The canterbury tales, p.24
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.24

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  Again 4186 my los, I wil have esement.

  By Goddes saule 4187, it sal nan other be!’

  This John answerde, ‘Alein, avise thee 4188.

  The millere is a perilous man,’ he saide,

  4190 And gif 4190 that he out of his sleep abraide,

  He mighte doon us bathe a vileinye 4191.’

  Alein answerde, ‘I counte him noght a flye.’

  And up he rist 4193, and by the wenche he crepte.

  This wenche lay upright 4194, and faste slepte,

  4195 Til he so neigh was, er she mighte espye,

  That it hadde been 4196 to late for to crye;

  And shortly for to seyn, they were at oon 4197.

  Now pley, Alein, for I wol speke of John.

  This John lith stille, a furlong wey 4199 or two,

  4200 And to himself he maketh routhe and wo 4200.

  ‘Allas,’ quod he, ‘this is a wikked jape 4201!

  Now may I seyn that I is but an ape. 4202

  Yet has my felawe somwhat for his harm 4203:

  He has the milleris doghter in his arm.

  4205 He auntred him and has his nedes sped,4205

  And I lie as a draf-sek 4206 in my bed.

  And whan this jape is tald 4207 another day,

  I 4208 sal been halden a daffe, a cokenay!

  I wil arise and auntre it, by my faith!

  4210 “Unhardy 4210 is unsely”, thus men saith.’

  And up he roos, and softely he wente

  Unto the cradel, and in his hand it hente 4212,

  And baar it softe 4213 unto his beddes feet.

  Soone after this, the wif hir routing leet 4214,

  4215 And gan awake, and wente hir out to pisse,

  And cam again and gan hir cradel misse,

  And groped heer and ther; but she fond noon.

  ‘Allas,’ quod she, ‘I hadde almoost misgoon 4218!

  I hadde almoost goon to the clerkes bed.

  4220 Ey, benedicite, thanne had I foule ysped 4220!’

  And forth she gooth til she the cradel fond.

  She gropeth alwey forther 4222 with hir hond

  And fond the bed, and thoghte noght but good,

  Bicause that the cradel by it stood,

  4225 And niste 4225 wher she was, for it was derk;

  But faire and wel she creep 4226 in to the clerk,

  And lith ful stille, and wolde have caught a sleep 4227.

  Withinne a while this John the clerk up leep 4228,

  And on this goode wif he leyth on soore.

  4230 So mury a fit 4230 ne hadde she nat ful yoore;

  He priketh harde and depe as he were mad.

  This joly lif han thise two clerkes lad

  Til that the thridde cok bigan to singe 4233.

  Alein wax wery in the daweninge, 4234

  4235 For he had swonken4235 al the longe night,

  And seide, ‘Farewel, Malin, swete wight!

  The day is come; I may no lenger bide 4237.

  But everemo, wherso I go or ride,

  I is thin awen 4239 clerk, swa have I sel.’

  4240 ‘Now, deere lemman 4240,’ quod she, ‘go, farewel!

  But er thow go, o thing I wol thee telle:

  Whan that thow wendest 4242 homward by the melle,

  Right at the entree of the dore bihinde 4243

  Thow shalt a cake of half a busshel finde

  4245 That was ymaked of thin owene mele,

  Which that I heelp 4246 my fader for to stele.

  And, goode lemman, God thee save and kepe!’

  And with that word almoost she gan to wepe.

  Alein uprist 4249 and thoghte, ‘Er that it dawe,

  4250 I wol go crepen in by my felawe.’

  And fond the cradel with his hond anon.

  ‘By God,’ thoghte he, ‘al wrang 4252 I have misgon!

  Min heed is toty 4253 of my swink tonight;

  That maketh me that I go noght aright.

  4255 I woot wel by the cradel I have misgo;

  Here lith the millere and his wif also.’

  And forth he gooth, a twenty devel way 4257,

  Unto the bed theras the millere lay.

  He wende have cropen 4259 by his felawe John;

  4260 And by the millere in he creep anoon,

  And caughte him by the nekke, and softe he spak.

  He seide, ‘Thou John, thow swines-hed 4262, awak,

  For Cristes saule 4263, and here a noble game!

  For by that lord that called is Seint Jame,

  4265 As I have thries in this shorte night

  Swived 4266 the milleris doghter bolt-upright,

  Whil thow hast 4268, as a coward, been agast.’

  ‘Ye, false harlot,’ quod the millere, ‘hast?

