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John the Reeve


ABBREVIATIONS: MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford English ; NCE: New Catholic Encyclopedia; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Pro­verbial Phrases.

title The manuscript has John de Reeve, and the poem throughout refers to the central character as either John de Reeve or John Reeve, as if Reeve were only his sur­name, rather than indicating his station as well. I have changed the title since contemporary references are to John the Reeve (Douglas, Dunbar, and Lyndsay; see the introduction to the poem) but left the name unaltered elsewhere: it seems to me likely that the poem was originally inconsistent on this point.

9 A rolle he had reading. That is, he was reading a manuscript in the form of a long roll of parchment, rather than leaves folded and sewed together like a book. Formal documents tended to be kept on rolls, so the implication is that a story read by a clerk from a roll has historical authority.

17 But Edward with the long shankes was hee. Edward I (reigned 1272–1307), called “Longshanks.”

33 gan they say. gan is a past tense marker in this poem. Gan they say means “they said.”

34 Itt is a folly, by St. John. The probable reference is to St. John, the apostle said to be particularly loved by Christ in the account in the Gospel of John; medieval tradition considered John the apostle, John the evangelist, and John the author of the Book of Revelation to be the same person. But there were many other saints named John, including John the Baptist.

92 Oft men meete att unsett steven. A proverb, Whiting M210: “Men may meet at unset steven,” people can meet at appointments that they have not set up.

94–104 The carle is clearly afraid of brigands and does not recognize the king, much like Adam the shepherd in the previous poem.

119 My hood or that I wold vayle. John refuses to show deference to lords by taking off his hood in their presence. True to his word here, he continues to resist doffing his hood, and the line “Hee vayled neither hatt nor hood” is a repeated com­ment on his later progress through the court (at lines 689, 770, 797). The doffing of the hood is an explicit point of contention in this poem, as it is in King Edward and the Shepherd.

126 Thereof I have good likinge. For a serf, the best owner was the king. The king’s bondmen were subject to fewer taxes and restrictions.

132 by St. Jame. Probably St. James the Greater, the apostle, brother of John, whose shrine in Santiago de Compostela in Spain was one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Middle Ages (see “James [Son of Zebedee], St.,” NCE). But there are several other men named James mentioned in the New Testament.

134 Marry. A mild oath by the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.

140–41 Ale that is both sower and cold — / I use neither braggatt nor bere. “Until the introd[uction] of hops from the Low Countries (a1440), ale and ber are synonymous in M[iddle] E[nglish]” (from MED ale, def. 1). The distinction is that beer would be hopped, but ale would not. John drinks only the old-fashioned homemade ale.

143 I dare eate noe other meate. The obvious question is why John does not dare eat better food, especially since it is clear that he has a productive farm. Edward asks the question but gets an answer that does not help readers outside the historical context much. As a bondman, he would have been required to mill his wheat at a manorial mill and perhaps brew at a manorial brewing-house, and to pay for the privilege; perhaps he does not dare eat wheat bread because he ostensibly cannot afford to have his meal ground at the mill and will not risk being caught with a handmill. An alternative explanation is that John has run afoul of regula­tions fixing the prices of both bread and beer, if he has been selling them (see lines 148–49), and the fines incurred have persuaded him to have nothing to do with brewing or baking.

170 St. Jollye. St. Julian the Hospitaller, the patron saint of hospitality, whose tale is told in the Legenda Aurea and other medieval collections of saints’ lives such as the South English Legendary. Briefly, as a boy he ran away from home in the hopes of escaping the prophecy that he would kill his parents. When they came seeking him years later, his wife hospitably housed them in the couple’s own bed, and Julian, told that his wife was in bed with another man, returned home in a rage and killed the pair sleeping in their bed, only to discover that he had fulfilled the prophecy. He expiated his sin by founding hospitals and houses for travelers.

193–98 John is denying that he has been cutting fuel. He apparently lives in Windsor Forest, an area under Forest Law: penalties both for poaching deer and cutting wood in areas designated as the king’s forest were severe.

196 Thou getteth noe other of John de Reeve. Getteth is the wrong form of the verb to go with the pronoun thou; the line should read Thou gettest. But the scribe of the Percy Folio manuscript is writing much later than the poem’s time of composition, and I preserve his presentation of the poem except where it has to be corrected for rhyme or understanding.

199–202 Here John is apparently worried that he will be found to be too wealthy and suspected of skimming off the profits of the king’s estate, as Chaucer’s Reeve did to his lord.

210 In twentye-naine devilles way. The usual phrase is “in twenty devils’ way.” John’s phrase is a humorous intensification of the expletive. The spelling naine for nine is unusual. It could represent a pre-seventeenth-century Scottish form nayne, it could simply be a mistake, or it could be a pseudo-archaism.

217 They served him honestly and able. Here able is being used as an adverb; this is a usage not attested anywhere else.

218 And his horsse to the stable. A verb of motion seems to be understood: “And they led his horse to the stable.”

224–25 Her head was dight all bydeene: / The wiffe was of noe pryde. The point here seems to be that the goodwife did not spend a long time primping but instead came promptly to look after the guests.

226-31 Like conventional descriptions of a lovely heroine, the poem uses set compar­isons and associations: silk, white as milk, lovesome hue, made in comely fashion. But it is quite unusual in applying them to a plump little old woman, whose hair rather than skin is white as milk. And it is very unusual in giving such a descrip­tion of an elderly peasant woman in terms that are not the hideous inverse of descriptions of the young and courtly lady. John’s wife Allice (named at line 598) is a pleasant-looking, well-dressed, but not ostentatious old woman.

260 Peeres Pay-for-all. Looked at from a sufficiently royalist point of view, the king is the one who pays for all, as taxes are collected for and disbursed by him.

265–67 The king’s very rich clothing is the subject of John’s comment here. John sees him as out of place, someone dressed so magnificently that it is surprising that he humbles himself to serve as a falconer.

311 Travelled you never beyond the sea? The implied question is “Have you been to war?”

342 “Yett watter,” quoth John, “lettes see.” Bringing water in for washing the hands was a regular ceremony before courtly meals but not to be expected in a serf’s house.

346 John sayd, “For want of a marshall I will take the wand.” Because John’s household, unlike that of a great lord or the king, does not have a marshal experienced in protocol to seat those who are to dine, John will do it himself. A wand would be the marshal’s symbol of office.

392 Salt bacon, rusted and redd. The bacon may be simply discolored (metaphorically rusted) or the scribe may not have recognized the word reested. Reested would mean either that the bacon was cured (and thus be a neutral term) or that the bacon was rancid (and thus contribute to the gathering sense that the meal is unpleasant).

412 Swere to me by booke and bell. Swearing “by book and bell” was in reference to those used in the Mass.

419Therto,” quoth John, “hold up thy hand.” John is getting his guests to swear not to tell on him, and they raise their hands to confirm their promise. See MED hond(e (n.)1c. (a).

433 paymen bread. Pandemain (OED) or pain-demeine (MED), a white bread made with refined flour, more expensive than wholegrain breads and therefore far more apt to be on a noble’s or prosperous merchant’s table than a peasant’s. Here it is probably being used for trenchers, slabs of bread, sometimes toasted for greater firmness, to serve as dinner plates.

