The canterbury tales, p.23
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.23

           Geoffrey Chaucer
 

  As any pecok he was proud and gay;

  Pipen he koude, and fisshe, and nettes beete 3927,

  And turne coppes 3928, and wel wrastle and sheete.

  Ay by his belt he baar a long panade 3929,

  3930 And of a swerd ful trenchaunt 3930 was the blade.

  A joly poppere 3931 baar he in his pouche;

  Ther was no man for peril dorste 3932 him touche.

  A Sheffeld thwitel 3933 baar he in his hose.

  Round was his face, and camuse 3934 was his nose;

  3935 As piled 3935 as an ape was his skulle.

  He was a market-betere 3936 atte fulle.

  Ther dorste no wight hand upon him legge 3937,

  That he ne swoor he sholde anon abegge 3938.

  A theef he was, forsothe, of corn and mele,

  3940 And that a sleigh 3940, and usant for to stele.

  His name was hoten 3941 deinous Simkin.

  A wif he hadde, ycome of noble kin:

  The person 3943 of the toun hir fader was.

  With hire he yaf ful many a panne of bras 3944,

  3945 For that Simkin sholde in his blood allye.

  She was yfostred in a nonnerye 3946,

  For Simkin wolde no wif, as he saide,

  But she were wel ynorisshed and a maide,

  To saven his estaat of yemanrye.

  3950 And she was proud, and peert 3950 as is a pie.

  A ful fair sighte was it upon hem two;

  On halidayes 3952 biforn hire wolde he go,

  With his tipet 3953 wounde aboute his heed,

  And she cam after in a gite 3954 of reed,

  3955 And Simkin hadde hosen of the same.

  Ther dorste no wight clepen hire but ‘dame’ 3956;

  Was noon so hardy 3957 that wente by the weye

  That with hire dorste rage 3958, or ones pleye,

  But if he wolde be slain of Simkin,

  3960 With panade, or with knif or boidekin 3960.

  For jalous folk been perilouse everemo –

  Algate 3962 they wolde hir wives wenden so.

  And eek, for she was somdel smoterlich 3963,

  She was as digne 3964 as water in a dich,

  3965 And ful of hoker 3965 and of bisemare.

  Hir thoghte 3966 that a lady sholde hir spare,

  What for hir kinrede and hir nortelrye 3967

  That she hadde lerned in the nonnerye.

  A doghter hadde they bitwix hem two

  3970 Of twenty yeer, withouten any mo,

  Saving a child that was of half yeer age;

  In cradel it lay, and was a propre page 3972.

  This wenche thikke and wel ygrowen was,

  With camuse nose and eyen greye as glas,

  3975 With buttokes brode, and brestes rounde and hye;

  But right fair was hir heer 3976, I wol nat lie.

  The person of the toun, for she was feir,

  In purpos was 3978 to maken hir his heir,

  Bothe of his catel3979 and his mesuage;

  3980 And straunge he made it of 3980 hir mariage.

  His purpos was for to bistowe hir hye 3981

  Into som worthy blood of auncetrye 3982,

  For holy chirches good moot been despended 3983

  On holy chirches blood that is descended.

  3985 Therfore he wolde his holy blood honoure,

  Thogh that he holy chirche sholde devoure.

  Greet soken 3987 hath this millere, out of doute,

  With whete and malt of al the land aboute.

  And nameliche ther was a greet collegge

  3990 Men clepe the Soler Halle at Cantebregge;

  Ther was hir whete and eek hir malt ygrounde.

  And on a day it happed in a stounde 3992,

  Sik lay the maunciple 3993 on a maladye;

  Men wenden wysly 3994 that he sholde die.

  3995 For which this millere stal 3995 bothe mele and corn

  An hundred time moore than biforn;

  For therbiforn 3997 he stal but curteisly,

  But now he was a theef outrageously 3998,

  For which the wardein 3999 chidde and made fare.

  4000 But therof sette the millere noght a tare 4000;

  He craked boost 4001, and swoor it was noght so.

  Thanne were ther yonge povre scolers two,

  That dwelten in the halle of which I seye.

  Testif 4004 they were, and lusty for to pleye,

  4005 And, oonly for hir mirthe 4005 and reverye,

  Upon the warden bisily they crye 4006

  To yeve hem leve, but a litel stounde,4007

  To go to mille and seen hir corn ygrounde,

  And hardily 4009 they dorste leye hir nekke,

  4010 The millere sholde noght stele hem half a pekke 4010

  Of corn by sleighte 4011, ne by force hem reve;

  And at the laste the wardein yaf hem leve.

