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he

In Lettow hadde he reysėd' and in Ruce,—2
No cristen man so ofte of his degree.
In Gernade% at the seege cek hadde he be
Of Algezir,' and riden in Belmarje.5
At Lyeyse was he, and at Satalye,
Whan they were wonne; and in the Gretė See
At many a noble aryves hadde he be.

At mortal battailles hadde he been fiftene,
And foughten for oure feithe at Tramyssene
In lystės thriės, and ay slayn his foo.
This ilkė worthy knyght hadde been also
Somtymė with the lord of Palatöelo
Again another hethen in Turkye;
And evermoore he hadde a sovereyn prys.
And though that he were worthy, he was wys.
And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
He never yet no vileynyell ne sayde,

70
In al his lyfe, unto no maner wight.
He was a verray parfit, gentil knyght.

But for to tellen yow of his array,
His hors weren goode, but he ne was nat gay;
Of fustian he weréd a gypón!?

75
Al bismotered13 with his habergeon!
For he was late y-come from his viáge,
And wentė for to doon his pilgrymage.

With hym ther was his sone, a yong SQUIÉR,
A lovyere and a lusty bacheler, 15°
With lokkės crullelo as they were leyd in presse.
Of twenty yeer of age was, I gesse,
Of his statúre he was of even lengthe, 17
And wonderly delyverels and greet of strengthe;
And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie,'' 85
In Flaundrés, in Artoys and Pycardie,
And born hym weel, as of so litel space,
In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
Embrouded 20 was he, as it were a meede
Al ful of fresshė flourės whyte and reede;
Syngynge he was, or floytynge, 21 al the day;
He was as fressh as is the monthe of May.
Short was his gowne, with slevės longe and

wyde;
Wel koudé he sitte on hors and fairė ryde;
He koudė songės make and wel endite,
Juste and eek daunce and weel purtreye?? and

write.
So hoote he lovedė that by nyghtertale23
He sleep namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale.
Curteis he was, lowely and servysáble,
And carf biforn his fader at the table. 100

A YEMAN hadde he and servántz namo24
At that tyme, for hym listė ridė soo;
And he was clad in cote and hood of grene.
A sheef of pocock25 arwės, bright and kene,
1 Travelled.

Under his belt he bar ful thriftily –

105
Wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly;
His arwės drouped noght with fetherės lowe-
And in his hand he baar a myghty bowe.
A not-heed 28 hadde he, with a broun visage.
Of woodecraft wel koude27 he al the usage. 110
Upon his arm he baar a gay bracér,28
And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler.
And on that oother syde a gay daggére,
Harneisėd wel and sharpe as point of spere;
A Cristophere" on his brest of silver sheene;
An horn he bar, the bawdryk 30 was of grene. 116
A forster was he, soothly as I gesse.

Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE,
That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
Hire grettest ooth was but by seintė Loy, 31 120
And she was clepėd32 madame Eglentyne.
Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,
Entuned in hir nose ful semėly,
And Frenssh she spake ful faire and fetisly33
After the scole of Stratford-attė-Bowe, 34 125
For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe.
At metė wel y-taught was she with-alle,
She leet no morsel from hir lippės falle,
Ne wette hir fyngrés in hir sauce depe.
Wel koude she carie a morsel and wel kepe, 130
Thát no drope ne fille35 upon hire breste;
In curteisie was set ful muchel hir leste.38
Hire over-lippė wypėd she so clene,
That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene
Of grecė, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.
Ful semėly after hir mete she raughte.37 136
And sikerly38 she was of greet desport,
And ful plesáunt and amyable of port,
And peyned hire to countrefetė cheere
Of Court, 39 and been estatlich 40 of manére, 140
And to ben holden digne of reverence.
But for to speken of hire conscience, 41
She was so charitable and so pitous
She woldė wepe if that she saugh a mous
Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde.
Of smalė houndės hadde she that she fedde 146
With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel breed;42
But soorė wepte she if oon of hem were deed,
Or if men smoot it with a yerdė gmerte;43
And al was conscience and tendrė herte. 150

Ful semyly hir wympul44 pynchėd was;
Hire nose tretys, 45 hir eyen greye as glas,
Hir mouth ful smal and there-to softe and reed,
But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed;
It was almost a spannė brood I trowe, 155
For, hardily, 46 she was not undergrowe.