473 Elkis, flaunes, with frumentye. Frumenty was a dish made of wheat simmered in milk, sweetened and spiced. Elks were probably not the large animal now called elk but a smaller member of the deer family (OED elk¹). Of the foods mentioned from lines 464 to 473, the boar and venison would have been poached illegally from the forest; the wildfowl were not protected by Forest Law but would have been poached from some lord’s warren.

527 “Wee must have powder of ginger therein.” It was customary in courtly circles to take wine with spices in it after a meal.

535 The galliard was a dance popular in the sixteenth century but possibly too late to be the one originally mentioned in this poem. The brawl (or bransle) too was a popular dance in the sixteenth century.

557 Their liveryes were served them up soone. Their allotment of something is being given to them just before bed, but it is not clear from the context what. It might be candles, or perhaps it is the voidee, the service of wine and spices at the very end of a social occasion, just before heading home or to bed. But the voidee is more or less implied above, at line 527.

561 A masse he garred them to have. John’s household lacks very little that a royal or baronial court would have, including apparently a chaplain and a chapel in which he can have Mass said on the premises.

565 If ever wee come to our abone. Abone is a northern form of above.

600 Is made of Millayne plate. Milan was famous for its steel and armor.

601 A pitchforke and a sword. As a bondman, John is not entitled to carry a sword.

604 Allice feitched downe his acton syde. But the context calls for her to fetch him his sword, not his “jacket long.” There must be some corruption in the text here. Compare line 607 and its use of "scaberd."

637 “Feitch me downe,” quoth he, “my mittons.” Rather than an armed knight’s chain­mail gloves, John’s mittens are heavy cloth ones, used to protect a workman’s hands from thorns and brush when he is hedging and the like.

668 Thee beseemeth full well to weare a horne. That is, like the devil, but also like a forester. The men of the court, seeing John’s mittens, and his gear, take him for a forester, responsible for both trees and game in the king’s forest. John responds, at line 677, by offering to prune them. Legally, John is not allowed to carry bow and arrows in an area under Forest Law, but as we see below, he is carrying them.

676 By my faith, that can I lead. John can show from his experience how harmful the courtiers are to the peasantry.

749 And John sayd, “Nay, by St. William of Yorke.” William Fitzherbert, consecrated archbishop of York in 1143, deposed in 1147, restored in 1153, and dead within weeks, perhaps poisoned. The party opposed to him accused him of simony. Miracles were said to have occurred at his tomb, and he was canonized in 1227 (see “St. William,” NCE). The oath by St. William of York, not a widely venerated figure like the apostles or St. Julian, suggests that the origins of the poem are not far from York.

764 for Godes fast. The queen is swearing by Christ’s fast of forty days (Matthew 4:2).

819–21 Full oft I have heard tell / That after a coller comes a rope: / I shall be hanged by the throate. This is an earlier use of the proverb (after a collar comes a rope) than those cited in the proverb dictionaries. The saying implies that those raised to knighthood (with the collar signifying their rank) are then in danger of a halter taking the place of the collar because of their eminence: obscurity is safer.

838 By my Lady. That is, by the Virgin Mary.

860 Be God, I shall reave their hood. The porters at the king’s castle would likely be armed; John may be threatening to take their hoods off (as people have been urging him to take off his own), but in this case their hoods are probably chain-mail.

875 John’s sons are introduced here, though we met his two daughters at the feast. The bishop proposes to educate them so that they may eventually become beneficed priests, each eventually with a parish of his own. This is his way of com­pensating John for his kind wishes at lines 371–76 that the bishop, apparently a poor chaplain, might receive a benefice.

880–882 Here the bishop proposes to address the other major issue of the well-being of John’s family. The daughters must be married to provide for their futures, and the bishop promises that the king will sponsor their marriages, thus ensuring that the women will marry well and be set for life financially.


COPY-TEXT: London, British Library MS Additional 27879 (the Percy Folio Manuscript), pp. 357–68.
ABBREVIATIONS: MS: manuscript, here referring to the copy-text; OED: Oxford English Dictionary.

title MS: John De Reeue. Below the title is written: --in 3 parts--.

1The opening word God appears in large letters, the same size as the title, in the left margin.

22 MS spelling the has been changed to they for the pronoun here and in lines 76, 182, 211, 217, 539, 556, 741, 756, and 778.

24 MS: The country they out cast. Emendation for sense.

38 MS: A bishopp from his coste to be cast. Emendation for sense.

41 MS: All night wee may ryde vnskill. Emendation for grammar.

95 MS: I am affraye of you eche one. Emendation for grammar.

115 MS: Of lordes sayet hee speake no more. Emendation for rhyme (more to moe) and sense (sayet to sayeth).

137 MS: With beffe and bread you shall beginne. Emendation for sense, to correspond to line 391 below. Probably in a prior MS beue was misread for original bene.

146 MS: ffor dare not eate that I gett. Emended for sense.

155 MS: That makes such statuinge. Emendation for sense.

161 MS: Tell mee where is your recreate. Emendation for sense.

174 MS: ffor ought that I you can say. I is canceled, and you added both above the line and in the margin to the left.

178 MS: The Bishopp of Durham this towne oweth. Emendation for sense.

192 MS: With bright a ffeare and bold. Emendation for sense.

199 MS: If thou find in my house payment ffine. Emendation for sense.

215 MS: They halted them ffull swift. Emendation for rhyme.

232 MS: Then ^ calld his men all. In the margin: John.

233 MS: Sayes build me a ffore in the hall. Emendation for sense.

239–41 These lines are missing in the MS; no gap.

242 MS: ffor courtyes comonly wold be Jollye.

247 MS: Curtesye I learned ne<..>r none. Blot in MS.

276 MS: I say you withouten miste. Emendation for rhyme and sense.

277 MS: You are ffresh ffellowes in your appay. Emended for idiom.

284 MS: ffor courtyes comonlye are att large.

326 MS: And a handffull a thyttille syde. Emended for sense.

335 MS: A charcole ffyer burning bright. Emendation for sense.

338 MS: there bordes werer covered on euerye syde.

339 MS: There mirth was comanded. Emended for sense and rhyme; for form compare line 648.

344 MS: Hobkin Long and Hob alsoe. Hodgkin is his name elsewhere in the poem.

heading In the MS, the large heading 2nd Parte appears extending from the margin into the text area, beside bracketed and indented lines 346—54 (a complete stanza).

370—71 MS: Then Peres thou might beare the prize
Yett I wold this chaplaine had a benefize

The scribe has not recognized the older idiom to bear the price, “to surpass all others,” and has changed the last word of line 370, then altered the word benefice in line 371 to give a pseudo-rhyme.

