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DIMEV 5801
This worthy Clerk when ended was his tale
Geoffrey Chaucer, the ‘Clerk’s Endlink’/‘The Host’s Stanza’ of the Canterbury Tales —one 7-line rhyme royal stanza.
Note: Usually designated as lines IV.1212a-g of the The Clerk’s Tale.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer
Title(s): ‘Clerk’s Endlink’; ‘The Host’s Stanza’; Canterbury Tales
Subjects: pilgrims/pilgrimage; marriage; patriarchy; obedience
Versification: — rhyme royal, seven-line — ababbcc



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 14 (SC 3360), ff. 82-82v
Transcription:
This worthi clerke whan endid was his tale
oure oste seide & swore by Cokkis bonys
me were leuer than a barell of ale
my wiff at hom had herde this legende onys
this is a gentil tale for the nonys
as to my purpos wist ye my will
but thing that wol not be let hit be still
Attributed Title: …and next after thost spake (f. 82)
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Barlow 20 (SC 6420), f. 149
Transcription:
This worthi Clerk wan endid was his tale
Oure ost said and swore by goddes bones
Me were leuer than a barel ale
My wyf at home had herd þis legend ones
This is a gentel tale for þe nones
As to my purpos wist ȝe my wille
But þing þat wil not be lat it be stille
Note: Followed without a gap by IV. 2427-32 and V.1-8.
Attributed Title: …and here bygynnyth þe prologe of þe ffrankeleyn (f. 149)
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 686 (SC 2527), f. 114
Transcription:
This worthi clerke whan ended was his tale
Oure host seide and swore by goddes bones
Me were lever than a barel ale
My wife at home hedde harde þis legende ones
This is a gentile tale for þe nones
As to my purpose wist ye my wille
But thing þat wol nat be lete it be stille
Attributed Title: Here endith the tale of the Clerke of Oxenforde… (f. 114)
4.Source: Oxford, Christ Church 152, ff. 116
Transcription:
This worthy clerke when ended was his tale
Oure oost seide & swore by goddis bones
Me were leuer than a barel ale
My wyfe at hom at herde this legend ones
This is a gentel tale for the nones
As to my purpos wiste ye my wille
But thyng that wol nat be lat it be stille
Attributed Title: Here endith the tale of the Clerke of Oxenford… (f. 116)
5.Source: Oxford, New College 314, f. 148v
Transcription:
This worthi clerk whan endit was his tale
Our oste saide & swoor by cockis bonys
Me were levir than a barel of ale
Mi wif hadde herd this legende onys
This is a gentil tale for þe nonys
As to my purpos wiste ye my wil
But thing þat wil not be let it be still
Attributed Title: Verba Hostpitis (f. 148v); Here endith þe tale of þe clerk of Oxenforde… (f. 148v)
6.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Dd.4.24, f. 105v
Transcription:
This worthy Clerk whan ended was his tale
Oure host seyde and swor by goddes bones
Me were leuere than a Barel of ale
My wyf at hom had herd this legend ones
This is a gentil tale for the nones
As to my purpose wyst ȝe my wylle
But thyng that wol nat be lat it be stille
Attributed Title: Sic desinit fabula Clerici… (f. 105v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Cambridge MS. Dd.4.24 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Completed by the Egerton MS. 2726 (The Haistwell MS). The Chaucer Society 1st Series, no. 95 (Part 1, issue for 1901) and 96 (Part 2, issue for 1902).
7.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Gg.4.27 (Part 1a), ff. 259v
Transcription:
This worthi clerk whan endede was his tale
Oure ost seyde & swor by godys bonys
Me were leuere than a barel ale
My wif at hom hadde herd this legende onys
This was a gentil tale for the nonys
As to my purpos woste ȝe my wille
But thyng that wil nat be lat it be stille
Note: IV.57-112 lost; 155-61 and 162-8 reversed.
Attributed Title: Heere hath the clerk of Oxenforde ended his tale (f. 259v)
Facsimiles:
Parkes, Malcolm B., and Richard Beadle. “Introduction.” Poetical Works. Geoffrey Chaucer. A Facsimile of Cambridge University Library MS Gg.4.27. 3 vols Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1979 (vol. 1); 1980 (vols. 2-3).
