A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war and wys,
A lawyer, prudent and wise,
That often hadde been at the Parvys,
who had often been at St. Paul's,
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
was there, too, well endowed with superior qualities.
Discreet he was and of greet reverence -
He was judicious and with much dignity -
He semed swich, his wordes weren so wise.
or so he seemed, his words were so wise.
Justice he was ful often in assise,
He was often as a judge in the court of assizes,
By patente and by pleyn commissioun.
by a letter of appointment from the king and full jurisdiction.
For his science and for his heigh renoun,
for his knowledge and for his high renown,
Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
he had many a grant of a yearly income.
So greet a purchasour was nowher noon:
Such a great landowner was not known anywhere:
Al was fee symple to hym in effect;
Everything was his unrestricted possession ;
His purchasyng myghte nat been infect.
His buying could not be invalidated.
Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
There was nowhere such a busy man as he,
And yet he semed bisier than he was.
And still he seemed busier than he was.
In termes hadde he caas and doomes alle
He had in the Year Book all the cases and judicial decisions
That from the tyme of kyng William were falle.
that had been made from the time of King William.
Therto he koude endite and make a thyng,
From that he could make a draft and draw up a legal document,
Ther koude no wight pynche at his writyng;
No man could find a flaw in his writing;
And every statut koude he pleyn by rote.
And he knew every statute entirely by heart.
He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote,
He wore a simple parti-colored coat,
Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale;
Encircled with a belt of silk, with narrow stripes;
Of his array telle I no lenger tale.
Of his dress I will not tell any more.
A FRANKELEYN was in his compaignye.
A landowner was in his company.
With was his berd as is the dayesye;
His beard was white as a daisy;
Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
he had a sanguine temperament,
Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;
he loved a piece of bread soaked in wine in the morning;
To lyven in delit was evere his wone,
it was his custom to live in delight,
For he was Epicurus owene sone,
for he was the very son of Epicurus,
That heeld opinioun that pleyn delit
who was of opinion that pure delight
Was verray felicitee parfit.
was true perfect happiness.