2 Russia.

* Grenada. • The Knight had been in Grenada at the siege of Algezir (or Algeciras). - A Moorish Kingdom in Africa. "A town in Armenia. * A town in Asiatic Turkey. * Sea-expedition. • A Moorish Kingdom in Africa.

19 Anatolia, in Asia Minor. Nearly all the places here mentioned had been held by the heathen, Moors, Turks, and Lithuanians. The Knight has been the champion of Christian Europe in distant parts of the world. 11 Rude or abusive language.

12 Doublet. 12 Soiled, stained.

14 Hauberk, coat of mail. 15 Candidate for Knighthood.

16 Curled. 17 Average size. 18 Quick 19 Campaigns. * Embroidered. 21 Fluting. 22 Draw or paint. Night-time. 24 No more.

26 Peacock,

» Cropped head. 27 Knew. 28 Arm guard.
29 A brooch with a figure of St. Christopher.
30 Shoulder belt.

31 St. Eloy, or Eligius, patron saint of goldsmiths and
farriers.
32 Called, named.

33 Skilfully, readily. 34 After the style (scole) of those in or about Stratfordat-Bow;i. e. the Prioresse spoke the provincial, or AngloNorman, and not the Parisian French. The priory over which she presided is supposed to have been near Stratford-at-Bow, then a village only a few miles from London, 25 Fell. 36 Pleasure. 37 Reached

38 Surely. 39 Cheere of Court, imitate courtly behaviour. 40 Stately, dignified.

41 Sympathy. 42 Fine white bread. 43 Smote it sharply with a stick (yerde). 4 Neck cloth. 45 Shapely.

46 Surely 17 Work.

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95

210

4

175

Ful fetys! was hir cloke, as I was war;
Of smal corál aboute hire arm she bar
A peire of bedės,’ gauded al with grene,
And ther-on heng a brooch of gold ful sheene,
On which ther was first write a crownėd A,3 161
And after Amor vincet omnia.

Another Nonnė with hire haddė she
That was hir Chapeleyne, and Preestės thre.

A Monk ther was, a fair for the maistrie, An outridere, that lovėde venerie;".

166 A manly man, to been an abbot able. Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable, And whan he rood men myghte his brydel heere Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere, 170 And eeke as loude as dooth the chapel belle. Ther as this lord was keepere of the celle, The reule of seint Maures or of seint Benéit, By-cause that it was olde and som-del streit, This ilkė Monk leet oldė thyngės pace,8 And heeld after the newė world a space. He yaf nat of that text a pullėd hen 10 That seith that hunters beth nat hooly men, Ne that a Monk whan he is reechėlees11 Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees:

180 This is to seyn, a Monk out of his cloystre. But thilkė!2 text heeld he nat worth an oystre; And I seyde his opinioun was good. What sholde he studie and make hymselven

wood, 13 Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure, 185 Or swynken with his handės and laboure, As Austyn15 bit?16 How shal the world be

served? Lat Austyn have his swynk 17 to him reserved. Therfore he was a prikasour18 aright; Grehoundes he hadde; as swift as fowel in flight: Of prikyng and of hunting for the hare 191 Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare. I seigh his sleves y-purfiled at the hond With grys,20 and that the fyneste of a lond; And for to festne his hood under his chyn 195 He hadde of gold y-wrought a curious pyn, A love knotte in the gretter ende ther was. His heed was balled that shoon as any glas, And eek his face as he hadde been enoynt. He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt; 200 Hise eyėn stepe21 and rollynge in his heed, That steměd as a forneys of a leed;22 His bootės souple, his hors in greet estaat.