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James. The Cambridge MS (University Library, Gg.4.27) of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 4, 10, 17, 28, 33, 40, 52, 66. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
8.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.15 (595), ff. 185v-186
Transcription:
OWre Oste seyde and swore by cockes bones
Me were leuyr than a barelle of ale
My wyfe had herde this legende onys
This is a legende a tale for the nonys
As to my purpos wyst ye my wille
But thynge that wil not let hit be stille
Note: Occurs between Pardoner’s Tale and Franklin’s Tale in this MS.
Attributed Title: …And begynneth the ffrankelens prologge (f. 185v, rubric)
9.Source: London, British Library Addit. 5140, f. 149v
Transcription:
This worthi clerk whanne endid was his tale
Our host said and swor by goddis bonys
me wer lever thanne a barel with ale
my wyf at home had herd this legende oonys
this is a gentill tale fo the nonys
as to my purpos wist ye my will
but that wol not be lat it be still
Attributed Title: & Incipit verba hospitis (f. 149v); Explicit verba hospitis… (f. 149v)
10.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2726 [olim Haistwell], f. 123
Transcription:
This worthy Clerk whan ended was his tale
Our Hoost seid and swore by goddes bones
Me were leuer than a barell of ale
My wyf at home hade herd þis legend ones
This is a gentle tale for the nones
As to my purpoos wost ye my will
But thyng þat woll nat be let it be still
Attributed Title: Verba Hospitis (f. 123, margin); Hic desinit fabula Clerici Oxon de Grisild… (f. 123)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Cambridge MS. Dd.4.24 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Completed by the Egerton MS. 2726 (The Haistwell MS). The Chaucer Society 1st Series, no. 95 (Part 1, issue for 1901) and 96 (Part 2, issue for 1902).
11.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2864 [olim Ingilby, post Compton Hall], f. 128v
Transcription:
This worthi Crlerk whan endid was his tale
Our host sayde and swore bi goddis bonys
Me were lever than a barel with ale
My wyf at hom had herd this legende oonys
This is a gentil tale for the nonys
As to my purpos wist ye my wille
But that wol nat be lat it be stille
Attributed Title: Verba Hospitis / Verba Hospitis (f. 128v, struck through but also recurring in margin); Explicit vita Grisildis / Hic desinit fabula Clerici Oxon (f. 128v)
12.Source: London, British Library Harley 1758, f. 127
Transcription:
This worthi Clerke when endid was his tale
Our Oost swore & seide by goddis bones
Me were leuyr than a barell ale
Mi wif had herde this legende ones
This is a gentill tale for the nones
As to my purpose wist ye my will
But thyng that will be lette it most be still
Note: Followed by IV.2427-32 and V.1-8. About a third of the preceding verso and over half of this folio were left blank; now filled with Foxe family records.
Attributed Title: …Here begyneth the Prolog of the ffrenkeleyne (f. 127)
13.Source: London, British Library Harley 7333, f. 82va-82vb
Transcription:
This worthi clerke when endid was his tale
Owre hoost saide and swore by goddes bones
Me were lever thanne a barell of ale
My wyf had hard this legent ones
Þis is a Ientil tale for the nones
As to my purpose wist ye my wille
But thing that wolle not be let it be styll
14.Source: London, British Library Royal 18 C.II, f. 145v
Transcription:
This worthi clerk whan endid was his tale
Oure seide and swor by goddes bones
Me weere leuere þan a barel ale
My wyf at home hadde herd þis legend ones
This is a gentil tale for the nones
As to my purpos wiste my wylle
But þing þat wil not be lat it be stille
Note: Followed by IV.2427-32 and V.1-8.
Attributed Title: Here endith the Clerke of Oxenford / And here begynneth the prolog of the ffrankeleyn (f. 145v)
15.Source: Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales Peniarth 392 D [‘Hengwrt’], f. 191
Transcription:
This worthy Clerk whan ended was his tale
Oure hoost seyde and swoor by goddes bones
Me were leuere than a barel ale
My wyf at hom had herd this legende ones
This is a gentil tale for the nones
As to my purpos wiste ye my wille
But thyng that wol nat be lat it be stille
Facsimiles:
Ruggiers, Paul G., ed. The Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer. A Facsimile of the Hengwrt Manuscript, with Variants from the Ellesmere Manuscript. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, and Folkestone: Wm. Dawson, 1979.
