The canterbury tales, p.58
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.58

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  The devel have part on218 alle swiche rekeninges!

  Ye have inogh, pardee, of Goddes sonde219;

  220 Com doun today, and lat youre bagges stonde.

  Ne be ye nat ashamed that daun John

  Shal fastinge al this day elenge222 gon?

  What, lat us heere a masse, and go we223 dine.’

  ‘Wif,’ quod this man, ‘litel kanstow devine224

  225 The curious bisinesse225 that we have;

  For of us chapmen226, also God me save,

  And by that lord that clepid is Seint Ive,

  Scarsly amonges twelve tweye shul thrive228

  Continuelly, lasting unto oure age229.

  230 We may wel make cheere and good230 visage,

  And drive forth the world as it may be,

  And kepen oure estat232 in privetee

  Til we be dede, or elles that we pleye233

  A pilgrimage, or goon out of the weye234,

  235 And therfore have I gret necessitee

  Upon this queinte236 world t’avise me.

  For everemo we mote237 stonde in drede

  Of hap238 and Fortune in oure chapmanhede.

  ‘To Flaundres wol I go tomorwe at day,

  240 And come again as soone as evere I may.

  For which, my deere wif, I thee biseke241,

  As be to every wight buxom242 and meke,

  And for to kepe oure good243 be curious,

  And honestly244 governe wel oure hous.

  245 Thow hast inow, in every manere wise,

  That to a thrifty246 houshold may suffise.

  Thee lakketh noon array247 ne no vitaille;

  Of silver in thy purs shaltow nat faille248.’

  And with that word his countour-dore he shette249,

  250 And doun he goth; no lenger wolde he lette250.

  But hastily a masse was ther seid,

  And spedily the tables were yleid,

  And to the diner faste they hem spedde253;

  And richely this monk the chapman fedde.

  255 At after-diner, daun John sobrely

  This chapman took apart, and prively

  He seide him thus: ‘Cosin, it standeth so

  That wel I se to Brugges wol ye go.

  God and Seint Austin spede259 yow and gide!

  260 I pray yow, cosin, wisely that ye ride;

  Governeth261 yow also of youre diete

  Atemprely262, and namely in this hete.

  Bitwix us two nedeth no strange fare263.

  Farwel, cosin, God shilde264 yow fro care!

  265 And if that any thing, by day or night,

  If it lie in my power and my might,

  That ye me wol comande in any wise,

  It shal be doon, right as ye wol devise268!

  ‘O thing, er that ye goon, if it may be,

  270 I wolde preye270 yow for to lene me

  An hundred frankes, for a wike271 or tweye,

  For certein bestes that I moste beye272,

  To store273 with a place that is oures –

  God help me so, I wolde it were youres!

  275 I shal nat faille275, surely, of my day,

  Nat for a thousand frankes, a mile-way276.

  But lat this thing be secree, I yow preye,

  For yet tonight thise bestes moot I beye.

  And fare now wel, min owene cosin deere;

  280 Graunt merci280 of youre cost and of youre cheere.’

  This noble marchant gentilly281 anon

  Answerde and seide, ‘O cosin min, daun John,

  Now sikerly283 this is a smal requeste!

  My gold is youres whan that it yow leste284,

  285 And nat oonly my gold but my chaffare285;

  Take what yow list, God shilde that ye spare286!

  ‘But o thing is, ye knowe it wel inow

  Of chapmen, that hir moneye is hir plow288.

  We may creaunce289 whil we have a name,

  290 But goldlees290 for to been, it is no game.

  Pay291 it again whan it lith in youre ese;

  After my might292 ful fain wolde I yow plese.’

  Thise hundred frankes he fette293 forth anon,

  And prively he took294 hem to daun John.

  295 No wight in al this world wiste of this lone295,

  Saving296 this marchant and daun John allone.

  They drinke, and speke, and rome297 a while and pleye,

  Til that daun John rideth to his abbeye.

  The morwe cam, and forth this marchant rideth

  300 To Flaundres-ward300; his prentis wel him gideth

  Til he cam into Brugges murily.

  Now goth this marchant faste302 and bisily

  Aboute his nede303, and byeth and creaunceth.

  He neither pleyeth at the dees304 ne daunceth,

  305 But as a marchant, shortly for to telle,

  He let306 his lif; and ther I lete him dwelle.