  John highte 4013 that oon, and Alein highte that oother;

  Of oon toun were they born, that highte Strother,

  4015 Fer in the north – I kan noght telle where.

  This Alein maketh redy al his gere 4016,

  And on an hors the sak he caste anon.

  Forth gooth Alein the clerk, and also John,

  With good swerd and with bokeler 4019 by hir side.

  4020 John knew the wey – hem nedede no gide –

  And at the mille the sak adoun he layth.

  Alein spak first: ‘Al hail 4022, Simond, i’faith!

  How fares thy faire doghter and thy wif?’

  ‘Alein, welcome,’ quod Simkin, ‘by my lif!

  4025 And John also; how now, what do ye here?’

  ‘By God,’ quod John, ‘Simond, nede has na peere 4026;

  Him boes serve himself 4027that has na swain,

  Or ellis he is a fool, as clerkes sayn.

  Oure maunciple, I hope 4029he wil be deed,

  4030 Swa werkes ay the wanges in his heed. 4030

  And forthy 4031is I come, and eek Alain,

  To grinde oure corn and carye it ham 4032again.

  I pray yow speed us heithen that ye may.’ 4033

  ‘It shal be doon,’ quod Simkin, ‘by my fay!

  4035 What wol ye doon whil that it is in hande?’

  ‘By God, right by the hoper 4036wil I stande,’

  Quod John, ‘and se howgat4037 the corn gas in.

  Yet saw I nevere, by my fader kin,

  How that the hoper wagges til and fra 4039.’

  4040 Alein answerde: ‘John, and wiltow swa 4040?’

  Thanne wol I be binethen, by my croun 4041,

  And se howgat the mele 4042 falles doun

  Into the trogh; that sal 4043 be my desport.

  For John, i’faith, I may been of youre sort;

  4045 I is as ille 4045a millere as ar ye.’

  This millere smiled of hir nicetee 4046,

  And thoghte, ‘Al this nis doon but for a wile 4047;

  They wene 4048 that no man may hem bigile.

  But by my thrift 4049 yet shal I blere hir eye,

  4050 For al the sleighte 4050 in hir philosophye.

  The moore queinte crekes 4051 that they make,

  The moore wol I stele whan I take;

  In stede of flour yet wol I yeve hem bren 4053.

  The grettest clerkes been noght the wisest men –

  4055 As whilom 4055 to the wolf thus spak the mare.

  Of al hir art ne counte I 4056 noght a tare!’

  Out at the dore he gooth ful prively 4057,

  Whan that he saugh his time, softely 4058.

  He looketh up and doun til he hath founde

  4060 The clerkes hors, ther as it stood ybounde 4060

  Bihinde the mille, under a levesel 4061.

  And to the hors he gooth him faire 4062 and wel;

  He strepeth of 4063 the bridel right anon,

  And whan the hors was laus 4064, he ginneth gon

  4065 Toward the fen4065, ther wilde mares
renne,

  And forth with ‘wehe 4066!’ gooth thurgh thikke and thenne.

  This millere gooth again 4067; no word he seide,

  But dooth his note 4068 and with the clerkes pleyde

  Til that hir corn was faire and wel ygrounde.

  4070 And whan the mele was sakked 4070 and ybounde,

  This John gooth out and fint 4071 his hors away,

  And gan to crye ‘harrow!’ and ‘weilaway!’

  ‘Oure hors is lost! Alein, for Goddes banes 4073,

  Step on thy feet 4074! Com of, man, al at anes!

  4075 Allas, oure wardein has his palfrey lorn 4075!’

  This Alein al forgat, bothe mele and corn;

  Al was out of his minde his housbondrye 4077.

  ‘What, whilk 4078 wey is he gane?’ he gan to crye.

  The wif cam 4079 leping inward with a ren.

  4080 She seide, ‘Allas, youre hors gooth to the fen

  With wilde mares, as faste as he may go.

  Unthank 4082 come on his hand that bond him so,

  And he that bettre sholde have knit 4083 the reine!’

  ‘Allas,’ quod John, ‘Alein, for Cristes peine,

  4085 Lay doun thy swerd, and I wol min alswa 4085.

  I is ful wight 4086, God wat, as is a ra;

  By Goddes hert, he sal nat scape us bathe 4087!

  Why nad thow pit the capul in the lathe? 4088

  Il hail 4089, by God, Alein, thow is a fonne!’

  4090 Thise sely 4090 clerkes han ful faste yronne

  Toward the fen, bothe Alein and eek John.

  And whan the millere saugh that they were gon,

  He half a busshel of hir flour hath take,

  And bade his wif go knede 4094 it in a cake.

  4095 He seide, ‘I trowe the clerkes were aferd 4095!

  Yet kan a millere make a clerkes berd 4096,

  For al his art 4097; now lat hem goon hir weye!

