Canterburry Tales: The Canon's Servant

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 canon's valet.

canterbury tales the canon's servant

Canterburry Tales: The Tale of the Canon's Servant

Prologue to the Conte du Valet du Chanoine.

When the life of Saint Cecilia was over,
before we had really ridden five miles,
in Boghton-sous-Blee caught up with us
a man who was dressed in black clothes,
and below wore a white surplice.
Her haquenea which was all dapple gray
560 so sweated that it was wonderful to see;
one would have said he had rammed three miles in a row.
The horse that his valet rode
so sweated that he could hardly go.
The foam rose high around the chest;
the man was speckled with foam, he looked like a magpie.
On his croupier he had a double satchel,
he seemed to be carrying very little baggage.
The worthy man wore a light summer coat,
and i started to wonder apart from me
570 what it was, when finally I grabbed
that his coat was sewn to the hood,
in witness whereof, when I had reflected well,
I thought it was some canon.
His hat hung from his back with a ribbon,
for he had walked more than at a trot and at a walk;
he hadn't stopped ramming as if he were mad.
Under his hood he had a burdock leaf
against sweat, and to keep your boss warm.
But it was great joy to see him sweat!
580 His forehead was dripping like a still,
which would be filled with plantain and parietary.
And when he had arrived, he began by exclaiming:
“God keep (he said) this happy company!

I stung firm (he said), because of you,
because I really wanted to catch up with you,
to ride in such cheerful company! "
His valet too was full of courtesy
and said: "Messires, when this morning
from your inn I saw you leave,
590 I have warned my master and lord here,
who is eager to travel with you
for his deportment, because he likes to ramble. "
- "Friend, for this advice, God give you good luck!"
(said our host at the time), because certainly it would seem
let your master be a learned man, and I readily believe it;
he is very jovial too, I would bet.
Will he be able to tell a happy tale or two,
which he can rejoice in this company? "
- "Who, sir? My lord ? Yes, yes, without lying,
600 he knows some joyful and pleasant ones too,
much more than enough; moreover, sir, believe me,
if you knew him as well as I do,
you would admire as well and skillfully
he knows how to work, and that in various ways.
Many great companies have taken hold of him,
which would be hard for anyone from here
to be brought to a successful conclusion, if they did not learn from him.
He may simply walk among you,
if you knew it, you would benefit from it;
610 you wouldn't want to lose his knowledge
for good sum, I would dare to risk it
everything I have in my possession.
He is a man of great judgment,
I warn you, he's an amazing man! "
- "Let's see (said our host), please tell me,
is he a clerk or not? Tell us what it is! "
- " Yes Da ! he is much better than a clerk, of course,
(said the valet), and to make it short,
host, I want to show you some of his skills.
620 My lord, I say, possesses such subtlety
(but all his art cannot know it from me,
although I help a little with his work)
that all the ground on which we walk

from here to the city of Canterbury,
he could turn it right upside down,
and pave it entirely with silver and gold. "
And when this servant had spoken thus
to our host: " Benedicite (said this one),
one thing is astonishing to me,
630 since your lord is so prudent,
by virtue of which people owe him reverence,
why does he care so little about his dignity?
Its especially not worth a farthing
indeed, for him, on my life!
it's all dirty and torn too.
Why is your master so messy, please
when he could buy better clothes,
if its power matches your speech?
Tell me that; say it, I beg you ”.
640 - " Why ? (says the valet) why? do you ask me ;
God keep me, it's because he will never succeed!
(But I don't want to confess out loud what I'm saying,
also keep the good secret, please).
He is too learned, my faith, I believe it;
what is in excess does not turn
good, say the clerics; it is a vice.
That's how I take him ignorant and foolish,
because when a man has too great a mind,
often times it happens in misuse;
650 so for my lord, which causes me great mourning.
God corrects evil! I cannot say more. "
- "Don't worry about that, good valet (said our host);
since you know the talents of your master,
tell us how he does it, I beg you with all my heart,
since he is so clever and so clever.
Now, where do you live, if that can be said? "
- "In the suburbs of a city (he said),
carpets in recesses and dead ends,
where brigands and thieves, of course,
660 have their secret and fearful residence,
like people who dare not betray their presence;
this is how we live, if it is necessary to speak the truth. "
- "Now that (said our host), allow one more word:

why are your face so discolored? "
- "By Saint-Pierre (he said), the devil takes the job!"
I'm so used to blowing fire,
that my color has changed, I think;
I'm not in the habit of eyeing a mirror,
but to toil hard to learn to multiply.
670 We blind ourselves to always watching the fire,
and despite everything we miss our goal,
because our conclusion always escapes us!
We are deluding many people,
nous empruntons de l’or, soit une book ou deux,
either ten or twelve, and many larger sums,
and we make them believe, at the very least,
how many pound we can make two!
This is wrong though, but still we are hopeful
to get there, and we're groping about it.
680 But this science is so far ahead of us
that we cannot, despite all our oaths,
catch up with her, so quickly she flees from us.
She'll make us beggars in the end! "
While this valet was chatting like that,
the canon approached and heard everything
what the valet said, because the suspicion
the words of the people always made this canon.
Because, said Cato, the one who is guilty
thinks every word has to do with him, really.
690 That's why he came so close
of his valet to listen to all his speech.
And then he spoke to his valet thus:
"Hold your tongue and don't say another word,
because if you continue, dearly you will pay it;
you slander me here in this company,
and you also discover what you should be hiding. "
- "Go (said our host), continue, whatever happens,
and do not worry about all his threats! "
- "My faith (he said), I don't care much about it anymore".
700 And when this canon saw that it would not be so,

but that his valet wanted to tell his secrets,
he fled from grief and evil shame.
“Ah! (said the valet), we're going to have a little fun;
all I know, I will say it immediately.
Since he's gone, the evil devil kill him!
because no longer want to meet him,
neither for sol nor for pound, I promise you!
The one who first attracted me to such a game,
before his death let him be ashamed and sorrowful!
710 because, on my faith! it is very serious for me;
I can feel it, whatever anyone can tell me.
And yet, despite all my pain and sorrow,
despite all my pain, my toil and my miseries,
I have never been able to detach myself from it in any way!
Now would to God that my mind was enough
to tell you all about this art!
But in any case I will tell you part of it;
since my master is gone I spare nothing;
everything I know I want to declare.

Here ends the prologue to the Conte du Valet du Chanoine.
Tale of the canon's servant.
Here the Valet du Chanoine begins his tale.
Prima Pars.

720 With this canon I lived for seven years,
but in his science I am no more advanced.
Everything I had I lost like this,
and, God knows, many more with me.
While I used to be fresh and cheerful
in my clothes and all my equipment,

now I am wearing breeches on my head;
and while my complexion was fresh and rosy,
to-day it is pale and the color of lead.
Whoever uses it thus, dearly will atone it.
730 And for all my labor, here I am redone:
see what profit we find in "multiplying"!
This elusive science has made me so naked,
that I no longer have any property, wherever I turn;
and if am i in so much debt over there
for the gold that I borrowed, really,
that with all my life I will not be able to acquit myself.
May every man be warned by my example forever!
Whoever indulges in this game,
if he continues, I hold his lost fortune.
740 As true as God help me, instead of winning
he will empty his purse and exhaust his spirits.
And when, by his madness and his foolishness,
he will have lost his property when he is gone,
then he will push other people
to lose their property as he did his.
Because for the poor devils it is joy and drunk
to see their fellows in pain and suffering,
as one day I learned it from a clerk.
But no matter what, let's talk about our work.
750 When we are at the place where we have to exercise
our elite profession, we seem wonderfully wise,
so much we use learned and curious words.
I blow the fire until my heart breaks.
Why tell you here all the proportions
of all the things we work with,
like five or six ounces, maybe well,
money, or some other quantity;
and why bother to recite the names to you
orpiment, burnt bones, iron scales,
760 which are finely ground into powder?
nor how everything is put in an earthenware pot,
with salt in it, and pepper too,