372 MS: As mote I tharve or thee. Emendation for sense.

381 MS: ffor there shalbe no more. Emendation for rhyme and sense.

385 MS: Att side end bord wee will bee. Emendation for sense.

393 MS: And brewish in a blacke dish; added above the line: ice.

398 This line is missing in the MS, no gap.

400 MS: Such service nerest I see. Emendation for sense.

416 MS: He shall nott witt our service. Conjectural emendation for rhyme.

426 MS: For itt is for thy power. Emendation for sense and rhyme.

427 MS: Take this away, thou Hobkin Long. Compare note to line 344.

429 MS: a sword sidebordes.

433 MS: by then came in the payment bread. Emendation for sense.

441 MS: I goe you to understand. Emendation for sense.

455 MS: Infaith quoth John soe had leever I did. Emendation for sense and rhyme.

456 MS: Then live ay in woe and payne. Emendation for sense and rhyme.

462 MS: others will broake itt ffine. Emendation for sense.

466 MS: Capones both baked and rosted. Emendation for rhyme.

470 MS: Coneys curleys well I wott. Emendation for sense.

473 MS: Elkis fflounes with froterye. Emendation for sense and rhyme.

480 MS: Such ffreindshipp wee haue ffounde. Emendation for rhyme.

485 MS: Therefore I beshrew the soape. Emendation for sense.

486 MS: That shall come in his mouth. Emendation for rhyme.

491 MS: Infayth quoth John and yee greeve mee <….>. Emended for rhyme.

493 MS: speake English everye eche one. Emendation for sense.

497 MS: therin noe reason ffind I can. Emendation for rhyme.

499 MS: rowing I loue itt neither young nor old. Emendation for sense.

505 MS: That man can of curtesye. Emendation for sense.

514 MS: Sirrah sayth John sithe wee are mett. Emendation for sense.

519 MS: Now is no time to thrine. Emendation for sense.

535 MS: Yee dance neither gallyard nor hawe. But there is no medieval dance called the hawe known to me. Emendation for sense and approx­imate rhyme (with probable form trawe).

543 MS: His brow brast out of blood. Emendation for idiom.

544 MS: Ah ha Quoth John thou makes good game. Emendation for rhyme.

545 MS: Had thou not ffalled wee had not laught. Emendation for rhyme.

558 MS: With a merry cheere. Emendation for rhyme.

559 MS: And thus they sleeped till morning att prine.

566 MS: Wee shall thee quitt our varrison.

heading In the MS, the large heading 3rd Parte appears extending from the margin into the text area, beside bracketed and indented lines 571–79. This placement ignores the stanza form.

568 MS: The king took leave att man and mayde. Emendation for rhyme.

578 MS: To tell the queene of their harbor. Emendation for rhyme.

602 MS: Shee sayd shee was affrayd. Emendation for rhyme (probably on original swerd).

604 MS: acton p<.>yde syde.

610 MS: gett lether and a nayle John can say. Emendation for sense (leather stitching is done using an awl, not a nail). OED awl: “In 15–17th c. a mistaken division of an awl as a nawl gave the form with initial n.” Second emendation conjectural: John can say makes sense and rhymes, but repeats the sense of line 609.

614 MS: hether itt will out lightlye. Emendation for sense.

619 MS: Allice held and John loughe draughe.

632 MS: They supped itt all off as I wis. Emendation to restore idiom.

637 MS: Feitch me downe quoth he my gloues. Emendation for rhyme and sense (compare line 720). The rhyme on mittons/once was probably originally on eyns or anes forms of both words.

638 MS: They came but on my handes but once. Emendation for sense.

639 MS: 22. The normal way of expressing that numeral would have been “two and twenty” throughout the Middle Ages.

644 MS: I will drinke to thee once againe. Emendation for rhyme.

654 MS: till hodgkinn heave vp behind. Emendation for rhyme (although it is possible that there are lines missing after 654 and there should be two stanzas rather than one of unusual length).

682 MS: What shold such men as I doe [h]ere. The h is unreadable.

688 MS: To him he ffast ffull rode. Emendation for sense.

693 MS: ffor wrat I axe waxe neere wood. Emendation for sense.

699 MS: I pray thee tarry a while. Emendation for rhyme.

713 MS: His hood were made home browne. Emendation for sense.

715 MS: A thyttill hee hath fast in his hand.

716 MS: that hangeth in a peake band. Emendation for sense.

721 This line is missing in the MS; no gap.

730 MS: John tooke his forke in his hand. Emendation for sense and rhyme.

735 MS: And him had welnye slaine. Emendation for rhyme.

747 MS: I pray you, light downe heere. Emendation for rhyme.

754 MS: I shall hold your stirroppe. Emendation for rhyme.

759 MS reads: And alsoe <…> passing sloe.

762 MS: Therfore I will itt weare. Emendation for rhyme (although it is possible that there are three lines missing after 762 and there should be two stanzas rather than one of unusual length).

766 MS: Such a fellow saw I never yore. Emendation for rhyme.

771 MS: He was a ffaley freake. Emendation for sense.

776 MS: For hee will frowte some in the face. Emendation for sense.

787 MS: But lord hee sayd my good itt thine. Emendation for sense.

790 MS: But lord thy word is honour. Emendation for sense and rhyme.

794 MS: When thou with me a night. Emendation for sense.

812 MS: I thanke you my lord as I haue soule. Emendation for idiom and rhyme.

816 MS: With worshippe when hee sayd. Emended for sense.

822 MS: Methinkes itt doth not well. Emended for sense.

829–34 The rhymes in this stanza (downe/home and wott/sortes) are poor and suggest corruption of the text.

838 MS: good <…> wine.

843 MS: Was all berinnen with blood. Emendation for sense.

857 MS: When any man out of my countrye; out is added above the line, with a caret. Emended for sense.

858 MS: another lett them not be soe stout. Emended for sense.

861 MS: or goe on foote boote. Emended for sense and rhyme.

874 MS: Then they bishopp sayd to him thoe. Emendation for sense.

897 MS: to god serue night and day. Emended for sense.

903 MS: through the grace of the king hend. Emended for sense and rhyme.

904 MS: then thought on the bishopps word. Emended for sense.

























































































































































































God, through thy might and thy mercy,
All that loveth game and glee
Their soules to heaven bringe.
Best is mirth of all solace;
Therfore I hope itt betokenes grace,
Of mirth who hath likinge.

As I heard tell this other yere,
A clarke came out of Lancashire;
A rolle he had reading.
A bourde written therein he found
That sometime fell in England
In Edwardes dayes our king.

By east, west, north, and southe
All this realme well run hee cowthe,
Castle, tower, and towne.
Of that name were kinges three,
But Edward with the long shankes was hee,
A lord of great renowne.

As the king rode ahunting upon a day
Three fawcones flew away;
He followed wonderous fast.
They rode upon their horsses that tyde.
They rode forth on every side;
The country they umbecast.

From morning untill eveninge late
Many menn abroad they gate,
Wandring all alone.
The night came att the last;
There was no man that wist
What way the king was gane,

Save a bishopp and an erle free
That was allwayes the king full nye.
And thus then gan they say,
“Itt is a folly, by St. John,
For us thus to ryde alone
Soe many a wilsome way:

“A king and an erle to ryde in hast,
A bishopp from his courte to be cast,
For hunting, sikerlye.
The whether happned wonderous ill:
All night wee may ryde with unskill,
Nott wotting where wee bee.”

