|AUTHOR:||Elizabeth A. Dobbs|
|SOURCE:||The Chaucer Review 40 no3 289-310 2006|
|COPYRIGHT:||The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this articleand it is reproduced with permission. Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited.|
When Aurelius first appears in the Franklin's Tale, we know he has for several years secretly loved Dorigen, wife of absent Arveragus, although he reveals his love only "somwhat" by "a general compleynyng" in songs (V 944-45).(FN1) For the most part, he "dorste nat his sorwe telle" (V 949), and the Franklin emphasizes the squire's lack of speech with "nevere dorste he tellen hire his grevaunce" (V 941) and "no thyng dorste he seye" (V 943). This constraint is especially underlined when we learn Aurelius compares himself to Echo, most famously known from the account in Ovid's Metamowphoses.
And dye he moste, he seyde, as dide Ekko For Narcisus, that dorste nat telle hir wo.
An allusion to a nonspeaker provides a moment of comedy in the tale because it follows both a reference to Aurelius speaking (V 946) and a long list of the many forms of speech he uses: "layes, / Songes, compleintes, roundels, virelayes" (V 947-48). It also catches our attention because Aurelius's casting his dilemma in mythic terms reveals his own sense of himself and his predicament.
But Ovid's story of Narcissus and Echo resonates in the Franklin's Tale in more significant ways, as do other medieval uses of that story. Aurelius, for instance, is surprisingly like Echo, and Dorigen can be fruitfully compared to Narcissus. At least as important as suggesting similarities in character, the allusion directs our attention to the topics of speaking and interpreting, both central to a tale in which the plot turns on Dorigen's garden speech to Aurelius.(FN2) Indeed, close study of the allusion makes evident Chaucer's great interest in speech in this tale. The prominence he gives to Echo and her reflected speaking, rather than to Narcissus, for instance, is striking when compared to other references to the mythic narrative found elsewhere in medieval poetry. The allusion appears to originate with Chaucer because it is found in neither of the tale's probable major sources, the "novella" Menedon tells in the fourth book of Boccaccio's Filocolo (82) or Emilia's "novelletta" told on the tenth day of his Decameron (657).(FN3) Moreover, Chaucer uses speech more strategically than does the Italian author and thus makes it an important topic in his narrative. By setting the Franklin's Tale in relation both to Ovid's story of Echo and Narcissus and to the Boccaccian sources, I hope to indicate that the multiple ways Chaucer's allusion re-sounds the Metamorphoses story make it a more significant influence, particularly as it highlights issues of speaking and interpreting, than has been previously noticed.
Let us first consider the Metamorphoses account of Echo and Narcissus, which begins with the birth of Narcissus for whom Tiresias predicts a long life only if he does not know himself. By his sixteenth year the youth's excessive pride has left him untouched by love, no matter how greatly others desire him. When re-sounding ("resonabilis," III.358)(FN4) Echo one day sees him hunting, the narrator pauses to tell us of the restrictions Juno has placed earlier upon the nymph's ability to speak. Because she often held Juno with "prolonged speech" ("longo ... sermone," III.364) in order to distract the goddess from discovering Jove's dalliance with other nymphs, Echo has been cursed and can now only echo the last part of any speech she hears. Echo of course falls in love with Narcissus and secretly follows him, until the youth's calling to companions from whom he has been separated gives her the opportunity to re-sound his words. While doing so, she at one point emerges from hiding and attempts to embrace the youth, but he so thoroughly rejects her by action and word that she returns to hiding and, wasting away from grief, is reduced to a voice without a body. All of this we are told in sixty-one lines (III.341-401). Although, as A. D. Nuttall suggests, we now expect Echo to curse Narcissus and the story to move forward from this curse,(FN5) its movement is instead set when another of those rejected by Narcissus prays that the self-involved youth also suffer unrequited love and Nemesis answers the prayer. Therefore, when Narcissus one day lies down by a pool to drink, he falls in love with his own reflected image and becomes speechless and immobile. This part of Ovid's account (III.402-510), almost twice as long as the first, contains Narcissus's extended apostrophe to the woods and to his reflection, in which he recognizes that he loves himself. As he wastes away, Echo, pitying him, once more echoes his cries. His metamorphosis and the story are complete when his friends find not his body, but a flower we call the narcissus.
The evidence that Chaucer, whom Deschamps addressed as "Ovides grans,"(FN6) would have known and been influenced by Ovid's works is ample. We know, for instance, that Ovid's "primary texts ... were schoolbooks in Chaucer's time,"(FN7) and, as Helen Cooper notes of the fourteenth century in particular, Ovid "was the classical poet most widely read, glossed and admired."(FN8) Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meun, Dante, Boccaccio, and Machaut, writers with whom Chaucer was familiar, certainly all show Ovidian influence.(FN9) Internal evidence in Chaucer's work, both in the form of specific reference and more general use, shows that Ovid was also a major influence on the English poet. Chaucer mentions Ovid in the Book of the Duchess (568) and the House of Fame (379, 1487), and one scholar has made the case for Ovid's influence on the "Legend of Dido" in the Legend of Good Women.(FN10) The poet himself sets his Troilus in the tradition of great poets, among whom he mentions Ovid (V, 1792), and thus invites comparison between his works and those of the Latin poet. In the Canterbury Tales, where John Fyler sees the influence of Ovid as more "sub-tie" than in the dream visions,(FN11) pilgrim-narrators refer to Ovid or his work multiple times, with Prudence in the Melibee accounting for the greatest number of references.(FN12) Metamorphoses is the source for the Manciple's Tale of Phoebus Apollo and his bird(FN13) and on a larger scale may also, as Richard L. Hoffman argues, have provided the "germ" of the idea for Chaucer's entire collection.(FN14)
If we turn to the Franklins Tale, we may even be able to trace the path by which material from Ovid could have entered the tale. Specifically, Chaucer may have been inspired by a reference to the Roman writer found in Boccaccio's Filocolo when Menedon, one of the company of young people debating questions of love in a Neapolitan garden, tells his story. Tarolfo, the character corresponding to Aurelius, is said to persevere in the pursuit of his lady by following Ovid's advice that just as a hard rock is worn away by water, so a lady will eventually relent ("seguendo d'Ovidio gli ammaestramenti, il quale dice: 'L'uomo no dee lasciare per durezza della donna di no perseverare, però che per continuanza la molle acqua fora la dura pietra,'" 82). This mention of Ovid could well have led Chaucer to think of Metamorphoses. One early reader of the Canterbury Tales certainly thought Ovid's work the likely source for Aurelius's comparison and added the marginal gloss "Methamorphosios" next to the passage in the Ellesmere manuscript.(FN15)
Details of the situation of Echo and Aurelius are surprisingly similar to one another. Both, for instance, are hidden in some way in the early part of their narratives, and chance offers both the opportunity to reveal their love. In Ovid's story, Echo for some time followed Narcissus furtively ("furtim," II.371) before his chance separation from companions ("forte," III.379) leads him to call out and allows her to borrow his words and begin in echo to reveal her desire. During most of the exchange, she remains physically hidden from Narcissus, but she finally reveals herself as she answers his "let us meet" ("'coeamus' ait," III.386) and comes out of the woods. The content of Narcissus's last utterance perhaps spurs her to reveal herself, but it is noteworthy that Ovid says she does so in order to support her own words ("verbis favet ... suis," III.388). By thus making herself physically present to Narcissus, she may hope that what her words alone have not done, can be accomplished with her attempted embrace. When we first meet Aurelius in the Franklin's Tale, he also has loved for some time and, like the nymph, is unable to "biwreye" (V 954) his love. Where Echo borrows words as she attempts to reveal her desire, Aurelius rather borrows forms of speech--the complaint and the roundel, for instance--that only partly reflect his state. As with Echo, chance provides the occasion ("it happed," V 960), and Aurelius finally comes out into the open. This self-revelation, like Echo's, follows the moment when the in efficacy of his previous speaking is most apparent: the long description of his various kinds of speaking ends with "But nothyng wiste she of his entente" (V 959).