before these powders that I just said,
the whole well covered with a glass slide,
and many other things that were there?
nor that the jar and the glass are sealed with putty
so that nothing air passes outside?
I will not speak of moderate fire, and of living too,
that we did, neither worry and pain
770 that we take to sublimate our materials,
and to amalgamate, to calcine
quicksilver, which we call raw Mercury!
Despite all our tricks we cannot succeed.
Our orpiment and Mercury sublimated,
our litharge also crushed on porphyry,
of all these materials a precise number of ounces, -
it is useless, our labor is in vain.
Neither does the ascension of our spirits,
nor the materials that remain at the bottom,
780 cannot benefit our work in any way.
For all our toil and work is lost;
and all the expense, by all the devils!
that we had risked, lost too.
There are also many other things,
which belong to our profession;
yet cannot recite them in order,
for what I am an ignorant man;
I will say them as they come to mind,
although they cannot be sorted by species:
790 ainsi le bol armoniaque, le vert de Greece and borax,
and various vessels made of earth and glass,
our urines, our descensories,
flasks, crucibles, sublimators,
cucurbits and stills too,
and so many others that would be expensive at the price of a leek.

No need to recite them all:
blushing waters and gall nuts,
arsenic, sulfur and armonia salt;
and herbs too, I could name a lot:
800 aigheritage, valerian and lunar,
and many others too, if I wanted to delay.
Shall I say our lamps burning day and night,
to bring our art to fruition, if we can?
And our furnaces too, for calcination,
and for the albification of the liquid,
undissolved plaster, lime and egg mucus,
various powders, ash, manure, urine, clay,
waxed sachets, saltpetre, vitriol,
and various fires, of wood and charcoal;
810 salt of tartar, alkali, prepared salt,
combusted and coagulated materials,
clay with horse or human hair, and oil
tortre, alum, glass, yeast, must, argoil,
the resalgar, and the imbibition of our materials;
and also the incorporation of our materials;
and citrination of our money,
our cementation, our fermentation,
our test tubes, ingots, and what else do I know?
I will tell you, as I also learned,
820 the four spirits and the seven bodies,
in order, as I often hear my master call them.
The first spirit is called quicksilver.
the second orpiment, the third, for sure,
armonia salt, sulfur the fourth.
The seven bodies, listen, here they are now:
Sol is gold, and silver we call it Luna;
we name March iron, quicksilver Mercury.
Saturnus is lead, Jupiter is tin,
and Venus the copper, by the race of my father!
830 This damn job, whoever wants to do it,
he will not have any good that can be sufficient for him;

because all the good he spends on it,
he will lose it, of this I have no doubt,
Whoever wants to expose his foolishness,
may he come and learn to multiply;
and every man who has something in his chest,
that he appears and becomes a philosopher.
Maybe this science is easy to learn?
No, no, God knows, whether he was a monk or a brother,
840 priest or canon, or any other man,
when he would stay night and day bent over his book,
to learn this stupid and foolish science,
all would be in vain, and pardieu! even more !
To teach an ignorant one this subtlety,
fi! do not speak to me about it, the thing is impossible;
whether he knows the art of reading or not,
in fact for him it will be the same;
because both, by my salvation!
result in multiplication,
850 also good when they have finished everything;
that is, they both fail.
Yet I forgot to mention you
corrosive water and filings,
and the mollification of bodies,
and also of their induration,
oils, ablutions and fusible metal:
to say everything we would spend the biggest book
which is nowhere; also it will be better
may I rest from all these names.
860 Because I think I have taught you enough
to evoke a demon, however surly he was!
Ah! no, let's leave that! The Philosopher's Stone
that elixir we name, we all seek it ardently,
for if we held it, then we would be safe;
but, to the God of heaven, I confess it,
despite all our art, when we have done everything,
and all our address, no one wants to come to us.
She made us spend our strength well,
which makes us almost mad with grief,

870 was not the good hope that creeps into our hearts,
always assuming, although we are suffering hard,
that we will be relieved by her later,
hope and supposition which are sharp and strong;
I warn you, it will always be to find.
This future time caused people to go their separate ways,
in confidence, of everything they had.
However in this art they cannot calm down,
for he has bitter sweetness to them;
so it seems, because if they had only one sheet
880 to wrap yourself in it during the night,
and that a back cover to walk in the day,
they would sell them to spend them on this mystery;
They do not know how to stop, that there is nothing left.
And always, wherever they go,
one can recognize them by their smell of sulfur;
for everything in the world, they stink like the goat!
their ram smell is so hot
than a man who would be a mile away,
by their smell, believe me, would be infected;
890 so therefore, you see, by their smell and their threadbare garment,
we can, if we want, recognize our people.
And if we want to ask them in the private
why they are dressed so miserably,
immediately they will whisper in your ear
and will tell you that, if they were known,
they would be killed because of their science;
this is how these people betray innocence!
Let’s leave that; I come to my story:
So before the pot is set on fire,
900 with a certain amount of metals,
my master tempers them, and none other than him,
- now that he's gone, I can say it boldly -
because, as they say, he knows how to cleverly do;
in any case, I know very well that he has such a reputation;
often times, however, he is at fault;
or do you know how? many times it happens
let our pot break! Goodbye ! everything is gone!
These metals have such great violence
that our walls cannot resist them,