  A, false traitour, false clerk,’ quod he,

  4270 ‘Thou shalt be deed, by Goddes dignitee!

  Who dorste be so bold to disparage 4271

  My doghter, that is come of swich linage?’

  And by the throte-bolle 4273 he caughte Alain,

  And he hente 4274 him despitously again,

  4275 And on the nose he smoot 4275 him with his fest.

  Doun ran the blody streem upon his brest,

  And in the floor, with nose and mouth to-broke 4277,

  They walwe 4278 as doon two pigges in a poke.

  And up they goon, and doun again anoon,

  4280 Til that the millere sporned 4280 at a stoon,

  And doun he fil bakward upon his wif,

  That wiste 4282 nothing of this nice strif,

  For she was falle aslepe a litel wight 4283,

  With John the clerk, that waked hadde al night.

  4285 And with the fal out of hir sleep she breide 4285;

  ‘Help, holy cros 4286 of Bromeholm!’ she seide.

  ‘In manus tuas! Lord, to thee I calle! 4287

  Awake, Simond, the feend is on me falle 4288!

  Min herte is broken; help, I nam but ded!

  4290 Ther lith oon 4290 on my wombe and on min heed.

  Help, Simkin, for the false clerkes fighte!’

  This John sterte up 4292 as faste as evere he mighte,

  And graspeth4293 by the walles to and fro,

  To finde a staf; and she sterte up also,

  4295 And knew the estres 4295 bet than dide this John,

  And by the wal a staf she fond anon,

  And saugh a litel shimering 4297 of a light,

  For at an hole in shoon the moone bright;

  And by that light she saugh hem bothe two,

  4300 But sikerly 4300 she niste who was who,

  But as she saugh a whit thing in hir eye.

  And whan she gan this white thing espye,

  She wende the clerk hadde wered a voluper 4303,

  And with the staf she drow ay ner and ner 4304

  4305 And wende han hit this Alein atte fulle, 4305

  And smoot 4306 the millere on the piled skulle

  That 4307doun he gooth, and cride, ‘Harrow, I die!’

  Thise clerkes bette 4308 him wel and lete him lie,

  And greithen hem 4309, and took hir hors anon,

  4310 And eke hir mele, and on hir wey they gon,

  And at the mille yet they toke hir cake

  Of half a busshel flour, ful wel ybake 4312.

  Thus is the proude millere wel ybete 4313,

  And hath ylost the grinding of the whete,

  4315 And payed for the soper everydel

  Of Alein and of John, that bette him wel;

  His wif is swived 4317, and his doghter als.

  Lo, swich it is a millere to be fals!

  And therfore this proverbe is seid ful sooth:

  4320 Him thar nat wene wel that ivele dooth. 4320

  A gilour4321 shal himself bigiled be.

  And God, that sitteth heighe 4322 in magestee,

  Save al this compaignye, grete and smale.

  – Thus have I quit the Millere in my tale.

  Heere is ended the Reves Tale.


  The Prologe of the Cokes Tale.

  4325 The Cook of Londoun, whil the Reve spak,

  For joye him thoughte he clawed 4326 him on the bak.

  ‘Ha, ha!’ quod he, ‘for Cristes passioun,

  This millere hadde a sharp 4328 conclusioun

  Upon his argument of herbergage 4329!

  4330 Wel seide Salomon in his langage:

  “Ne bring nat every man into thin hous.”

  For herberwing 4332 by nighte is perilous.

  Wel oghte a man avised for to be 4333

  Whom that he broghte into his privetee 4334.

  4335 I pray to God, so yeve me sorwe and care,

  If ever, sith I highte 4336 Hogge of Ware,

  Herde I a millere bettre yset a-werk 4337.

  He hadde a jape 4338 of malice in the derk!

  But God forbede that we stinten 4339 heere;

  4340 And therfore, if ye vouchesauf to heere

  A tale of me, that am a povre man,

  I wol yow telle, as wel as evere I kan,

  A litel jape that fil 4343 in oure citee.’

  Oure Hoost answerde and seide, ‘I graunte it thee.

  4345 Now tel on, Roger, look that it be good!

  For many a pastee 4346 hastow laten blood,

  And many a Jakke of Dover 4347 hastow soold,

  That hath been twies hoot and twies coold.

  Of 4349 many a pilgrim hastow Cristes curs,

  4350 For of thy persely yet they fare the wors 4350,

  That they han eten with thy stubbul goos 4351;

  For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.

  Now telle on, gentil Roger, by thy name!