Then the king began to say,
“Good Sir Bishopp, I you pray,
Some comfort, if you may.”
As they stoode talking all about
They were ware of a carle stout.
“Gooddeene, fellow,” can they say.

Then the erle was well apayd.
“You be welcome, good fellow,” hee sayd,
“Of fellowshipp wee pray thee.”
The carle full hye on horsse sate.
His legges were short and broad,
His stirroppes were of tree;

A payre of shooes were stiffe and store,
On his heele a rustye spurre —
Thus forwardes rydeth hee.
The bishopp rode after on his palfrey:
“Abyde, good fellow, I thee pray,
And take us home with thee.”

The carle answered him that tyde,
“From me thou gettest noe other guide,
I sweare by sweete St. John.”
Then said the erle, ware and wise,
“Thou canst litle of gentrise.
Say not soe for shame.”

The carle answered the erle unto,
“With gentlenesse I have nothing to doe,
I tell thee by my fay.”
The weather was cold and even roughe;
The king and the erle sate and loughe,
The bishopp did him soe pray.

The king said, “Soe mote I thee,
Hee is a carle, whosoever hee be:
I reade wee ryde him neere.”
They sayd with wordes hend,
“Ryd saftlye, gentle freind,
And bring us to some harbor.”

Then to tarry the carle was lothe,
But rode forth as he was wrothe,
I tell you sickerlye.
The king sayd, “By Mary bright,
I troe wee shall ryde all this night
In wast unskillfullye.

“I feare wee shall come to no towne.
Ryde to the carle and pull him downe,
Hastilye without delay.”
The bishopp said soone on hye,
“Abide, good fellow, and take us with thee,
For my love, I thee pray.”

The erle said, “By God in heaven,
Oft men meete att unsett steven:
To quite thee well wee may.”
The carle sayd, “By St. John,
I am affrayed of you eche one,
I tell you by my fay.”

The carle sayd, “By Marye bright,
I am afrayd of you this night.
I see you rowne and reason.
I know you not and itt were day.
I troe you think more then you say.
I am affrayd of treason.

“The night is merke: I may not see
What kind of men that you bee.
But and you will doe one thinge —
Swere to doe me not desease —
Then wold I faine you please,
If I cold with anythinge.”

Then sayd the erle, with wordes free,
“I pray you, fellow, come hither to mee,
And to some towne us bringe.
And after, if wee may thee kenn
Amonge lordes and gentlemen,
Wee shall requite thy dealinge.”

“Of lordes,” sayeth hee, “speake no moe:
With them I have nothing to doe,
Nor never thinke to have.
For I had rather be brought in bale
My hood or that I wold vayle
On them to crouch or crave.”

The king sayd curteouslye,
“What manner of man are yee
Att home in your dwellinge?”
“A husbandman, forsooth, I am
And the kinges bondman;
Thereof I have good likinge.”

“Sir, when spake you with our king?”
“In faith, never in all my living;
He knoweth not my name.
And I have my capull and my crofft.
If I speake not with the king oft,
I care not, by St. Jame.”

“What is thy name, fellow, by thy leave?”
“Marry,” quoth hee, “John de Reeve.
I care not who itt heare.
For if you come into my inne
With beane-bread you shall beginne
Soone att your soupper,

“Salt bacon of a yeare old,
Ale that is both sower and cold —
I use neither braggatt nor bere.
I lett you witt withouten lett
I dare eate noe other meate:
I sell my wheate ech yeere.”

“Why doe you, John, sell your wheate?”
“For I dare not eate that I gett;
Therof I am full wrothe.
For I love a draught of good drinke as well
As any man that doth itt sell,
And alsoe a good wheat loffe.

“For he that first starveth John de Reeve,
I pray to God hee may never well cheeve,
Neither on water nor land,
Whether itt be sheriffe or king
That makes such statutinge:
I outcept never a one.

“For and the kings penny were layd by mine
I durst as well as hee drinke the wine
Till all my good were gone.
But sithence that wee are meitt soe meete,
Tell mee where is your receate:
You seeme good laddes eche one.”

The erle answered with wordes faire,
“In the kinges house is our repayre,
If wee bee out of the way.”
“This night,” quoth John, “you shall not spill,
Such harbour I shall bring you till:
I hett itt you today.

“Soe that yee take itt thankeffullye
In Godes name, and St. Jollye,
I aske noe other pay.
And if you be sturdy and stout,
I shall garr you to stand without
For ought that you can say.

“For I have two neigbores won by mee
Of the same freeledge that am I:
Of o bandshipp are wee.
The bishopp of Durham the tone oweth;
The erle of Gloster, whosoe him knoweth,
Lord of the other is hee.

“Wist my neighbors that I were thratt,
I vow to God, they wold not lett
For to come soone to mee.
If any wrong were to mee done
Wee three durst fight a whole afternoone,
I tell you sikerlye.”

The king said, “John, tell us not this tale:
Wee are not ordayned for battell;
Our weedes are wett and cold.
Heere is no man that yee shall greeve.
But helpe us, John, by your leave,
With a bright feare and bold.”

“I’ faith,” sayd John, “that you shall want,
For fuell heere is wonderous scant,
As I heere have yee told.
Thou getteth noe other of John de Reeve,
For the kinges statutes whilest I live
I thinke to use and hold.

“If thou find in my house paymen fine
Or in my kitchin poultry slaine
Peradventure thou wold say
That John Reeve his bond hath broken.
I wold not that such wordes weere spoken
In the kinges house another day,

“For itt might turne me to great greeffe.
Such proud laddes that beare office
Wold danger a pore man aye.
And or I wold pray thee of mercy longe,
Yett weere I better to lett thee gange,
In twentye-naine devilles way.”

Thus they rode to the towne.
John de Reeve lighted downe
Besides a comlye hall.
Four men belive came wight;
They halted them full right
When they heard John call.
They served him honestly and able
And his horsse to the stable
And lett noe tenne misfall.

Some went to warne their dame
That John had brought guestes home.
Shee came to welcome them tyte,
In a side kirtle of greene.
Her head was dight all bydeene:
The wiffe was of noe pryde.

Her kerchers were all of silke,
Her hayre as white as any milke,
Lovesome of hue and hyde.
Shee was thicke and somedeale broad:
Of comlye fashyon was shee made,
Both belly, backe, and side.

Then John calld his men all,
Sayes, “Build me a fire in the hall,
And give their capulles meate.
Lay before them corne and hay.
For my love rubb off the clay,
For they beene weary and wett.

“Lay under them straw to the knee,
For courtyers comonly wold be jollye
And have but litle to spend.”

Then hee said, “By St. John,
You are welcome, every one,
If you take itt thankefullye.
Curtesye I learned never none,
But after mee, fellowes, I read you gone.”
Till a chamber they went, all three.

A charcole fire was burning bright.
Candles on chandlours light:
Eche freake might other see.
“Where are your sordes?” quoth John de Reeve.
The erle said, “Sir, by your leave,
Wee weare none, perdye.”

