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(For jalous folk ben perilous evermo:
A doughter hadden they betwix hem two
The person of the toun, for she vas faire,
Gret soken hath this miller out of doute
For which this miller stale both mele and corn
Than were ther yonge poure scoleres two,
hem leve but a litel stound,
And at the last the wardein yave hem leve: John highte that on, and Alein highte that other, Of oʻtoun were they born, that highte Strother, Fer in the North, I can not tellen where.
This Alein maketh redy all his gere, And on a hors the sack he cast anon: Forth goth Alein the clerk, and also John, With good swerd and with bokeler by hir side. John knew the way, him neded not no guide, And at the mille the sak adoun he laith.
Alein spake first; All haile, Simond, in faith, How fares thy faire doughter, and thy wif?
Alein, welcome (quod Simkin) by my lif, And John also: how now, what do ye
here? By God, Simond, (quod John) nede has no pere. Him behoves serve himself that has na swain, Or elles he is a fool, as clerkes sain.
Our manciple I hope he wol be ded,
It shal be don (quod Simkin) by my fay.
don while that it is in hand ? By God, right by the hopper wol I stand, (Quod John) and seen how that the corn gas in. Yet saw I never by my fader kin, How that the hopper wagges til and fra.
Alein answered; John, and wolt thou swa?
This miller smiled at hir nicetee,
Out at the dore he goth ful prively,
And stripeth of the bridel right anon.
And whan the hors was laus, he gan to gon Toward the fen, ther wilde mares renne, And forth, with wehee, thurgh thick and thinne. This miller goth again, no word he said, But doth his note, and with these clerkes plaid, Till that hir corn was faire and wel yground. And whan the mele is sacked and ybound, This John goth out, and fint his hors away, And gan to crie, harow and wala wa! Our hors is lost: Alein, for Goddes banes, Step on thy feet; come of, man, al at anes: Alas! our wardein has his palfrey lorn.
This Alein al forgat both mele and corn; Al was out of his mind his husbandrie: What, whilke way is he gon? he gan to crie.
The wif came leping inward at a renne, She sayd; Alas! youre hors goth to the fenne With wilde mares, as fast as he may go. Unthank come on his hand that bond him so, And he that better shuld have knit the rein.
Alas! (quod John) Alein, for Cristes pein Lay doun thy swerd, and I shal min alswa. I is ful wight, God wate, as is a ra. By Goddes saule he shal not scape us bathe. Why ne had thou put the capel in the lathe? Ill haile, Alein, by God thou is a fonne.
These sely clerkes han ful fast yronne Toward the fen, bothe Alein and eke John: And whan the miller saw that they were gon, He half a bushel of hir flour hath take, And bad his wif go knede it in a cake. He sayd; I trow, the clerkes were aferde. Yet can a miller make a clerkes berde,
For all his art. Ye, let hem gon
way. Lo wher they gon. Ye, let the children play: They get him not so lightly by my croun.
These sely clerkes rennen up and doun With kepe, kepe; stand, stand; jossa, warderere. Ga whistle thou, and I shal kepe him here. But shortly, til that it was veray night They coude not, though they did all hir might, Hir capel catch, he ran alway so fast: Til in a diche they caught him at the last.
Wery and wet, as bestes in the rain, Cometh sely John, and with him cometh Alein. Alas (quod John) the day that I was borne! Now are we driven til hething and til scorne. Our corn is stolne, men wol us fonnes calle, Both the wardein, and eke our felawes alle, And namely the miller, wala wa!
Thus plaineth John, as he goth by the way Toward the mille, and bayard in his hond. The miller sitting by the fire he fond, For it was night, and forther might they nought, But for the love of God they him besought Of herberwe and of ese, as for hir peny.
The miller saide agen, if ther be any, Swiche as it is, yet shull ye have your part. Myn hous is streit, but ye have lerned art; Ye can by arguments maken a place A mile brode, of twenty foot of space. Let see now if this place may suffice, Or make it roụme with speche, as is your gise. Now, Simond, (said this John) by Seint Cuthberd Ay is thou mery, and that is faire answerd. I have herd say, man sal take of twa thinges, Slike as he findes, or slike as he bringes.