[Middle English fragment of Early Wolfe
Case Recently Discovered in Stout’s Files;
probably an ancestor of the present Wolfe,
but then we know he doesn’t age.]
Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
Wolfes droghte with bier hath quenched to the rote,
And bathed every orchid in swich liquor
so as to shew in every lovely flour;
Whan Fritz Brenner eek with his swete spice
Inspired hath in every pot ‘n’ potice
The tendre croppes boiling in a stewwe
and smale fowles waiting two by two.
Than longen folk to goon on pilgramages
To that fierce Wolfe, wisest of the sages,
that holy happy master for to seke
To helpen them who at heart are seke.
Bifel that, in that season on a day
In Booklyn at the tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden to seke his witful aide
To Wolfe I wenten mine case to pleaid.
At night was come in-to the brownston place
of muther foule I broghte myine case.
The goodman Goodwin tolle me not to come
lest all the funds of Fraunce I coulde brung,
But naytheless, whyl I had time and space
I grabbed mine chance to make my case.
Me thinketh it acordaunt to resoun,
to telle yow all, in good season,
as to why I broghte myselfe to thisse state
what murther was it sorely test’d my fate.
A maid there was, and that a worthy quean
that fro the tyme that she first bigeen
to grow, she was the veri mage of chivalrye
And now one was who loveth here more thanne me.
But coldly struck doun and kilt before hir prime
I dearly wont to have aveng’d this crime.
Goodman Goodwin beforth bebroughte me
To Wolfe the master for to very see
And tense in th’ office ’twas that night:
The Tax man had cometh, and muckle bright
gold was gone to support the goberment
And Wolfes wit was wondrous awful spent!
[the fragment runs out here, but it appears
that Wolfe was in a foul mood, and probably
wouldn’t take the case.]