Both Echo and Aurelius also respond similarly to the results of these revelations of their love. Constrained by conventions governing speech about love, Aurelius does not declare his love, but rather speaks of the consequences that may follow his fruitless service ("brestying of myn herte," V 973) or that depend (to be "sleen or save," V 975) on the "word" his beloved will speak. Dorigen, who understands the conventional rhetoric as well as Aurelius, is in no doubt as to what he means and categorically rejects him. Similarly, Narcissus, in no doubt as to what Echo means, matches his flight from her attempted embrace with harsh, rejecting words: "take away your hands!" ("manus ... aufer!" III.390). In response to these rejections, both Aurelius and Echo withdraw, Echo to the woods where she lives in solitary caves (III.394) and Aurelius to "his hous" where he goes "with sorweful herte" (V 1021). Both also now become impotent and passive. "Two yeer and moore lay wrecche Aurelyus" (V 1102), unable to help himself and comforted only by his brother; lacking a brother, Echo wastes away until, her bones turned to stone, she is only a voice ("vox manet," III.399).
The attention the Franklin's Tale allusion gives to Echo, however, is unusual. Generally Narcissus figures as the more important character in medieval works where Chaucer would have found the Echo and Narcissus story mentioned. In Inferno, for example, when Virgil and Dante reach the tenth and final bolgia of the Malebolge, they overhear Master Adam, a counterfeiter of coin, arguing with Sinon and describing the latter's thirst by reference to Narcissus's pool (30.128).(FN16) We know fairly certainly that Chaucer came across Narcissus and Echo in Guillaume de Lorris's part of the Roman de la Rose, because Fragment A of the Romaunt of the Rose may well be the English poet's work. The dreamer's account in Guillaume de Lorris's section of the French poem, a passage of close to one hundred lines (1430-1520), very much focuses on Narcissus. The account starts with the writing on the fountain which identifies it as the site of Narcissus's death, carries on with Narcissus as the subject ("Narcisus fu uns demoisiaus," 1437),(FN17) and ends with the dreamer remembering Narcissus. The youth is named seven times here; in contrast, Echo is named once and figures in no more than twenty-five lines of the narration. Shortly after completing his story of Narcissus, moreover, the dreamer recalls only the proud youth in a brief passage (1569-76). Narcissus, but again not Echo, appears in Jean de Meun's section of the poem when Genius compares the fountain of the paradisal park to the perilous fountain that killed Narcissus (20379) and when Pygmalion, mourning his falling in love with his ivory image, compares himself to Narcissus (20846-48). If Fragment A of the Romaunt is Chaucer's, his rendering of the two passages from Guillaume follows them very closely; there the narrator reads an inscription identifying a well as that associated with the death of Narcissus and then recounts the youth's story, part of which tells of his encounter with the "fayr lady," Echo (A 1474). In sum, Dante, Guillaume de Lorris, and Jean de Meun--with Chaucer's rendering of the Roman de la Rose following Guillaume--clearly focus on Narcissus and treat Echo as of secondary interest.
Although the allusion in the Franklin's Tale is thus worthy of note because of the prominence Chaucer gives to Echo, this emphasis is characteristic of allusions to Narcissus and Echo elsewhere in his works. In the Book of the Duchess, for instance, Chaucer's dreamer-narrator reminds the Man in Black that "Ecquo died for Narcisus / Nolde nat love hir" (735-36) in one of the examples meant to counsel the sorrowing knight against self-murder. In the Canterbury Tales, although the Knight mentions only "Narcisus the faire" (I 1941) among the portrayals on the walls of Venus's temple, the Clerk strongly cites Echo at the end of his tale, when he advises wives to act in a way that will not cause a clerk to write about them as he has written about Griselda:
Folweth Ekko, that holdeth no silence, But evere answereth at the countretaille.
Although one might argue that, in Dante and Guillaume, Narcissus is naturally the more important figure because male dreamers tend to focus on other male characters, Chaucer is clearly willing to reverse the association and match male with female, as he does in the Book of the Duchess, where four of the five examples the dreamer sets before the Man in Black involve comparing the knight to women. Moreover, when Chaucer mentions both Echo and Narcissus, the youth's lack of importance is clear from the way his name is handled grammatically: in the dream vision, for instance, "Narcisus" is the subject of a subordinate clause explaining why Echo died. Chaucer's repeated reversal of the relative importance of the male and female characters--striking in the context of other versions of the Narcissus-Echo story in medieval poetry--thus also suggests that while Aurelius might be confused in comparing himself to Echo, his author is not.
But Echo was in a prominent position in the medieval commentaries on Metamorphoses. These commentaries, which gave medieval writers yet another source for knowledge about Ovid's poem, first appeared in the twelfth century as part of a general movement applying Christian meanings to classical myths.(FN18) As a result, it became "almost impossible to read Ovid ... without some sort of commentary,"(FN19) and "Ovid" thus referred both to the poet's texts and to the surrounding interpretations.(FN20) In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, commentaries on Metamorphoses were particularly popular,(FN21) and indeed for the fourteenth century Ovid's book was "the key example of fabulous material that could be demystified to produce Christian doctrine."(FN22) Two fourteenth-century works, in particular--the anonymous French Ovide Moralisé and Pierre Bersuire's Latin Ovidius moralizatus--have proved interesting to Chaucer scholars. The first, written in octosyllabic couplets in the first half of the fourteenth century,(FN23) builds on earlier commentaries and appears to be meant to encourage meditation.(FN24) The author opens his justification for translating Ovid's old tales ("Les fables de l'ancien temps," 17)(FN25) with "Tout est pour nostre enseignment / Quanqu'il a es livres escript" (2-3), a comment familiar to Chaucerians from the Canterbury Tales' Retraction: "Al that is writen is writen for oure doctrine" (X1083). Ovide Moralisé is nonetheless particularly attentive to Ovid's poem: "almost half of... [it] is devoted to retelling the Latin story in French."(FN26) The nature, purposes, and audience of Bersuire's Ovidius are quite different from those of Ovide Moralist. Composed just before mid-century and originally part of a larger work called the Reductorium morale, from which it was separated fairly early,(FN27) Ovidius combines brief prose summaries of Ovid's stories with a series of moral interpretations and was meant for "the use of preachers seeking exempla."(FN28) Like Ovide Moralisé, it incorporated earlier commentaries,(FN29) and several scholars argue that once Bersuire was made aware of the Ovide Moralisé commentary, he introduced it into a second version his work.(FN30)
We know that poets of the late Middle Ages relied generally on these commentaries for "their allegorized classical gods and goddesses,"(FN31) but it also seems that Chaucer specifically knew Ovide Moralisé and Ovidius, although the extent of their influence on the poet is disputed. John P. McCall notes that the poet appears to have read the first,(FN32) and Meg Twycross thinks he would also have known Bersuire.(FN33) Instances of the influence of Bersuire have been found in details of the description of Venus in the Knight's Tale,(FN34) and Ovide Moralisé rather than Metamorphoses may be the source of the Ceyx and Alcyone story in the Book of the Duchess.(FN35) Many scholars, however, are cautious about influence from the commentary per se of either Ovide Moralisé or Ovidius. Cooper, for instance, asserts Chaucer's "distance from the whole moralizing tradition"(FN36) and argues that where "Chaucer can be found using a gloss, it will almost always be a point of fact,"(FN37) while Fyler thinks that Chaucer uses Ovide Moralisé "only as a handy translation to help him in construing Ovid's Latin."(FN38)
Yet the attention Chaucer gives Echo in Aurelius's comparison suggests that the poet relied on these commentaries for more than help with Latin, because several commentators depart from Ovid (and from medieval writers other than Chaucer) to give the nymph an unusual focus. Specifically, as Kenneth J. Knoespel argues, two important twelfth-and thirteenth-century commentators not only give Echo attention she had not received in Ovid's Metamorphoses but also influence the later interpretations of the story. The first, Arnulf of Orleans, shifting Ovid's emphasis on how humans know to an emphasis on how they act, equates Narcissus with arrogance and Echo with reputation ('bona fama'), the latter equation being the more important.(FN39) John of Garland, whose commentary reads Echo as "the physical source,"(FN40) of the youth's deception, shares Arnulf s focus on Echo.(FN41) Although Chaucer may not have known these earlier commentaries directly, he could have known their emphasis on Echo through the later Ovide Moralisé and Ovidius, which incorporate earlier commentaries.(FN42)
The influence of Arnulf s moral equations is apparent in Ovide Moralisé, where Narcissus is first described as "fier et orgueillous" (arrogant and proud) (1323). His pride is again asserted when Ovid's "dura superbia" (stubborn pride) (354) is developed into "[p]lains d'orgueil et d'outrecuidance" (full of pride and presumptuousness) (1336). The more explicit moral tone is also evident in the presentation of Echo, described as a "jengleresse et parliere" (back-biter and chatterbox) (1349), who is accused by Juno of "une fraude" (a deceit) (1355), of lying "[p]ar trufes" (by cheats) (1362), and of having deceived her (1368). An extended allegorical interpretation of the characters and their relation is inserted into the narrative after Echo's rejection by Narcissus and her reduction to a voice (1463), but before we learn of Narcissus's lying down by the fountain (1547). The key for the interpretation is the opening reading of Echo, who signifies the "bone renomee" (good report) (1465), sought by those who wish lasting fame (1472-73). When the commentator turns to Narcissus, whose renown was great (1506), we learn he loses this reputation--Echo, in other words--because he was "[p]lains d'orgueil" (filled with pride) (1508). This same pride, in the generalized lesson at the end of the account, causes the loss of "la pardurable gloire" (enduring fame) (1957).