Stubbs, Estelle, ed. The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile (CD-ROM). Leicester, England: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2000.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Hengwrt Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 3, 9, 27, 39, 51, 71. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
Blake, Norman F., ed. The Canterbury Tales. Edited from the Hengwrt Manuscript. York Medieval Texts, second series. London: Edward Arnold, 1980.
Stubbs, Estelle, ed. The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile (CD-ROM). Leicester, England: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2000.
16.Source: Lincoln, Lincoln Cathedral Library 110, f. 137v
Transcription:
THis worþi clerk whanne endid was his tale
Oure ost seide and swore bi goddis bonys
Me were leuere þan a barell of ale
My wif at hom had herd þis legende onis
This is a gentil tale for þe nonys
As to my purpos wiste ȝe my wille
But þing þat wol not be lete it be stille
Note: Next to IV.1212g, in the gutter, a second hand adds a plus sign with dots in each quadrant, followed by ‘Sir Frankl[eyn]’. In the margin, where a corresponding plus sign occurs, this second scribe writes V.1-8 but subsequently crosses out ‘frankleyn’. Also in the margin, but written much smaller, are several directions, two of which are relevant here: opposite the incipit for Franklin’s Tale is ‘heer sholde þe marchantz tale’; five lines lower is ‘And þis prolog is fals for it is / for skquiers tale’.
Attributed Title: …and / now beginneth þe prolog of the ffrenkelens tale (f. 137v)
17.Source: London, Royal College of Physicians 388 (13), f. 186
Transcription:
THis worthi clerk whan endid was his tale
Oure host saide and swore bi goddis bones
Me were levere than a barel ale
My wif at hom had herd this legend ones
This is a gentil tale for the nones
As to my spouse wist ye my will
But thyng that wil nat be late it be stille
Attributed Title: Incipit prologus (f. 186); Explicit prologus… (f. 186)
18.Source: Manchester, John Rylands Library Eng. 113 [olim Hodson 39], f. 87
Transcription:
This worþi Clerk when ended was his tale
Oure oost seide & swore bi goddes bones
Me were lever than a barelle of ale
My wyf at hoom had herd þis legende ones
This is a gentille tale for the nones
As to my purpos wiste ye my wille
But þing þat woll not be lete it be stille
Attributed Title: Verba Hospitis (f. 87, margin); Hic desinit fabula Clerici Oxonis… (f. 87)
19.Source: Austin, University of Texas, Humanities Research Center HRC Pre-1700 MS 143 [olim Deene Park; post Cardigan-Brudenell, sold Sotheby’s, Feb. 1959], f. 106v
Transcription:
This worthy clerke when ended was his tale
Oure ost seide and swore by goodis bones
Me were levir than a barell of ale
My wif at home had herde this legende ones
This is a gentill tale for the nones
As to my purpos wist ye my will
But thynge that woll not be let it be still
Attributed Title: Verba hospitis (f. 106v, margin); Hic desinit fabula Clerici Oxon… (f. 106v); Clerke of Oxonford (RT)
20.Source: Naples, Bibl. Nazionale, Naples XIII.B.29, p. 1461
Transcription:
This worthi clerk whan endid was his tale
oure ost saide and sware bi goddis bonus
me were leuer than a barelle ale
my wife at home had herd this legend onys
this is a gentille tale for the nonys
as to my purpos wiste ye my wille
but thing that wolle nat be lat it be stille
Attributed Title: Explicit ffinus’ (p. 146)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Clerk’s Tale, a Six-Text Print from 6 MSS not containing the Pardoner’s Tale. The Chaucer Society Series 1, no. 92. London: Trübner, 1899.