Then John rowned with the erle soe free:
“What long fellow is yonder,” quoth hee,
That is soe long of lim and lyre?”
The erle answered with wordes small,
“Yonder is Peeres Pay-for-all,
The queenes cheefe fawconer.”

Ah ah,” quoth John, “for Godes good,
Where gott hee that gay hood,
Glitering of gold itt were?
And I were as proud as hee is like,
There is no man in England ryke
Shold garr me keepe his gleades one yere.

“I pray you, sir, for Godes werke,
Who is yond in yonder serke,
That rydeth Peeres soe nye?”
The erle answered him againe,
“Yonder is a pore chaplaine,
Long advanced or hee bee.

“And I myselfe am a sumpter man;
Other craft keepe I none,
I say you withouten miss.”
“You are fresh fellowes to your a-pay,
Jolly jetters in your array,
Proud laddes, and I trow, penyles.”

The king said, “Soe mote I thee,
There is not a penny amongst us three
To buy us bread and flesh.”
“Ah ha,” quoth John, “there is small charge,
For courtyers comonlye are att large,
If they goe never soe fresh.

“I goe girt in a russett gowne,
My hood is of homemade browne,
I weare neither burnett nor greene;
And yett I troe I have in store
A thousand pounds and somedeale more,
For all yee are prouder and fine.

“Therfore I say, as mote I thee,
A bondman itt is good bee,
And come of carles kinne.
For and I bee in taverne sett,
To drinke as good wine I will not lett
As London Edward or his queene.”

The erle sayd, “By Godes might,
John, thou art a comly knight,
And sturdy in everye fray.”
“A knight!” quoth John, “Doe away for shame.
I am the kinges bondman.
Such wast wordes doe away.

“I know you not in your estate.
I am misnurtured, well I wott:
I will not therto say nay.
But if any such doe me wrong,
I will fight with him hand to hand
When I am cladd in mine array.”

The bishopp sayd, “You seeme sturdye.
Travelled you never beyond the sea?”
Jhon sayd sharplye, “Nay.
I know none such strange guise,
But att home on my owne wise
I dare hold the hye way.

“And that hath done John Reeve scath,
For I have made such as you wrath
With choppes and chances yare.”
“John de Reeve,” sayd our king,
“Hast thou any armouringe,
Or any weapon to weare?”

“I vow, sir, to God,” sayd John thoe,
“But a pikefforke with graines two —
My father used never other speare —
A rusty sword that well will byte,
And a thwyttel a handffull syde
That sharplye will share,

“An acton and a habargyon a foote side;
And yett peradventure I durst abyde
As well as thou, Peeres, for all thy painted geere.”
Quoth John, “I reede wee goe to the hall,
Wee three fellowes and Peeres Pay-for-all;
The proudest before shall fare.”

Thither they raked anon wright.
A charcole fyer was burning bright
With many a strang brand.
The hall was large and somedeale wyde:
There bordes were covered on everye syde;
There mirth was commannde.

Then the goodwiffe sayd with a seemlye cheere,
“Your supper is readye there.”
“Yett watter,” quoth John, “lettes see.”
By then came Johnes neighbors two:
Hodgkin Long and Hob alsoe.
The first fitt here find wee.

Second Parte

John sayd, “For want of a marshall I will take the wand.
Peeres Fawconer before shall gange:
Begin the dish shall hee.
Goe to the bench, thou proud chaplaine;
My wiffe shall sitt thee againe:
Thy meate-fellow shall shee bee.”
He sett the erle against the king.
They were faine att his bidding.
Thus John marshalled his meanye.

Then John sperred where his daughteres were.
“The fairer shall sitt by the fawconere:
He is the best farrand man.
The other shall the sompter man have.”
The erle sayd, “Soe God me save,
Of curtesye, John, thou can.”

“If my selfe,” quoth John, “be bonnd,
Yett my daughteres beene well farrand,
I tell you sickerlye.
Peeres, and thou had wedded John daughter Reeve,
There were no man that durst thee greeve,
Neither for gold nor fee.”

“Sompter man, and thou the other had,
In good faith, then thou were made
Forever in this cuntrye.
Then, Peres, thou might beare the price.
Yett I wold this chaplaine had a benefice,
As mote I thrive or thee.

“In this towne a kirke there is.
And I were king itt should be his:
He shold have itt of mee.
Yett will I helpe as well as I may.”
The king, the erle, the bishopp can say,
“John, and wee live wee shall quitte thee.”

When his daughters were come to dease,
“Sitt farther,” quoth John, withouten leaze,
“For there shalbe no moe.
These strange fellowes I doe not ken:
Peradventure they may be some gentlemen.
Therfore I and my neighbors towe

“Att sidebord end wee will bee
Out of the gentles companye.
Thinke yee not best soe?
For itt was never the law of England
To sett gentles blood with bonnd;
Therfore to supper will wee goe.”

By then came in beane-bread,
Salt bacon, rusted and redd,
And brewice in a blacke dish.
Leane salt beefe of a yeere old,
Ale that was both sower and cold:
This was the first service.

Eche one had of that ylke a messe.
The king sayd, “Soe have I blisse,
Such service ner erst I see.”
Quoth John, “Thou gettest noe other of mee
Att this time but this.”

“Yes, good fellow,” the king gan say,
“Take this service heer away,
And better bread us bringe,
And gett us some better drinke:
We shall thee requite as wee thinke,
Without any letting.”

Quoth John, “Beshrew the morsell of bread
This night that shall come in your head,
But thou sweare me one thinge:
Swere to me by booke and bell
That thou shalt never John Reeve bettell
Unto Edward our kinge.”

Quoth the king, “To thee my truth I plight,
He shall nott witt our service tonight
No more then he doth nowe,
Never while wee three live in land.”
“Therto,” quoth John, “hold up thy hand,
And then I will thee troe.”

“Loe,” quoth the king, “my hand is heere.”
“Soe is mine,” quoth the erle with a mery cheere,
“Therto I give God avowe.”
“Have heere my hand,” the bishopp sayd.
“Marry,” quoth John, “thou may hold thee well apayd,
For itt is for thy prow.

“Take this away, thou Hodgkin Long,
And let us sitt out of the throng,
Att a sidebordes end.
These strange fellowes think uncouthlye
This night att our cookerye,
Such as God hath us sent.”

By then came in the paymen bread,
Wine that was both white and redd
In silver cuppes cleare.
“Aha,” quoth John, “our supper begines with drinke.
Tasste itt, laddes, and looke how yee thinke
For my love, and make good cheere.

“Of meate and drinke you shall have good fare,
And as for good wine, wee will not spare,
I garr you to understand:
For everye yeere, I tell thee thoe
I will have a tunn or towe
Of the best that may be fonnd.

“Yee shall see three churles heere
Drinke the wine with a merry cheere.
I pray you, doe you soe.
And when our supper is all doone
You and wee will dance soone:
Lettes see who best can doe.”

The erle sayd, “By Marry bright,
Wheresover the king lyeth this night
He drinketh no better wine
Then thou selfe does att this tyde.”
“In faith,” quoth John, “I had leever I died
Then live ay in woe and pine.