1 Neat.

? A string of beads. Here the beads were coral, gauded with green, i. e., the larger beads or gawdies, were of green.

3 "A," probably stood for Amor, or Charity, crowned as the greatest of Christian virtues.

*i. e. as we should say, one well fitted to succeed. • Hunting.

& St. Maur, or Maurus, a follower and successor of St. Benedict who was founder of the Benedictine Order. His rules of monastic discipline (reule of Seinl Beneit), came to be widely followed throughout Europe. 7 Somewhat strict.

8 Pass. Not necessarily a text from the Bible. . Supposed here to refer to the belief or legend that Nimrod, the mighty hunter, was a bad man. 10 Plucked hen.

11 Cloisterless. 12 That same.

13 Mad. 14 Work, toil. 15 St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and author of the Confessions.

Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat.
He was nat pale, as a forpynėd23 goost: 205
A fat swan loved he best of any roost;
His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.

A Frere ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
A lymytour, 24 a ful solempnė25 man;
In allė the ordrės foure20 is noon that kan
So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage;
He haddė maad ful many a mariage
Of yongė wommen at his owenė cost:
Unto his ordre he was a noble post.
Ful wel biloved and famuliér was he 215
With frankėleyns27 over al in his contree;
And eek with worthy wommen of the toun,
For he hadde power of confessioun,
As seyde hym-self, moore than a curát,
For of his ordre he was licenciat. 28

220 Ful swetėly herde he confessioun, And pleasaunt was his absolucioun. He was an esy man to yeve penáunce Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce; For unto a poure ordre for to yive

225 Is signė that a man is wel y-shryve; For, if he yaf, he dorstė make avaunt29 He wistė that a man was répentaunt: For many a man so harde is of his herte 229 He may nat wepe al thogh hym soorė smerte, Therefore in stede of wepynge and preyéres Men moote yeve silver to the pourė freres. His typet 30 was ay farsėd full31 of knyves And pynnės for to yeven yongė wyves; And certeinly he hadde a murey note; 235 Wel koude he synge and pleyen on a rote:32 Of yeddynges33 he baar outrėly the pris; His nekkė whit was as the flour-de-lys, Ther-to34 he strong was as a champioun. He knew the tavernes well in al the toun 240 And everich hostiler and tappestere35 Bet than a lazar38 or a beggéstere;37 For unto swich a worthy man as he Acorded nat, as by his facultee, To have with sikė lazars áqueyntáunce;

245 It is nat honeste, it may nat avaunce Fór to deelen with no swiche poraille;33 But al with riche and selleres of vitaille. And over al, ther as profit sholde arise, Curteis he was and lowely of servyse, 250 Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous! He was the bestė beggere in his hous, For thogh a wydwe haddė noght a sho,39 So plesaunt was his In principio, 40

23 Tormented.

24 A friar allowed to beg within a certain district, or limit.

25 Solemn.

26 The Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite, and Augustin, or Austin Friars.

27 A franklin was a free landed proprietor who held directly from the crown.

28 He had been licensed by the Pope to perform certain religious offices.

>> Boast. 30 Tippet, hood or cowl, which seems to have been used as a pocket. 31 Stuffed.

1

18 Hard rider. 19 Trimmed.

20 Grey fur. 91 Protruding. 12 Glowed like a fire under a cauldron.

32 Small harp.
84 Wholly or entirely. 36 Barmaid.
37 Beggar.

38 Poor people. 39 Shoe.
40 The opening words of the Gospel of St. John, In
principio erat terbum, were used as a salutation by the
friars as they entered a house on their rounds of mercy,

3a Songs. 36 Leper.

16 Bid.

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21

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266

320

271

And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
And short and quyk and ful of hy sentence.19
Sownynge 20 in moral vertu was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.

