurt by this blow
never will heal, unless it pleases you, by thank you,
to hit it with the dish in the same place
of his injury: this amounts to saying
that it takes with the flat of the sword
hit him again on his wound, and it will close;
this is the pure truth, without gloss:
once in the hand, this weapon will not need. "
And when the knight had thus told his tale,
he pushed his horse out of the main hall, and dismounted.
170 His steed, which shone like a clear sun,
stands in the courtyard, motionless as a stone.
The knight is immediately led to his room,
they disarm him and make him sit down at the feast.
With great fanfare we send for the presents,
namely the sword and the mirror,
and we make them immediately carry inside the high tower
by certain officers ordered for it;
and to Canacea the ring is brought
solemnly, where she sits at the table.
180 But what is certain, without any fable,
is that the bronze horse that cannot be moved
remains there standing, as if he were glued to the ground.
No one who can move him from his place,
would it be by using winch or pulley;
and why ? It's because they don't know the secret.
So we leave it in place
until the knight has taught the way
to make him leave, as you will see later.
Large was the crowd, which swarmed in all directions,
190 to contemplate this horse which is standing there;
because he was so tall, so wide and long
and so well proportioned to be strong
that one would have said quite the steed of Lombardy;
with that so perfect and the eye so keen
that he seemed to be a noble steed of Puglia.
Because, in truth, from the tail to the tip of the ear,
neither nature nor art could have amended
the smallest thing: it was everyone's opinion.
But what always made them wonder the most,
200 that was how he could walk, being of brass;
he was from the land of the fairies, it was supposed;
diverse being people, diverse were opinions;
as many heads there are, as many opinions.
They were buzzing like a swarm of bees,
and gave reasons according to their imagination,
repeating the old poems,
and said he was like Pegasus.
this horse which had wings to fly;
ou encore c’était le cheval du Greek Sinon
210 qui amena la destruction de Troy,
as we can read in the old gestures.
“My heart (said one) is all in turmoil;
I believe that there are armed men in there,
who designed to take this city.
It would be good to clarify all this. "
Another spoke in a low voice to his companion,
saying, "He's lying, it seems to be rather
an appearance produced by some magic trick
as in the great festivals the jugglers practice it. "
220 On various assumptions thus they gossip and dissert,
according to the custom of the ignorant who judge
of things made too ingeniously
so that in their ignorance they can understand them;
they readily oppose evil.
And a few wondered about the mirror
that had been worn in the mistress tower,
how you could see such things there.
Another replied that it could well be produced
naturally, by combinations
230 angles, and sharp reflections,
and it was said that in Rome was the same.
They were talking about Allozen and Vitello
and Aristotle, who wrote in their time
on lenses and strange mirrors,
comme le savent ceux qui ont ouï parler de leurs books.
And other people marveled at the sword
who could pierce anything;
and started talking about King Telephus
and Achilles and his wonderful spear
240 with which he could as well heal or injure,
just as it is possible with this sword
which you yourselves heard about earlier.
They talk about various tempers of metal,
and also talk about medicines,
and how and when it should be soaked ;
but that is completely unknown to me.
Then they spoke of the ring of Canacea,
and all said that of such a marvel
in the art of making rings no one had heard of,
250 except that the famous Moses and King Solomon
had a reputation for skill in this art.
So say the people, pulling themselves aside.
But yet some said it was
wonder of making glass with fern ashes,
and yet glass is not like the ashes of a fern;
but as it is something that men have known for a long time,
then cease their chatter and their astonishment.
Some are so amazed at the causes of thunder,
of ebb and flow, of the sons of the Virgin and of the fog
260 and of all things, until they discovered the cause
So they gossip and judge and converse
until the king rises from the table.
Phébus had left the southern corner,
and the royal beast still rode,
the noble Lion with his Aldiran,
when this Tartar king, this Cambinskan
rose from the table, where he was seated in the highest place.
In front of him go the sound music,
until he arrives at his parade chamber
270 in which the various instruments resonate;
to hear them one would have believed oneself in paradise.
Now the darling children of happy Venus dance,
because in the Fish their lady seated at the highest
with a benevolent eye contemplates them.
The noble king is installed on his throne.