“If I be come of carles kinne,
Part of the good that I may winne,
Some therof shall be mine.
He that never spendeth but alway spareth,
Comonlye oft the worsse he fareth:
Others will broake itt syne.”

By then came in red wine and ale,
The bores head into the hall,
Then sheild with sauces seere,
Capones both baked and rost,
Woodcockes, venison, without bost,
And dishmeate dight full deere.

Swannes they had piping hott,
Coneys, curlews, well I wott,
The crane, the hearne in fere,
Pigeons, partridges, with spicerye,
Elkis, flaunes, with frumentye.
John bade them make good cheere.

The erle sayd, “Soe mote I thee,
John, you serve us royallye.
If yee had dwelled att London,
If King Edward where here,
He might be apayd with this supper,
Such freindshipp wee have funden.”

“Nay,” sayd John, “by Godes grace,
And Edward wher in this place,
Hee shold not touch this tonne.
Hee wold be wrath with John, I hope;
Therefore I beshrew the sope
That shall in his mouth come.”

Theratt the king laughed and made good cheere.
The bishopp sayd, “Wee fare well heere.”
The erle sayd as him thought.
They spake Lattine amongst them there.
“In fayth,” quoth John, “and yee greeve mee mare,
Full deere itt shalbe bought.

“Speake English, everyche one,
Or else sitt still, in the devilles name:
Such talke love I naught.
Lattine spoken amongst lewd men —
Therin noe reason doe I ken;
For falshood itt is wrought.

“Rowning, I love itt neither young nor old;
Therefore yee ought not to bee to bold,
Neither att meate nor meale.
Hee was false that rowning began;
Theerfore I say to you, certaine,
I love itt never a deale.

“That man can nought of curtesye
That letes att his meate rowning bee,
I say, soe have I sele.”
The erle sayd right againe,
“Att your bidding wee will be baine:
Wee thinke you say right weele.”

By this came up from the kitchin
Sirrupps on plates good and fine,
Wrought in a fayre array.
“Sirres,” sayth John, “sithe wee are mett
And as good fellowes together sett,
Lett us be blythe today.

“Hodgkin Long, and Hob of the Lath,
You are counted good fellowes both:
Now is no time to twine.
This wine is new come out of France —
Be God, me list well to dance;
Therfore take my hand in thine.

“For wee will, for our guestes sake,
Hop and dance, and revell make,
The truth for to know.”
Up he rose and drank the wine.
“Wee must have powder of ginger therein,”
John sayd, as I troe.

John bade them stand up all about,
“And yee shall see the carles stout
Dance about the bowle.
Hob of the Lathe and Hodgkin Long,
In fayth you dance your mesures wrang:
Methinkes that I shold know.

“Yee dance neither gallyard nor brawle,
Trace nor true mesure, as I trowe,
But hopp as yee were woode.”
When they began of foote to fayle,
They tumbled top over tayle,
And master and master they yode.

Forth they stepped on stones store.
Hob of the Lathe lay on the flore;
His brow brast out on blood.
“Ah ha,” quoth John, “thou makes it tough.
Had thou not falled wee had not lough:
Thou gladdes us all, by the rood.”

John hent up Hobb by the hand,
Sayes, “Me thinkes wee dance our measures wronge,
By Him that sitteth in throne.”
Then they began to kick and wince.
John hitt the king over the shinnes
With a payre of new clowted shoone.

Sith King Edward was mad a knight
Had he never soe merry a night
As he had with John de Reeve.
To bed they busked them anon;
Their liveryes were served them up soone
With a merry chefe.

And thus they sleeped till morning att prime
In full good sheetes of line.
A masse he garred them to have,
And after they dight them to dine
With boyled capons good and fine.
The duke sayd, “Soe God me save,

If ever wee come to our abone,
Wee shall thee quitt our warrison:
Thou shalt not need itt to crave.”

Third Parte

The king took leave att man and may.
John sett him in the rode way:
To Windsor can hee ryde.
Then all the court was full faine
That the king was comen againe,
And thanked Christ that tyde.

The jerfawcones were taken againe
In the forrest of Windsor, without laine:
The lordes did soe provyde.
They thanked God and St. Jollye.
To tell the queene of their harbery
The lordes had full great pryde.

The queene sayd, “Sir, by your leave,
I pray you send for that noble reeve
That I may see him with sight.”
The messenger was made to wend
And bidd John Reeve goe to the king
Hastilye with all his might.

John waxed unfaine in bone and blood,
Saith, “Dame, to me this is noe good,
My truth to you I plight.”
“You must come in your best array.”
“What too,” sayd John, “sir, I thee pray?”
“Thou must be made a knight.”

“A knight!” sayd John. “By Marry myld,
I know right well I am beguiled
With the guestes I herbord late.
To debate they will me bring.
Yett cast I mee for nothinge
Noe sorrow for to take.

“Allice, feitch mee downe my side acton —
My round pallett to my crowne
Is made of Millayne plate —
A pitchforke and a sword.”
Shee sayd shee was aferd
This deede wold make debate.

Allice feitched downe his acton syde.
Hee tooke itt for no litle pryde,
Yett must hee itt weare.
The scaberd was rent, withouten doubt:
A large handfull the bleade hanged out.
John the Reeve sayd there,

“Gett lether and an aule, I pray:
Lett me sow itt a chape today
Lest men scorn my geere.
Now,” sayd John, “will I see
Whether itt will out lightlye
Or I meane itt to weare.”

John pulled fast at the blade.
I wold hee had kist my arse that itt made:
He cold not gett itt out.
Allice held and John draughe:
Either att other fast loughe,
I doe yee out of doubt.

John pulled att the scaberd soe hard
Againe a post he ran backward
And gave his head a rowte.
His wiffe did laughe when he did fall,
And soe did his meanye all
That were there neere about.

Jhon sent after his neighbors both,
Hodgkine Long and Hobb of the Lath:
They were baene att his biddinge.
Three pottles of wine in a dishe,
They supped itt all off, iwis,
All there att their partinge.

John sayd, “And I had my buckler,
There’s nothing that shold me dare,
I tell you all in fere.
Feitch me downe,” quoth he, “my mittons:
They came upon my handes but once
This two and twenty yare.

“Feitch mee my capull,” sayd hee there.
His saddle was of a new manner,
His stirroppes were of a tree.
“Dame,” he sayd, “feitch me wine:
I will drinke to thee once syne.
I troe I shall never thee see.

“Hodgkin Long and Hob of the Lathe,
Tarry and drinke with me bothe,
For my cares are fast commannde.”
They dranke five gallons verament.
“Farwell fellowes all present,
For I am readye to gange.”

John was soe combred in his geere
Hee cold not gett upon his mere
Till Hodgkinn heave up his tail.
“Now farwell, sir, by the roode.”
To neither knight nor barron good
His hatt he wold not vayle
Till he came to the kings gate.
The porter wold not lett him in theratt,
Nor come within the walle,

Till a knight came walking out.
They sayd, “Yonder standeth a carle stout
In a rusticall arraye.”
On him they all wondred wright,
And said he was an unseemelye wight,
And thus to him they gan say:

“Hayle, fellow! Where wast thou borne?
Thee beseemeth full well to weare a horne.
Where had thou that faire geere?
I troe a man might seeke full long,
One like to thee or that hee fonnd,
Tho he sought all this yeere.”

