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But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute, With him ther was a PlOWMAN, was his Un-to his povre parisshens aboute

brother, Of his offring, and eek of his substaunce. That hadde y-ladof dong ful many a He coude in litel thing han suffisaunce. 490 fother;13

530 Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer A trewe swinkere14 and a good was he, a-sonder,

Livinge in pees and parfit charitee. But he ne lafte nat for reyn ne thonder, God loved he best with al his hole herte In siknes nor in meschief to visyte

At alle tymes, thogh him gamed15 or The ferreste in his parisshe, muche” and

smerte, 16 lyte,

And thanne his neighebour right as himUp-on his feet, and in his hand a staf.


535 This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf, He wolde thresshe, and ther-to dyke! and That first he wroghte, and afterward he

delve, taughte;

For Cristes sake, for every povre wight, Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte; Withouten hyre, if it lay in his might. And this figure he added eek ther-to, His tythes payed he ful faire and wel, That if gold ruste, what shal iren do? Bothe of his propre swink18 and his catel. 19 For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste, In a tabard20 he rood upon a mere. 541 No wonder is a lewedî man to ruste;

Ther was also a Reveal and a Millere, And shame it is, if a preest take keep, A Somnoura2 and a Pardoner also, A (spotted) shepherde and a clene sheep. A Maunciple,23 and my-self; ther were Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,505 namo. By his clennesse, how that his sheep shold The MILLER was a stout carl, for the live.


545 He sette nat his benefice to hyre,

Ful big he was of braun, and eek of bones; And leet his sheep encombred in the That proved wel, for over-al ther he cam, myre, ,

At wrastling he wolde have alwey the And ran to London, un-to sëynt Poules, To seken him a chaunterie for soules, He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke Or with a bretherhed to been withholde;6 knarre,25 But dwelte at hoom, and kepte wel his Ther nas no dore that he nolde26 heve of folde,

550 So that the wolf ne made it nat miscarie; Or breke it, at a renning, with his heed. He was a shepherde and no mercenarie. His berd as any sowe or fox was reed, And though he holy were, and vertuous,515

And ther-to brood, as though it were a He was to sinful man nat despitous,

spade. Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne, Up-on the cop right of his nose he hade But in his teching discreet and benigne. A werte, and ther-on stood a tuft of heres, To drawen folk to heven by fairnesse Reed as the bristles of a sowes eres; By good ensample, this was his bisinesse: His nose-thirles28 blake were and wyde. But it were any persone obstinat, 521 A swerd and bokeler bar he by his syde; What so he were, of heigh or lowe estat, His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys. Him wolde he snibben 10 sharply for the He was a Ianglere29 and a goliardeys, 30 560 nones.

And that was most of sinne and harlotryes. A bettre preest I trowe that nowher noon Welcoude he stelen corn, and tollen is.

thryes; He wayted after no pompe and reverence, And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, Ne maked him a spycedit conscience, 526 pardee. But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve, A whyt cote and a blew hood wered he. He taughte, and first he folwed it him

ram. 24


harre, 26


12 carried in a cart. selve.

15 it pleased.

16 pained.

19 property. i ceased not. high.

3 low.

?? summoner for an ecclesiastical court. . ignorant. . pay attention to it. 6 confined. 23 steward of a college. 24 win the prize, a ram. i merciless. * disdainful

scornful. 25 a sturdy fellow.

% could not lift off its hinges. 11 over-scrupulous.

13 load.

14 laborer.
17 dig.
20 loose coat.

18 labor.
21 bailiff.

* reprove.

27 top


29 talker.

30 buffoon.









A baggepype wel coude he blowe and They were adrad of him, as of the deeth. sowne,

565 His woning16 was ful fair up-on an heeth, And therwithal he broghte us out of With grene treës shadwed was his place. towne.

He coude bettre than his lord purchace. A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a tem- Ful riche he was astored prively, ple,

His lord wel coude he plesen subtilly, Of which achatours' mighte take exemple To yeve and lene7 him of his owne good, For to be wyse in bying of vitaille.

And have a thank, and yet a cote and For whether that he payde, or took by hood. taille,

570 In youthe he lerned hadde a good mister;18 Algate he wayted" so in his achat,

He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter. That he was ay biforn and in good stat. This reve sat up-on a ful good stot, Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace, That was al pomely20 grey, and highte Scot. That swich a lewedê mannes wit shal pace A long surcote of pers21 up-on he hade, The wisdom of an heep of lerned men? 575 And by his syde he bar a rusty blade. Of maistres hadde he mo than thryes ten, Of Northfolk was this reve, of which I telle, That were of lawe expert and curious; Bisyde a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.620 Of which ther were a doseyn in that hous, | Tukkedhe was, as is a frere, aboute, Worthy to been stiwardes of rente and And evere he rood the hindreste of our lond

route. Of any lord that is in Engelond,

A SOMNOUR was ther with us in that To make him live by his propre good,

place, In honour dettelees, but he were wood, That hadde a fyr-reed cherubinnes face, Or live as scarsly as him list desire; And able for to helpen al a shire

Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek

" In any cas that mighte falle or happe; 585 lekes, And yit this maunciple sette hir aller And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as cappe.


