« EdellinenJatka »
The tale is told by Venerable Bede,
Macrobius too relates the vision sent
Of Daniel you may read in holy writ,
And did not Croesus the same death foresee, Raised in his vision on a lofty tree? The wife of Hector, in his utmost pride, Dreamt of his death the night before he died :* Well was he warn’d from battle to refrain, But men to death decreed are warn’d in vain; He dared the dream, and by his fatal foe was slain.
Much more I know, which I forbear to speak, For see the ruddy day begins to break : Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee My dream was bad, and bodes adversity ; But neither pills nor laxatives I like, They only serve to make a well-man sick; Of these his gain the sharp physician makes, And often gives a purge, but seldom takes ;
* This vision Chaucer found, not in Homer, but in Dares Phrygius. Shakespeare alludes to it:
-Come, Hector, come, go back,
They not correct, but poison all the blood,
These melancholy matters I forbear;
narrow perch, I cannot ride, Yet I have such a solace in my mind, That all my boding cares are cast behind, And even already I forget my dream.He said, and downward flew from off the beam, For day-light now began apace to spring, The thrush to whistle, and the lark to sing. Then crowing, clapp'd his wings, the appointed call, To chuck his wives together in the hall.
By this the widow had unbarr'd the door, And Chanticleer went strutting out before,
* In principio refers to the beginning of Saint John's Gospel.
+ Taken from a fabulous conversation between the Emperor Adrian and the philosopher Secundus, reported by Vincent de Beauvais, Spec. Hist. Quid est Mulier ? Hominis confusio ; insaturabilis bestia, &c. The Cock's polite version is very ludicrous.
With royal courage, and with heart so light,
. 'Twas now the month in which the world began, (If March beheld the first created man ;) And since the vernal equinox, the sun In Aries twelve degrees, or more, had run; When casting up his eyes against the light, Both month, and day, and hour, he measured right, And told more truly than the Ephemeris; For art may err, but nature cannot miss.
Thus numbering times and seasons in his breast, His second crowing the third hour confess'd. Then turning, said to Partlet,—See, my dear, How lavish nature has adorn'd the year; How the pale primrose and blue violet spring, And birds essay their throats disused to sing : All these are ours; and I with pleasure see, Man strutting on two legs, and aping me; An unfledged creature, of a lumpish frame, Endued with fewer particles of flame: Our dame sits cowering o’er a kitchen fire, I draw fresh air, and nature's works admire ; And even this day in more delight abound, Than, since I was an egg, I ever found.
The time shall come, when Chanticleer shall wish His words unsaid, and hate his boasted bliss ;
The crested bird shall by experience know,
Ye wise! draw near and hearken to my tale,
A Fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity, That fear'd an oath, but like the devil would lie;* Who look'd like Lent, and had the holy leer, And durst not sin before he said his prayer; This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood, Nor chew'd the flesh of lambs, but when he could, Had pass’d three summers in the neighbouring
And musing long, whom next to circumvent,
The plot contrived, before the break of day
O hypocrite, ingenious to destroy !
* Indulging, as usual, his political antipathies, Dryden fails not to make the fox a Puritan
O vile subverter of the Gallic reign,
But here the doctors eagerly dispute ;
I cannot bolt this matter to the bran,
According to the romantic history of Charlemaign, Gano, or Ganelon, betrayed the Christian army, at the battle of Roncesvalles, where Orlando and the Peers of France were slain. The pun upon Gallic, which is renewed in deriving the cock from Brennus and Belinus, a little farther down, is entirely Dryden's.
+ Thomas Bradwardin, Archbishop of Canterbury, a contemporary of Chaucer, composed a treatise on Predestination, and a work entitled, De Causu Dei, against Pelagius.