In Ovidius Bersuire also makes Echo unusually prominent by devoting as much of his commentary to her as he does to Narcissus and by finding a richer set of interpretations for her. He follows Ovid's order less closely than Ovide Moralisé does and drapes his commentary around two short summaries (marked "Ouidius") of sections of Metamorphoses. In the summary related to Narcissus, "puer pulcherrimus" (most beautiful boy) (70),(FN43) the encounter with Echo is mentioned only briefly, and the youth's beauty is both source of his pride and cause of his death as he looks into the clear fountain and sees "vmbran suam pulcherrimam" (his beautiful image) (70). Closing his summary with Narcissus's transformation, Bersuire then picks up on the idea of this physical beauty in his commentary and expands it to "pulchritudinem animae ... pulchritudinem fortunae" (beauty of soul... beauty of fortune) (71). After Echo's history and "fraudem" (deceit), briefly set out next, the commentator becomes even more expansive as he explores the significance of her dwelling "in siluis montibus & fluminibus" (in woods, mountains, and rivers) (71). He reads them as figures for, respectively, "adulatores ... praelatos ... religiosos ... seculares & delicatos" (flatterers ... dignitaries ... religious ... lay and effeminate people) (71). When he turns to the meaning of the speaking of words, he finds further connections, this time to "litigiosae & brigosae mulieres" (scolding and contentious women) and "seruitores queruli" (complaining servants) (71-72). Just as in Ovide Moralisé, then, Chaucer could have found in Ovidius that Echo and her story are allowed a more significant role than in other sources.
Returning to the Franklin's Tale, we may think Echo's prominence reinforced by similarities between the nymph's bones being turned to stone and Dorigen's obsession with the rocks, but more striking similarities are to be found between Narcissus and Dorigen. The two are linked by water, for instance: Narcissus's father, the river Cephisos, once trapped his mother in winding stream and water ("Liriope, quam quondam flu-mine curvo / inplicuit. ... suis Cephisos in undis," III.342-43); Dorigen's thoughts are dominated by the black rocks in the water by which her castle stands (V 847; 863).(FN44) Moreover, an act of seeing by each is pivotal to the plots of their stories. In Metamorphoses the revenge of the spurned lover is enacted when Narcissus, lying by the side of the pool, fixedly looks at ("spectat," III.420) his reflection in its silvery, bright water ("nitidis argenteus undis," III.407). Dorigen's seeing is equally important in the plot of the Franklin's Tale.(FN45) When the lady, already prey to a "derke fantasye" (V 844), casts "hir eyen dounward" to the sea (V 858), the sight of "the grisly rokkes blake" (V 859) overwhelms her and focuses all of her desire, especially the desire to see something other than what is there: "wolde God that alle thise rokkes blake / Were sonken into helle" (V 891-92).(FN46) The most significant similarity between Dorigen and Narcissus, in terms of this argument, is their evident isolation from human communication, from speaking to someone, at these critical moments in their narratives. As Carolyn Collette notes, Dorigen's "derk fantasye" isolates her from the society around her.(FN47) Her friends, of course, attempt to rescue her from this mental isolation and to reintegrate her into society, but she is again isolated as she contemplates her course of action after Aurelius has confronted her with the disappearance of the rocks. Narcissus is similarly isolated twice in Ovid's narrative, first when he finds himself separated from his hunting companions and second when he comes upon the pool. The latter is in a thoroughly, and negatively, isolated place which "neque pastores neque ... capellae / contigerant aliudve pecus, quem nulla volucris / nec fera turbarat" (neither shepherds nor she-goats visited or other cattle, which no bird nor wild beast disturbed) (III.408-10).
However, as we have begun to see, Chaucer's allusion to Ovid's story in the Franklin's Tale does more than suggest we read his characters in light of their counterparts Echo and Narcissus; the unusual emphasis on Echo, who is defined by her speaking, also calls attention to the tale's thematic concern with speaking and interpretation. But Chaucer makes an initially surprising connection here: he associates Echo with nonspeaking, an association so unexpected that it foregrounds speaking. Comparison to allusions in the French Roman de la Rose, Chaucer's own rendering of that poem, and the other Canterbury tale that connects Echo to speech, shows how unusual this association is. In the Clerk's parting words at the end of his tale, for instance, Echo is described as one who "evere answereth at the countretaille" (IV 1190); in the Roman de la Rose and the Romaunt, her speaking is critical to the course of the narrative and is emphasized by repeated reference to it. According to Guillaume's dreamer, Equo says Narcissus must give her his love or she would die ("dit que il li donroit / s'amor ou ele se mouroit," 1445-46; emphasis mine throughout this paragraph), but he responds neither to her speaking nor to another form of speech, her prayer ("ne por dire ne por praier," 1450). When she again prays and asks God ("el pria a Deu et requis," 1456) that Narcissus suffer a similar unrequited love, God found the prayer reasonable ("Ceste priere fu resnable," 1465), and the events at the fountain follow. Similarly, in Chaucer's rendering of Guillaume, Echo "tolde" (A 1477) Narcissus that if he did not love her, she must die, but he "nolde graunten hir askyng, / For wepyng ne for fair praying" (A 1483-84); just as Guillaume's Equo had done, "er she deide, / Full pitously to God she preide" (A 1489-90), and her "prayer" was found "resonable" (A 1499). Echo's speaking in these two poems is also emphasized by the power of its effect because, in a departure from Ovid, a straight narrative line runs from her speaking to Narcissus's death. That is, precisely by her prayer, Guillaume's Equo and Chaucer's Ekko cause Narcissus's falling in love with his reflection and his subsequent death. The Franklin's Tale's nonspeaking Echo is also initially surprising in relation to Metamorphoses. In Ovid's account, Echo's speech is her defining feature because the language insistently used about her denotes speaking and voice. And Juno, we remember, punished Echo for the way she had previously used her voice to detain the goddess. Thus, when Aurelius compares himself to Echo and turns this speaker into a nonspeaker by describing her as one who "dortse nat telle hir wo," he is being, as David Raybin rightly describes, "mythologically inaccurate."(FN48) On the other hand, to negate the defining feature of a character in a well-known story is to call attention to that characteristic; the inaccuracy makes speaking all the more prominent.