  Lo, where he gooth; ye, lat the children pleye!

  They gete him noght so lightly 4099, by my croun.’

  4100 Thise sely clerkes rennen up and doun,

  With ‘Keep 4101, keep! stand, stand! Jossa, warderere!

  Ga 4102 whistle thow, and I sal kepe him here!’

  But shortly, til that it was verray night,

  They koude noght, though they dide al hir might,

  4105 Hir capul 4105 cacche, he ran alwey so faste;

  Til in a dich they caughte him at the laste.

  Wery and weet, as beest is in the rein,

  Comth sely John, and with him comth Alein.

  ‘Allas,’ quod John, ‘the day that I was born!

  4110 Now ar we drive til 4110 hething and til scorn.

  Oure corn is stoln; men wil us fooles calle,

  Bathe the wardein and oure felawes alle,

  And namely 4113 the millere, weilawey!’

  Thus pleineth 4114 John as he gooth by the wey

  4115 Toward the mille, and Bayard 4115 in his hond.

  The millere sitting by the fir he fond 4116,

  For it was night, and ferther mighte they noght;

  But for the love of God they him bisoght 4118

  Of herberwe 4119 and of ese, as for hir peny.

  4120 The millere seide again: ‘If ther be eny,

  Swich as it is, yet shal ye have youre part.

  Min hous is streit 4122, but ye han lerned art;

  Ye kan by argumentes make a place

  A mile brood of twenty foot of space!

  4125 Lat se now if this place may suffise,

  Or make it rowm 4126 with speche, as is youre gise.’

  ‘Now Simond,’ seide this John, ‘by Seint Cutberd,

  Ay is thou mirye 4128, and this is faire answerd.

  I have herd seye, men sal taa 4129, of twa thinges,

  4130 Slik 4130 as he findes, or taa slik as he bringes.

  But specially I pray thee, hooste deere,

  Get us som mete and drink, and make us cheere 4132,

  And we wol payen trewely atte fulle.

  With empty hand men may na haukes tulle 4134;

  4135 Lo here, oure silver, redy for to spende.’

  This millere into toun his doghter sende 4136

  For ale and breed, and rosted hem a goos,

  And bond 4138 hir hors; it sholde namoore go loos.

  And in his owene chambre hem made a bed,

  4140 With shetes and with chalons 4140 faire yspred,

  Noght from his owene bed ten foot or twelve.

  His doghter hadde a bed al by hirselve,

  Right in the same chambre, by and by 4143.

  It mighte be no bet, and cause why?

  4145 Ther was no rowmer herberwe 4145 in the place.

  They soupen and they speke, hem to solace 4146,

  And drinken evere strong ale at the beste 4147;

  Aboute midnight wente they to reste.

  Wel hath this millere vernisshed 4149 his heed;

  4150 Ful pale he was for dronken 4150, and noght reed.

  He yexeth4151 and he speketh thurgh the nose,

  As he were on the quake 4152 or on the pose.

  To bedde he gooth, and with him goth his wif;

  As any jay she light 4154 was and jolif,

  4155 So 4155 was hir joly whistle wel ywet.

  The cradel at hir beddes feet is set,

  To rokken and to yeve the child to sowke 4157.

  And whan that dronken al was in the crowke 4158,

  To bedde wente the doghter right anon.

  4160 To bedde gooth Alein and also John;

  Ther nas namoore; hem nedede no dwale 4161.

  This millere hath so wysly 4162 bibbed ale

  That as an hors he fnorteth 4163 in his sleep;

  Ne of his tail bihinde he took no keep.

  4165 His wif bar him a burdon 4165, a ful strong;

  Men mighte hir routing 4166 heren a furlong.

  The wenche routeth eek, par compaignye. 4167

  Alein the clerk, that herde this melodye,

  He poked John, and seide, ‘Slepestow?

  4170 Herd thow evere slik 4170 a sang er now?’

  Lo, whilk a 4171 complin is imel hem alle!

  A wilde fir 4172 upon thair bodies falle!

  Wha 4173 herkned evere slik a ferly thing?

  Ye, they sal 4174 have the flour of il ending!

  4175 This lang night ther tides me na reste. 4175

  But yet na force 4176; al sal be for the beste!

  For, John,’ seide he, ‘als evere moot I thrive4177,

  If that I may, yon wenche wol I swive 4178.

  Som esement 4179 has lawe shapen us;

  4180 For, John, ther is a lawe that sayes thus:

  That gif 4181 a man in a point be agreved,

  That in another he sal be releved 4182.

  Oure corn is stoln – soothly, it is na nay 4183 –

  And we han had an il fit 4184 al this day;

  4185 And sin I sal have nan 4185 amendement

 
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