A SERGEANT OF THE LAWĖ, war and wys,2
That often haddė been at the Parvys,22 310
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discreet he was, and of greet reverence;.
He seměd swich, hise wordés weren so wise.
Justice he was full often in Assise, 23
By patente and by pleyn commissioun.
For his science and for his heigh renoun,
Of fees and robės hadde he many oon;
So greet a purchasour24 was nowher noon.
Al was fee symple to hym in effect,
His purchasying myghtė nat been infect.
Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
And yet he seměd bisiėr than he was.
In termės hadde he caas and doomės26 alle
That from the tyme of kyng William were falle;
Ther-to he coude endite and make a thyng. 325
Ther koudė no wight pynchen 28 at his writýng;
And every statut coude he pleyn by rote. 27
He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote,
Girt with a ceint of silk with barrés28 smale;
Of his array telle I no lenger tale.

A FRANKELEYN2o was in his compaignye.
Whit was his berd as is a daysėye,
Of his complexioun he was sangwýn.
Wel loved he by the morweso a sope in wyn;
To lyven in delit was evere his wone,31
For he was Epicurus owenė sone,
That heeld opinioun that pleyn32 delit
Was verraily felicitee parfit.
An householdere, and that a greet, was he:
Seint Julian33 was he in his contree;
His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon;
A better envynėd34 man was nowher noon.
Withoutė bakė mete was never his hous,
Of fissh and flessh, and that so plenteuous
It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke.
Of allė deyntees that men koudė thynke

330

280

335

Yet wolde he have a ferthyng er he wente: 255
His purchase! was wel bettre than his rente.
And ragehe koude, as it were right a whelpe.
In love-dayeg: ther koude he muchel helpe.
For ther he was not lyk a cloysterer
With a thredbare cope, as is a poure scolér, 260
But he was lyk a maister, or a pope;
Of double worstede was his semycope,“
That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
Somwhat he lipsėd for his wantownesse,
To make his Englissh sweet upon his tonge,
And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde

songe,
His eyèn twynkled in his heed aryght
As doon the sterrės in the frosty nyght.
This worthy lymytour was cleped Huberd.

A MARCHANT was ther with a forkėd berd,
In motteleye, and hye on horse he sat;
Upon his heed a Flaunderyssh bevere hat;
His bootės claspėd faire and fetisly;
His resons he spake ful solempnély,
Sowynge alway thencreés of his wynnyng. 275
He wolde the see were kept for any things
Bitwixė Middelburgh® and Orėwelle.
Wel koude he in eschaungė sheeldėså selle.
This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette,
Ther wistė no wight that he was in dette,
So estatly was he of his governaunce
With his bargaynes and with his chevys-

saunce,
For sothe he was a worthy man with-alle,
But sooth to seyn I nootið how men hym calle.

A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also
That unto logyk haddė long y-go.
As leenė was his hors as is a rake.
And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
But looked holwe, and ther-to sobrely;
Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy;" 290
For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,
Ne was so worldly for to have office;
For hym was levere have at his beddės heed
Twenty bookés clad in blak or reed
Of Aristotle and his philosophie,
Than robės riche, or fithele, 12 or gay sautrie:13
But al belt that he was a philosophre,
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
But al that he myghte of his freendės hentel5
On bookes and his lernynge he it spente, 300
And bisily gan for the soulės preye
Of hem that yaf hym wher-with to scoleye. 16
of studie took he moost cure17 and moost

heed,
Noght 018 word spak he moorė than was neede,

1 His purchase (or gain from begging) was larger than bis rente (or income).

* Romp. play.

• Days set apart for the settlement of disputes by arbitration or amicable agreement. * Short cloak.

6 At any cost. A port on

the island of Walcheren in the Netherlands. : Orwell (now Harwich), a port on the English coast Dearly opposite Middleburgh.

A French coin, so called because they had a shield stamped on one side.

285

340

345

295

accus

19 Meaning.

20 Tending to. 21 Wary and prudent.

22 Here, the porch, or portico in front of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, where the lawyers were tomed to meet for consultation.

23 A Session (or sitting) of the Circuit Court. About forty years before Chaucer wrote his Prologue, in order to provide for the administration of justice in remote places, a law was passed, providing that an assize might be held, by a Judge of King's Bench, or of the Common Pleas, or by a King's Sergeant sworn. Chaucer's sergeant held this high office "by patent and by pleyn (or sull) Commission."