In a larger way, Chaucer's interest in speech in this tale is evident because its plot, like that in Metamorphoses, turns on a moment of speech or, as if to call attention to the act of speaking, on a moment of twice-speaking, when Dorigen gives two answers to Aurelius's revelation of his love for her. If we now turn to either of the probable sources for this narrative, we find neither an allusion to Narcissus and Echo nor an equivalent of this critical, spoken exchange between Dorigen and Aurelius. Indeed, when set against Boccaccio's tales, Chaucer's use of speech in the Franklin's Tale becomes especially pronounced. In broadest terms, Menedon's story in the fourth book of Boccaccio's Filocolo and Emilia's on the tenth day of his Decameron, both similar in outline to Chaucer's tale, do directly present a fair amount of speaking. In the first, speech is evenly distributed throughout the narrative, but only the magician Tebano's invocation of powers, by virtue of its length, stands out. In Emilia's shorter story the proportionately reduced direct speaking is disposed around a brief, central section. The first words we hear in Filocolo are those of a married, noble woman, loved by the knight Tarolfo, as she speaks to herself; from what she says, her response to the attentions of the knight is clear. She attempts to discourage him with a clever trick ("una sottile malizia," 82) of requesting a garden in January, but only sends word about it to Tarolfo, rather than speak to him directly. The task, she assures herself, is impossible ("Questa è cosa impossibile," 83). In the Decameron the first words we hear are those of the wife of the wealthy Gilberto, Dianora, grown tired of attentions from Messer Ansaldo, a noble baron who shows his passionate love for her in actions ("ogni cosa faccendo") and entreating messages ("per sue ambasciate sollicitandola," 657). She decides to rid herself of these attentions by an unusual and, so she thinks, impossible request ("con una nuova e al suo giudicio impossibil domanda," 657); we hear her words to Ansaldo's messanger as she sets out her request for a garden in January no different from one in May ("no altrimenti fatto che se di maggio fosse," 658). In Filocolo the most developed spoken exchange between two characters occurs after Tarolfo, seeking to fulfill this impossible task, chances upon the magician Tebano, and the two come to an arrangement. As Tebano begins his work, his solitary prayer invoking all the agencies whose help he needs, is by far the longest single speech of the story (86). Once he has completed the task, the remaining instances of direct speech are short conversations the characters have with one another. The much shorter Decameron story disposes of the magician's work in one sentence (658), and the longest piece of direct speech, nothing close to Tebano's in length, is Gilberto's when he responds to Dianora's revealing the cause of her grief (659). After Dianora and Ansaldo speak, the magician, who has just observed Ansaldo's "liberalità" (660), releases the noble from his promised fee in the last direct speech of the narrative.
In clear contrast with either of Boccaccio's works, Chaucer gives speaking in general much more emphasis in the Franklin's Tale by increasing its amount, primarily in the occasions and length of Dorigen's speaking, and by highlighting the speech of Aurelius and Dorigen. As in Filocolo and the Decameron, however, the first direct speech is that of the lady. Like Dianora, Dorigen is speaking to someone when she explains to Arveragus her reasons for accepting him as her husband and promises to be a "humble trewe wyf" (V 758). In the tale's next direct speech, we again hear Dorigen as she wishes for a ship to bring the absent Arveragus home and, in an extended prayer, puzzles over God's creation of dangerous rocks in the sea. Markedly unlike Tarolfo's and Ansaldo's exertions to win the favor of their ladies is Aurelius's inability to use language directly to reveal his love. Yet when the squire does finally speak to Dorigen (V 967), the two have the most developed conversation in the tale as a whole, once again one that notably has no equivalent in Filocolo or the Decameron. In an especially important change from Filocolo, where we only hear about the lady's proposal, Chaucer gives us Dorigen's spontaneous reply to Aurelius's unexpected revelation. Although Dianora is as unspontaneous as the lady of Filocolo, we do hear her detailing her proposal for Ansaldo. While neither of Boccaccio's male characters speaks after learning of the request, Aurelius's one-line question about Dorigen's reply leads to an exchange in which each clarifies the meaning of the proposed task, described by the squire as "an inpossible!" (V 1009). Aurelius's next speaking, in his desperate prayer to Apollo, is emphasized by the repetition of "seyde" (V 1026, 1028).
Although Chaucer introduces speaking characters found in neither of Boccaccio's works, he also radically reduces the amount of speech given to the clerk, who corresponds to the loquacious Tebano, a reduction that makes speech by Aurelius and Dorigen more prominent. Aurelius's brother, the most important of the added characters, thinks aloud about his brother's problem and finds a solution for it when he remembers his student days in Orleans (V 1138-64). As Aurelius and his brother approach the city, "a yong clerk" (V 1173) speaks to them, and attention is called the clerk's words as language because we are told that he spoke to them "in Latyn" (V 1174). Finally, in contrast to the long speech by which Tebano conjures in Filocolo, we only hear about the method of the Orleans clerk who, "thurgh his magik" (V 1295), makes it seem for a time "that alle the rokkes were aweye" (V 1296).(FN49)
When Aurelius confronts Dorigen with this apparent disappearance of the rocks, Chaucer further develops the speeches of both characters in comparison to Filocolo and the Decameron and also adds the lady's extended lament. A more fluent Aurelius now speaks to Dorigen at twice the length (V 1311-38) of his first declaration. Because he does not wait for her reply, he does not hear her astonished assertion that what has happened is "agayns the proces of nature" (V 1345). Very much the longest single piece of direct speech in the tale is the complaint to Fortune on which Dorigen almost immediately embarks (V 1355-1456). Although similar in length to Tebano's long invocation of the agencies necessary for his magic, it contrasts with the magician's speech in its emphasis on emotion(FN50) rather than on the mechanics for creating a garden. While the lady of Filocolo is "piena di ... malinconia" (full of sadness) (89), and Dianora is "più che altra femina dolente" (more sorrowful than any other woman) (658), neither gives verbal expression to her grief as Dorigen does.
Although speaking in the rest of the Franklin's Tale differs little in its amount from that in the Italian works, Chaucer makes other significant changes by increasing the emotional force of one speech, shifting another, and, most importantly, stressing the fulfillment of the spoken promise. The conversation Dorigen has with Arveragus once he returns (V 1463-86), for instance, is very similar in length to that between the ladies and their husbands in Boccaccio's stories. What is striking about Arveragus's speech, however, is his bursting into tears and thus revealing what his words cost him. The Filocolo husband, by contrast, seems cold and unemotional as he speaks to his wife; he simply tells her that none of this displeases him ("niuno dispiacere m'è," 89). The Decameron s Gilberto, although he speaks at greater length and does express some emotion, seems rather intent on containing a problem, as he drives away his anger ("cacciata via l'ira"), lectures his wife on virtuous behavior, and, mentioning his fear of the magician ("la paura del nigromante," 659), urges her to attempt to get out of her promise. While the subsequent meetings between the lady and Tarolfo and between Dianora and Ansaldo take place at the houses of the men, Chaucer's more significant location for the conversation between Dorigen and Aurelius is the path to the garden where her promise had been made. Moreover, Aurelius's very formal release of Dorigen from "every serement and every bond" (V 1534) contrasts with Tarolfo's decision to consider the lady's action in coming as sufficient fulfillment of her side of their agreement: "avete il vostro dovere servato, per la qual cosa i' ho per ricevuto ciò die de voi disiderava" (you have kept your obligation, by which fact I have received what I desired) (90). Ansaldo, silent on the question of the promise, is concerned only that he not taint the honor of the compassionate Gilberto ("dello onore di chi ha compassione al mio amore," 660). Similarly, the clerk's later releasing Aurelius from his promise differs from Tebano's acting as if a promise had never been made and from the Decameron magician's refusal of payment ("mio guiderdone," 660) without even mentioning a promise. Thus, in contrast to Filocolo, in which the promises are treated as nonexistent, and to the Decameron, in which they are forgotten, both of the releases in the Franklin's Tale give weight and value to the words that have been spoken.