  The Sonday next this marchant was agon,

  To Seint-Denis ycomen is daun John,

  With crowne309 and berd al fressh and newe yshave.

  310 In al the hous ther nas so litel a knave310,

  Ne311 no wight elles, that he nas ful fain

  That my lord daun John was come again.

  And shortly to the point right for to gon,

  This faire wif acorded314 with daun John

  315 That for thise hundred frankes he sholde al night

  Have hire in hise armes bolt-upright316.

  And this acord parfourned317 was in dede;

  In mirthe318 al night a bisy lif they lede

  Til it was day, that daun John wente his way,

  320 And bad320 the meinee ‘fare wel; have good day!’

  – For noon of hem, ne no wight in the toun,

  Hath of daun John right no suspecioun.

  And forth he rideth hoom to his abbeye,

  Or where him list324; namoore of him I seye.

  325 This marchant, whan that ended was the faire,

  To Seint-Denis he gan for to repaire326;

  And with his wif he maketh feste and cheere327,

  And telleth hire that chaffare is so deere

  That nedes moste he make a chevissaunce329,

  330 For he was bounde in a reconissaunce330

  To paye twenty thousand sheeld331 anon;

  For which this marchant is to Paris gon

  To borwe of certeine freendes that he hadde

  A certein334 frankes, and somme with him he ladde.

  335 And whan that he was come into the toun,

  For greet chiertee336 and greet affeccioun

  Unto daun John he first goth him to pleye337 –

  Nat for to axe or borwe of him moneye,

  But for to wite339 and seen of his welfare,

  340 And for to tellen him of his chaffare340,

  As freendes doon whan they been met ifeere341.

  Daun John him maketh feste and murye cheere342,

  And he him tolde again ful specially343

  How he hadde wel yboght and graciously344,

  345 Thanked be God, al hool345 his marchandise;

  Save that346 he moste, in alle maner wise,

  Maken a chevissance as for his beste347,

  And thanne he sholde been in joye and reste.

  Daun John answerde: ‘Certes, I am fain

  350 That ye in heele350 ar comen hom again.

  And if that I were riche, as have I blisse,

  Of twenty thousand sheeld sholde ye nat misse352,

  For353 ye so kindely, this oother day,

  Lente me gold; and as I kan and may

  355 I thanke yow, by God and by Seint Jame!

  But nathelees, I took356 unto oure dame,

  Youre wif at hom, the same gold again

  Upon youre bench; she woot358 it wel, certain,

  By certein tokenes that I kan yow telle.

  360 Now, by youre leve, I may no lenger dwelle360;

  Oure abbot wol out of361 this toun anon,

/>   And in his compaignye moot I gon.

  Grete wel oure dame, min owene nece swete,

  And fare wel, deere cosin, til we meete!’

  365 This marchant, which that was ful war365 and wis,

  Creanced366 hath, and paid eek in Paris

  To certein Lumbards, redy in hir hond367,

  The somme of gold, and gat of hem368 his bond.

  And hoom he gooth, murye as a papinjay369,

  370 For wel he knew he stood in swich array370

  That nedes moste he winne in that viage371

  A thousand frankes above al his costage372.

  His wif ful redy mette him atte gate,

  As she was wont of old usage374, algate,

  375 And al that night in mirthe375 they bisette,

  For he was riche, and cleerly376 out of dette.

  Whan it was day, this marchant gan embrace

  His wif al newe378, and kiste hire on hir face,

  And up he goth and maketh it ful tough379.

  380 ‘Namoore!’ quod she, ‘by God, ye have inough!’

  And wantownely381 again with him she pleyde,

  Til, atte laste, thus this marchant seide:

  ‘By God,’ quod he, ‘I am a litel wroth383

  With yow, my wif, althogh it be me looth384;

  385 And woot ye why? By God, as that I gesse,

  That ye han maad a manere straungenesse386

  Bitwixen me and my cosin daun John.

  Ye sholde han warned me er I had gon

  That he yow hadde an hundred frankes payed

  390 By redy tokene, and heeld him ivele apaied390

  For that I to him spak of chevissaunce –

  Me semed so, as by his contenaunce.

  But nathelees, by God, oure hevene king,

  I thoghte nat to axe of him nothing.