unless they are built of stone and lime;
910 so they break through and go through the wall,
and some are sinking into the earth,
— ainsi avons-nous parfois perdu maintes books
and some spread all over the floor,
some jump to the roof; without doubt,
although the devil does not show himself to us,
I think he is with us, that bad one!
In hell where he is master and lord,
there is no more pain, nor resentment, nor anger.
920 When our pot is broken like I said
everyone grumbles and is poorly paid.
One said it was because of the fire;
the other says no, that it depends on the blower,
(and then I was afraid, because it was my office).
“Fi! (says the third), you are ignorant and foolish;
he was not soaked as it should be! "
“No (said the fourth), shut up and listen to me;
is that our fire was not made of beech,
that is the reason, the only one, on my crowns! "
930 I could not say what was the cause,
but I know there is a great debate between us.
" Let's go ! (said my master), there is nothing more to do,
henceforth I will guard myself against these dangers;
I'm sure the pot was cracked.
Either way, don't be dumbfounded;
as is customary, let the floor be swept immediately;
get your heart back, be happy and happy! "
All the debris is swept up, put in a heap;
on the floor we throw a canvas,
940 and all the debris, put in a sieve,
are sorted and passed over and over again.
"Pardieu! (says one), a bit of our metal
is still there, if we don't have everything!
Although the deal failed this time,
another time she can succeed,
we must venture our assets;
a merchant would not know, pardieu! always stay,

Believe me, in its prosperity;
sometimes his property is drowned in the sea,
950 and sometimes it arrives except as far as the earth! "
- " Peace ! (said my master), next time I will do my best
to put our art in a better position;
if I do not do it, my sires, the blame is mine;
there was a fault at some point, I know that. "
Another said: "The fire was too hot";
but, hot or cold, I dare say this,
that we always end up wrong.
We miss what we wanted to get,
and in our madness always delirious.
960 And when we find ourselves together reunited
each of us seems a Solomon!
But all that shines like gold
is not gold, as I have heard it said;
nor any apple that is beautiful to the eyes
is not good, whatever people are shouting and shouting!
Just the same, see, among us;
the one who seems wisest, by Jesus!
is the most stupid, when one comes to the test;
and whoever appears the most loyal is a thief;
970 you will know it before I leave you,
when I have told my story to the end.

Explicit prima pars.
Et sequitur pars secunda.

There is a canon in religion
among us, who would infect a whole city,
was she as tall as Nineveh was,
Troy, Rome, Alexandrie et trois autres encore.
Its tricks and its infinite falsehood,
no man could, I believe, describe them,
even so he would live a thousand years.
In all this world of deception he has no equal,
980 because in his terms he twists so well
and said his words so devious,
when he has to converse with anyone,
that he will make him straight up foolish,

unless he is, like himself, a devil.
He has cheated a lot of people so far,
and he will continue, if he can live some time longer;
and yet we do many miles, on horseback and on foot,
to look for him and to get to know him,
not knowing his deceptive conduct.
990 And please give me audience,
I will say it here in front of you all,
But, venerable and pious canons,
do not think that I slander your house,
although my story is about a canon.
In all order, of course! there is a rascal;
and God keep a whole company
pay for the foolishness of an individual!
It is not my intention to slander you,
I would just like to correct what is at fault.
1000 This tale was not told just for you,
but for others too; you know well
that among the twelve apostles of Christ
there was no traitor except Judas;
so why would we blame everyone else
who were innocent? I say the same about you.
Except however this, if you want to listen to me,
that if any Judas lives in your convent,
remove it in time, I advise you,
whether shame or loss is to be feared.
1010 And don't be unhappy, please,
but in this matter listen to what I am going to say.