Chaucer also directs our attention to the importance of speech in the Franklin's Tale by a small, but crucial, change from the ladies' actions in either of Boccaccio's works. In Filocolo the lady is twice invited to see that the garden has been created. The first time she does not believe Tarolfo's assertion that he has done what she asked, but when he again invites her to the garden she requested ("nel giardino, il quale voi me dimandaste"), the lady not only enters it with her companions, but wanders around gathering herbs and flowers (88). Her sensory experience of the garden is emphasized by the exclusion of the cold ("in quello non freddo si come di fuori") and the presence of temperate and sweet air ("ma un aere temperato e dolce," 88). In the Decameron Messer Ansaldo invites Dianora to see the garden, described as one of the most beautiful anyone might ever see ("un de' più be' giardini che mai per alcun fosse stato veduto"), full of grasses, trees, and fruit ("con erbe e con alberi e con frutti," 658), and he also sends her fruits and flowers from the garden as proof of its existence. With this proof, no second invitation is necessary, and her own curiosity causes Dianora to go with other ladies of the town to see it. But Dorigen never even sees what Aurelius has managed to accomplish. When Aurelius invites her to "go see," if she wants to "vouche sauf" his claim that "the rokkes been aweye," she instead stands "astoned" (V 1334-39), rooted to the spot in the temple where Aurelius finds her. Unlike the ladies of Boccaccio's narratives, what Dorigen finds convincing are the squire's words alone. That is, speech by itself is powerful enough; she does not need any confirming sensory experience.
These alterations in the Boccaccian sources' handling of the amount of speech, its relative distribution, and its effect show Chaucer's heightened interest in acts of speaking, but a further alteration calls attention to the subject in a manner suggestive of Ovid's fable of Narcissus and Echo, to which we now return. Unlike Boccaccio, Chaucer specifically pairs a number of speeches made by Aurelius with those of Dorigen, so that like the nymph's replies to Narcissus, they in large part echo each other in their type and content. Dorigen's prayer to "Eterne God" (V 865), for instance, asking that "alle thise rokkes blake / Were sonken into helle" (V 891-92), is echoed in Aurelius's "orisoun" to "Lord Phebus" (V 1026, 1036) that Lucina adjust her movements across the sky. In her prayer Dorigen introduces the idea of the reasonable, which appears nowhere in Boccaccio, by judging God's creation of "thise grisly feendly rokkes blake" a "werk unresonable" (V 868, 872), but this notion does have a link with the Narcissus-Echo story because Ovid's description of Echo as "resonablilis," or re-sounding (III.358), comes to be rendered in Ovide Moralisé as "pucele raisonnable" (reasonable maiden) (1343).(FN52)
Dorigen and Aurelius also echo one another in the similar gestures with which they accompany their prayers: the lady is unable to stand--"on hire feet she myghte hire noght sustene" (V 861)--and the squire "in swowne ... fil adoun" (V 1080) as soon as he finishes praying. Moreover, the next time Aurelius and Dorigen individually speak following their prayers, each makes a promise. Dorigen's pledge--"Have heer my trouthe" (V 998)--to give her love to Aurelius if he can "remoeve alle the rokkes" (V 993) or, as she restates it, remove them so "that ther nys no stoon ysene" (V 996) is echoed in Aurelius's promise to the Orleans clerk, "by my trouthe!" (V 1231). Both of these promises are rash because the rocks do seem to disappear and Aurelius does not have the thousand pounds to pay the clerk for arranging that disappearance.
Finally, Aurelius and Dorigen each speak in terms of the possible to define the task Dorigen has set. Aurelius does so immediately following her outlining what she wants him to do in exchange for her love: "'Madame,' quod he, 'this were an inpossible!'" (V 1009). Confronted with the apparent fulfillment of her request, a stunned Dorigen can only say to herself
"For wende I nevere by possibilitee That swich a monstre or merveille myghte be!"
While Chaucer's development of speech in the tale relative to his sources shows both his interest in that subject and an alignment with Ovid's Narcissus and Echo story, a crucial addition to those sources connects his interest specifically to the interpretation of speech, an interest also evident in the Roman poet's account. This addition is, of course, Dorigen's pivotal, doubled reply to Aurelius's declaration of love, a reply that is understood differently by each character and that therefore explicitly raises the issue of interpretation. Ovid's central confrontation between Narcissus and Echo turns similarly, as Knoespel has argued, on the interpretations the two characters give to each other's words. He notes, for example, that "coire (387), the verb Narcissus uses to call Echo from the woods, means something different for each. For Narcissus it means simply 'come together'; for Echo it suggests that her desire for Narcissus will be fulfilled by sexual intercourse."(FN53) However, rather than different meanings simply being attached here to the same word, the difference in meaning more exactly comes into play because what is echoed has been separated from its original context. The separation, which creates a new context and causes the meanings to differ, follows from the precise limit on Echo's ability to speak: she can only repeat final words. Thus, when Narcissus asks "ecquis adest?" (is anyone present?) , Echo's reply is the final word alone ("adest," III.380) which, now separated from its context, becomes a statement. Similarly, the dropping of an adverbial modification from the youth's "huc coeamus" (here let us come together) (III.386) becomes Echo's unqualified "coeamus" (III.387). Finally, the omission of "ante ... quam" from Narcissus's firm rejection--"ante ... emoriar, quain sit tibi copia nostri" (I shall die before you may enjoy me) (II.391)--transforms the anticipatory subjunctive of his dependent clause into the nymph's expression of a wish or command ("sit tibi copia nostri!" III.391).(FN54)
In a word, the fragments Echo returns are separated from strings of speech with different intents or meanings than her isolated words suggest. As Judith Ferster points out, "what seems to be mere repetition is really the creation of new meaning."(FN55) Even in the two instances of their initial exchange, when we do not directly hear Echo's speech, it is still clear that her repetition would change the meaning of the words Narcissus used. For the first, the youth calls the single word "veni!" (come). In a construction that especially emphasizes speech by creating echoes around forms of vocare we are told that Echo speaks to the speaking one ("vocat illa vocantem," III.382). Here, in a single-word reply, Narcissus's speech would come back to him with a changed sense, because the meaning of venire, a verb of motion, depends on the speaker, and a shift in speaker separates the word from one context and places it in another.(FN56) The second instance of our not hearing Echo's actual words similarly involves a verb of motion as Narcissus asks "quid ... / me fugis?" (what? do you flee me?); in the words he receives back ("verba recepit," III.383-84), the direction of flight in the question would change with the speaker. Echo's fragmentation, separating Narcissus's words from the context of his speech, thus allows her to interpret their meaning in a new way.