John bade them kisse the devilles arse:
“For you my geare is much the worsse.
You will itt not amend;
By my faith, that can I lead.
Upon the head I shall you shread,
But if you hence wende.

“The devill him speede upon his crowne
That causeth me to come to this towne,
Whether he weare Jack or Jill.
What shold such men as I doe here,
Att the kinges manner?
I might have bene att home still.”

As John stoode flyting fast,
He saw one of his guestes come at the last.
To him he spake full bold,
To him he full fast rode;
He vayled neither hatt nor hood,
Sayth, “Thou hast me betold:

“Full well I wott, by this light,
That thou hast disdaind mee right,
For wrath I waxe neere wood.”
The erle sayd, “By Marry bright,
John, thou made us a merry night:
Thou shalt have nothing but good.”

The erle tooke leave att John Reeve,
Sayd, “Thou shalt come in, without greefe.
I pray thee tarry and wait.”
The erle into the hall went,
And told the king verament
That John Reeve was att the gate —
“To no man list hee lout —
A rusty sword gird him about,
And a long fawchyon, I wott.”

The king said, “Goe wee to meate,
And brings him when wee are sett:
Our dame shall have a play.”
“He hath ten arrowes in a thonge;
Some are short and some are long.
The sooth as I shold say,

“A rusty sallett upon his crowne;
His hood-were homemade browne.
There may nothing him dare.
A thwyttill hee hath fast in his hand
That hangeth in a packe-band,
And sharplye itt will share.

“He hath a pouch hanging full wyde,
A rusty buckeler on the other syde,
His mittons are of blacke clothe.
Whosoe to him sayth ought but good,
Full soone hee wilbe wrothe.”

Then John sayd, “Porter, lett mee in.
Some of my goodes thou shalt win;
I love not for to pray.”
The porter sayd, “Stand abacke.
And thou come neere, I shall thee rappe,
Thou carle, by my fay.”

John tooke his forke in his hend;
He bare his forke on an end:
He thought to make affray.
His capull was wight and cornefedd;
Upon the porter hee him spedd
And him can welnye slay.

He hitt the porter upon the crowne:
With that stroke hee fell downe,
Forsooth, as I you tell.
And then hee rode into the hall
And all the dogges, both great and small,
On John fast can they yell.

John layd about as he were wood,
And four he killed as hee stood:
The rest will now beware.
Then came forth a squier hend
And sayd, “John, I am thy freind.
I pray you, light downe there.”

Another sayd, “Give mee thy forke.”
And John sayd, “Nay, by St. William of Yorke;
First I will cracke thy crowne.”
Another sayd, “Lay downe thy sword.
Sett up thy horsse. Be not affeard.
Thy bow, good John, lay downe.

“I shall hold your stirroppe of wood.
Doe of your pallett and your hoode
Ere they fall, as I troe.
Yee see not who sitteth att the meate.
Yee are a wonderous silly freake,
And also passing sloe.”

“What devill!” sayd John. “Is yt for thee?
Itt is my owne, soe mote I thee.
Therfore I will that itt bide.”
The queen beheld him in hast.
“My lord,” shee sayd, “for Godes fast,
Who is yonder that doth ryde?
Such a fellow saw I never ere.”
Shee saith, “Hee hath the quaintest geere:
He is but simple of pryde.”

Right soe came John as hee were wood.
He vayled neither hatt nor hood:
He was a folly freake.
He tooke his forke as hee wold just.
Up to the dease fast he itt thrust.
The queene for feare did speake,

And sayd, “Lordes, beware, for Godes grace,
For hee will frownte some in the face
If yee take not good heede.”
The laughed, without doubt,
And soe did all that were about,
To see John on his steede.

Then sayd John to our queene,
“Thou mayst be proud, dame, as I weene,
To have such a fawconer,
For he is a well farrand man,
And much good manner hee can,
I tell you sooth in fere.

“But, lord,” hee sayd, “my good, it’s thine,
My body alsoe for to pine,
For thou art king with crowne.
But, lord, thy word is honourable:
Both stedfast, sure, and stable,
And alsoe great of renowne.

“Therfore, have mind what thou me hight
When thou were with me anight,
A warryson that I shold have.”
John spoke to him with sturdye mood:
Hee vayled neither hatt nor hood,
But stood with him checkmate.

The king sayd, “Fellow mine,
For thy capones hott and good red wine
Much thankes I doe give thee.”
The queene sayd, “By Mary bright,
Award him as his right:
Well advanced lett him bee.”

The king sayd untill him then,
“John, I make thee a gentleman.
Thy manner place I thee give,
And a hundred pounds to thee and thine,
And every yeere a tunn of red wine,
Soe long as thou dost live.”

But then John began to kneele:
“I thanke you, my lord, so have I sele.
Therof I am well payd.”
Thee king tooke a coller bright
And sayd, “John, heere I make thee a knight.”
That worshippe when hee sayd

Then was John evill apayd,
And amongst them all thus hee sayd,
“Full oft I have heard tell
That after a coller comes a rope:
I shall be hanged by the throate.
Methinkes itt goeth not well.”

“Sith thou hast taken this estate,
That every man may itt wott
Thou must begin the bord.”
Then John therof was nothing faine.
I tell you truth withouten laine,
He spake never a word,

But att the bordes end he sate him downe,
For hee had leever beene att home
Then att all their Frankish fare.
For there was wine, well I wott;
Royall meates of the best sortes
Were sett before him there.

A gallon of wine was put in a dishe.
John supped itt off, both more and lesse.
“Feitch,” quoth the king, “such more.”
“By my Lady,” quoth John, “this is good wine.
Let us make merry, for now itt is time.
Christs curse on him that doth itt spare.”

With that came in the porters hend
And kneeled downe before the king.
One was all berinnen with blood.
Then the king in hert was woe,
Sayes, “Porter, who hath dight thee soe?
Tell on, I wax neere wood.”
“Now in faith,” sayd John, “that same was I,
For to teach him some curtesye,
For thou hast taught him noe good.

“For when thou came to my pore place
With mee thou found soe great a grace
Noe man did bidd thee stand without.
For if any man had against thee spoken
His head full soone I shold have broken,”
John sayd, “withouten doubt.

“Therfore I warne thy porters free,
When any man comes out of my countrye,
Another time lett them not be soe stout.
If both thy porters goe walling wood,
Be God, I shall reave their hood
Or goe on foote aboute.
But thou, lord, hast after me sent
And I am come att thy comandement
Hastilye, withouten doubt.”

The king sayd, “By St. Jame,
John, my porters were to blame.
You did nothing but right.”
He tooke the case into his hand:
Then to kisse hee made them gange.
Then laughed both king and knight.
“I pray you,” quoth the king, “good fellows bee.”
“Yes,” quoth John, “soe mote I thee,
We were not wrathe ore night.”