24 A money-maker, or perhaps a buyer of land. The Sergeant is so skilled in the law of real estate, that he is able, by a legal process, to effect the conveyance of land held under restrictions which would ordinarily interfere with its sale or transfer. Hence, all land was in fee simple to him i. e. as though free from such restrictions. 25 Cases and judgments.

26 Find fault. 27 Knew he fully by heart. 28 Ornaments on a girdle.

29 A free landed proprietor who held directly from the Crown. 30 Morning.

32 Full. * St. Julian Hospitator, patron saint of hospitality. 34 Stored with wine.

Loans. 10 Know not. 12 Fiddle. 13 Harp.

14 Although. 15 Get. 14 To study.

17 Care,

18 One.

31 Custom

11 Short over-coat.

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405

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360

415

After the sondry sesons of the yeer,
So chaungėd he his mete and his sopér,
Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe 1
And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe.2
Wo was his cook but if his sauce were 351
Poynaunt and sharpe, and redy al his geere.
His table dormants in his halle alway
Stood redy covered al the longė day.
At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;
Ful oftė tyme he was knyght of the shire.
An anlaas, and a gipsere al of silk,
Heeng at his girdel, whit as morné milk;
A shirreve hadde he been, and a countour.S
Was nowher such a worthy vavasour.'
An HaberDASSHERE, and a CARPENTER,
A WEBBE,1° a DYERE, and a TAPYCER,11
And they were clothed alle in o12 lyveree
Of a solémpne and greet fraternitee; 13
Ful fressh and newė hir geere apikėd was;14 365
Hir knyvės were chaped noght with bras,
But al with silver, wroght ful clene and weel,
Hire girdles and hir pouches everydeel.15
Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys
To sitten in a yeldehalle, 18 on a deys.17
Everich 18 for the wisdom that he kan 19
Was shaply for to been20 an alderman.
For catel haddė they ynogh and rente, 2
And eek hir wyvės wolde it wel assente;
And ellés certeyn were they to blame.
It is ful fair to been y-clepeda2 MADAME,
And goon to vigiliés al bifore, 23
And have a mantel roialliche y-bore 24

A Cook they haddė with hem for the nones,
To boille the chiknes with the marybones, 25
And poudré-marchant tart and galyngale;28
Wel koude he knowe a draughte of Londoun ale;
He koudė rooste and sethe and boille and fryc,
Máken mortreux27 and wel bake a pye.
But greet harm was it, as it thoughtė me,
That on his shyne a mormal28 haddė he.
For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.

370

If that he faught, and hadde the hyer hond,
By water34 he sent hem hoom to every lond.
But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
His stremės and his daungers hym bisides,
His herberwe and his moone, his lode-menage,
Ther nas noon swich from Hullė to Cartage.
Hardy he was, and wys to undertake:
With many a tempest hadde his berd ben shake;
He knew wel alle the havenes, as they were,
From Gootland38 to the Cape of Fynystere,
And every cryke in Britaigne and in Spayne.
His barge y-clepėd was the Maudėlayne.

410
With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHisik;
In all this world ne was ther noon hym lik
To speke of phisik and of surgerye;
For he was grounded in astronomye.
He kepte37 his pacient a ful greet deel
In hourės, 38 by his magyk natureel.
Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent 39
Of his ymáges for his pacient.
He knew the cause of everich maladye,
Were it of hoot, or cold, or moyste, or drye, 420
And where they engendred and of what humour;
He was a verray parfit praktisour.
The cause y-knowe and of his harm the roote,
Anon he yaf the sikė man his boote. 40
Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
To send him droggės and his letuaries, 41
For ech of hem made oother for to wynne,
Hir friendshipe nas nat newė to bigynne.
Wel knew he the oldė Esculapius42
And Deyscorides, and eke Rufus,
Olde Ypocras, Haly and Galyen,
Serapion, Razis and Avycen,
Averrois, Damascien and Constantyn,
Bernard and Gatėsden and Gilbertyn.
Of his diété mesurable was he.
For it was of no superfluitee,
But of greet norissyng and digestible.
His studie was but litel on the Bible.
In sangwyn and in persi3 he clad was al,
Lynėd with taffata and with sendal. 44
And yet he was but esy of dispence,45
He keptė that he wan in pestilence. 48
For gold in phisik is a cordial,
Therfore he lovėde gold in special.
A Good WiF was ther of bisidė Bathe,
But she was som-del deef, and that was scathe. 67
Of clooth-makyng she haddė swich an haunt #3
She passėd hem of Yprės and of Gaunt.
In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon

21

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375

430

435

385

440

445

395

A SHIPMAN was ther, wonyng29 fer by weste; For aught I woot he was of Dertėmouthe. He rood upon a rouncy:9 as he kouthe, 390 In a gowne of faldyng to the knee. A daggere hangyng on a laas31 hadde he Aboute his nekke under his arm adoun. The hootė somer hadde maad his hewe al broun; And certeinly he was a good feláwe. Ful many a draughte of wine hadde he y-drawe Fro Burdeuxward whil that the Chapman32

sleepe. Of nycė conscience took he no keepe. 33 1 Coop. · Fish pond.

3 Fixed. • Representative of his shire, or county in Parliament. 6 Dagger. 6 Pouch.

7 Sheriff 8 Auditor. » Land-holder.

10 Weaver. 11 Dealer in carpets and tapistry. 13 A guild. 14 Triinmed.

15 Wholly. 16 Guildhall. 17 Dais,

19 Each. 19 He knew. 20 Fit to be.

21 Income. 22 Be called.

23 In front of all. 24 Royally carried--by a servant. 25 Marrow-bones. * A tart and a sweet spice. 27 Mix in a mortar. 28 An open sore.

29 Dwelling. 31 Cord. 32 Merchant.

Heed.

12 One.

34 i. e. he pitched them over-board.
35 Pilotage.

36 Jutland.
37 Watched.

38 Astrological hours. 39 He knew well how to make a fortunate horoscope (fortuen the ascendent) of bis patient by making images or characters stamped in metals, or wax, at a time when the stars were favorable. 40 Remedy.

41 Syrup and powders. 12 Aesculapius was the reputed founder of the art of medicine, the following names are those of famous physicians and medical writers of the Middle Ages. 43 Red and blue,

44 Silk. 46 Moderate in spending.

46 The plague known as the "Black Death," which devastated England in Chaucer's century. 47 A pity.

18 Skill.

30 A nag.

455

That to the offryngel bifore hire sholde goon;
And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she, 451
That she was out of allé charitee.
Hir coverchiefs? sul fynė weren of ground,
I dorstė swere they weyėden ten pound,
That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed.
Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
Ful streite y-teyd, and shoes ful moyste and

newe;
Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.
She was a worthy womman al hir lyve, 459
Housbondes at chirché dore she haddė fyve,
Withouten oother compaignye in youthe,-
But ther-of nedeth nat to speke as nowthe, 4
And thries hadde she been at Jerusalém;
She haddė passėd many a straungė strem;
At Rome she haddė been, and at Boloigne, 465
In Galice at Seint Jame, and at Coloigne,
She koudė muchel of wandrynge by the weye.
Gat-tothėds was she, soothly for to seye.
Upon an amblere esily she sat,
Y-wymplėdo wel, and on hir heed an hat
As brood as is a bokeler or targe;
A foot mantel aboute her hipės large,
And on hire feet a paire of sporės sharpe.
In felaweship wel koude she laughe and carpe;?
Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce, 475
For she koude of that art the oldė daunce.

