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The water that so wele liked a me;
And wonder glad was I to see
That lusty place and that rivere.
With that water that ran so clear
My face I wish; tho saw I wele
The bottom y-paved every deal
With gravel, full of stones sheen;
The meadows, softe, sote, and green,
Beet right upon the water side;
Full clear was then the morrow tide,"
And full attemper out of drede : 8
Tho gan I walken through the mead,
Downward ever in my playing
Nigh to the river's side coasting.



No verse so flowing and harmonious as this, no diction at once so clear, correct, and expressive, had, it is probable, adorned and brought out the capabilities of his native tongue when Chaucer began to write. Several of his subsequent poems are also in whole or in part translations; the Troilus and Cresseide, the Legend of Good Women (much of which is borrowed from Ovid's Epistles), and others. But we must pass over these, and shall take our next extract from his House of Fame, no foreign original of which has been discovered, although Warton is inclined to think that it may have been translated or paraphrased from the Provençal. Chaucer, however, seems to appear in it in his own person; at least the poet or dreamer is in the course of it more than once addressed by the name of Geoffrey. And in the following passage, he seems to describe his own occupation and habits of life. It is addressed to him by the golden but living Eagle, who has carried him up into the air in his

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talons, and by whom the marvellous sights he relates are shown and explained to him :


First, I, that in my feet have thee,
Of whom thou hast great fear and wonder,
Am dwelling with the God of Thunder,
Which men y-callen Jupiter,
That doth me flyen full oft fer h
To do all his commandement;
And for this cause he hath me sent
To thee; harken now by thy trouth;
Certain he hath of thee great routh,i
For that thou hast so truëly
So long served ententiflyj
His blinde nephew Cupido,
And the fair queen Venus also,
Withouten guerdon ever yet;
And natheless hast set thy wit
Althoughe in thy head full lit is
To make bokes, songs, and dittes,
In rhime or elles in cadence,
As thou best canst, in reverence
Of Love and of his servants eke,
That have his service sought and seek;
And painest thee to praise his art,
Although thou haddest never part;
Wherefore, so wisely God me bless,
Jovis yhalt it great humbless,
And virtue eke, that thou wilt make
Anight m
m full oft thine head to ache
In thy study, so thou y-writest,
And ever more of Love enditest,
In honour of him and praisings,
And in his folkes furtherings,
And in their matter all devisest,
And not him ne his folk despisest,
Although thou may'st go in the dance
Of them that him list not avance:
Wherefore, as I now said, I wis,
Jupiter considreth well this,

i Ruth, pity. Nevertheless. 1 Jove held.

h Far.

j Attentively. m O' nights.

And als, beau sire," of other things,
That is, that thou hast no tidings
Of Love's folk if they be glade,
Ne of nothing else that God made,
And not only fro° fer countree
That no tidinges comen to thee,
Not of thy very neighebores,
That dwellen almost at thy dores,
Thou hearest neither that ne this;
For, when thy labour all done is,
And hast made all thy reckonings,
Instead of rest and of new things,
Thou goest home to thine house anon,
And, all so dumb as any stone
Thou sittest at another book,
Till fully dazed is thy look,
And livest thus as an hermit,
Although thine abstinence is lit;

And therefore Jovis, through his grace,

Will that I bear thee to a place
Which that y-hight the House of Fame, &c.

From the mention of his reckonings in this passage, Tyrwhitt conjectures that Chaucer probably wrote the House of Fame while he held the office of Comptroller of the Customs of Wools, to which he was appointed in 1374. It may be regarded, therefore, as one of the productions of the second or middle stage of his poetical life, as the Romaunt of the Rose is supposed to have been of the first. The House of Fame is in three books, comprising in all 2190 lines, and is an exceedingly interesting poem on other accounts, as well as for the reference which Chaucer seems to make in it to himself, and the circumstances of his own life. Another evidence which it carries of the somewhat advanced years of the writer, is the various learning and knowledge with which

n Fair sir.

• From.

it is interspersed. Here, for instance, is the doctrine of gravitation as explained by the all-accomplished Eagle :

Geffrey, thou knowest full well this,
That every kindly P thing that is
Y-hath a kindly stead, there he
May best in it conserved be;
Unto which place every thing,
Thorough his kindly inclining,
Y-meveth for to comen to
When that it is away therefro;
As thus, lo, thou may'st all day see,
Take any thing that heavy be,
As stone, or lead, or thing of weight,
And bear it ne'er so high on height,
Let go thine hand it falleth down;
Right so, say I, by fire, or soun,
Or smoke, or other thinges light,
Alway they seek upward on height;
Light things up and heavy down charge
While everich of them be at large;
And for this cause thou may'st well see
That every river to the sea
Inclined is to go by kind;
And, by these skilles as I find,
Have fishes dwelling in flood and sea,
And trees eke on the earthe be:
Thus every thing by his reason
Hath his own proper mansion,
To which he seeketh to repair
There as it shoulden nat appair.s
Lo this sentence is knowen couth
Of every philosopher's mouth,
As Aristotle and Dan Platon
And other clerkes many one.
And, to confirmen my reasoun,
Thou wottest well that speech is soun,
Or elles no man might it hear;
Now hearken what I woll thee lear.

P Natural.

1 Where.

r Moveth.

* Where it should not impair, or suffer declension.

And then the learned bird proceeds in the like strain to deliver a lecture on the production and propagation of sound :


Soun is nought but air y-broken,
And every speeche that is spoken,
Whe'rt loud or privy, foul or fair,
In his substance ne is but air;
For, as flame is but lighted smoke,
Right so is soun but air y-broke.
But this may be in many wise,
Of the which I will thee devise,"
As soun cometh of pipe or harp;
For, when a pipe is blowen sharp
The air is twist with violence
And rent: lo, this is my sentence.
Eke, when that men harp-stringes smite,
Wheder that it be moch or lite,"

Lo, with the stroke the air it breaketh,

And right so breaketh it when men speaketh.
Thus wost thou well what thing is speech:
Now hennes forth I will thee teach
How everich speeche, voice, or soun,
Through his multiplicatioun,
Though it were piped of a mouse,
Mote needes come to Fame's House.
I prove it thus, taketh heed now,
By experience; for, if that thou
Threw in a water now a stone,
Well wost thou it will make anon
A little roundle as a circle,
Paraventure as broad as a covircle2;
And right anon thou shalt see wele
That circle cause another wheel,
And that the third, and so forth, brother,
Every circle causing other

t Whether.

▾ Much or little. - Must.

w Knowest.

Probably a misprint, or mistranscription, for throw.

z Potlid.

u Instruct.

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