  395 I prey thee, wif, ne do namoore so;

  Tel me alwey, er that I fro thee go,

  If any dettour hath in min absence

  Ypayed thee, lest thurgh thy necligence

  I mighte him axe a thing that he hath payed.’

  400 This wif was nat afered400 nor affrayed,

  But boldely she seide, and that anon:

  ‘Marye, I deffye402 the false monk, daun John!

  I kepe nat of his tokenes403 never a del!

  He took me certein gold, this woot I wel –

  405 What, ivel thedam405 on his monkes snowte! –

  For, God it woot, I wende406, withouten doute,

  That he hadde yeve it me bicause of yow,

  To doon therwith min honour and my prow408,

  For cosinage409, and eek for bele cheere

  410 That he hath had ful ofte times heere.

  But sith I se I stonde in this disjoint411,

  I wol answere yow shortly to the point.

  Ye han mo slakker413 dettours than am I,

  For I wol paye yow wel and redily

  415 Fro day to day; and if so be I faille415,

  I am youre wif, score it upon my taille416,

  And I shal paye as soone as evere I may.

  For, by my trouthe, I have on min array,

  And nat on wast419, bistowed every del.

  420 And for I have bistowed it so wel

  For youre honour, for Goddes sake, I seye,

  As be nat wrooth422, but lat us laughe and pleye.

  Ye shal423 my joly body have to wedde;

  By God, I wol noght paye yow but abedde!

  425 Forgive it me, min owene spouse deere;

  Turne hiderward, and maketh bettre cheere426.’

  This marchaunt saugh ther was no remedye,

  And428 for to chide it nere but folye,

  Sith that the thing may nat amended be.

  430 ‘Now, wif,’ he seide, ‘and I foryeve it thee;

  But by thy lif, ne be namoore so large431.

  Keep bet432 oure good; this yeve I thee in charge.’

  Thus endeth my tale, and God us sende

  Tailling inough434 unto oure lives ende! Amen.

  Heere endeth the Shipmannes Tale.


  Bihoold the murye wordes of the Hoost to the Shipman and to the Lady Prioresse.

  435 ‘Wel seid, by corpus dominus435!’ quod oure Hoost.

  ‘Now longe moote thou saille by the coost,

  Sire gentil maister, gentil mariner!

  God yeve the monk a thousand last quade yeer438!

  A ha, felawes, beth ware of swich a jape439!

  440 The monk440 putte in the mannes hood an ape,

  And in his wives eek, by Seint Austin;

  Draweth no monkes moore unto youre in442.

  ‘But now passe over443, and lat us seke aboute

  Who shal now telle first of al this route444

  445 Another tale’ – and with that word he saide,

  As curteisly as it hadde been446 a maide:

  ‘My lady Prioresse, by youre leve,

  So that448 I wiste I sholde yow nat greve,

  I wolde demen449 that ye tellen sholde

  450 A tale next, if so were that ye wolde450.

  Now wol ye vouchesauf451, my lady deere?’

  ‘Gladly,’ quod she, and seide as ye shal heere.


  The Prologe of the Prioresses Tale.

  Domine dominus noster.

  ‘O Lord, oure Lord, thy name how merveillous

  Is in this large world ysprad454!’ quod she,

  455 ‘For nat oonly thy laude455 precious

  Parfourned456 is by men of dignitee,

  But by the mouth of children thy bountee457

  Parfourned is; for on the brest soukinge458

  Somtime shewen they thin heryinge459.

  460 Wherfore in laude, as I best kan or may,

  Of the462e, and of the white lilye flour

  Which that the bar, and is a maide alway,

  To telle a storye I wol do my labour –

  Nat that I may encressen hir honour,

  465 For she hirself is honour and the roote

  Of bountee, next hir sone, and soules boote466.

  O moder maide, o maide moder free!

  O bussh unbrent468, brenninge in Moises sighte,

  That ravisedest469 doun fro the deitee,

  470 Thurgh thin humblesse, the Goost470 that in th’alighte,

  Of whos vertu471, whan he thin herte lighte,

  Conceived was the Fadres Sapience472,

  Help me to telle it in thy reverence473!

  Lady, thy bountee, thy magnificence,

  475 Thy vertu, and thy grete humilitee,

  Ther may no tonge expresse in no science476.

  For somtime, lady, er men praye to thee,

  Thow goost biforn, of thy benignitee,

  And getest479 us the light of thy prayere

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