(For jalous folk ben perilous evermo:
Algate they wold hir wives wenden so.)
And eke for she was somdel smoterlich,
She was as digne as water in a dich,
And al so ful of hoker, and of bismare.
Hire thoughte that a ladie shuld hire spare,
What for hire kinrede, and hire nortelrie,
That she had lerned in the nonnerie.

A doughter hadden they betwix hem two
Of twenty yere, withouten any mo,
Saving a child that was of half yere age,
In cradle it lay, and was a propre page.
This wenche thicke and wel ygrowen was,
With camuse nose, and eyen grey as glas;
With buttokes brode, and brestes round and hie;
But right faire was hire here, I wol nat lie.

The person of the toun, for she vas faire,
In purpos was to maken hire his haire
Both of his catel, and of his mesuage,
And strange he made it of hire mariage.
His purpos was for to bestowe hire hie
Into som worthy blood of ancestrie.
For holy chirches good mote ben despended
On holy chirches blood that is descended.
Therfore he wolde his holy-blood honoure,
Though that he holy chirche shuld devoure.

Gret soken hath this miller out of doute
With whete and malt, of all the land aboute;
And namely ther was a gret college
Men clepe the Soler hall at Cantebrege,
Ther was hir whete and eke hir malt yground.
And on a day it happed in a stound,
Sike lay the manciple on a maladie,
Men wenden wisly that he shulde die.

For which this miller stale both mele and corn
An hundred times more than beforn.
For therbeforn he stale but curteisly,
But now he was a thefe outrageously.
For which the werdein chidde and made fare,
But therof set the miller not a tare;
He craked bost, and swore it n'as not so.

Than were ther yonge poure scoleres two,
That dwelten in the halle of which I say;
Testif they were, and lusty for to play;
And only for hir mirth and revelrie
Upon the wardein besily they crie,

hem leve but a litel stound,
To gon to mille, and seen hir corn yground:
And hardily they dorsten lay hir necke,
The miller shuld not stele hem half a pecke
Of corn by sleighte, ne by force hem reve.

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,
Swa werkes ay the wanges in his hed:
And therfore is I come, and eke Alein,
To grind our corn and cary it hame agein:
I pray you spede us henen that ye may.

It shal be don (quod Simkin) by my fay.
What wol


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?
Than wol I be benethe by my croun,
And see how that the mele falles adoun
In til the trogh, that shal be my disport:
For, John, in faith I may ben of your sort;
I is as ill a miller as is ye.

This miller smiled at hir nicetee,
And thought, all this n'is don but for a wile.
They wenen that no man may hem begile,
But by my thrift yet shal I blere hir eie,
For all the sleighte in hir philosophie.
The more queinte knakkes that they make,
The more wol I stele whan that I take.
In stede of flour yet wol I yeve hem bren.
The gretest clerkes ben not the wisest men,
As whilom to the wolf thus spake the mare:
Of all hir art ne count I not a tare.

Out at the dore he goth ful prively,
Whan that he saw his time, softely.
He loketh up and doun, til he hath found
The clerkes hors, ther as he stood y bound
Behind the mille, under a levesell:
And to the hors he goth him faire and well,

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,


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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.

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