The foreign knight is immediately led to him,
and he enters into dance with Canacea.
These are joys and entertainment
that it is not in the power of a dull mind to tell.
280 You must have known love and its service,
and be a feast as fresh as the month of May,
to be able to describe such an arroi to you.
Who could tell you the dancing figures
so strange, and the faces so fresh,
the so subtle looks, the hidden airs
so as not to awaken the jealous?
Nobody except Lancelot, and he is dead.
So I pass over all these celebrations;
I say no more, and their antics
290 I leave them, until they go to supper.
The steward ordered that the spices be brought quickly,
and also wine, in the midst of all this harmony.
Bailiffs and squires went there,
and wines and spices soon arrived.
We eat, we drink, and when this is over,
we go to the temple, of course.
The service finished, they all have supper on this day.
What is the use of telling you all this arroi?
Everyone knows that at a king's feast
300 there is fleece for adults and children,
and delicacies more than I know of.
After supper the noble king
go see the bronze horse, with all the crowd
lords and ladies around him.
We marveled so much at this bronze horse
that since the great siege of Troy took place
where a horse also caused so much astonishment,
there was no such wonder.
Finally the king asks the knight
310 the virtue of the courier and his power,
and begs him to tell him how we run him.
The horse caught jumping and dancing
as soon as the knight had put his hand on his bridle,
saying, "Sir, here's the thing:
when you want him to carry you somewhere,
you need to twist an ankle placed in his ear;
I will designate it between us.
It will also be necessary to name the place
or the country you want to go to.
320 And when you get to where you want to stop,
tell him to come down and twist another peg;
because this is where the effect of the whole machine lies,
and then he will come down and do your will,
and in this place will remain quiet,
when the whole world would have sworn otherwise;
from there we will not be able to pull it or make it move.
Or if you want to make him leave,
turn the ankle, and he will pass out right away
in the eyes of everyone,
330 and will return, be it day or night,
when you please call it back,
by such means that I will tell you
between you and me, and that earlier.
Ride it whenever you want, there is nothing else you can do. "
So when the king had been informed by the knight,
and it was exactly put in the mind
the layout and shape of the entire device,
content and joyful, this noble and valiant king
returned to his feast as before.
340 The bridle to the tower is worn,
and stored among its dear and precious jewels.
The horse, I don't know how, fainted
out of sight ; do not ask me more.
But I thus leave in jubilation and joyfulness
this Cambinskan celebrating his lords
until the day was about to break.
The nourisher of digestion, Sleep,
turned his blinking eyes towards them, and invited them to consider
that many libations and fatigue require rest
350 and yawning kissed them all,
and said it was time to go to bed,
because the blood was in its moment of domination ;
"Heal the blood, friend of nature," he said.
They thanked him yawning, in twos, in threes,
and each to go to rest
how Sleep invited them; it was the best thing to do.
Their dreams, I won't tell you;
their heads were full of fumes
that cause dreams, but whatever.
360 They slept until prime time passed,
for the most part, except however Canaceae;
she was very temperamental, as are women.
In fact from her father she had taken leave
to go to bed, soon after vespers;
Didn't she want to be quite pale
and in the morning to appear languid;
and she slept her first sleep, and then awoke.
Because such joy she had in her heart
of her mirror and her strange ring
370 that twenty times it changed color;
and in his sleep, under the impression
from her mirror she had a vision.
So before the sun began to rise,
she called her housekeeper to her
and told him that she wanted to get up.
Like those old women who like to be wise,
his housekeeper answered him immediately
and said, "Madam, where do you want to go
so morning? because everyone is resting. "
380 - "I want (she said) get up, because I don't care
to sleep longer, and I go for a walk. "
The governess calls women in large numbers,
and here they are getting up, ten or twelve;
also rises the fresh Canaceae,
ruddy and sparkling like the young sun,
who traveled four degrees in Aries ;
he had not climbed higher when she was ready;
and here she is, happily at a walk,
dressed according to the cheerful and sweet season,
390 to play happily and walk,
with no more than five or six following;
and by a sunken road it plunges into the park.
The vapors that rose from the earth
made the sun appear broad and reddish;
but nevertheless it was such a beautiful spectacle
that he gave them all a light heart,
both by the season and the morning
than by the birds she heard singing;
because immediately she knew what they were saying
400 by their songs, and knew all their thoughts.