  But yet I praye thee, be nat wrooth for game 4354;

  4355 A man may seye ful sooth 4355 in game and pley.’

  ‘Thow seyst ful sooth,’ quod Roger, ‘by my fey!

  But “sooth pley, quade pley 4357”, as the Fleming seyth.

  And therfore Herry Bailly, by thy feith,

  Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,

  4360 Thogh that my tale be of an hostileer.

  But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit;

  But er we parte, ywis, thow shalt be quit 4362.’

  And therwithal he lough and made cheere,

  And seide his tale, as ye shal after heere.


  Heere biginneth the Cookes Tale.

  4365 A prentis 4365 whilom dwelled in oure citee,

  And of a craft of vitaillers 4366 was he.

  Gaillard 4367 he was as goldfinch in the shawe;

  Broun as a berye, a propre 4368 short felawe,

  With lokkes blake, ykembd 4369 ful fetisly.

  4370 Dauncen he koude so wel and jolily 4370

  That he was cleped Perkin Revelour 4371.

  He was as ful of love and paramour 4372

  As is the hive ful of hony swete;

  Wel was the wenche that with him mighte mete.

  4375 At every bridale wolde he singe and hoppe 4375.

  He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe,

  For whan ther any riding 4377 was in Chepe,

  Out of the shoppe thider wolde he lepe;

  Til that he hadde al the sighte yseyn

  4380 And daunced wel, he wolde noght come agein.

  And gadred him a meinee 4381 of his sort,

  To hoppe and singe, and maken swich disport 4382.

  And ther they setten stevene 4383 for to meete,

  To pleyen at the dis 4384 in swich a streete;

  4385 For in the toune nas ther no prentis

  That fairer koude caste a paire of dis

  Than Perkin koude; and4387therto he was free

  Of his dispense, in place of privetee.

  That fond his maister wel in his chaffare 4389;

  4390 For ofte time he foond his box 4390 ful bare.

  For sikerly a prentis revelour

  That haunteth 4392 dis, riot, or paramour,

  His maister shal it in his shoppe abye 4393,

  Al have he no part of 4394 the minstralcye.

  4395 For thefte and riot, they been convertible 4395.

  Al konne 4396he pleye on giterne or ribible,

  Revel and trouthe 4397, as in a lowe degree,

  They been ful wrothe 4398 al day, as men may see.

  This joly prentis with his maister bood 4399

  4400 Til he were neigh out of his prentishood 4400,

  Al were he snibbed 4401 bothe erly and late,

  And somtime lad with revel to Newgate.

  But atte laste his 4403maister him bithoghte,

  Upon a day whan he his paper soghte,

  4405 Of a proverbe that seyth this same word:

  ‘Wel bet is roten appul out of hord

  Than that it rotie 4407 al the remenaunt.’

  So fareth it by 4408a riotous servaunt;

  It is ful lasse harm to lete him pace 4409,

  4410 Than he shende 4410 al the servantz in the place.

  Therfore his maister yaf him acquitaunce 4411,

  And bad him go, with sorwe and with meschaunce 4412!

  And thus this joly prentis hadde his leve.

  Now lat him riote al the 4414night, or leve!

  4415 And, for ther is no theef withoute a lowke 4415,

  That helpeth him to wasten and to sowke 4416

  Of that he bribe 4417 kan or borwe may,

  Anon he sente his bed and his array 4418

  Unto a compeer 4419 of his owene sort,

  4420 That loved dis and revel and disport,

  And hadde a wif that held for contenaunce 4421

  A shoppe, and swived for hir sustenaunce 4422.


  The wordes of the Hoost to the compaignye.

  Oure Hoost saugh wel that the brighte sonne

  The ark of his artificial day2 hath ronne

  The ferthe3 part, and half an houre and moore,

  And thogh he were nat depe ystert in loore4,

  5 He wiste it was the eightetethe5 day

  Of Aprill, that is messager to May,

  And saw wel that the shadwe7 of every tree

  Was as in lengthe the same quantitee

  That was the body erect that caused it,

  10 And therfore by the shadwe he took his wit10

  That Phebus11, which that shoon so clere and brighte,

  Degrees was five and fourty clombe12 on highte,

  And for that day, as in that latitude,

  It was ten at the clokke, he gan conclude;

  15 And sodeinly he plighte15 his hors aboute.

  Lordinges,’ quod he, ‘I warne yow, al this route16,

  The ferthe party17 of this day is goon.

  Now, for the love of God, and of Seint John,

  Leseth19 no time, as ferforth as ye may.

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