up they stirte, al dronken in this rage,
forth they goon towardes that village
which the taverner hadde spoke biforn.
many a grisly ooth thanne han they sworn,
cristes blessed body al torente --
shal be deed, if that they may hym hente!
they han goon nat fully half a mile,
as they wolde han troden over a stile,
oold man and a povre with hem mette.
olde man ful mekely hem grette,
seyde thus, now, lordes, God yow see!
proudeste of thise riotoures three
agayn, what, carl, with sory grace!
artow al forwrapped save thy face?
lyvestow so longe in so greet age?
olde man gan looke in his visage,
seyde thus -- for I ne kan nat fynde
man, though that I walked into ynde,
in citee ne in no village,
wolde chaunge his youthe for myn age;
therfore moot I han myn age stille,
longe tyme as it is goddes wille.
deeth, allas! ne wol nat han my lyf
walke I, lyk a restelees kaitif…
moot go thider as I have to go.
olde cherl, by god, thou shalt not so,
this oother hasardour anon;
partest nat so lightly, by seint john!
spak right now of thilke traytour deeth,
in this contree alle oure freendes sleeth.
heer my trouthe, as thou art his espye,
where he is, or thou shalt it abye,
god, and by the hooly sacrement!
soothly thou art oon of his assent
sleen us yonge folk, thou false theef!
sires, quod he, if that yow be so leef
fynde deeth, turne up this croked wey,
in that grove I lafte hym, by my fey,
a tree, and there he wole abyde;
for youre boost he wole him no thyng hyde.
ye that ook? right there ye shal hym fynde.
save yow, that boghte agayn mankynde,
yow amende! thus seyde this olde man;
everich of thise riotoures ran
he cam to that tree, and ther they founde
floryns fyne of gold ycoyned rounde
ny an eighte busshels, as hem thoughte.
lenger thanne after deeth they soughte,
ech of hem so glad was of that sighte,
that the floryns been so faire and brighte,
doun they sette hem by this precious hoord.
worste of hem, he spak the firste word.
- The Rap Version
he'd said his piece
- The rest agreed, and the three friends hit the
- And went to seek their destiny and provoke a
- In a drunken rage hoping Death would come and
- Their intoxication made them sure of their
- And fed the infernal furnace of their courage,
- A kernel nourished by these three murderous
wretches in denial.
- Less than a mile into their quest to put Death
- They met this guy all wrapped in bandages:
- An old handicapped man with disadvantages,
- And the three friends examined his bleeding
- And demanded he tell them how he was cheating
- Seeming perplexed the old man responded with
- And said, "I walk the earth like a
creature God has cursed.
- My lot is the worst and most desperate place to
- I pray faithfully every day for Death to take
- Waiting patiently, and someday he will arrive,
- But in the meantime, until I die, I'm still
- In a burst of ill-advised pride, the first
- Of the three rioters replied, "this guy
- Is a spy, or worse!
I guess Death is his master
- And gives him everlasting life forever after.
- A benevolent benefactor perhaps to have
- But nothing gets a confession faster than
- And stepping to this old man with mindless
- They demanded he tell them where they could
- "Find Death?" laughed the old man,
"perhaps you will.
- He lives under that tree on that grassy
- Ready to kill with their jagged-edged daggers
- The three aggravated braggarts staggered up the
- And without dragging on while the story is
- Beneath the tree they found a bag filled with
- The hoard was more than forty-fold their
- And they smiled like demons hatching violent
- While the steam from their previous plan was
- They were so fixated on the gold it just
- The search for death was traded for work of
- Now the worst of the three had the first words