635 The Reve was a sclendre colerik man, Thanne wolde he speke, and crye as he His berd was shave as ny as ever he

were wood.

And whan that he wel dronken hadde the His heer was by his eres round y-shorn.

wyn, His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.590 Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn. Ful longe were his legges, and ful lene, A fewe termes hadde he, two or three, Y-lyk a staf, ther was no calf y-sene.

That he had lerned out of som decree; 640 Wel coude he kepe a gernerlo and a binne; No wonder is, he herde it al the day; Ther was noon auditour coude on him And eek ye knowen wel, how that a Iay winne.

Can clepen “Watte,'23 as well as can the Wel wiste he, by the droghte, and by the pope. reyn,


But who-so coude in other thing him The yelding of his seed, and of his greyn. His lordes sheep, his neet,"1 his dayerye, Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophye; His swyn, his hors, his stoor,12 and his Ay"Questio quid iuris" wolde he crye. 646 pultrye,

He was a gentil harlot 25 and a kynde; Was hoolly in this reves governing,

A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde. And by his covenaunt yaf the rekening,600 He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn Sin that his lord was twenty yeer of

age; A good felawe to have his (wikked sin] 650 Ther coude no man bringe him in arrerage. A twelf-month, and excuse him atte fulle: Ther nas baillif, ne herde, ne other hyne, And prively a finch eek coude he pulle. That he ne knew his sleighte14 and his And if he fond owher26 a good felawe,


He wolde techen him to have non awe,


grope, 24



1 caterers. ? on credit. 3 always. 4 took precautions.
5 buying. 6ignorant. 7 free from debt.
8 mad. over-reached them all.

10 granary
11 cattle. 12 stock. 13 servant. 14 trickery. 15 deceit.

16 house.
20 dappled.
23 jay can cry

17 lend
19 trade.

19 horse.
21 blue cloth. 22 tucked.
Wat." 24 "test him in any other point."

26 anywhere.

25 rogue.



In swich cas, of the erchedeknes curs, 655 Which that, he seyde, was our lady veyl:16
But-if' a mannes soule were in his purs; He seyde, he hadde a gobet"? of the seyl 696
For in his purs he sholde y-punisshed be. That sëynt Peter hadde, whan that he
"Purs is the erchedeknes helle," seyde he. wente
But wel I woot he lyed right in dede; Up-on the see, til Iesu Crist him hente.18
Of cursing oghte ech gilty man him drede- He hadde a croys of latoun,'' ful of stones,
For curs wol slee, right as assoilling? And in a glas he hadde pigges bones. 700

661 But with thise relikes, whan that he fond And also war him of a significavit.

A povre person dwelling up-on lond, In daunger* hadde he at his owne gyses Up-on a day he gat him more moneye The yonge girlesø of the diocyse,

Than that the person got in monthes And knew hir counseil, and was al hir tweye. reed. 7

And thus with feyned flaterye and Iapes,

21 A gerland hadde he set up-on his heed, He made the person and the peple his apes. As greet as it were for an ale-stake; But trewely to tellen, atte laste, 707 A bokeler hadde he maad him of a cake. He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste.

With him ther rood a gentil PARDONER Wel coude he rede a lessoun or a storie, Of Rouncival, his freend and his compeer, But alderbest22 he song an offertorie; 710 That streight was comen fro the court of For wel he wiste, whan that song was Rome.

songe, Ful loude he song, “Com hider, love, to He moste preche, and wel affyle23 his tonge, me.”

To winne silver, as he ful wel coude; This somnour bar to him a stif burdoun, Therefore he song so meriely and loude. Was never trompe of half so greet a soun. Now have I told you shortly, in a clause, This pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex, Thestat,24 tharray, the nombre, and eek But smothe it heng, as doth a strikes of

the cause

716 flex;

676 Why that assembled was this companye By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde, In Southwerk, at this gentil hostelrye, And ther-with he his shuldres over- That highte the Tabard, faste by the spradde;

Belle. But thinne it lay, by colpons10 oon and But now is tyme to yow for to telle 720 oon;

How that we baren us that ilke night, But hood, for Iolitee, ne wered he noon,680 Whan we were in that hostelrye alight. For it was trussed up in his walet.