The knot in view of which all this tale is told,
if it is delayed until the curiosity has cooled
of those who have been waiting for it for a long time,
the flavor disappears all the more,
out of satiety of its prolixity.
And for this reason it seems to me
that I need to get to this knot
and put an end to this walk early.
In the middle of a withered tree, white as oral,
410 while Canaceae played while walking,
was perched a falcon high above his head,
who in a piteous voice so much began to cry
that all the wood echoed with its cries.
And so pitifully she had hit herself
with its two wings, that a ruddy blood
flowed down the tree where she was.
And she kept on moaning and screaming
and its beak pricked itself in such a way
that he is neither a tiger, nor such a cruel beast,
420 living in woods or forests,
who would not have cried, if they could cry,
out of pity on her, she cried so loudly.
Because he is not a man in the world
(if I knew how to describe a falcon)
who has heard of such a beauty,
as well for the plumage as for the delicacy
of form, and all that is to be considered.
She looked like a peregrine falcon
coming from foreign lands; and the whole time she was there,
430 she fainted several times for lack of blood,
almost to the point of falling from the tree.
This beautiful king's daughter, Canaceae,
who wore the strange ring on his finger
thanks to which she understood perfectly
everything a bird in its Latin could say,
and knew how to answer him in the same language,
understood what the falcon was saying
and pity almost died.
And towards the tree she walks in great haste
440 and look at the bird pitifully,
and holds her skirt stretched out, knowing full well
that surely the falcon would fall from the branch,
when she had another weakness, for lack of blood.
She stayed there a long time watching her;
finally she spoke in this way
to the bird, as you will hear:
"For what cause, if all can say,
are you in this furious torment of hell?
(Canaceae said to the bird above her).
450 Is it out of grief over death or loss of love?
Because, in my opinion, these are the two causes
who hurt the sweetest heart the most;
there is no need to talk about other evils.
For it is you who turn your fury against yourself,
which proves that love or anguish of the heart
must be the reason for your cruel act,
since I do not see any other being chasing you.
For the love of God, I beg you, be gracious to yourself,
or accept what can be remedied for you, for in the west nor in the east
460 we haven't seen a bird or a beast yet
who acted so pitifully towards himself.
Your grief is truly killing me,
so much do I have great compassion for you.
For the love of God, come down from your tree;
and as sure as I am a king's daughter,
if i knew the real cause
of your pain, and if it was in my power,
I would remedy it, before it was night,
as true as I wish the help of the great God of Nature;
470 and I will find enough herbs
to heal your wounds promptly. "
So cried the falcon more miserably
than ever, and immediately fell to the ground,
and there she lies unconscious, dead, and like a stone;
Canaceae took her in her lap,
until she awoke from her fainting.
And when she came out of her swoon,
in her hawkish language she spoke thus:
"That pity is quick to flow in a kind heart,
480 who feels compassion for the stinging pains,
this is proven every day, as we can see,
both by deeds and by the authority of books;
because a delicate heart shows delicacy.
I can see that from my distress you have
compassion, my beautiful Canaceae,
out of true female kindness
that Nature has put in your principles.
Not in the hope of wearing me better,
but to obey your generous heart,
490 and warn others by my example,
as on the back of the dog is chastened the lion,
for this cause and this result,
as long as I have time and opportunity,
I want to confess my misfortune before leaving. "
And all the time that one was saying her pain,
the other was crying, as if she was about to turn into water,
until the falconette begged her to calm down;
and, with a sigh, thus said what was in her heart:
"In the place where I was conceived (alas! cruel day!)
500 and raised in a rock of gray marble
so tenderly that I knew no pain,
I didn't know what adversity was,
until I could fly high in the sky.
So close to me lived a treblet
which seemed the source of all nobility;
though full of treachery and treachery,
he knew so well how to wrap himself in humility,
and such semblance of loyalty,
and charm, and eager attentions,
510 that no one could have supposed that he knew how to pretend,
so thoroughly he dyed his colors.
Just as a snake hides under the flowers,
until he sees the right moment to bite,
likewise this god of love, this hypocrite,
performs its ceremonies and its obediences,
and apparently fulfills all the observances
who are in conformity with loving courtesy.