As critical as this exchange between Narcissus and Echo is to Ovid's story, so also to Chaucer's are the reply Dorigen gives to Aurelius when he reveals his love and the interpretation he makes of the words she speaks. The importance of both reply and interpretation can be underlined by contrast with Boccaccio's stories. Specifically, Chaucer has Dorigen appear to be saying something different--that she will accept Aurelius's love (V 990)--from what the complete context suggests she means to say--that she will remain faithful (V 986). Boccaccio, in contrast, gives single, straightforward statements of the May garden desired by each of his ladies, statements that lack the thematic resonance of Dorigen's reply. Although the structures of the Boccaccian narratives and of the Franklin's Tale all depend at this point on the action of the lovers in response to their ladies, the cause of their acting differs. Both Tarolfo and Ansaldo simply set out to act on the complete statement of their respective lady's wish, even though it seems impossible, and succeed in meeting all of its specifications. When Aurelius acts, which is only after significant delay, he does so as a result of his particular interpretation of Dorigen's words.
Because Chaucer gives us Dorigen's own words spoken directly to Aurelius, in contrast to Filocolo, where we only hear about the lady's words, or the Decameron, where Dianora speaks to a messenger, we know that Aurelius constructs a meaning by, Echo-like, separating Dorigen's words from their context in her speech. But this construction does not occur immediately. When they meet in the garden, Dorigen's first reply to Aurelius's declaration sounds like a clear rejection with its strong negatives ("Ne shal I nevere been untrewe wyf, / In word ne werk"), its support by an oath ("By thilke God that yaf me soule and lyf"), and its last "Taak this for fynal answere as of me" (V 983-87). Even when she modifies her first response with a second setting out the task, the squire seems in no doubt about the intent of what she has said, as he asks "Is ther noon oother grace in yow?" (V 999). Again, after her sharp, sworn clarification that there is not ("'No, by that Lord,' quod she, 'that maked me!'") and her confident statement that she well knows "it shal never bityde" (V 1000-1001), Aurelius's answer--that the task she has set is impossible (V 1009)--would seem to make evident his understanding that he cannot, as she requests, "remoeve alle the rokkes" (V 993). He nonetheless later confronts her with "the rokkes been aweye" (V 1338),(FN57) although as we know, the rocks have not been miraculously removed. However, Aurelius can confront her with this statement because he has separated her words from their context and thus given them a meaning quite different from what she intended. He first clearly isolates Dorigen's words when, at his most despondent immediately after leaving her, he prays to Apollo and Lucina that the rocks be covered with an especially high tide. Such a tide would meet Dorigen's request that "ther nys no stoon ysene" on the coast, but this request is a restatement only of her second reply, the one she made "in pley" (V 988), "that endelong Britayne / Ye remoeve alle the rokkes, stoon by stoon" (V 992-93). Thus, Aurelius focuses here on only some of Dorigen's words and isolates them from their context. As Francine McGregor argues, "Aurelius has access to Dorigen only by approaching her language selectively."(FN58) Aurelius also separates the second of Dorigen's statements, the one made in play, from the first, although the pairing of the statements suggests that her setting an impossible task for the squire is to be understood as an expression of the strength of her attachment to her husband.(FN59) Like Echo, by taking a statement out of context, Aurelius is able to interpret Dorigen's words in a way that differs from the meaning she intended and that he originally understood.(FN60) Thus, his "miracle" (V1056) is not only more apparent than real, it also very much depends on a specific act of interpretation evident in his effectively echoing only a fragment of Dorigen's speech.
When Chaucer has the Franklin report relatively early in his tale that Aurelius compares himself to Echo, our attention may at first be only briefly caught. But we attend more closely when we find, as I hope we have, that the comparison resonates throughout the narrative. Inserting this allusion into Boccaccio's much simpler narratives was only the beginning of the ways Chaucer made use of Ovid's Wetamorphoses and its subsequent commentaries in reshaping those narratives. Not only can we catch hints of Echo and Narcissus individually behind the characters and situations of Aurelius and Dorigen, but we can also hear the spoken encounter between the nymph and her rejecting lover re-sounding in the way Aurelius goes about interpreting what Dorigen says. Chaucer's alterations thus make speech and interpretation far more prominent in the Franklin's Tale than either is in Boccaccio's stories. It is not unimportant that the tale enacts this issue in a spoken encounter, because chance speech, so much less stable than a constructed text, more immediately allows us to hear the difficulties in the process of interpretation. Finally, however, in Dorigen and Aurelius's last encounter Chaucer offers hope that interpretation can be something other than a fragmenting of words. When the squire meets the distraught Dorigen on the way to the garden to fulfill her promise, he shifts from his earlier insistence on the promise she had made. Aurelius's first reaction to Dorigen's speech, as Chaucer tells us, is that he "in his herte hadde greet compassioun / Of hire and of hire lamentacioun" (V 1515-16). He responds, that is, not just to the words he hears, but to the larger meaning revealed by her grief.(FN61) And he releases her from her promise.
Elizabeth A. Dobbs
1. All quotations of Chaucer are from The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, 3rd edn. (Boston, 1987).
2. Scholarly interest in the topic of speech and its interpretation in FranT is evident in studies of the function of the promises, such as Alan X Gaylord, "The Promises in The Franklin's Tale," English Literary History 31 (1964): 331-65, and Carol A. Pulham, "Promises, Promises: Dorigen's Dilemma Revisited," Chaucer Review 31 (1996): 76-86, and also more directly in: Judith Ferster, "Interpretation and Imitation in Chaucer's Franklin's Tale," in Medieval Literature: Criticism, Ideology and History, ed. David Aers (Brighton, 1986), 148-68; David Raybin, "'Wommen, of Kynde, Desiren Libertee': Rereading Dorigen, Rereading Marriage," Chaucer Review 27 (1992): 65-86; George R. Petty, Jr., "Power, Deceit, and Misinterpretation: Uncooperative Speech in the Canterbury Tales," Chaucer Review 27 (1993): 413-23; Sandra J. McEntire, "Illusions and Interpretation in the Franklin's Tale," Chaucer Review 31 (1996): 145-63; and Francine McGregor, "What of Dorigen? Agency and Ambivalence in the Franklin's Tale," Chaucer Review 31 (1997): 365-78.
Of those who consider the general topic of interpretation, some mention Echo in passing or in ways that differ from my focus upon speaking. Raybin, for instance, briefly considers the inappropriateness of Aurelius's comparing himself to Echo ("Wommen," 71), and McEntire associates Dorigen with Echo ("Illusions," 155). Ferster gives a general outline of the encounter between Narcissus and Echo and reads the nymph as the figure for not only "the relationship among the characters in the tale," but also "the relationships between the Franklin and his source and Chaucer and his source" ("Interpretation," 159). Jane Chance, in a reading linked to Chaucer's sexual politics, has most thoroughly explored the relation between the myth and FranT; however, she aligns the characters in both differently than I do (The Mythographic Chaucer: The Fabulation of Sexual Politics [Minneapolis, 1995], 249-62).
3. Quotations of II Filocolo are from Giovanni Boccaccio, Filocolo, ed. Carlo Salinari and Natalino Sapegno (Turin, 1976); quotations of Decameron are from Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron, ed. Vittore Branca (Florence, 1976). Boccaccio's two narratives are roughly similar. Menedon's story in Filocolo, the earlier of the two, is part of a longer account of the affairs of Florio, disguised as Filocolo, as he seeks Biancofiore, from whom he has been separated. He arrives in Naples and happens upon a garden in which Fiametta presides over a group of men and women to whom she suggests a discussion of questions of love. In the end, the group considers thirteen questions. Menedon's story is of a wife who sets an impossible task for an unwanted lover and a magician who provides impressive assistance to the lover; it poses the fourth question by asking which of three characters (husband, lover, or magician) is most generous. From an early date the thirteen questions began to appear independently. In Decameron Boccaccio used a revised and shortened version of Menedon's story and assigned it to Emilia on the final day of storytelling. Here, a wife again sets an impossible task for her lover, this time a well-known and important baron, and the lover again receives help through magic.