And after wol I telle of our viage, Him thoughte," he rood al of the newe And al the remenaunt of our pilgrimage. let;12

But first I pray yow, of your curteisye, 725 Dischevele, save his cappe, he rood al bare. That ye narette25 it nat my vileinye, 25 Swiche glaringe eyen hadde he as an hare. Thogh that I pleynly speke in this matere, A vernicle hadde he sowed on his cappe.685 To telle yow hir wordes and hir chere,26 His walet lay biforn him in his lappe, Ne thogh I speke hir wordes properly.2 Bret-full of pardoun come from Rome al For this


knowen al-so wel as I, 730 hoot.

Who-so shal telle a tale after a man, A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot. He moot reherce, as ny as ever he can, No berd hadde he, ne never sholde have, Everich a28 word, if it be in his charge, As smothe it

late Al speke heao never so rudeliche and large; y-shave;

690 Or elles he moot telle his tale untrewe, 735

Or feyne thing, or fynde wordes newe. But of his craft, fro Berwik into Ware, He may nat spare, al-thogh he were his Ne was ther swich another pardoner.



as it


brother; For in his male14 he hadde a pilwe-beer, 15 He moot as wel seye o word as another.

16 the Virgin Mary's veil.

17 piece.

13 took. 1 unless ? absolution. 3 let him beware of.

20 in the country. in his jurisdiction. 5 way. 6 people.

22 best of all.

23 sharpen.

24 the estate. i adviser, & bank of flax o small portions.

25 "ascribe it not to my ill breeding." behavior. 11 it seemed to him, 12 fashion.

27 literally:

> every 13 brim-full 14 wallet. 15 pillow-case. 23 although he speak.

30 freely.

19 brass.
21 tricks.

10 shreds.






Crist spak him-self ful brode in holy writ, Hold up your hond, withoute more speche.” And wel ye woot, no vileinye is it.


Our counseil was nat longe for to seche; Eek Plato seith, who-so that can him rede, Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it The wordes mote be cosin to the dede.


785 Also I prey yow to foryeve it me,

And graunted him with-outen more avys, Al have I nat set folk in hir degree

And bad him seye his verdit, as him leste. Here in this tale, as that they sholde “Lordinges," quod he, "now herkneth stonde;


for the beste; My wit is short, ye may wel understonde. But tak it not, I prey yow, in desdeyn;

Greet chere made our hoste us everichon, This is the poynt, to speken short and And to the soper sette he us anon;


790 And served us with vitaille at the beste. That ech of yow, to shorte with your Strong was the wyn, and wel to drinke us

weye, leste. 2


In this viage, shal telle tales tweye, A semely man our hoste was with-alle To Caunterbury-ward, I mene it so, For to han been a marshal in an halle; And hom-ward he shal tellen othere two, A large man he was with eyen stepe, Of aventures that whylom han bifalle.795 A fairer burgeys is ther noon in Chepe: And which of yow that bereth him best of Bold of his speche, and wys, and wel alle, y-taught,

755 That is to seyn, that telleth in this cas And of manhod him lakkede right naught. Tales of best sentence15 and most solas, Eek therto he was right a mery man, Shal han a soper at our aller cost?? And after soper pleyen* he bigan,

Here in this place, sitting by this post, 800 And spak of mirthe amonges othere Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterthinges,

759 bury. Whan that we hadde maad our rekeninges; And for to make yow the more mery, And seyde thus: “Now, lordinges, trewely I wol my-selven gladly with yow ryde, Ye been to me right welcome hertely: Right at myn owne cost, and be your gyde. For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye, And who-so wol my Iugement withseye 805 I ne saugh this yeer so mery a companye Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye. At ones in this herberwe as is now. 765 And if ye vouche-sauf that it be so, Fayn wolde I doon yow mirthe, wiste I Tel me anon, with-outen wordes mo, how.

And I wol erly shape me18 therfore.' And of a mirthe, I am right now bithoght, This thing was graunted, and our othes To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.

810 Ye goon to Caunterbury; God yow With ful glad herte, and preyden him also spede,

That he wold vouche-sauf for to do so, The blisful martir quyte yow your mede.