As in a tomb all is beauty above,
and that below is the corpse, as you know,
520 such was this hypocrite, both cold and warm;
and he held his purpose hidden in such a way
that (except the devil) no one knew his designs.
Finally so long he wept and lamented,
and for so many years simulated his homage to me,
that my too pitiful and simple heart,
credulous before his supreme deceit,
for fear of his death—I thought so, at least—
on the faith of his oaths and assurances,
granted him his love, on this condition
530 that always my honor and fame
would be safe, both in private and in public;
in short, relying on its merits,
I gave her all my heart and all my thought,
— God knows and he also knows that otherwise I would not have done it —
and took her heart in exchange for mine forever.
But we say precisely, and it is an old proverb:
“Honest man and thief do not think alike. »
And when he saw the thing advanced to this point
that I had given him my full love
540 as I said earlier,
and gave my loyal heart so earnestly
that he himself swore he gave me his heart,
then this tiger full of duplicity
falls on her knees with such devout humility,
with such great respect, and, judging by his air,
so similar in manner to a loving race,
so elated, it seemed,
than ever Jason, nor Paris of Troy,
"Jason?" what did I say ? nor any other man
550 since Lamech lived, who was the first
to love two women, as some once wrote, —
no, never since the first man was born,
no one could, for the twenty-thousandth part,
to imitate the fallacies of his art,
nor would he have been worthy of unbuckling his clog,
if it was a matter of making approaches with duplicity and pretense,
nor ever knew how to thank a creature as he thanked me!
To see his ways was heaven
for a woman, however wise she was;
560 he was so beautifully painted and combed,
both in his words and in his person,
and so much I loved him for his obedience
and the sincerity that I thought was in his heart,
that if any trouble happened to him,
were it the lightest, and that I knew her,
I seemed to feel death twisting my heart.
In short, so far things went,
that my will became the instrument of his,
that is to say that my will obeyed his
570 in all things, as far as reason went,
without ever stepping outside the bounds of my honour.
No, nothing was ever so dear to me, nor more dear
than him, God knows! and never will be.
And that time lasted more than a year or two
where I expected nothing but good from him.
But eventually it came to a conclusion
that chance would have it that he had to leave
the places where I lived.
If I was sorry, there can be no doubt;
580 I cannot describe it;
for I can boldly say one thing,
it's that I know by this what the pain of dying is,
I felt so much pain that he could not stay.
So one day he took leave of me,
so sad he too that I really believed
that he felt as bad as me,
when I heard him speak and saw his face.
Anyway, I thought he was sincere,
and also that he would return
590 after a short time, to tell the truth;
and reason also wanted him to go away
for his honor, as often happens;
so I made a virtue of necessity,
and took it well, since it had to be.
And as best I could I hid my pain from her
and seize his hand, taking Saint John as guarantor,
and spoke to him thus: "Yes, I am all to all,
be such for me as for you I have been and will be. »
What he replied need not be repeated;
600 who better than he knows how to speak, who worse knows how to act?
When he said everything well, he did everything.
“He needs a very long spoon
to him who eats with the devil,” I have heard.
So in the end he had to set off,
and there he flies away, as long as he arrives where he wanted.
And when it occurred to him to rest,
I believe he had this text in mind,
namely, that all beings return to their nature
rejoices”; so they say, I believe;
610 men by nature like change,
just like the birds we feed in cages,
for though night and day you care,
that their cage was strewn beautiful and soft as silk,
that you give them sugar, honey, bread and milk,
despite everything, as soon as the door is lifted,
with a kick of the bird's paw knocks over its cup,
and off he went to the woods to eat worms ;
so they are greedy for new food,
and by nature love novelty;
620 no nobility of blood can restrain them.
So it was with this treblelet, alas!
Though he was of noble birth, and fresh and bright,
and pleasing to the eye, and humble and generous,
il vit un jour une buse voler,
et tout soudain il s’éprit d’elle tant
que son amour s’en alla de moi tout entier,
et ainsi fut-il parjure à sa foi ;
voilà comment la buse a mon amant à son service,
et que moi je suis perdue sans remède ! »
630 Et à ces mots la fauconnette se mit à pleurer,
et s’évanouit de nouveau dans le sein de Canacée.