Scholars disagree about the extent to which either or both of Boccaccio's two works might be Chaucer's source for FranT. Neither work, we should note, fits the strictest sense of Thomas J. Farrell's definition of "source" as a written text providing passages for which we can find "clear verbal echoes" in Chaucer's tale ("Source or Hard Analogue? Decameron X, 10 and the Clerk's Tale" Chaucer Review 37 : 346-64, at 350), but both do show such striking similarities to Chaucer's tale that it is hard to imagine he did not know them. Pio Rajna was the first to set out an argument in favor of Filocolo ("Le Origini della Novella Narrata del 'Frankeleyn' nei Canterbury Tales del Chaucer," Romania 32 : 204-67); John Livingston Lowes also considered Filocolo the major source for the tale ("The Franklin's Tale, the Teseide, and the Filocolo," Modern Philology 15 : 689-728). N. R. Havely thinks it "very likely that Chaucer had at least a cursory acquaintance" with Filocolo as a whole (Chaucer's Boccaccio: Sources of Troilus and the Knight's and Franklin's Tales [Cambridge, Eng., 1980], 11). Dominique Battles summarizes arguments in support of Filocolo and argues that the work as a whole, not just Menedon's story, may be the source ("Chaucer's Franklin's Tale and Boccaccio's Filocolo Reconsidered," Chaucer Review 34 : 38-59, at 39). On the other hand, in the course of arguing parallels between CT and Decameron, Helen Cooper suggests that Emilia's story in Decameron X, 5 "may well be" the "immediate source" of FranT ("The Frame," in Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales, ed. Robert M. Correale and Mary Hamel, 2 vols. [Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2002, 2005], 1:1-22, at 9. David Wallace thinks it "most unlikely that Chaucer brought a manuscript of the voluminous Filocolo back to England, or that he read one right through whilst in Italy" (Chaucer and the Early Writings of Boccaccio [Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1985], 60). But it is more likely that Chaucer knew the independently circulating thirteen questions. Robert R. Edwrards argues that the questions from the fourth book do, in fact, define the limit of the influence of the Italian work on Chaucer ("Source, Context and Cultural Translation in the 'Franklin's Tale,'" Modern Philology 94 : 141-62, at 142). N. S. Thompson sets out a combined position on the question of sources by arguing that FranT's "concerns exhibit the complexity that would come if both of Boccaccio's versions had been an influence--even if we can never know this absolutely" (Chaucer, Boccaccio, and the Debate of Love: A Comparative Study of The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales [Oxford, 1996], 265). Edwards describes those contributions as "narrative elements and details" from Filocolo and "thematic influence" from Decameron X, 5 ("The Franklin's Tale," in Sources and Analogues 1:211-65, at 212).
Combined influence seems most plausible, although I am inclined to see the earlier work as exerting the greater pressure on FranT. The Orleans Clerk, for instance, is given attention similar to that given to Tebano, and, as Thompson points out, in the subsequent discussion with Fiametta, Menedon focuses on "the relative costs of generous action for members of differing classes," which would have pleased the Franklin (Chaucer Boccaccio, 256). I think it even possible that Chaucer had acquaintance with Filocolo as a whole. Its beginning and ending with pilgrimage to a religious site, for instance, resonates with CT; the author's farewell to his book combined with acknowledgment of "Virgil, Lucan, Statius, Ovid, and Dante" seems reminiscent of Tr's ending tribute to "Virgile, Ovide, Omer, Lucan, and Stace" (V, 1792) (see Stephen A. Barney, "Explanatory Notes," Riverside Chaucer, 1056); and, more pointedly for FranT, Menedon ends up in Fiametta's garden because of a shipwreck.
4. All quotations of Metamorphoses are from P Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoses, ed. William S. Anderson (Leipzig, 1988). I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Monessa Cummins, a colleague in the Classics Department of Grinnell College, in rendering Ovid's Latin.
5. A. D. Nutall, "Ovid's Narcissus and Shakespeare's Richard II: The Reflected Self," in Ovid Renewed: Ovidian Influences on Literature and Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century, ed. Charles Martindale (Cambridge, Eng., 1988), 137-50, at 142.
6. Michael A. Calabrese, Chaucer's Ovidian Arts of Love (Gainesville, Fla., 1994), 1.
7. Calabrese, Chaucer's Ovidian Arts, 3. Jane Chance points out that Ovid had been a school text from the twelfth century ("The Medieval 'Apology for Poetry': Fabulous Narrative and Stories of the Gods," in The Mythographic Art: Classical Fable and the Rise of the Vernacular in Early France and England, ed. Jane Chance [Gainesville, Fla. 1990], 3-44, at 8). See also E. H. Alton and D. E. W. Wormell, "Ovid in the Mediaeval Schoolroom" (1961), repr. in Ovid: The Classical Heritage, ed. William S. Anderson (New York, 1995), 23-36.
8. Helen Cooper, "Chaucer and Ovid: A Question of Authority," in Ovid Renewed: Ovidian Influences on Literature and Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century, ed. Charles Martindale (Cambridge, Eng., 1988), 71-81, at 72. Cooper points to Ovid as the specific source of much of Chaucer's "knowledge of classical myth and legend" (71). Calabrese states that "no other classical author exerted so great an influence on medieval literature" (Chaucer's Ovidian Arts, 1).
9. Edward Kennard Rand, Ovid and His Influence (London, 1928), 145; John Fyler, Chaucer and Ovid (New Haven, 1979), 19; Cooper, "Chaucer and Ovid," 75.
10. Jeremy Dimmick, "Ovid in the Middle Ages: Authority and Poetry," in The Cambridge Companion to Ovid, ed. Philip Hardie (Cambridge, Eng., 2002), 264-87, at 285.
11. Fyler, Chaucer and Ovid, 124.
12. Intr to MLT II 54-55, where the Man of Law suggests that Chaucer has outdone Ovid; see also Intro to MLT II 93; WBPro III 680; WBT III 952, 982; MerT IV 2125; and Mel VII 976, 1325, 1414.
13. V. J. Scattergood, "Explanatory Notes," Riverside Chaucer, 952.
14. Richard L. Hoffman, Ovid and the Canterbury Tales (Philadelphia, 1966), 205.
15. Joanne Rice, "Explanatory Notes," Riverside Chaucer, 898.
16. Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia, ed. Guiseppe Vandelli (Milan, 1985).
17. Quotations of the Roman are from Le Roman de la Rose, ed. Félix Lecoy (Paris, 1982-83), 3 vols.
18. John P. McCall, Chaucer among the Gods: The Poetics of Classical Myth (University Park, Pa., 1979), 11.
19. Cooper, "Chaucer and Ovid," 74.
20. Calabrese, Chaucer's Ovidian Arts, 3.
21. Chance, "Apology," 8.
22. Cooper, "Chaucer and Ovid," 74.
23. William D. Reynolds gives 1316-28 as the timespan of composition ("Sources, Nature, and Influence of the Ovidius Moralizatus of Pierre Bersuire," in The Mythographic Art: Classical Fable and the Rise of the Vernacular in Early France and England, ed. Jane Chance [Gainesville, Fla., 1990], 83-99, at 85).
24. Dimmick, "Ovid in the Middle Ages," 278-79.
25. Quotations of Ovide Moralisé are from C. de Boer's edition, Ovide Moralisé: Poème du commencement du quatorzième siècle (Amsterdam, 1915).
26. Kenneth J. Knoespel, Narcissus and the Invention of Personal History (New York, 1985), 46. Knoespel's study has been particularly important in my thinking about the Echo and Narcissus myth.