And that he wolde been our governour, And wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye, 771 And of our tales Iuge and reportour, Ye shapen yow to talent and to pleye; And sette a soper at a certeyn prys; For trewely, confort ne mirthe is noon And we wold reuled been at his devys, To ryde by the weye

doumb as a stoon; In heigh and lowe; and thus, by oon assent, And therfore wol I maken yow disport, 775 We been acorded to his Iugement. As I seyde erst, and doon yow som confort. And ther-up-on the wyn was fet20 anon; And if yow lyketh alle, by oon assent, We dronken, and to reste wente echon, 820 Now for to stonden at my Iugement,

With-outen any lenger taryinge. And for to werken as I shal yow seye,

A-morwe, whan that day bigan to To-morwe, whan ye ryden by the weye,780 springe, Now, by my fader soule, that is deed, Up roos our host, and was our aller cok, 21 But ye be merye, I wol yeve yow myn And gadrede us togidre, alle in a flok, heed.




12 consideration. 13 make the journey short.

14 formerly. I proper rank. ? it pleased us. * glittering. 15 meaning.

17 the expense of us all.

18 get myself ready. 19 according to his decision.

20 brought. reward you duly. 10 plan to talk.

21 cock of us all.

11 deliberate about it.

16 amusement.

I make merry
7 inn.

5 have not seen.
8 entertain you.

one time.





And forth we riden, a litel more than THE NUN'S PRIEST'S TALE


Here biginneth the Nonne Preestes Tale of Un-to the watering of seint Thomas.

the Cok and Hen, Chauntecleer and And there our host bigan his hors areste,

Pertelote. And seyde; “Lordinges, herkneth if yow leste.

A povre widwe somdel stope in age, Ye woot your forward, and I it yow re- Was whylom dwelling in a narwe cotage, corde.

Bisyde a grove, stondyng in a dale. If even-song and morwe-song acorde, 830 This widwe, of which I telle yow my tale, Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale. Sin thilke18 day that she was last a wyf, As ever mote I drinke wyn or ale,

In pacience ladde a ful simple lyf, Who-so be rebel to my Iugement

For litel was hir catello and hir rente;20 Shal paye for al that by the weye is By housbondrye, of such as God hir sente, spent.

She fondal hir-self, and eek hir doghtren Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer two. twinne;6

835 Three large sowes hadde she, and namo, 10 He which that hath the shortest shal be- Three kyn, and eek a sheep that highte ginne.

Malle. Sire knight,” quod he, "my maister and Ful sooty was hir bour,22 and eek hir halle, my lord,

In which she eet ful many a sclendre meel. Now draweth cut, for that is myn acord.” Of poynaunt sauce hir neded never a deel. Cometh neer," quod he, “my lady prior- No deyntee morsel passed thurgh hir esse;


15 And ye, sir clerk, lat be your shamfast- Hir dyete was accordant to23 hir cote. nesse,

840 Repleccioun24 ne made hir never syk; Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every Attempree25 dyete was al hir phisyk, man.”

And exercyse, and hertes suffisauncé.26 Anon to drawen every wight bigan, The goute lette27 hir no-thing for to And shortly for to tellen, as it was,

daunce, Were it by aventure, or sort,

Napoplexye28 shente9 nat hir heed; The sothe12 is this, the cut fil to the knight, No wyn ne drank she, neither whyt ne Of which ful blythe and glad was every

reed; wight;

846 Hir bord was served most with whyt and And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,

blak, By forward and by composicioun,13

Milk and broun breed, in which she fond As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes no lak, mo?

Seynd 30 bacoun, and somtyme an eyl or And whan this goode man saugh it was so, tweye,

25 As he that wys was and obedient 851 For she was as it were a maner deye. 32 To kepe his forward by his free assent, A yerd she hadde, enclosed al aboute He seyde: “Sin! I shal beginne the With stikkes, and a drye dich with-oute, game,

In which she hadde a cok, hight ChaunteWhat, welcome be the cut, a15 Goddes cleer, name!

In al the land of crowing nas33 his peer. 30 Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I His vois was merier than the mery orgon seye.”

855 On messe-dayes that in the chirche gon; And with that word we riden forth our Wel sikerer34 was his crowing in his logge,35 weye;

Than is a clokke, or an abbey orlogge 36 And he bigan with right a mery chere16 By nature knew he ech ascensioun

35 His tale anon, and seyde in this manere. Of equinoxial in thilke toun; I a little faster than a walk.



or cas, 11

17 advanced.

19 chattels. * remind you of it. 21 provided for. 22 bed-chamber. 23 in keeping with. fartber. • depart.

7 judgment.

24 Over-eating. 25 a temperate.
o modesty.
9 accident.
10 destiny.

23 nor apoplexy. 2injured.
11 truth.
18 compact.

32 sort of dairywoman. 15 in.

4 more certain.

> clock.

2 stop:

18 that.

20 income.

I agreement,

% contentment.

Il chance


27 hindered.
30 broiled.
33 was not.

31 egg

16 countenance.

36 lodge.

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