Grand fut le chagrin que pour les maux de l’oiseau
montrèrent Canacée et toutes ses femmes ;
elles ne savaient comment faire pour l’égayer.
Mais Canacée l’emporte à la maison dans les plis de sa robe,
et avec précaution l’enveloppa d’un emplâtre,
là où avec son bec elle s’était blessée.
Maintenant Canacée ne sait faire qu’arracher des herbes
de la terre, et préparer des onguents nouveaux
640 d’herbes précieuses et belles de couleur,
pour en guérir la fauconnette ; du jour à la nuit
elle fait sa besogne et tout ce qu’elle peut.
Et à son chevet elle fit mettre une mue
et en couvrit le dessus de velours bleu,
en signe de la fidélité qui se voit chez les femmes.
Et toute en dehors la mue est peinte en vert,
et sur ce vert étaient peints tous ces oiseaux déloyaux
tel que mésanges, tiercelets, hiboux,
et en mépris d’eux furent peintes à leur côté
650 des pies, pour leur crier après et pour les houspiller.
Je laisse Canacée en train de soigner son oiseau ;
je ne parlerai plus pour l’instant de sa bague,
jusqu’à ce qu’il redevienne à propos de dire
comment la fauconnette recouvra son amant
repentant, ainsi que l’histoire le raconte,
par l’entremise de Cambalus,
le fils du roi, dont je vous ai parlé.
Mais maintenant je vais poursuivre mon récit
en parlant d’aventures et de batailles,
660 telles qu’on n’ouit jamais si grandes merveilles.
Et d’abord je vous parlerai de Cambinskan
qui en son temps conquit mainte cité ;
et puis je parlerai d’Algarsyf,
comment il conquit Théodora pour épouse ;
pour elle il fut souvent en grand péril,
heureusement qu’il fut aidé par le cheval de bronze ;
et puis je parlerai de Cambalo,
qui avec les deux frères combattit en lice
pour Canacée, avant qu’il la pût obtenir.
670 Et je reprendrai là où je me suis arrêté.
Apollon pousse dans les airs son char tourbillonnant
jusqu’à ce que dans la demeure du Dieu Mercure, le rusé,
et celles de l’Hôte au Franklin.
« Par ma foi, Écuyer, tu t’es bien acquitté de ta tâche,
et gracieusement ; je loue fort ton esprit,
(dit le Franklin), étant donné ta jeunesse ;
tu parles avec tant de sentiment, messire, et je t’en félicite.
À mon avis, il n’est personne ici
qui te sera égal en éloquence,
si Dieu te prête vie ; qu’il t’accorde bonheur
680 et en vertu te fasse persévérer !
car j’ai pris grand plaisir à tes propos.
J’ai un fils, et, par la Sainte Trinité,
plutôt que vingt livres de bonne terre,
me viendrait-elle de tomber tout juste entre les mains,
j’aimerais mieux le voir homme d’aussi grand sens
que toi ! Fi des richesses
si l’on n’a pas en outre la vertu !
J’ai gourmandé mon fils, et le ferai encore,
car il ne veut guère incliner à la vertu ;
690 mais jouer aux dés, et dépenser,
et perdre tout ce qu’il a, voilà ses habitudes.
Et il aimera mieux causer avec un page
que converser avec aucun gentilhomme,
près duquel il pourrait s’initier aux bonnes manières. »
— « Au diable vos bonnes manières ! (dit notre hôte).
Mais parbleu, Franklin, tu sais bien, messire,
que chacun de nous doit dire au moins
un conte ou deux, sous peine de rompre sa promesse. »
— « Je le sais bien, messire (dit le Franklin) ;
700 de grâce, ne me faites point avanie,
si à ce compagnon je dis un mot ou deux. »
— « Raconte donc ton histoire, sans plus de mots. »
— « Avec plaisir, messire hôtelier (dit-il), je vais obéir
à votre volonté ; et maintenant écoutez ce que je dis.
Je ne veux vous contrarier en rien,
je vais du moine faire du mieux de mon esprit ;
je prie Dieu que ce conte vous agrée,
et dans ce cas l’estimerai assez bon. »