If The Tailor of Gloucester were in Middle English verse (with apologies to Beatrix Potter)

Yn time of sworde & of hod

& amictus for manne of god,

Levedis & men yn wedes wlonke,

Embrauded alle without frounce,

Þer lyvede whilom a Taillour

Yn þe fair cite of Gloucestre.


Þys Taillour hadde gret renoun

As dubbed he þe fayrest yn þe toun,

Bot of hymselven, he was povre.

Of yeres he hadde four-score.

Ragyt he was, olde & frele.

Of hys tale y wol ye telle.


Upon a colde winteres daye

(Bifor Christenmasse, y schold saye)

Bi-ganne he a mantel of sylke

Þat neuere wroghtest was hits ylke

Embrauded alle wyþ flores schere

& a doublette of chamelet clere.


Schapen he þe cloth so nice,

Þer nis no scrappes, sauf for meis.

Þer laide he the cloþes smart:

Croces damaske for þe herte,

Colers, pocketes and euerychilke.

Wantyd he bot gesaeled sylke.


Þe Cissour walkyd to hys hous,

& so didde run gret manye mous.

Þe meis lovyde þe Taillour

Bi-cause he yaff hem alle hys store.

Þe Catte hid þe meis yn cuppe

Bot þe Cissour didde lyft hem uppe.


Þe Taillour gan to sykken sore

And sayde to Catte, “Go oute þe dore,

Beien mete, & brede, & milke,

& forȝat nat gesaeled silke!”

To bed went he & siked stil sore.

Feuer he hadde. He xulde nat do more

But stayed he hom, yn hys litel hous.

Þe clothys were finished…by mous!


On Christenmasse, y herd men saye

Al þe bestes can talke & playe.

Yn Tailloures shoppe were meise eke.

At Christenmasse þei gan to speke.

Synged þe þe tales of olde

& ertid þe Catte þat was yn colde.

Embrauded þei þe clothys ilke

& write þei on parchymyn, “þou nedest silke”.


& so þe clothys weren gate,

& wyth þe sylke he hadde from Catte

Þe Cissour finished þe wede

& prosperet he, so y rede.

& so þe Tale of Taillour doth ende.

Þank God for meis, & for oure frende.


Written 20th November 2018


Detail taken from London, British Library, Sloane MS 4016, f. 40


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