470

525

529

A shiten shepherde and a clenė sheepe.
Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive 505
By his clennesse how that his sheepe sholde lyve.
He sette nat his benefice to hyre
And leet his sheepe encombred in the myre,
And ran to Londoun, unto Seint Poules,
To seken hyn a chaunteriel3 for soules; 510
Or with a bretherhed to been withholde, 14
But dwelte at hoom and keptė wel his folde,
So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie, -
He was a shepherde, and noght a mercenarie
And though he hooly were and vertuous, 515
He was to synful man nat despitous, 15
Ne of his spechė daungerous ne digne,
But in his techyng déscreet and benygne,
To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
By good ensample, this was his bisynesse; 520
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
Hym wolde hesny ben 16 sharply for the

nonys.
A bettrė preest I trowe that nowher noon ys;
He waited after no pompe and reverence,
Ne marked him a spicėd"? conscience,
But Cristės loore, and his Apostles twelve,
He taughte, but first he folwed it hymselve.
With hym ther was a PLOWMAN, was his

brother, That hadde y-lad of dong ful many a fother, 18 A trewė swynkerel' and a good was he, Lyvynge in pees and parfit charitee. God loved he best, with all his hoolė herte, At allė tymės, thogh him gamed or smerte,20 534 And thanne his neighébore right as hymselve. He woldė thresshe, and therto dyke and delve, For Cristės sake, for every pourė wight, Withouten hire if it lay in his myght. His tithės paydė he ful faire and wel,

539 Bothe of his proprė swynk and his catel. 21 In a tabárd 22 he rood upon a mere.

Ther was also a REVE23 and a MILLER. A SOMNOUR24 and a PARDONER25 also, A MAUNÇIPLE 26 and myself,—ther were namo.

544 The MILLERE was a stout carl for the nones, Ful byg was he of brawn and eek of bones; That provėd wel, for over-al ther, he cam, At wrastlynge he wolde have awey the ram. 27 He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikkė

knarre,28

485

A goodman was ther of religioun,
And was a PoURE PERSOUN OF A TOUN;
But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk;
He was also a lernéd man, a clerk,

480
That Cristės Gospel trewély wolde preche
His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
Benygne he was and wonder diligent,
And in adversitee ful pacient;
And swich he was y-prevėdo oftė sithes 10
Ful looth were hym to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven out of doubte,
Unto his pouré parisshens aboute,
Of his offryng and eek of his substaunce:
He koude in litel thyng have suffisaunce.
Wyd was his parisshe and houses fer asоnder,
But he ne lafte nat for reyn ne thonder,
In siknesse nor in meschief to visíte
The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lite,
Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his sheepe he yaf
That firste he wroghte and afterward he

taughte.
Out of the gospel he tho 11 wordes caughte,
And this figúre he added eek therto,
That is gold rustė what shal iren doo?
For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
No wonder is a lewėdia man to ruste;
And shame it is, if a prest takė keepe,

490

495

500

13 Either an endowment for the payment of a priest to sing or say mass for the dead; or else the church or chapel in which such masses were celebrated. After the plague, many parish priests deserted their parishes and went to London to make money by officiating in the chauntcries. 14 Supported.

15 Scornful.

16 Reprove. 17 Here supposed to mean "scrupulous," "overfastidious" or over-particular about non-essentials. 18 Cart-load.

19 Laborer. 20 In joy or pain.

21 Labor and property. 22 Short coat.

23 A steward, or bailiff (as sheriff or shire-reve). Here the Reve of a manor.

21 An officer who summoned delinquents before the ecclesiastical courts.

25 One empowered to sell indulgences, or pardons.
26 A caterer for a college or for one of the long of Court.
27 The usual prizo at wrestling matches.
23 Knot.

1 When the congregation came forward to the altar (either to kiss the relics on what was known as Relic Sunday, or to give alms), the Wife of Bath claimed a foremost place in the line of worabippers.

2 Head-dresses.

a The couples were married in the Church porch, after which the priest celebrated mass at the altar. * Now.

Teeth set wide apart. • Having a wimple, or bead-covering. * Chatter. The old game. 11 Those.

19 Unlearned.

• Proved.

10 Times.

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