In London was a priest, an annual,
who had lived there for many years,
who was so helpful and so pleasant
to the woman with whom he was boarding,
that she didn't want to suffer that he paid nothing
neither for the table nor for the clothing, so brave he made himself;
and for the pocket money he had enough.
Let’s leave that; I will now continue,
1020 and tell my story of the canon,

which brought this priest to ruin.
This deceitful canon came one fine day
in the room where the priest slept,
begging him to lend him certain sum
gold, promising that he would pay it.
"Lend me a mark (he said), just three days,
and on the day I will pay it back to you,
and if you find me deceptive,
another time will have me hanged by the neck! "
1030 The priest gave him a mark, and that immediately;
our canon repeatedly says thank you,
then took his leave and went on his way,
and the third day brought back his money,
returned to the priest the gold he had received,
with which the latter was strangely happy and content.
"Of course (he said), he doesn't bother me at all
to lend someone a noble, or two, or three,
or anything in my possession,
when he is so loyal
1040 that he would not want to miss at the deadline:
to such and such a man will I not be able to say no? "
- “What (said the canon), could I be disloyal?
Hey ! that would be a whole new thing!
Loyalty is something that will always keep
until the day I come down
inside my grave, God forbid it be otherwise!
believe this no less sure than your Creed.
Thank God, this be said at the right time,
no man has ever had to complain
1050 for gold or for silver that he would have lent me,
and never in my heart meditated deceit.
Now this, sir (he said), between us now,
since you were so generous to me
and marked me with such great kindness,
to recognize your kindness a little,
I will show you, and, please learn,
I will clearly teach you the way
whose philosophy I work

Pay attention, you will see with your own eyes
1060 that I will do a masterstroke before leaving ”.
- "Yes dà (said the priest), yes dà, sir, really?"
Sainte Marie ! I beg you with all my heart! "
- "At your orders, sir, in all truth,
(said the canon,) or if not, God forbid! "
See how this thief knew how to offer his service!
Is it true that a service offered
stinks, as the old sages attest;
and this soon will i prove it
with this canon, root of all treachery,
1070 who always takes pleasure and contentment
- so the diabolical thoughts imprint in his heart! -
to harm the people of Christ;
God protect us from his deceptive feint!
No one knew which priest was dealing with,
and he felt nothing of the evil coming to him.
Ah! poor priest! Ah! poor innocent!
By lust soon you will be deceived!
O priest deprived of grace! very blind is your thought,
you don't tell him about the deception
1080 that this fox has fashioned for you!
Its subtle tricks, you cannot avoid them.
Also to come to our conclusion,
as much to say to your confusion,
unhappy! immediately I will hurry
to tell your foolishness and your madness,
like the deceit of the other miserable man,
at least as far as my knowledge extends.
This canon is my master, what do you think?
Sire host, verily, by the queen of heaven,
1090 it is another canon, and not him,
which has a hundred times more subtlety!
He betrayed people time and time again!
To tell rhyme his deceit, that exasperates me;
every time I speak of his deceit.
I feel my cheeks redden with shame for him;
at least they start to burn,

because of redness I do not have any, very well know it,
in my face; because the various fumes
of these metals, which you have heard me name,
1100 consumed and destroyed my redness.
But beware of the malignancy of this canon!
"Monsieur (he said to the priest), send your valet to find
quicksilver, that we have it soon;
and let him bring two or three ounces of it;
and when he comes back you will immediately see
an amazing thing that you have never seen before! "
- "Sir (said the priest), it will be done, on my faith!" "
He told his servant to find it for him,
who was quite ready at his command;
1110 he left and returned without delay
with that quicksilver, to tell the truth,
and carried the three ounces to the canon,
and he stretched them out well,
and begged the servant to bring him coals,
so that he could set to work immediately.
Immediately the coals were brought to him,
and our canon pulling a crucible
from his chest, showed it to the priest
"This instrument, (he said to her), that you see,
1120 take it in your hand and put it yourself
an ounce of this quicksilver; and begins like this,
in the name of Christ, to become a philosopher.
There is very little that I would like to offer
to show them so much of my science.
Because here you will see from experience
that I'm going to mortify this quicksilver,
right away in your eyes without lying,
and make such good and good money
that there is some in my purse or yours,
1130 or elsewhere, and make it malleable;
if not, hold me wrong and unworthy
never to appear in company!
I have a powder here which cost me dearly;
she will make everything succeed, being the cause