27. In The Medieval Anadyomene: A Study in Chaucer's Mythography (Oxford, 1972), Meg Twycross gives 1335-40 as the period of composition (34). In Medieval Literary Theory and Citicism c. 1100-c. 1375: The Commentary Tradition (Oxford, 1988), 317-18, A. J. Minnis and A. B. Scott set out a brief chronology of composition and revision, and E Ghisalberti provides an account of the subsequent history of Bersuire's text in "L'Ovidius moralizatus di Pierre Bersuire," Studj Romanzi 23 (1933): 5-136, at 46-73.
28. Dimmick, "Ovid in the Middle Ages," 278; see also Beryl Smalley, English Friars and Antiquity in the Early Fourteenth Century (Oxford, 1960), 262.
29. Minnis and Scott specifically describe Bersuire's development of Arnulf of Orleans's work (Medieval Literary Theory, 324).
30. Reynolds, "Sources," 87. A problem with Ovidius, as several scholars have indicated, is the establishment of Bersuire's text; he produced multiple versions (Reynolds, "Sources," 84; and Betty Nye Quinn, "Venus, Chaucer, and Peter Bersuire" Speculum 38 : 479-80, at 479).
31. Chance, "Apology," 6.
32. McCall, Chaucer among the Gods, 43. Dimmick agrees that Ovide Moralist "may have been known" by Chaucer ("Ovid in the Middle Ages," 280).
33. Tkvycross, Medieval Anadyomene, 3.
34. Ernest H. Wilkins, "Descriptions of Pagan Divinities from Petrarch to Chaucer," Speculum 32 (1957): 511-22; John M. Steadman, "Venus' Citolein Chaucer's Knight's Tale and Berchorius," Speculum 34 (1959): 620-24; Quinn, "Venus, Chaucer, and Peter Bersuire," 479-80.
35. A. J. Minnis, "A Note on Chaucer and the Ovide Moralisé," Medium AEvum 48 (1979): 254-57.
36. Cooper, "Chaucer and Ovid," 75. McCall asserts that the poet "showed no interest at all in the implied theological allegorizations of the myth" (Chaucer among the Gods, 43); Minnis points out that both Ovide Moralisé and Bersuire's Ovidius are "consistently demythologized" by Chaucer (Chaucer and Pagan Antiquity, 17).
37. Cooper, "Chaucer and Ovid," 74. For an opposing view, Chance, Mythographic Chaucer, xxi.
38. Fyler, Chaucer and Ovid, 17. Bruce Harbert argues that Chaucer "used the parts of the work that translate direct from Ovid, but no parallels have been discovered between Chaucer and the allegorical sections. He seems to have ignored them" ("Chaucer and the Latin Classics," in Writers and Their Background: Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Derek Brewer [London, 1974], 137-53, at 145).
39. Knoespel, Narcissus, 37-38.
40. Knoespel, Narcissus, 44.
41. Knoespel, Narcissus, 57.
42. Knoespel links Ovide Moralisé to Arnulf of Orleans (Narcissus, 49); Bersuire's development of Arnulf is described by Minnis and Scott (Medieval Literary Theory, 324n29).
43. Quotations of Bersuire are from J. Engels's edition of sections of the fifteenth book, the Ovidius moralizatus, of the Reductorium morale, prepared by the Instituut voor Laat Latijn of the Rijksuniversiteit at Utrecht from the 1509 Paris printing (Ovidius Moralizatus [Utrecht, 1962]).
44. Jacqueline de Weever locates Dorigen's name in Celtic (Chaucer Name Dictionary [New York, 1987], 115). However, Susan Clotfelter, a student in my 1981 Chaucer seminar, suggested Ovid's Doris as a source. In Metamorphoses Doris is the wife of the sea king Nereus; she appears twice in the myth of Phaethon (II.11, II.269) and once in the story of her daughter Galatea (XIII.742). She is thus connected directly to water and indirectly to a rash promise, which is as central to Phaethon's story as to Dorigen's. Galatea shows up when Aurelius is compared to Pamphilius (V.1110).
45. Carolyn Collette notes that Chaucer "added a pattern of literal imagery of seeing and seeming to his sources" (Species, Phantasms, and Images: Vision and Medieval Psychology in The Canterbury Tales [Ann Arbor, Mich., 2001], 89).
46. Her desire to alter reality here points toward her later vulnerability to the visual illusion of the disappearance of the rocks. Narcissus's story shares these topics of the relations between illusion and reality and between sight and desire: what he sees, the youth both mistakes for reality and desires.
47. Collette, Species, 91.
48. Raybin, "Wommen," 71. Ferster also notes the inappropriateness of Aurelius's claiming that his not speaking is like the nymph's: Echo "is nothing if not a speaker" ("Interpretation," 159).
49. Chauncey Wood points to "warning signals" that the disappearance is not caused by "the supernatural or the arcane" (Chaucer and the Country of the Stars [Princeton, 1970], 245) and suggests the clerk may only predict a tide. Although Wood questions the usefulness of some of the clerk's calculations (266), Donald W. Olson, Edgar S. Laird, and Thomas E. Lytle argue that "Chaucer may be describing a rare astronomical configuration" from December 1340 and that the clerk "is making a very difficult calculation" ("High Tides and The Canterbury Tales," Sky and Telescope [April 2000]: 44-49, at 45, 47). Using a copy of the Alfonsine Tables mentioned in connection with the clerk's work, they calculated an unusual "tidal alignment" for this date in order to confirm his calculations (48). Bob Cadmus, a colleague in the Physics Department of Grinnell College, drew my attention to the article.
50. Carol Koepke Brown argues that "Chaucer shapes his tale to provide occasions for human compassion" ("'It is True Art to Conceal Art': The Episodic Structure of Chaucer's Franklin's Tale," Chaucer Review 27 :162-85, at 173).
51. Gaylord also wonders why Dorigen does not check on the facts behind Aurelius's words, and he attributes this inaction to the Franklin's "conception of Dorigen's gentilesse. Aurelius has, in effect, given her his word that a situation exists" ("Promises," 336).
52. Knoespel discusses the shift (Narcissus, 48). In Le Roman de la Rose, Guillaume describes Echo's prayer for revenge as "resnable" (1465), a word that is not matched in Ovid; Chaucer picks this up in "This prayer was but resonable" (V 1499).
53. Knoespel, Narcissus, 8.
54. In commentary on this line, editor William S. Anderson points out the shifts in type of subjunctive (Ovid's Metamorphoses, Books 1-5 [Norman, Okla., 1997], 378).
55. Ferster, "Interpretation," 160.
56. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak speaks of shifts in subject-position in this passage ("Echo," New Literary History 24 (1993): 17-43, at 26),
57. Ferster also uses the idea of interpretation to discuss this confrontation, but her language points to something seen rather than spoken: "when Aurelius comes to Dorigen to announce the disappearance of the rocks ... he interprets her ... he paints a picture of her that he hopes she will take as a mirror" ("Interpretation," 157).
58. McGregor, "What of Dorigen?," 375. Petty reads Aurelius's misinterpretation as the result of his shifting the context from one "textual repertoire" to another ("Power," 415).
59. Charles A. Owen, Jr., makes this distinction in "The Crucial Passages in Five of the Canterbury Tales: A Study in Irony and Symbol," Journal of English and German Philology 52 (1953): 294-311, at 295.
60. Kathryn Jacobs suggests that Aurelius's "torrent of legalese" in his later release of Dorigen from her promise indicates he recognizes "his own manipulative forcing of the letter" ("The Marriage Contract of the Franklin's Tale: The Remaking of Society," Chaucer Review 20 : 132-43, at 138).
61. Anne Scott also makes this point when she suggests Aurelius "listens carefully to what she has to say to him, not merely to the words she says but their emotional tone" ("'Cons