21.Source: Princeton, Princeton University Library 100 [olim Helmingham Hall], f. 122
Transcription:
This worthy Clerk when endid was his tale
Oure hoost seid and swore be Goddis bonys
Me were levir than a barel of ale
My wyfe had herd this legend onys
This is a gentil tale for the nonys
As to my purpos wist yee my wil
But thing that wol nat be let it be stil
Attributed Title: Verba Hospitis (f. 122, margin); Here endith the tale of the Clerk of Oxinford (f. 122)
22.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library EL 26.C.9 [‘Ellesmere’], f. 102
Transcription:
This worthy clerk whan ended was his tale
Oure hoost seude and swoor by goddes bones
Me were leuere than a barel ale
My wyf at hoom had herd this legende ones
This is a gentil tale for the nones
As to my purpos wiste ye my wille
But thyng þat wol nat be lat it be stille
Attributed Title: Bihoold the murye wordes of the Hoost (f. 102); Clerk of Oxenford (RT); Heere endeth the tale of the Clerk of Oxenford (f. 102)
Facsimiles:
The Ellesmere Chaucer Reproduced in Facsimile. 2 vols. Preface by Alix Egerton. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1911.
Hanna, Ralph, ed. The Ellesmere Chaucer Reproduced in Facsimile. 2 vols. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1911. Preface by Alix Egerton repr. as The Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Working Facsimile. Intro. Hanna; Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1989.
Woodward, Daniel, and Martin Stevens, eds. The New Ellesmere Chaucer Facsimile (Huntington MS EL 26 C 9). Tokyo: Yushodo, and San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1995: Now available in part online: http://dpg.lib.berkeley.edu/webdb/dsheh/heh_brf?CallNumber=El+26+C+9.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 2, 8, 16, 26, 32, 38, 50, 70. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
23.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 24 [olim Chatsworth, Duke of Devonshire], ff. 115
Transcription:
This worthi clerk whan ended was his tale
Oure oost seide and swore be goddes bones
Me were leuer than a barell of ale
My wif at hom had herd this legende ones
This is a gentil tale for the nones
As to my purpos wost ye my will
But thing that wol nat be lat it be stille
Attributed Title: Verba Hospitis (f. 115, margin)



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 5082. Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, [Westminster, William Caxton, 1476] , f. 191
Transcription:
His worthy clerk whan endid was his tale
Our oste sayde and swoor be cockis bonys
Me were leuer than a barel of ale
My wyf hadde herd this legende onys
This is a gentil tale for the nonys
As to my purpos wyste ye my wil
But thing that wil not be let it be styll
Attributed Title: Verba hospitis (f. 190v, foot); Here endith the tale of the clerk of Oxenforde (f. 191)
Facsimiles:
Bordalejo, Barbara, ed. Caxton’s Canterbury Tales: The British Library Copies. Leicester: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2003.
2.Source: STC 5083. Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, [Westminster], W. Caxton, [1483] , sigs. cc.3v-cc.4
Transcription:
[T]His worthy clerk whan endid was his tale
Our hoost sayde & swore by cockis bonys
Me were leuer than a barel of ale
My wyf at home had herde this legende onys
This is a gentyl tale for the nonys
As to my purpoos wyst ye my wyl
But thyng that wyl not be let it be styl
Attributed Title: Verba hospitis (sig. cc.3v); Here enden the wordes of the hoost (sig. cc.4)
Facsimiles:
The Canterbury Tales (a facsimile of the Pepys copy of Caxton’s Second Edition). London: Cornmarket Reprints in association with Magdalene College, Cambridge, 1972.
Bordalejo, Barbara, ed. Caxton’s Canterbury Tales: The British Library Copies. Leicester: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2003.
3.Source: STC 5084. Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, R. Pynson, [1492] , sig. ee.1
Transcription:
[T]His worthy clerke whan endyd was his tale
Oure hoost sayde and swore by cockes bones
Me were lyuer than a barelle of ale
My wyf at home herde this legende onys
This is a gentyl tale for the nonys
As to my purpos wyst ye my wylle
But thyng that wylle nat be let it be stylle
Attributed Title: Verba hospitis (sig. ee.1); Here endith the wordes of the hoost (sig. ee.1)
4.Source: STC 5085. Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, Westminster, W. de Worde, 1498 , sigs. k.6vb
Transcription:
[T]His worthy clerke whan endyd was his tale
Our ost sayd & swore by cockis bonys
Me were leuer than a barell of ale
My wyf at home had herde this legende onys
This is a gentyll tale for the nonys
As to my purpos wyst ye my wyll
But thynge that woll not be let it be styll
Attributed Title: And here folow the wordis of our / hoste (sig. k.6vb); Here ende the wordis of our hoste (sig. k.6vb)