of all my art, which I will show you.
Remove the valet and let him stay outside,
and close the door, while we'll be after
our secret, that no one spies on us,
while we will work in philosophy. "
1140 Everything he commanded was in fact accomplished,
the servant went out straight away,
his master immediately closed the door,
and they set to work without delay.
Our priest, by order of the accursed canon,
the thing was set on fire immediately,
blew out the fire, and stirred very loudly;
our canon in the crucible threw
a powder - don't know what it was
made, with glass or lime,
1150 or besides something that was not worth a fly -
to dazzle this priest; and begged him to hurry
to place the coals on top
of the crucible: "Because as proof that I love you,
(said the canon), these are your two hands
who will accomplish everything that will be done here ”.
"Big thank you" (said the priest) and he was very happy,
and put down the coals, as the other had said.
Now, while he was busy, this devilish wretch,
that deceitful canon, may the evil devil prevail!
1160 from her bosom drew a beech charcoal,
where very subtly a hole was drilled,
in which we had put silver filings
an ounce, then plugged the hole without fail
with wax, to keep the filings there.
And understand that this deceptive device
was not made there, but was made in advance;
and I will say other things too,
but later, that with him he had brought.
Before coming there he was planning to play it,
1170 and so he did before they were separated;
before he had flayed it he had no rest.
It annoys me when I talk about him;
for his deceit I would like to avenge myself,
if I only knew how; but it is here and there,

he is so mobile that he remains nowhere.
Now, beware, for the love of God, sirs!
So he takes this coal, which I mentioned above,
and in his hand carries it secretly.
And while the priest actively disposed
1180 the coals, as I have already said,
"You are doing it badly, friend," (said the canon):
this is not placed as it should be;
but I will soon have everything sorted out (he told her).
Now let me get involved for just a moment,
for I pity you, by Saint Giles!
You are all heated up, I can see how you are sweating,
take this handkerchief from me and wipe away this dampness! "
And as the priest wiped his face,
our canon took his charcoal (may the devil take it!)
1190 and put it on, on the middle
from the crucible, and then blew vigorously,
as long as the coals began to burn very hard.
"Now give us a drink (said the canon then),
everything will be fine in a moment, I guarantee it;
let's sit down and celebrate. "
And when the canon's beech charcoal
was burned, all the filings through the hole
in the crucible immediately spread;
and it had to be so, necessarily,
1200 since it was placed so right above;
but from that the priest, alas! didn't know anything.
He believed all coals to be equally good,
for he suspected nothing of cunning.
And when our alchemist sees his time;
“Rise up, sire priest (he said), and stay near me;
and as I know you don't have any ingot,
go outside and bring us a piece of lime;
because I will make one of the same shape
what is an ingot, if I may have the chance.
1210 And also bring with you a bowl or a saucepan
filled with water, and then you will see
how our business will turn out and be successful.

And yet, so that you don't have any suspicion,
no bad thought of me in your absence,
I don't want to stay out of your presence,
but go with you, and come back with you. "
The bedroom door, to make it short,
they opened and closed, and went their way.
And with them they took the key,
1220 and they returned without any delay.
What is the use of delaying the whole holy day?
He took the lime and kneaded it into shape
of ingot, as I will tell you.
So I said he took up his own sleeve
a silver blade (could it end badly!)
which was little more than an ounce of weight,
and now watch out for his damn cunning.
He kneads his ingot the length and breadth
of this blade, without the slightest doubt,
1230 so subtly that the priest did not notice it,
and in his sleeve he hid it again;
and then removed its matter from the fire,
and put it in the ingot with a joyful air,
then in the vase of water he threw it
when it pleased him, and said to the priest then:
“Look at what there is, put your hand in it and seek;
you will find money there, I hope;
What ! hell, is that something else? ...
Silver leaf is money, of course '
1240 The other put his hand in it and drew a blade
beautiful money, and happy in all his veins
was he when he saw that it was so.
“The blessing of God, and of his mother too,
and of all the saints, be with you, sire canon!
(said this priest) and with me their curse,