Then the bishopp sayd to him thoe,
“John, send hither thy sonnes two:
To the schoole I shall them find;
And soe God may for them werke
That either of them have a kirke,
If fortune be their freind.

“Also send hither thye daughters both.
Two marryages the king will garr them to have
And wedd them with a ringe.
Went forth, John, on thy way.
Looke thou be kind and curteous aye:
Of meate and drinke be neur nithing.”

Then John took leave of king and queene,
And after att all the court bydeene,
And went forth on his way.
He sent his daughters to the king,
And they were weded with a ringe
Unto two squiers gay.

His sonnes both hardy and wight,
The one of them was made a knight,
And fresh in every fray,
The other a parson of a kirke,
Godes service for to worke,
To serve God night and day.

Thus John Reeve and his wiffe
With mirth and jolty ledden their liffe:
To God they made laudinge.
Hodgikin Long and Hobb of the Lathe,
They were made freemen bothe
Through the grace of the hend king.

John thought on the bishopps word
And ever after kept open bord
For guestes that God him send,
Till death feitcht him away
To the blisse that lasteth aye,
And thus John Reeve made an end.

Thus endeth the tale of Reeve soe wight —
God that is soe full of might
To heaven their soules bring
That have heard this litle story —
That lived sometimes in the south west countrye
In Long Edwardes dayes our king.

(see note); (t-note)
fun and games

If a person likes mirth

(see note)
funny story

knew how

legs; (see note)


time; (t-note)

went around; (t-note)

far from home; got


(see note)
(see note)


driven out; (t-note)
foolishly; (t-note)

aware; sturdy peasant
Good evening; they said




sturdy; coarse

small horse

no guide at all


good breeding
[the] evening

As I hope to prosper

advise; nearer

as if; angry

wilderness foolishly


by chance; (see note)
pay you back
(see note)

whisper; discuss
even if


But if



repay; conduct


before; lower; (see note)
cringe; beg


(see note)

If; horse; field

(see note)

(see note)

dwelling place
cheap, nasty bread; (t-note)

(see note)
honeyed ale; beer
food; (see note)

what; earn; (t-note)



decreeing; (t-note)


since; met so nicely
accommodation; (t-note)

usual dwelling place
away from home

Provided that
(see note)

surly; arrogant

[who] live near
one serfdom
the one owns; (t-note)
whoever he is

If my neighbors knew; threatened

will harm you

fire; (t-note)

In faith; lack; (see note)

(see note)

white bread; (see note); (t-note)

result in great trouble for me
servingmen with jobs at court
harm; always
(see note)


at once; quickly
properly; (t-note)

respectably; ably; (see note)
And [led]; (see note)
nothing annoying happen

long gown
dressed in a little while; (see note)

kerchiefs; (see note)

Lovely; skin

horses food


showy; (t-note)

advise you to go

candlesticks shine

whispered; noble
(see note)

as if it were
If; (see note)
make; birds of prey


It will be a long time before he is promoted

driver of a packhorse
without fail; (t-note)
gorgeous; in your opinion; (t-note)
flashy strutters

As I hope to prosper

that matters very little
at liberty; (t-note)
Even if; fancily dressed

clothed; coarse wool
brown cloth
fine wool cloth; green cloth

more splendid; handsome

[to] be




ill-bred; know

any such (i.e., a knight)

(see note)

stand my ground on


jabs; exploits in the past

Just; pitchfork; prongs

knife four inches long; (t-note)

padded jacket; sleeveless coat of mail; long


most splendid

went right away
massive log

tables; (t-note)
enjoyment; starting; (t-note)

welcoming face

(see note)

Tall Roger; Robert; (t-note)


lack; bear; (see note)

dinner partner

arranged; company


most handsome
packhorse driver

have knowledge

Even if I; in a state of serfdom
if; John Reeve’s daughter

would be all set
surpass all others; (t-note)
position in the Church


if; repay

the high table
to tell the truth
more [at the table]; (t-note)



(see note)
stew; (t-note)


same; serving

never before; saw; (t-note)

To the contrary



(see note)
speak against

solemn promise I pledge

To confirm; (see note)


advantage; (t-note)


think of [as] strange

white (refined) bread; (see note); (t-note)


see what

want (cause); (t-note)
cask; two


rather; (t-note)
always; want; penance; (t-note)

Even if


enjoy; afterwards; (t-note)

boar’s flesh; various
casseroles prepared at great cost

Rabbits; (t-note)
heron together
Deer, flans; (see note); (t-note)


found; (t-note)

curse; bread dipped in wine; (t-note)

how it seemed to him

if; more; (t-note)
dearly it will be paid for

each one of you; (t-note)

recognize; (t-note)
deception; done

Private conversation; not at all; (t-note)

invented private conversation

knows nothing; (t-note)
at his table


this [time]
Syrups; flat cakes


of the Barn

depart; (t-note)

By; it pleases me

(see note)

[wine] bowl

(t-note); (see note)
The right steps; rhythm
lose their footing

first one on top, then the other; went


broke out bleeding; (t-note)
you make it look hard; (t-note)
fallen; laughed; (t-note)



newly studded shoes


they got themselves ready
(see note)
fortune?; (t-note)

the hour after sunrise; (t-note)
(see note)
got ready

to a higher position; (see note)
pay back; reward; (t-note)


maiden; (t-note)

to tell the truth
see to it
St. Julian
lodging; (t-note)

grew reluctant to the bone

For what reason

a fight

long padded jacket
helmet for
[That] is; (see note)
(see note)
afraid; (t-note)
cause a fight

(see note); (t-note)
considered it showing off not a little

A good four inches the blade

awl; (t-note)

come out easily; (t-note)

pulled; (t-note)
laughed hard
I tell you for sure




(see note); (t-note)

made of wood

then; (t-note)

the Barn


heaved; butt; (t-note)


At; were struck by surprise right away

It suits you; (see note)

before; found

demonstrate; (see note)
Unless you get out of here


taunting hard



treated me with contempt



he chose to bow

curved sword

leather strap

hood cloth; (t-note)
knife; (t-note)
packthread?; (t-note)

wide open


don’t like to beg

pitchfork; hands; (t-note)

intended; an attack
quick; well-fed on oats
nearly killed; (t-note)





(see note)

Put your horse in a stable

Take off; headpiece

very slow; (t-note)

Is it your hood?

intend; (t-note)

(see note)


foolish; (t-note)
high table

hit; (t-note)




at night; (t-note)
stubborn spirit

as an equal


Only then
as I hope for happiness; (t-note)
neck chain

showed him that honor; (t-note)


(see note)

things are not going well; (t-note)


sit at the head of the table
not at all happy about it

carrying on like the French

(see note); (t-note)

dripping; (t-note)


district; (t-note)
arrogant; (t-note)
Even if; raging mad
tear off; (see note)
Or I will walk rather than ride; (t-note)




then; (t-note)
(see note)
At; maintain


(see note)


never a miser

as a group

vigorous; fight


jollity led




The End

Go To The King and the Hermit: Introduction