if, when you have agreed to teach me
this noble science and this subtlety,
I am not yours with all my power now! "
Said the canon: "Still do I want to try
1250 a second time, so that you take care
and become an expert in this, and as needed
another day you can try in my absence
this discipline and this secret science.
Let's take another ounce (he said then),
quicksilver, and, without further ado,
do with her what you did before
with the other, which is now money. "
Our priest applies as much as he can
to do as the canon (accursed man)!
1260 commanded him, and strongly he blows the fire
to achieve the goal of his desire.
Meanwhile our canon
was ready to deceive the priest again,
and, as a countenance, in his hand he carried
a hollow stick (be careful and beware!)
at the end of which an ounce, no more,
silver filings were placed, as before
in its charcoal, all stuffed with wax
to keep all the filings inside.
1270 And while the priest was at his business,
the canon with his staff began to talk to him
soon again, and inside threw his powder
like before (the devil out of his skin
the skin, I pray to God! for his deceit,
for deceitful he was always of thought and action),
and above the crucible, by means of this stick
who was prepared with this disloyal arrangement that I said,
he stirred the coals, until it melted
fire wax, like any man,
1280 Unless you're a fool, knows it's got to happen,
and all that was in the staff went out,
and in the crucible fell vilely.
Now good gentlemen what better than good ?

When this priest was thus played again,
assuming, to tell the truth, only loyalty,
he was so happy that I couldn't express
in no way his joy and his contentment;
and to the canon he immediately offered himself
body and goods: "Yes (said the canon at the time),
1290 however poor I am, you will find me clever;
I am warning you that there is still something left.
Is there any copper here? (He says).
"Yes (said the other), I think there is."
- "Otherwise, go buy me some, and that immediately;
now, good sire, go your way and hurry. "
He went his way, came back with the copper,
and our canon in his hand took it,
and of copper it only took the weight of an ounce.
Far too simple is my tongue to proclaim,
1300 in servant of my mind, duplicity
of this canon, root of all wickedness.
To those who did not know him he seemed amiable,
but in heart and thought he was a devil.
It tires me to talk about his deceit,
and nevertheless I want to tell it,
so that people may be warned,
and for no other reason, indeed.
He placed his ounce of copper in the crucible,
and immediately he set it on the fire,
1310 and threw the powder into it, begging the priest to blow,
and in his work to stoop very low,
as he had already done - and it was all just a trick;
just as he wanted, he led the other by the nose;
then he threw the material into the ingot,
and finally put it in the pan
of water, then plunged his hand into it,
and up his sleeve (as before
you heard me say) he had a silver blade.
He pulled her stealthily, the wretched rascal,
1320 - without the priest realizing his deceptive cunning -
at the bottom of the saucepan he placed it,
in the water he rummaged in all directions,
and very discreetly also he resumed

the copper blade, unbeknownst to the priest,
and hid it; then he took him by his coat on his chest,
and spoke to him, and said to him jokingly:
"Stoop down, by God you are to blame,
help me now, as I did earlier for you;
plunge your hand there, see what is there ”.
1330 Our priest immediately drew out this silver blade,
and then said the canon: "Come on
with these three blades that we made,
to some goldsmith, to find out if they are worth anything
Because, by my faith, I would not, for my coat,
that they were good and good money,
and it will be proven on the spot. "
So with the goldsmith with these three blades
they went and put these blades to the test,
fire and hammer; no one could deny
1340 that they were not as they should be.
Who was ever more delighted than this foolish priest?
Never was a bird more joyful to see the day again,
nor nightingale, in the season of may,
nobody was more happy to chirp,
nor lady showed a better heart to sing rounds,
or to talk about love and femininity,
nor knight armed to do brilliant action
for the good graces of his beloved lady,
that this priest was not happy to learn this sad knowledge;
1350 and to the canon thus he spoke and said:
"For the love of God, who for all of us died,
and as much as I can deserve from you,
what will this recipe cost? tell me ! "
- "By Notre-Dame (said the canon), she is dear,
well warn you, because, except me and a beggar brother,
in England none can do it. "
- " No matter ! (he said) Let's see, for God's sake,
what do i have to pay you? Tell me, please. "
- "Certainly (he said), it is very expensive, I tell you:
1360 sir, in one word, if you want to have it,
you have to pay forty pounds, on my salvation!

and was it the friendship you showed me
before, you would certainly pay more ”.
Our priest immediately the sum of forty pounds
go and seek nobles, and bring them all
to this canon for the said recipe:
(his whole operation was just fraud and deception!)
"Sir priest (he said), I am worried about having no loss
of my knowledge, because I would like to keep it hidden;
1370 and if you love me, keep it a secret;
because if people knew all my subtlety,
by God they would hate it so much
from me, because of my philosophy,
that they would kill me, there would be no other way out! "
- "God forbid!" (said the priest), what do you say?
I'd rather spend all the good
that I have (if not, that I go crazy!)
rather than seeing you fall into such misfortune! "
- "For your good will, I wish you all the best of luck,
1380 sir (says the canon); farewell and thank you very much! "
He went his way; the priest never saw him again
never since that day; and when the latter took notice,
at the time he wanted, to try
of the recipe, farewell! nothing worked!
And here is how he was fooled and duped!
This is how this canon knew how to get in
to lead people to their destruction.
Consider, gentlemen, how, under any condition,
there is a quarrel between men and gold
1390 so much so that it is hardly the same.
Multiplication has fooled so many people
that I believe she is, in good faith,
the biggest reason for this gold scarcity.
Philosophers speak so mistily
in this mystery, that no one can hear anything there,
despite all the spirit we have today.

They can chatter like jays,
and put in their big words their pleasure and their pain;
but for their goal, they will never reach it.
1400 We will learn very easily, if we have something,
to multiply… and to lose all its good.
See! this pretty game gives so much to gain
that he will turn a man's gaiety into sorrow,
and will also empty large and heavy purses,
by giving people the curses
of those who have lent their property for this purpose.
O fi! what a shame ! Those who were scalded
alas! can't they escape the heat of the fire?
You who use it, I advise you to stop,
1410 fear of losing everything; better late than never.
Never succeed is too late.
When you would always seek, never would find it;
you are as adventurous as blind bayard,
who goes at random without considering any danger;
he is also bold to run against a stone
than to miss on the road.
So it goes, one more blow, of you who multiply.
That if your eyes can't see well,
keep your mind not losing sight.
1420 Because so big that you opened and widened your eyes,
you will not earn a teston at this profession,
but you will lose whatever you can catch and grab.
Spread the fire, lest it burn too hard;
I mean, don't get involved in this art anymore,
otherwise, your savings will be lost.
And now I will tell you here
what the philosophers say on the matter.
See! what does Arnould say about the New Town,
as is mentioned in his Rosary ?
1430 he says straight, and I'm not lying,
that no man can mortify Mercury,
if not with the help of his brother;

how does the one who first says this thing,
of the philosophers was the father, Hermes ;
he says how the dragon, no doubt,
don't die, unless he's killed
with the help of his brother; and here is what it comes to say:
by the dragon, it is Mercury and no other
which he understood, and by his brother the sulfur,
1440 which originate from Sol and Luna.
“Also (he said), beware of my words:
that no one occupies himself in researching this art,
unless philosophers can
understand intention and language,
and if he does, he's a foolish man;
because this science and this art, he said,
is that of the secret of secrets, by god! "
He was also a disciple of Plato
who once said to his master,
1450 like his book Senior will prove it,
and his request was, in good truth:
"Tell me the name of the secret stone?" "
And Plato immediately answered him:
“Take the stone we call Titanos. "
- " What is it ? He said. "It's Magnesia",
says Plato. "Yes da, sir, is that so?"
It is to explain ignotum per ignotius.
What is Magnesia, good sir, please? "
- "It is water that is made, I tell you,
1460 of the four elements, ”says Plato.
When the other said to him: "Tell me the root
of that water, if it's your pleasure. "
- "No, no (said Plato), I will do nothing, of course,
the philosophers have sworn each and every one
that they would not discover it to anyone,
and that they would never write it in any book;

because to Christ she is so precious and so dear
that he does not want it to be discovered,
except where it pleases His Divinity
1470 to inspire man, as well as to protect him
when it pleases him; and there is the last word. "
And I conclude thus: since God in Heaven
does not want philosophers to mention
how we can get this stone,
I wish it was better to leave it there.
Because whoever makes himself an adversary
by trying to operate something to the contrary
at his will, of course, he will never succeed,
when he would multiply all his life.
1480 Here let's have a point; my story is over;
May God relieve every honest man from his evil! Amen.

Here ends the Conte du Valet du Chanoine.